An anonymous reader writes "T-Mobile USA offers a 'feature' to restrict access to certain kinds of content. This is called Web Guard. Supposedly Web Guard is supposed to inhibit access to content that falls under certain categories. The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), developed a tool to detect what sites were being censored. Amongst them were political news sites, foreign sports news sites and other sites that should not have been censored." It's quite an eclectic bunch of sites that are blocked, but then censorware tends to break in interesting ways, even when it's not by design.
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First time accepted submitter imwilder writes "The Internet Society has hired Paul Beringer to head up its operations in North America. Beringer was formerly Chief Technology Policy Officer for the MPAA, and Executive Director of Internet and Technology Policy for Verizon Corporate Services. Does this challenge the notion that ISOC is a 'trusted, independent source of Internet leadership?'"
McGruber writes "Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program challenges and failures will be the focus of a joint hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Monday, March 26, 2012. The Hearing is titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' Bruce Schneier is scheduled to be a witness at this hearing. Additional information on the hearing is posted on the oversight committee's website. The Congressmen who serve on these committees are soliciting questions from the public to ask TSA officials at the hearing ... provided the public is willing to submit their questions via Facebook."
ananyo writes "Exposure to germs in childhood is thought to help strengthen the immune system and protect children from developing allergies and asthma, but the pathways by which this occurs have been unclear. Now, researchers have identified a mechanism in mice that may explain the role of exposure to microbes in the development of asthma and ulcerative colitis, a common form of inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers show that in mice, exposure to microbes in early life can reduce the body's inventory of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, which help to fight infection but can also turn on the body, causing a range of disorders such as asthma or inflammatory bowel disease (abstract). The study supports the 'hygiene hypothesis,' which contends that such auto-immune diseases are more common in the developed world where the prevalence of antibiotics and antibacterials reduce children's exposure to microbes."
silentbrad sends this snippet from PCGamer: "After stepping back as lead designer of Minecraft earlier this year, Notch has been considering what to do next. ... While he's still deciding exactly what he wants to work on, he told us that he'd quite like to do a sandbox space trading game like Elite, 'except done right.' Notch is aiming for something with a bit more character than the classic trading sim. Instead of being the spaceship, you'd be a character inside the spaceship. 'I want the space game that's more like Firefly,' he said. 'I want to run around on my ship and have to put out a fire. Like, oh crap, the cooling system failed, I have to put out the fire here.' He hasn't decided to make the game yet, and doesn't mind if someone else takes up the reins. 'If someone steals the idea before me, that's totally fine. I just want to play that game,' he said."
eldavojohn writes "Considering IBM's portfolio gained 6,180 last year alone, it's not a huge number. But after a dispute with Yahoo a couple weeks ago, Facebook has purchased 750 patents from IBM. That's over thirteen times the 56 they were reportedly holding. The humorous rumor is that Yahoo might have been licensing these patents from IBM. If you can't beat 'em, buy the patents they're licensing from another company. Another rumor is that Facebook might be just getting started in their bid to expand their patent portfolio (video). No word yet whether the purchased patents directly pertain to Yahoo's infringement claims on messaging, privacy controls, advertising, customization and social networking."
Wo-wo-wee-wah! It looks like the Kuwaiti officials at an international shooting event never got the memo that the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan wasn't an actual documentary. Gold medalist Maria Dmitrienko stood stoically while the offensive national anthem from the film was played during the awards ceremony. From the article: "Coach Anvar Yunusmetov told Kazakh news agency Tengrinews that the tournament's organizers had also got the Serbian national anthem wrong." Nice!
WheezyJoe writes "NBC News has some disturbing security video of people getting assaulted for their smartphones. Such offenses are on the rise. Police chiefs like D.C.'s Cathy Lanier are asking U.S. mobile carriers to brick phones that are reported stolen, in order to dry up what must be a big underground market for your favorite Android device or iPhone — but right now the carriers won't do it. Such an approach has had success in Australia and the U.K."
Trailrunner7 writes "The U.S.'s leading Internet Service Providers signed on to a new FCC code of conduct to limit the impact of major cyber security threats, including botnets, attacks on the Domain Name System and Internet routing attacks. AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile and Verizon were among the ISPs that participated in the agreement. 'The recommendations approved today identify smart, practical, voluntary solutions that will materially improve the cyber security of commercial networks and bolster the broader endeavors of our federal partners,' said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski." A fact sheet from the FCC provides details on the recommendations, but they're pretty vague: "The CSRIC recommended ISPs participate in a U.S. Anti-Bot Code of Conduct (PDF) that encourages ISPs to engage in: (1) end-user education to prevent bot infections; (2) detection of bots; (3) notification of potential bot infections; (4) remediation of bots; and (5) collaboration and sharing of information." They also recommend broader adoption of DNSSEC and the development of an "industry framework" to combat IP route hijacking.
New submitter schrodingersGato writes "Researchers at the Los Alamos campus of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory achieved a record-setting 100.75 Tesla magnetic field. To do this, scientists placed a resistive magnet (a sophisticated electromagnet) coupled to massive bank of capacitors within another magnet fixed at a 'lower' magnetic field. A short-lived pulse two million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field was generated. The magnet itself made an eerie sound as it was energized (video). Prepare for the birth of Magneto!"
peetm sends this quote from the BBC: "When the Spanish Civil War began in 1936, both Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy sent troops to help the nationalists under Franco. But with the conflict dispersed across the country, some means of secure communication was needed for the German Condor Legion, the Italians and the Spanish forces under Franco. As a result, a set of modified commercial Enigma machines were delivered by Germany. ... A key figure in trying to understand it was Dilly Knox, a classicist who had been working on breaking ciphers since World War I. He was fascinated by the machine and began studying ways in which an intercepted message might in theory be broken, even writing his own messages, encrypting them and then trying to break them himself. But there was no opportunity to actually intercept a real message since German military signals were inaudible in Britain. However, the signals produced by the machines sent to Spain in 1936 were audible enough to be intercepted and Knox began work. ... Within six or seven months of having his first real code to crack, Knox had succeeded, producing the first decryption of an Enigma message in April 1937."
itwbennett writes "High demand, high prices, and nearly identical cheaper alternatives is a recipe for fraud. Eel fraud, that is. This has led Japanese researchers to develop a method to cheaply and quickly batch-test DNA by taking small tissue samples from thousands of eels. 'If a non-local eel is found in a batch, more tests will be performed to find the guilty foreigner.'"
An anonymous reader writes "According to new study published in Nature (abstract), MIT researchers have figured out how to trigger specific memories in rats by hitting certain neurons with a pulse of light. From the article: 'The researchers first identified a specific set of brain cells in the hippocampus that were active only when a mouse was learning about a new environment. They determined which genes were activated in those cells, and coupled them with the gene for channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated protein used in optogenetics. ... The light-activated protein would only be expressed in the neurons involved in experiential learning — an ingenious way to allow for labeling of the physical network of neurons associated with a specific memory engram for a specific experience. Finally, the mice entered an environment and, after a few minutes of exploration, received a mild foot shock, learning to fear the particular environment in which the shock occurred. The brain cells activated during this fear conditioning became tagged with ChR2. Later, when exposed to triggering pulses of light in a completely different environment, the neurons involved in the fear memory switched on — and the mice quickly entered a defensive, immobile crouch.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today weighed in on the issue of employers asking current and prospective employees for their Facebook passwords. The company noted that doing so undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends, as well as potentially exposes the employer to legal liability. The company is looking to draft new laws as well as take legal action against employers who do this." A least one U.S. Senator agrees with them.
McGruber writes "Bloomberg News is reporting that AT&T got more than $16 million from the U.S. government to run Telecommunications Relay Services, intended to help the hearing- and speech-impaired. However, as many as '95 percent of the calls in AT&T's hearing- impaired program were made by people outside the U.S. attempting to defraud merchants through the use of stolen credit cards, counterfeit checks and money orders.' According to the DoJ, 'AT&T in 2004, after getting complaints from merchants, determined the Internet Protocol addresses of 10 of the top 12 users of the service were abroad, primarily in Lagos, Nigeria.' The DOJ intervened in the whistle-blower lawsuit Lyttle v. AT&T Communications of Pennsylvania, 10-01376, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). The DOJ is seeking triple damages from AT&T."