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Submission + - Switzerland Wants to Become the World's Data Vault (

wiredmikey writes: Business for Switzerland's 55 data centers is booming. They benefit from the Swiss reputation for security and stability, and some predict the nation already famous for its super-safe banks will soon also be known as the world's data vault. For example, housed in one of Switzerland's numerous deserted Cold War-era army barracks, one high-tech data center is hidden behind four-ton steel doors built to withstand a nuclear attack — plus biometric scanners and an armed guard. Such tight security is in growing demand in a world shaking from repeated leaks scandals and fears of spies lurking behind every byte.

Revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of widespread spying by the agency has served as "a wake-up call" to the dangers in this era of electronic espionage. While the global data storage industry is ballooning, companies in Switzerland, which has some of the world's strictest data protection laws, are especially reaping the benefits of the paranoia. Under Swiss law, personal data is defined as a "precious good" that can under no circumstances be handed over to governments or authorities without authorization from a judge.

While Switzerland's reputation as the land of tight-lipped confidentiality has taken a bit of a hit with the ongoing erosion of its bank secrecy practices, it remains miles ahead of most other countries in terms of data protection, according to Peter Gruter, the head of the Swiss Telecommunications Association.

One Swiss data center operator said business has more than tripled since the NSA leaks by Snowden began earlier this year.

Submission + - Are California's prison isolation units torture?

mrspoonsi writes: BBC Reports: California, the largest state in the US, holds some inmates of its overcrowded prisons in isolation for years, even decades. While officials defend the use of the "security housing units", inmates and their lawyers say they turn their occupants mad. The US has more criminals locked up than any other country. And tens of thousands of those prisoners nationwide are confined on their own in small cells for an average of 22 hours a day. Ten hours a week of exercise is done in a small, individual yard. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, wants to visit California's SHUs. "My main concern has been solitary confinement — not just because it is used very pervasively," he said. "No-one knows for sure but I've seen estimates of 4,000-12,000 people in solitary confinement in California alone on any given day." UN officials use the word "torture" when talking about solitary confinement for more than 15 days. In a country lacking adequate public mental health care, many mentally ill individuals end up in jail. "This is a dangerous place for prisoners with mental illness," says Lawyer Mr Bien, videos show disturbing images of prisoners being sprayed with large quantities of pepper gas before being pulled out of their cells naked. Two-thirds of ex-convicts in California re-offend, and suicide levels are higher among those who have served time in the SHUs.

Submission + - SPAM: Will your next phone have no screen?

johnmarsh7 writes: Google is predicting a generation of screenless computing devices that rely on voice recognition, a senior engineer has said, emphasising that the company encrypts users' audio data to the same standard as text-based information.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Program to use Russian nukes for US electricity comes to an end (

gbrumfiel writes: For the past two decades, about 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States has come from Russian nuclear warheads. Under a program called Megatons to Megawatts, Russian highly-enriched uranium was pulled from old bombs and made into fuel for nuclear reactors. NPR News reports that today, the program concludes, when the last shipment arrives at a storage US storage facility. In all nearly 500 tons of uranium was recycled, enough for roughly 20,000 warheads.

Submission + - A Year After Ban on Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked? (

netbuzz writes: It’s been a year since the FCC implemented the CALM Act, a law that prohibits broadcasters from blasting TV commercials at volumes louder than the programming. Whether the ban has worked or not depends on who you ask. The FCC notes that formal complaints about overly loud commercials are on the decline in recent months, but those complaints have totaled more than 20,000 over the past year.

Submission + - OpenSSH has a new cipher, chacha20-poly1305, from D.J. Bernstein!

ConstantineM writes: Inspired by a recent Google initiative to adopt ChaCha20 and Poly1305 for TLS, OpenSSH developer Damien Miller has added a similar protocol to ssh,, which is based on D. J. Bernstein algorithms that are specifically optimised to provide the highest security at the lowest computational cost, and not require any special hardware at doing so. Some further details are in his blog, and at undeadly. The source code of the protocol is remarkably simple — less than 100 lines of code!

Submission + - Google Is Building Password-Free Locking and Unlocking Into Chrome OS

An anonymous reader writes: Google has a vision for how Chrome OS users will one day be able to lock and unlock their devices, without requiring a password. The Chromium OS team is building support for unlocking and locking devices running the operating system with a new Chrome API called "chrome.screenlockPrivate." Google outlines some use cases: "A platform app may use the USB, NFC, and/or Bluetooth APIs to communicate with a secondary trusted device such as a phone, ring, watch, or badge, thereby allowing that trusted device to serve as an alternative form of authentication for the user."

Submission + - Linux Voice passes its crowdfunding target ( 1

super_rancid writes: The team that quit Linux Format magazine to launch a competitor that pledges 50% of profits back to the Free Software community, plus the release of all its content as CC-BY-SA after nine months, have hit their ambitious £90,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding target.

The campaign now includes endorsements from Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Gnome Foundation, Eben Upton, Founder of the Raspberry Pi and Simon Phipps, President of the OSI, with the first issue promised for February 2014.

Comment Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (Score 1) 481

I don't think it has anything to do with the country but everything to do with the car. Toyota has plants in both Canada and Mexico so a fair comparison would be to look at the same brand made in different countries or different brands in the same country.

Otherwise you could say that my German built Mercedes is much better than the American built GM

Internet Explorer

IE8 Update Forces IE As Default Browser 311

We discussed Microsoft making IE8 a critical update a while back; but then the indication was that the update gave users a chance to choose whether or not to install it. Now I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes in with word that the update not only does not ask, but it makes IE the default browser. "Microsoft has a new tactic in the browser wars. They're having the 'critical' IE8 update make IE the default browser without asking. Yes, you can change it back, but it doesn't ask you if you want IE8 or if you want it as the default browser, it makes the decisions for you. Opera might have a few more complaints to make to the EU antitrust board after this, but Microsoft will probably be able to drag out the proceedings for years, only to end up paying a small fine. If you have anyone you've set up with a more secure alternative browser, you might want to help check their settings after this."

Comment Re:Do-over (Score 1) 238

There will now be two backbones sharing the same pool of customers, thus the fixed costs will have to be recovered fro, whatever the fraction of customers you can lure away is, not the whole market as it was before.

Given that the story says:

As Bell was given a last-mile monopoly in much of Canada by the government they are required to follow rules set up by the CRTC this includes leasing their lines to competitive ISPs.

"Much of Canada" must be a significant amount of customers and I think you would need to consider that whatever new company would compete against Bell would try to offer some nice incentives to attract customers. They would probably push the status quo and consumers would get the best.

I know your point is that it doesn't seem to make much sense for a company in terms of profit but although the profits might not be the same as that of a natural monopoly, I think the profits of an oligopoly would still be attractive.

Comment Re:Prepaid phones. (Score 1) 232

Yes, prepaid or "as you go" service is the most popular kind of cellphone service in Mexico. I read some time ago that it was even bigger than land lines. I can't find the link where I read that but this says something similar.

From the article you need to provide name, date of birth and CURP if you are registering via SMS (you might be asked to provide gender and state of residence). However, to get a new cellphone number you would also need to provide a fingerprint, proof of address (like a hydro bill) and a valid id (I'm guessing voting card or passport).

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