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The Internet

Submission + - Pro-union website blocked in Wisconsin state Capit (cnn.com)

rockandrolldoctor writes: CNN is reporting that the Wisconsin State Capital Wi-Fi network is blocking a pro-union website protesters are using to help organize themselves.
Wisconsin Democratic Party press secretary Graeme Zielinski blamed Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers — who returned to work Tuesday — for causing the outage.

"In a direct assault on the First Amendment, Scott Walker's administration is blocking access in the Wisconsin Capitol to opposition websites," Zielinski said.

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue responded, saying, "DOA's security software automatically blocked the site, as it does all new websites."

"No one here at DOA decided to block it or took action to do so," he said. "The website is handled like any other website."

The Capitol internet service, which restricts access to certain websites considered inappropriate for lawmakers, revealed a "blocked page" when users tried to access the site using the building's wireless system.

Social Networks

Submission + - The HB Gary email that should concern us all (dailykos.com) 1

bstender writes: "According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it [speaks of] creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use.
And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth."

Submission + - ACS:Law Told File-Sharing Case Must Continue (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A controversial law firm that sent letters to alleged illegal file sharers has been told it cannot drop its cases to "avoid public scrutiny". "I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court," said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

The case stems from a letter-writing campaign by ACS:Law and its partner company MediaCAT, which sent an undisclosed number of notices to alleged file sharers demanding they pay a fine or face the prospect of costly legal action.


Your Face Will Soon Be In Facebook Ads 344

jfruhlinger writes "If you're planning on checking into Starbucks using Facebook Places, your friends may soon see your profile picture in a Facebook ad for Starbucks — and, it goes without saying, you won't be paid a dime. You can't opt out, unless, as Dan Tynan puts it, "studiously avoid clicking "Like" or checking into any place that has a six- or seven-figure ad budget." The ad will also include whatever text you use in your checkin, so Tynan suggests some judicious pranksterism ("Just checked into the Starbucks around the corner and this doppio mocha latte tastes like goat urine")."

The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite 671

hessian writes "As technology advances, the rewards to cleverness increase. Computers have hugely increased the availability of information, raising the demand for those sharp enough to make sense of it. In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3. Cognitive skills are at a premium, and they are unevenly distributed."

Mozilla Proposes 'Do Not Track' HTTP Header 244

MozTrack writes "The emergence of data mining by third party advertisers has caused a national debate from privacy experts, lawmakers and browser supporters. Mozilla's Firefox, a popular browser company, has proposed a new feature that will prevent people's personal information from getting mined and sold for advertising. The feature would allow users to set a browser preference that will broadcast their desire to opt-out of third party, advertising-based tracking. It would do this via a 'Do Not Track' HTTP header with every click or page view in Firefox."

Euler's Partition Function Theory Finished 117

universegeek writes "Mathematician Ken Ono, from Emory, has solved a 250-year-old problem: how to exactly and explicitly generate partition numbers. Ono and colleagues were able to finally do this by realizing that the pattern of partition numbers is fractal (PDF). This pattern allowed them to find a finite, algebraic formula, which is like striking oil in mathematics."

Daniel Ellsberg On WikiLeaks, Google and Facebook 87

angry tapir writes "The Silicon Valley companies that store our personal data have a growing responsibility to protect it from government snooping, according to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Discussing the growing role of Internet companies in the public sphere, Ellsberg said companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter need to take a stand and push back on excessive requests for personal data." Ellsberg spoke as part of a panel at an event from the Churchill Club, which included Clay Shirky, Jonathan Zittrain and others discussing the WikiLeaks situation.

Assange Could Face Execution Or Guantanamo Bay 973

An anonymous reader writes "WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange faces the real danger of being executed or languishing in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay if, as a result of his extradition to Sweden, he ends up in the hands of the Americans, his lawyers argue. In a skeleton summary of Assange's defence, posted online, Assange's lawyers argue that it is likely that the US would seek his extradition 'and/or illegal rendition' from Sweden. In the United States 'there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere,' his lawyers write."

Some WikiLeaks Contributions To Public Discourse 299

Hugh Pickens writes "The EFF argues that regardless of the heated debate over the propriety of the actions of WikiLeaks, some of the cables have contributed significantly to public and political conversations around the world. The Guardian reported on a cable describing an incident in Afghanistan in which employees of DynCorp, a US military contractor, hired a 'dancing boy,' an under-aged boy dressed as a woman, who dances for a gathering of men and is then prostituted — an incident that contributed important information to the debate over the use of private military contractors. A cable released by WikiLeaks showed that Pfizer allegedly sought to blackmail a Nigerian regulator to stop a lawsuit against drug trials on children. A WikiLeaks revelation that the United States used bullying tactics to attempt to push Spain into adopting copyright laws even more stringent than those in the US came just in time to save Spain from the kind of misguided copyright laws that cripple innovation and facilitate online censorship. An article by the NY Times analyzed cables released which indicated the US is having difficulties in fulfilling Obama's promise to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and is now considering incentives in return for other countries accepting detainees, including a one-on-one meeting with Obama or assistance with the IMF. 'These examples make clear that WikiLeaks has brought much-needed light to government operations and private actions,' writes Rainey Reitman, 'which, while veiled in secrecy, profoundly affect the lives of people around the world and can play an important role in a democracy that chooses its leaders.'"
America Online

Is Mark Zuckerberg the Next Steve Case? 470

theodp writes "With all signs for Facebook pointing up, author Douglas Rushkoff goes contra, arguing that Facebook hype will fade. 'Appearances can be deceiving,' says Rushkoff. 'In fact, as I read the situation, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Facebook. These aren't the symptoms of a company that is winning, but one that is cashing out.' Rushkoff, who made a similar argument about AOL eleven years ago in a quashed NY Times op-ed, reminds us that AOL was also once considered ubiquitous and invincible, and former AOL CEO Steve Case was deemed no less a genius than Mark Zuckerberg. 'So it's not that MySpace lost and Facebook won,' concludes Rushkoff. 'It's that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. They'll go down in the same order.'"

Man Arrested For Exploiting Error In Slot Machines 611

An anonymous reader writes "A man awaiting trial in Pennsylvania was arrested by Federal agents on Jan. 4, and accused of exploiting a software 'glitch' within slot machines in order to win payouts. The exploit may have allowed the man to obtain more than a million dollars from casinos in Pennsylvania and Nevada, and officials say they are investigating to see if he used the method elsewhere. The accused stated that 'I'm being arrested federally for winning on a slot machine. Let everybody see the surveillance tapes. I pressed buttons on the machine on the casino. That's all I did.' Apparently, slot machine software errors are fairly common. The lesson here seems to be that casinos can deny you a slot machine win any time they wish by claiming software errors, and if you find an error that you can exploit, you may find yourself facing Federal charges for doing so."

New Cars Vulnerable To Wireless Theft 280

tkrotchko writes "In a story published by Technology Review, researchers have demonstrated multiple times that they can bypass the security of wireless entry and ignition systems to take a car without the owner's permission. As researchers in the article point out, car security systems will begin have a real impact to every day use if a thief can simply walk up to your car and drive it away. Although this article is light on technical details, a companion article shows how the researchers accomplished the security bypass. An interesting read, and certainly something that will no doubt be the subject of a new movie any day now."

When Smart People Make Bad Employees 491

theodp writes "Writing for Forbes, CS-grad-turned-big-time-VC Ben Horowitz gives three examples of how the smartest people in a company can also be the worst employees: 1. The Heretic, who convincingly builds a case that the company is hopeless and run by a bunch of morons; 2. The Flake, who is brilliant but totally unreliable; 3. The Jerk, who is so belligerent in his communication style that people just stop talking when he is in the room. So, can an employee who fits one of these poisonous descriptions, but nonetheless can make a massive positive contribution to a company, ever be tolerated? Quoting John Madden's take on Terrell Owens, Horowitz gives a cautious yes: 'If you hold the bus for everyone on the team, then you'll be so late that you'll miss the game, so you can't do that. The bus must leave on time. However, sometimes you'll have a player that's so good that you hold the bus for him, but only him.' Ever work with a person who's so good that he/she gets his/her own set of rules? Ever been that person yourself?"

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid