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Privacy

Submission + - NSA buys out secure mail services, anti-virus (cryptome.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A source to Cryptome alleges that, "Certain privacy/full session SSL email hosting services have been purchased/changed operational control by NSA and affiliates within the past few months, through private intermediary entities." Hushmail, Safe-mail, Guardster are each named.

With regard to anti-virus software it is alleged that, "Zone Alarm, Symantec, MacAfee: All facilitate Microsoft's NSA-controlled remote admin access via IP/TCP ports 1024 through 1030; ie will allow access without security flag. Unknown whether or not software port forward routing by these same programs will defeat NSA access."

Mars

Submission + - Asteroid to hit Mars ?

mbone writes: "Apparently the Near Earth Object (NEO) program has found an asteroid that may impact Mars on January 30th. The current probability is one in 75, which is pretty high a month out. Estimated energy release if it does impact Mars is in the multiple megaton range.

If it does hit Mars, then we should have quite a show, with all of the spacecraft orbiting and landed on the planet. Of course, it is possible that this is an old, failed, spacecraft from decades ago, which would also be interesting, if not as spectacular."
Biotech

Submission + - Would You Boost Your Own Brain Power?

Hugh Pickens writes: "There are several drugs on the market that improve memory, concentration, planning and reduce impulsive behavior and risky decision-making, and many more are being developed. Doctors already prescribe these drugs to treat cognitive disabilities and improve quality of life for patients with neuropsychiatric disorders and brain injury and cognitive-enhancing drugs are increasingly being used in non-medical situations such as shift work and by active military personnel. Although the appeal of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers — to help one study longer, work more effectively or better manage everyday stresses — is understandable, potential users, both healthy and diseased, must consider the pros and cons of their choices. Read the story from Nature magazine on the ethical issues raised by the use of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers and the questions raised on how the use of cognitive enhancers should be regulated in healthy people."
Google

Submission + - 'Profane' Content On 700Mhz Band?

janitorj writes: "As I was reading the manual for my new cellular phone (yes I RTFM), I came across an FCC warning that reads "No person shall utter any obscene, indecent or profane language by means of radio communication." This just means I cannot legally curse during my phone calls, but then I started thinking about all the talk about the high stakes FCC auction for the 700Mhz band. If, as the hype suggests, a large broadband network is created on these frequencies, what will become of internet censorship? The FCC will potentially have jurisdiction over any data sent over its frequencies, so does that mean if this wireless network is created, there will be no more profanity allowed on the internet?"
The Courts

Submission + - Judge rules TorrentSpy destroyed evidence (arstechnica.com) 2

Come play kdice writes: "A federal judge has handed the MPAA a resounding victory in its copyright infringement lawsuit against TorrentSpy. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper entered a default judgment against Justin Bunnell and the rest of named defendants in Columbia Pictures et al. v. Justin Bunnell et al. after finding that TorrentSpy "engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence" and lying under oath about said destruction. After being sued, TorrentSpy mounted a vigorous defense, including a countersuit it filed against the MPAA in May 2006, but, behind the scenes, the court documents paint a picture of a company desperately trying to bury any and all incriminating evidence. TorrentSpy has announced its intention to appeal, but its conduct makes a reversal unlikely."
Communications

Submission + - Converting light into sound (nature.com)

prostoalex writes: "Researchers at Duke are trying to solve the problem of speeding up fiberoptic connections by converting light into sound, then converting it back into light: "To get the information from the acoustic wave out again, a third light pulse, the 'read' pulse, is sent in. When it reaches the part of the fibre being affected by the acoustic wave, the light scatters in such a way as to regain the information that was left behind by the initial pulse. The newly-formed data pulse leaves the fibre, resuming the journey in the same direction as the original pulse, taking the same information with it.""
Space

Submission + - Meteor may have hit international space station (yahoo.com)

adnd74 writes: "Two astronauts on the International Space Station will make a spacewalk next week to find out if a micrometeoroid strike damaged a critical part of the outpost's power system, officials said on Thursday. The station is not in any danger and is still producing enough power to support the arrival of a Russian cargo ship this month, said station deputy program manager Kirk Shireman."
Announcements

Submission + - CompUSA closing stores. (macworld.com)

N0N0B4dD0g writes: Macworld reports that computer and electronics retailer CompUSA announced on Friday that it would start winding down its retail operations after being acquired by an investment firm, which is looking to sell the company's business and assets.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft shuts down Santa (msn.com)

Kingcanute writes: Microsoft has been forced to shut down its Santa, Northpole Live automated IM program, because of foul language use by 'Santa' in conversations with children.
Government

Submission + - Germany Is Planning To Outlaw The Scientologists (xuecast.com)

XueCast writes: "Germany has decided to declare the Church of Scientology as an unconstitutional institution, and it will only be a matter of time before the Church of Scientology will be completely banned in the black forest country. Many Germany's high ranking officials are in the move to challenge the Scientology's legal status, after many reports saying that the Church is exploiting it's members for financial gain."
Music

Submission + - EMI music forces NZ National Party to recall DVDs (nzherald.co.nz)

RincewindTVD writes: Music 'similar' to Coldplay's Clocks has forced promotional material from NZ's National political party to be recalled, including DVDs sent out and online media.

Musicologist Dr Graeme Downes notes that the song Clocks and hte music in the promotional material are very similar and that he would not be willing to help defend the copyright infringement claims.

It looks like the Auckland artist and the production company that made this for the National party might be in a bit of hot water over this.

Forced recall details here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10480032&ref=rss

Earlier details including notes from a musicologist here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10479448

Too lazy to edit urls..

Privacy

Submission + - Facebook spyware worse than previously thought? 1

An anonymous reader writes: Further developments in the Facebook Beacon affair... According to PC World, a Computer Associates researcher claims that Beacon, when installed on participating sites, is sending data about users' activity back to Facebook, even when a user is logged out of Facebook — despite Facebook's claims to the contrary.
Biotech

Submission + - It was 40 years ago 1

iminplaya writes: '1967: The first human-to-human heart transplant is performed. The operation is a success, but the patient dies after complications set in.
South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who prepared for this day by performing a number of experimental heart transplants involving dogs, led a 30-member surgical team in implanting the heart of a young woman into 53-year-old Louis Washkansky, a Cape Town grocer suffering from diabetes and incurable heart disease.'
Operating Systems

Submission + - Why Microsoft will never beat down open source. (idg.com.au)

Smiley writes: "Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, predicts big things for the open-source OS kernel. But in this interview Torvalds says he is excited about solid-state drives, expects progress in graphics and wireless networking, and says Linux is strong in virtualisation. Linus continues to test the limits of the open-source development process and talks about what's to be expected for 2008 and potential patent litigation."
Security

Submission + - Former MS (now FF)Security Honcho: MS Hides Holes (mozilla.com) 1

theranjan writes: "When Jeff Jones, a Security Strategy Director at Microsoft, decided to compare Internet Explorer security vulnerabilities with those of Mozilla Firefox, and decided to publish his results showing that Internet Explorer was more secure, he perhaps forgot that the Head Security Strategist of Mozilla, Window Snyder, was a former MS employee, in fact the security lead for the Service pack of Windows XP and Server. In a rebuttal of the study, Window Snyder said that the number of vulnerabilities publicly acknowledged was just a "small subset" of all vulnerabilities fixed internally. The vulnerabilities found internally are fixed in service packs and major updates without public knowledge. This is probably one of the first times that we have confirmation from one of Microsoft's former workers that this practice is routinely followed in Microsoft. This also confirms that the studies performed or referenced by Microsoft touting itself as the safest Operating system, comparing the vulnerabilities between OSes, needs to be taken with bucketfuls of salt. Finally, Window speaks out against the practice of counting bugs,stating plainly that "If we as an industry would just acknowledge that counting bugs is useless then vendors could feel safe talking about what they are doing to protect users" and "Were not building fixes for our PR team, were building them for our users. Go ahead and count.""

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