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Google

+ - Google's privacy policy bashed by research organiz->

Submitted by
secretsather
secretsather writes "http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2007/06/10/go ogles-privacy-policy-bashed-by-research-organizati on-privacy-international/

The human rights research organization, Privacy International (PI), released a report, following a six-month investigation, into the privacy practices of 22 popular Internet-based companies. Google ranked the lowest with an initial assessment of "hostile to privacy," followed by AOL, Apple, Facebook, Windows Live Spaces, and Yahoo, among others.

The Internet-based companies were evaluated on details such as the type of personal information that the sites collected; whether or not the collected data was actually useful to the company; for how long the data was kept; and whether or not the company employed a strong, transparent privacy policy.

        "We are aware that the decision to place Google at the bottom of the ranking is likely to be controversial, but throughout our research we have found numerous deficiencies and hostilities in Google's approach to privacy that go well beyond those of other organizations," said Privacy International, in its report.

Privacy International (PI) recently tried to contacted Google, but received no response.

"It's a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them," said Nicole Wong, Google's deputy general counsel. "We are disappointed with Privacy International's report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services."

Why Google? PI claims Google to retain large quantities of information about all users for an unstated or indefinite length of time with no disclosure or opportunity to delete personal data.

In addition, PI claims it to be a "prevailing view" that a 24 month record of all search strings linked to an individuals IP address is unacceptable, and possibly unlawful.

The list continues, but it is a monotonous tone of drivel that seeps from the mouth of a child; I'll spare you, but there are a few things that trouble me with PI's report.

First, it makes mention of Orkut, Google's online community:

          "We ranked Orkut as a separate entity even though it is owned by Google."

But later links the two together while citing the reasons why Google was ranked so poorly, claiming:

          "Google often maintains these records (user data) even after a user has deleted his profile or removed information from Orkut."

PI makes no mention as to what Google does with the Orkut data. Why? Because they don't know; but, does not hesitate to lower Google's privacy score as a result of, as stated in the report.

        "Google has access to additional personal information, including hobbies, employment, address, and phone number, contained within user profiles in Orkut."

  But assessing a company, based on facts unknown, is a violation of its own rules.

        "It was not always possible to precisely assess a company's approach in each category. As a result, we erred on the side of caution and gave the company the benefit of the doubt and assessed it only for what we could actually identify."

Ironically, Microsoft was given 'orange' status (two levels better than Google) despite PI's claims that there is "not so much" of a difference between Microsoft and Google's data practices and privacy policies.

Rather, Microsoft achieved a better color as a result of "corporate ethos and leadership." Continuing, PI states Microsoft "appears to have adopted a less antagonistic attitude to privacy."

So Microsoft appearing to have a not so hostile approach gains them 2 levels above Google? Thanks for the privacy report, PI, but it's starting to seem as if there are larger things on your agenda than being concerned about my privacy.

Among those who achieved a 'blue' status of 'generally privacy aware' are BBC, Wikipedia, LiveJournal, and Ebay; however, it should be noted that not one Internet-based company was able to achieve a green light status from PI."

Link to Original Source
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Easter Eggs for Shaun Inman's Mint 2->

Submitted by
Psy2k
Psy2k writes "Here are some type combinations that will drive your Mint 2 installation to do weird things: Appear the Mintman (someone like Superman...) and show a really strange "approved" stamp! Of course these are not bugs, they are Easter Eggs, that Shaun himself put into Mint for fun. Here is a quote from the original article:



# Easter Egg 1: After you log in, type b a and look on your bottom right corner in your mint page!

# Easter Egg 2: If you want to see the Mintman, log in and type R L Y B
"

Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - Attorney sues website over his online rating->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that a local attorney is suing legal startup Avvo.com over a rating that was algorithmically assigned. The story touches over the controversy of computers grading humans. Such practices are not new: the New York Times earlier this year reported on Google using algorithms to determine applicant suitability. But what happens when you don't like the result? Can a computer program be considered defamatory?"
Link to Original Source
Movies

+ - TorrentSpy ordered to become MPAA Spy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""TorrentSpy — one of the web's most famous BitTorrent sites was told by federal judge Jacqueline Chooljian in the Central District of California that despite the site's privacy policy which states they will never monitor their visitors without consent, they must start creating logs detailing their user's activities. Understandably, this is a worrying move by the court — even more so when one considers these logs must then be turned over to the MPAA.""
Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - An end to chemical waste?

Submitted by Yeoman
Yeoman (666) writes "http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Arti cles%5El1663&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDis pWhat=object&enVersion=0&enZone=Technology&

an excerpt from the article:

Today companies emitting solid, liquid, or gas waste either send it to waste treatment sites for incineration, to landfill sites for burial, to Third World countries for dumping, or shut it away inside installations where hopefully it won't leak into the atmosphere. At best, these methods might make the chemical waste slightly less toxic, but basically they just transfer the problem from one place to another, creating environmental hazards that will be with us for years to come. ... Two years on, the company has developed a device that almost completely destroys the waste, converting it into water and carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere through a vent, or into materials that can be recycled by the industry."
Bug

+ - The Straight Dope on Colony Collapse Disorder

Submitted by
friedo
friedo writes "Slashdot has been covering the bizarre story of Colony Collapse Disorder — the mysterious disappearance of agricultural beehives all over North America. Now the Straight Dope has weighed in with the unsurprising conclusion that much of the panic is no more than simple media hype. "[T]there's no reason at this point to think European honey bees are going to be wiped out, now or ever. The die-offs so far appear to affect some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area. That's one reason scientists are so puzzled, but it strongly suggests the losses may have something to do with how individual beekeepers are managing their bees. The "significant percentage" of failing hives is still a drop in the bucket when viewed against the global population of honey bees, and there are lots of beekeepers (even in the U.S., which appears hardest hit) who have not had, and may never have, significant losses of colonies. Plenty of honey bees remain to replace the ones that have died."
Announcements

+ - Penumbra: Overture out for Linux

Submitted by
Frictional Games
Frictional Games writes "Helsingborg, Sweden 30th May,

Recently we moved our office to a more Arctic location and took the opptortunity to get ourselves a penguin pet. We put him through various challenging escapades, strange rituals and voila: We can proudly present the Linux version of Penumbra: Overture Episode 1.

Penumbra: Overture is a first person survival horror game, created by Frictional Games and runs on the internally developed HPL-Engine. An engine that is now cross-platform, soon to be supporting the Mac OS X platform as well.

The "port" to Linux has been developed by Edward Rudd, who can also take credit for the upcoming Mac release. The HPL-Engine has from it's initial design process been developed with portability in mind, utilizing cross-platform technologies such as OpenGL, OpenAL, Collada and AngelScript. This has enabled the Linux and Mac development to go much smoother, making the Linux release possible soon after the Windows release. The Mac version is slightly delayed due to some unfortunate bumps in the road, but we hope to have overcome these in a not too distant future.


About Penumbra: Overture
Penumbra: Overture is a first person adventure game which focuses on story, immersion and puzzles. Instead of using violence to progress the player has to use his/her wits to guide Philip on his quest to unravel the past.

Played from a first person viewpoint, Penumbra: Overture is very different from other adventure games. Not only is it powered by a 3D engine utilising cutting edge technology, it also has an advanced physics system which allow for a never before seen environment interaction. The player can open drawers, pull levers, pick up objects and more using natural mouse movements creating a highly interactive and immersive game world.

Penumbra: Overture will keep players on the edge as they have to explore scary and immersive environments never knowing what is behind the next corner. The world is detailed, graphical as well as a story wise making the player feel part of the world as secrets are uncovered.

Find out more at: www.Penumbra-Overture.com

About Frictional Games
Frictional Games was founded in 2006 in the city of Helsingborg, located in the south of Sweden. After having released the Penumbra technology demonstration in early 2006 and receiving a warm welcome from gaming communities all over the world, the possibility to turn the project into a full-blown game was to good to be missed.

Frictional Games is a small company with three people at it's core creating the majority of the content and technology for the games. A network of external contributors provide additional resources in music, coding, writing and other specialized areas.

Find out more at: www.FrictionalGames.com"
Software

+ - Inside a System Administrator's office in Uganda

Submitted by
Wana.G
Wana.G writes "I recently visited a friend in Uganda who is a Systems Admin for a certain NGO dealing in health care. In Africa, life is kind of hard for the I.T professional because of limited funds, and things like that. For this guy, his organization has a $1,000 I.T budget for the next two years. I think this part of the world is being left behind in technology because most funds are channeled to poverty alleviation and fighting diseases. I think its high time big IT organization's started funding IT development projects in these parts of the world. Here are some of the things I noted in this country. In my friend's office, there is a server running Windows 2003 server for the organization. This same server has Oracle 9i for the organization's main database. Considering its I.T budget, I was so surprised, how it could have managed to purchase this kind of software. My friend told me that in this country, there is nothing like having licensed software. All it takes is one Cd getting into the country and within months, it will have been shared all around. On the guy's table rack, I can see copies of different software on cds labeled with a marker. These Cds have the name of the software e.g. office 2003, and the serial number. Apart from XP cds that came with Dell computers, all the other software has been copied from somewhere. The other surprising part is that the organization gets funding from Melinda and Gates foundation. I would expect them to put software issues into consideration. Funders in developed countries should also consider developing such things in these countries. I know most of you will say that these people have bigger problems than this. They need such knowledge and resources to help them develop as a whole. How about Microsoft distributing free or subsidized software to some African countries?"
SuSE

+ - Microsoft openSUSE ..

Submitted by
rs232
rs232 writes "On behalf of contributors of original work to openSUSE.org Microsoft has helpfully drafted this 'provision' and suggests it be included in the contribution agreement. I assume they mean the GPL license.

"openSUSE.org agrees that as a condition of receiving the attached contribution of Your Original Work, openSUSE.org does not receive from You the contributor any licenses, covenants or any other rights under any Microsoft intellectual property with respect to that Original Work, and openSUSE.org will ensure that all further recipients of this Original Work will be subject to this same condition. "Original Work" has the meaning as set forth in Microsoft's Patents Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org."

"Microsoft hereby covenants not to assert Microsoft Patents against each Individual Contributor (also referred to as "You") for Your distribution of Your personally authored original work ("Original Work") directly to openSUSE.org, but only if, and to the extent, (i) Your Original Work becomes part of SUSE Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and (ii) You ensure that as a result of Your contribution, openSUSE.org, and all further recipients of Your Original Work, do not receive any licenses, covenants or any other rights under any Microsoft intellectual property. This pledge is personal to You and does not apply to any use or distribution of Your Original Work by others/i>"

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/758004/0000 95013407012375/f26782exv10w35.htm http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200705252 11117353 http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/758004/0000 95013407012375/f26782exv10w35.htm
"

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