hydrofix writes: Following rumours of China’s plans to ban bank transfers to Bitcoin exchanges, the CEO of Bitcoin has decided to respond by banning the Glorious People’s Republic of China from the Bitcoin Network. The decision was unanimously approved by Bitcoin’s shareholders, the Bitcoin Board of Directors, HaCkerz4BITZ and the Bitcoin Steering Board and announced by CEO Warren Winkleberg via reddit on Tuesday morning. The decision was made following extensive discussions with members of the Bitcoin community, Chinese exchanges and the inventor of Bitcoin Dorian S Nakamoto himself. The move is expected to cause even greater volatility on an already volatile Bitcoin market, with the valuation of Bitcoin in U.S. dollars quickly plunging below zero.
Menawhile, the CEO of The Internet Kal-El Al-Gore told that while the decision is controversial, in the grand scheme of things it will help the Bitcoin community and The Internet as a whole: 'The Great Firewall of China has been hampering development and eating into our margins for more than a decade. Here at The Internet we know full well that restrictive policies advocated by certain circles in the Chinese government can have a devastating effect on growth and the adoption of new technologies. I should know, I invented The Internet.'
hydrofix writes: The partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency (NSA), was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through the Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. David Miranda was stopped by officers and informed that he would be questioned under the Terrorism Act 2000. The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours. Miranda was released without charge, but officials confiscated electronics including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. "This is a profound attack on press freedoms [...] to detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ," Greenwald commented.
hydrofix writes: The BitCoin-to-USD exchange rate had been climbing steadily since January 2013, from around 30 USD to over 250 USD only 24 hours ago. Now, the value bubble seems to have burst, at least partially. The primary trading site MtGox is currently reporting a value of 140 USD, a loss of almost half in real value. With many sites unreachable or slow, there are also news of a possible DDoS attack on MtGox: "Attackers wait until the price of Bitcoins reaches a certain value, sell, destabilize the exchange, wait for everybody to panic-sell their Bitcoins, wait for the price to drop to a certain amount, then stop the attack and start buying as much as they can. Repeat this two or three times like we saw over the past few days and they profit."
hydrofix writes: With the advent of ultra high-definition IPTV, consumer demand for ever higher Internet bandwidth shows no signs of relieving. Researchers are also finding new ways to enhance transmission speeds, with a team from University of Southampton recently approaching the speed of light and speeds of up to 73.7 terabits-per-second in hollow fiber transmission, an improvement over traditional non-hollow fibers, where light propagates 31% slower than in vacuum. This has prompted the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to think ahead of time, and start preparing the Internet's key protocols for the inevitable moment when Internet users start communicating at speeds faster than light. RFC 6921: "Design Considerations for Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Communication" highlights some of the challenges this brings to Internet protocols, that were previously designed with the assumption of simple causality in mind.
hydrofix writes: On Thursday TorrentFreak broke the story (verified by BBC) that the government of Antigua and Barbuda, a tiny island nation on the Caribbean, was planning to launch a legal "pirate" website selling movies, music and software without paying a penny to U.S. copyright holders. Now, the World Trade Organization has given its final approval for the Antigua government to launch the website. The decision follows from long-running trade dispute between the countries, related to online gambling, which was ruled in Antigua's favor in 2005. After the United States refused to compensate, the WTO granted Antigua the right to "suspend" U.S. copyrights for up to $21 million annually.
hydrofix writes: The Wikimedia Foundation is preparing for the transition its main technical operations to a new data center in Ashburn, Virginia, USA. This is intended to improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia sites, including Wikipedia. The current target windows for the migration are January 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2013, from 17:00 to 01:00 UTC. Since 2004, Wikimedia sites have been hosted in the main data center in Tampa, Florida. In 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Operations team started to look for other locations with better network connectivity and more clement weather. Located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ashburn offers faster and more reliable connectivity than Tampa, and usually fewer hurricanes.
hydrofix writes: Half-Life 3 is the long awaited sequel to Half-Life 2 which has been in development for more than five years. Gabe Newell, Valve director, has earlier made his stance on Windows 8 clear, saying that “Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.” And at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Valve employee Drew Bliss said that Linux is a more viable platform for gaming than Windows 8. But at LinuxCon Europe, Newell now officially solidified Valve’s stance on Windows 8 by announcing that Half-Life 3 will be exclusive to Linux.
hydrofix writes: Techdirt has been following a story of DoJ's classified interpretation of the PATRIOT Act. Specifically, it's all about Section 215, the so-called "business-records provision," which empowers FBI to get businesses to turn over any records it deems relevant to a security investigation. Senators Ron Ryden and Mark Udall have been pushing the government to reveal how it uses these provisions to deploy 'dragnets' for massive amounts of information on private citizens "without any connection to terrorism or espionage," a secret reinterpretation that is "inconsistent with the public's understanding of these laws." After NYTimes reporter Charlie Savage had his Freedom of Information request denied, NYTimes has now sued the government to reveal how it interprets the very law under which it's required to operate.
hydrofix writes: A thin band of antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time. The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters [arXiv], confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth's magnetic field could trap antimatter. The antiprotons were spotted by the Pamela satellite launched in 2006 to study the nature of high-energy particles from the Sun and cosmic rays. Aside from confirming theoretical work that had long predicted the existence of these antimatter bands, the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft — an idea explored in a report for Nasa's Institute for Advanced Concepts.
hydrofix writes: Apple on Friday dealt a serious legal blow to HTC and the Android platform in general. A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has ruled that HTC infringed on two patents Apple submitted in a March 2010 complaint. The scary outcome of the decision could in a worst-case scenario result in an import ban against many or even all Android-based HTC products in the U.S. market. "I have looked at those patents before and they appear to be very fundamental. They are very likely to be infringed by code that is at the core of Android," writes Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. HTC has appealed the judgement to the six ITC commissioners, who will ultimately have the final say on the patent verdict.
hydrofix writes: In an interview with Russia Today's Laura Emmett Jullian Assange hinted that the CIA has a backdoor interface to Facebook, calling the site 'the most appalling spying machine ever invented.'
"Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people: their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications, their relatives – all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence."
"Facebook, Google, Yahoo all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It's not a matter of serving a subpoena, they have an interface they have developed for US intelligence to use.