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Privacy

Submission + - Google App Engine open to session jacking (scmagazine.com.au)

mask.of.sanity writes: A still-active flaw has been discovered in Google Apps Engine that allows user sessions to be hijacked.

The researcher who discovered the flaw used the Cookie Cadger tool to hijack a session over an unprotected wireless network and was granted full admin access to the user's database.

The specific conditions under which the flaw exists were not revealed. It was a flaw only because Google forces its Apps Engine users onto encrypted HTTPS which prevents this type of interception.

Piracy

Judge Orders Piracy Trial To Test IP Address Evidence 321

another random user sends word of a case in Pennsylvania District Court in which Judge Michael Baylson has ordered a trial to resolve the issue of whether an IP address can identify a particular person. The plaintiff, Malibu Media, has filed 349 lawsuits against groups of alleged infringers, arguing that getting subscriber information from an ISP based on an IP address that participated in file-sharing was suitable for identification purposes. A motion filed by the defendants in this case explains "how computer-based technology would allow non-subscribers to access a particular IP address," leading Judge Baylson to rule that a trial is "necessary to find the truth." "The Bellwether trial will be the first time that actual evidence against alleged BitTorrent infringers is tested in court. This is relevant because the main piece of evidence the copyright holders have is an IP-address, which by itself doesn't identify a person but merely a connection. ... Considering what's at stake, it would be no surprise if parties such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are willing to join in. They are known to get involved in crucial copyright troll cases, siding with the defendants. We asked the group for a comment, but have yet to receive a response. On the other side, Malibu Media may get help from other copyright holders who are engaged in mass-BitTorrent lawsuits. A ruling against the copyright holder may severely obstruct the thus far lucrative settlement business model, meaning that millions of dollars are at stake for these companies. Without a doubt, the trial is expected to set an important precedent for the future of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. One to watch for sure."
China

Submission + - Following Huawei Report, US Rejects UN Telecom Proposals (theepochtimes.com)

jjp9999 writes: The Epoch Times reports that on Monday, the same day the Intelligence Committee released its report cautioning against Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE, the US said it will reject major changes to telecom at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference in Dubai this December. The UN conference will be the first of its kind since 1988, and its members are pressing the US to hand control of governing the Internet over to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Huawei and ZTE are both members of the ITU. Terry Kramer, the US special envoy to the conference, said the US opposes proposals from some of the “nondemocratic nations” that include tracking and monitoring content and user information, which “makes it very easy for nations to monitor traffic.”
Facebook

Facebook Tests 'Want' Button To Hoard User Data, Save Its Stock Price 98

colinneagle writes with news that Facebook is beginning to roll out tests of "want" and "collect" buttons in an attempt to bring users and retailers closer together. "The company is working with Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Michael Kors, Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, Fab.com and Smith Optics. The difference between 'liking' and 'wanting' would be like discovering the holy grail of datamining. Inside Facebook said that although the 'Want' button is different than the Want plugin that developer Tom Waddington noticed in June, the company may eventually offer it as a plugin. Unsurprisingly, Facebook wants to keep people on the site as opposed to leaving to visit Pinterest. Collections will offer retailers a Pinterest-like option to engage buyers, offer users a way to collect images, while also collecting even more data about users. For example, Facebook asks, 'Why are you collecting this?' Regardless of a user's answer, the wants and collects will surely be used to deliver targeted ads. Eventually, the Collections feature could help Facebook generate more revenue."
Microsoft

Microsoft Patents 1826 Choropleth Map Technique 183

theodp writes "A newly-granted Microsoft patent for Variable Formatting of Cells covers the use of 'variable formatting for cells in computer spreadsheets, tables, and other documents', such as using the spectrum from a first color to a second color to represent the values in or associated with each cell. Which is really not a heck of a lot different from how Baron Pierre Charles Dupin created what's believed to be the first choropleth map way back in 1826, when he used shadings from black to white to illustrate the distribution and intensity of illiteracy in France. By the way, beginning in March, the U.S. will switch from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system of granting patents. Hey, what could go wrong?"
Cloud

VMware: Hey, Other Cloud Services Exist 39

Nerval's Lobster writes "VMware has updated its cloud-management portfolio to support alternative tools, including Amazon's platform. That's a big step for the company, which for some time seemed to shy away from the idea of backing heterogeneous cloud environments. VMware's vFabric Application Director 5.0 is designed to, in the company's words, 'provision applications on any cloud.' That includes Amazon's EC2. The platform includes pre-approved operating system and middleware components for modeling and deploying those aforementioned applications, with the ability to use the platform's blueprints for deploying applications across 'multiple virtual and hybrid cloud infrastructures.' The other platform, vCloud Automation Center 5.1, enables 'policy-based provisioning across VMware-based private and public clouds, physical infrastructure, multiple hypervisors and Amazon Web Services.'" It's quite possible that this move is in response to Microsoft building similar functionality into Hyper-V 2012.
KDE

KDE Publishes Manifesto 58

Several readers sent word that KDE has published a manifesto. According to its official announcement, the KDE community's growth over the past 15 years has "created a need for clarity about what pulls us together as a community." It continues, "The KDE Manifesto is not intended to change the organization or the way it works. Its aim is only to describe how the KDE Community sees itself. What binds us together are certain values and their practical implications, without regard for who a person is or what background and skills they bring." The manifesto opens boldly, saying, "We are a community of technologists, designers, writers and advocates who work to ensure freedom for all people through our software." It comes along with more detailed descriptions of the benefits and principles of a KDE project.
Television

Submission + - Study: Kids Under 3 Should Be Banned From Watching TV (guardian.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday. A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned.
Hardware

Will the Desktop PC Live Forever? 625

concealment points out a rebuttal from PCWorld of the increasingly common claims that we live in a post-PC world. "It's an intriguing proposition, but don't count on mobile devices killing off your desktop PC any time soon. While mobile gear is certainly convenient when you're trying to conduct business on the go, it's nowhere near as convenient as a desktop when you're trying to complete serious work in an office environment. Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it's computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag."
Businesses

Submission + - Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week (cnbc.com) 1

concealment writes: "A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity. The motive of the algorithm is still unclear.

The program placed orders in 25-millisecond bursts involving about 500 stocks, according to Nanex, a market data firm. The algorithm never executed a single trade, and it abruptly ended at about 10:30 a.m. ET Friday."

Firefox

Firefox 16 Released: More HTML5 Support 133

Today Mozilla released the final version of Firefox 16, which includes a number of new tools for developers. "A number of HTML5 code has been 'unprefixed,' which means that Mozilla has decided it has matured enough to run in the browser without causing instability. The newly unshackled HTML5 includes CSS3 Animations, Transforms, Transitions, Image Values, Values and Units, and IndexedDB. Two Web APIs that Mozilla helped to create, Battery API and Vibration API, are also now unprefixed. These changes help keep Firefox competitive, but it also sends a signal to developers that Mozilla thinks these are good enough to begin baking into their sites. It's a strong endorsement of the 'future-Web' tech." Here's the complete change list and the download page.
Wireless Networking

Russian Officials Consider Ban On Wi-Fi Use For Kids 110

dsinc writes that Russia's "Communications and Press Ministry has proposed banning children from using Wi-Fi networks in public, potentially making cafes, restaurants and other locations providing the service responsible for enforcing the law. An official with the ministry's Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, known as Roskomnadzor, said the ban should apply to people under 18 years old. Locations providing Wi-Fi access would be held legally responsible for implementing the rule, and failing to meet the proposed measure would result in a fine ranging from 20,000 rubles to 50,000 rubles ($640 to $1,600), Vedomosti reported Thursday." The law, ostensibly to "shield" children, would apply to a fairly broad definition of child — anyone under 18.

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