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Censorship

Iran Suspends Google's Email Service 436

appl_iran writes "Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service." From the short WSJ article that is kernel of this Reuters story: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government." Funny way to go about that. Updated 20100211 9:54GMT by timothy: Original link swapped for a more appropriate, updated one.
Image

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Shaming Fat Gamers Screenshot-sm 553

theodp writes "A newly disclosed Microsoft patent application — Avatar Individualized by Physical Characteristic — takes aim at fat people, proposing to generate fat avatars in gaming environments for individuals whose health records indicate they're overweight, limiting their game play, and even banning them. From the patent application: 'An undesirable body weight could be reflected in an overweight or underweight appearance for the avatar. Only requisite health levels are allowed to compete in a certain competition level. A dedicated gamer could exercise for a period of time until his health indicator gadget shows a sufficiently high health/health credit in order to allow reentering the avatar environment.' Linking one's gaming avatar to one's physique, explains Microsoft, will produce healthy and virtuous behaviors in individuals. Microsoft also proposes shaping gaming experiences by using 'psychological and demographic information such as education level, geographic location, age, sex, intelligence quotient, socioeconomic class, occupation, marital/relationship status, religious belief, political affiliation, etc.'"
Security

Massive Power Outages In Brazil Caused By Hackers 462

Hugh Pickens writes "CBS reports on 60 minutes that a massive two-day power outage in Brazil's Espirito Santo State affecting more than three million people in 2007, and another, smaller event in three cities north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005, were perpetrated by hackers manipulating control systems. Former Chief of US National Intelligence Retired Adm. Mike McConnell says that the 'United States is not prepared for such an attack' and believes it could happen in America. 'If I were an attacker and wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either take the cold of winter or the heat of summer,' says McConnell, 'I would probably sack electric power on the US East Coast, maybe the West Coast and attempt to cause a cascading effect.' Congressman Jim Langevin says that US power companies need to be forced to deal with the issue after they told Congress they would take steps to defend their operations but did not follow up. 'They admit that they misled Congress. The private sector has different priorities than we do in providing security. Their bottom line is about profits,' says Langevin. 'We need to change their motivation so that when see vulnerability like this, we can require them to fix it.' McConnell adds that a similar attack to the one in Brazil is poised to take place on US soil and that it may take some horrific event to get the country focused on shoring up cyber security. 'If the power grid was taken off line in the middle of winter and it caused people to suffer and die, that would galvanize the nation. I hope we don't get there.'"
The Courts

Court Orders the Pirate Bay To Delete Torrents 455

lbalbalba writes "A Dutch court ruled today that The Pirate Bay has to remove a list of torrents linking to copyrighted works. The list is to be provided by BREIN (similair to the RIAA, in Holland), and is similar to the earlier ruling against Mininova. The defendants are given three months to comply, if not, they will face penalties of 5,000 euros ($7,500) per person, per day."

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