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Cellphones

Submission + - AT&T Clarifies Data Limitations on "Unlimited" Data Plans (hothardware.com) 1

MojoKid writes: "Several months ago, AT&T notified customers that it would begin throttling network speeds for users who exceeded a certain threshold, with the definitive throttle point defined as an imprecise "the top 5% of mobile data users." The company has issued a statement clarifying this policy after irate customers with unlimited data plans demanded to know what the cap was and how the company determined who should and shouldn't be throttled. The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you. So why would AT&T want unlimited users to move to tiered pricing when its maximum tier is also set at 3GB? Simple — the amount of money the company makes on customers who exceed that 3GB limit. The fine print reads: "If 3GB is exceeded, an additional 1 GB is automatically provided at a rate of $10 for each additional 1 GB." Anyone using above 3GB on an unlimited plan is a customer who isn't paying enough for the privilege (from AT&T's perspective)."
Technology

Submission + - The vortex gun - coming soon to a protest near you? (dvice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: From the article: Vortex technology has been used in everything from rocket-powered fire extinguishers to Nerf guns, but neither of those things are capable of giving the beat-down to hapless protesters. By giving spinning vortices an electric charge, though, pepper spray can be sent over 150 feet at between 60 and 90 mph.

A vortex gun uses a pressure wave and a carefully designed barrel to fire donut-shaped rings of air that can hold themselves together over long distances. The military (starting with the German military during World War II) has been running experiments with using vortex canons to knock things over, but it's not a particularly efficient or effective way to go. What the gas rings can be used for is transporting other gasses (like pepper spray or tear gas or pesticide) long distances with a decent amount of accuracy, holding their cargo inside the calm center spinning vortex

Google

Submission + - Google+ Approaching 50 Million Users (thecompiler.org)

gzomartin writes: Only days after Google+ went into open beta it has risen to 50 Million users even though many have stated that it is a ghost town, and that its dying. These stats completely disprove that, and show that it is going to start being a real threat to Facebook.

Submission + - Nanoscale nonlinear light source (physorg.com)

Freddybear writes: "Not long after the development of the first laser in 1960 scientists discovered that shining a beam through certain crystals produced light of a different color; more specifically, it produced light of exactly twice the frequency of the original. The phenomenon was dubbed second harmonic generation

The green laser pointers in use today to illustrate presentations are based on this science, but producing such a beautiful emerald beam is no easy feat. The green light begins as an infrared ray that must be first processed through a crystal, various lenses and other optical elements before it can illuminate that PowerPoint on the screen before you.

It was later discovered that applying an electrical field to some crystals produced a similar, though weaker, beam of light. This second discovery, known as EFISH – for electric-field-induced second harmonic light generation – has amounted mostly to an interesting bit of scientific knowledge and little more. EFISH devices are big, demanding high-powered lasers, large crystals and thousands of volts of electricity to produce the effect. As a result, they are impractical for all but a few applications.

In a paper published today in Science, engineers from Stanford have demonstrated a new device that shrinks EFISH devices by orders of magnitude to the nanoscale. The result is an ultra-compact light source with both optical and electrical functions. Research implications for the device range from a better understanding of fundamental science to improved data communications."

Submission + - Violation of ToS Should not be a Crime (eff.org)

Khyber writes: "Three data and security breach notification bills have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of which includes an amendment that adds clarity with regards to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These three bills would require businesses to develop data privacy and security plans, and it would set a federal standard for notifying individuals of breaches of very sensitive personally identifiable information, such as credit card information or medical records. This clarification is welcomed, making the statute more focused towards hackers and identity thieves, instead of consumers that run afoul of ToS or AUPs of websites and service providers."
Medicine

Submission + - Virus kills breast cancer cells in laboratory (psu.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: A nondisease-causing virus kills human breast cancer cells in the laboratory, creating opportunities for potential new cancer therapies, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers who tested the virus on three different breast cancer types that represent the multiple stages of breast cancer development.

Adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) is a virus that regularly infects humans but causes no disease. Past studies by the same researchers show that it promotes tumor cell death in cervical cancer cells infected with human papillomavirus. Researchers used an unaltered, naturally occurring version of AAV2 on human breast cancer cells.

Cells have multiple ways of dying. If damage occurs in a healthy cell, the cell turns on production and activation of specific proteins that allow the cell to commit suicide. However, in cancer cells these death pathways often are turned off, while the proteins that allow the cell to divide and multiply are stuck in the "on" position.

One way to fight cancer is to find ways to turn on these death pathways, which is what researchers believe is happening with the AAV2 virus.

In tissue culture dishes in the laboratory, 100 percent of the cancer cells are destroyed by the virus within seven days, with the majority of the cell death proteins activated on the fifth day. In another study, a fourth breast cancer derived cell line, which is the most aggressive, required three weeks to undergo cell death.

Submission + - Crowdsourced evolution of 3D printable objects (endlessforms.com)

JimmyQS writes: "The Cornell Creative Machines Lab, which brought us chatbots debating God and unicorns, has developed Endlessforms.com, a site using evolutionary algorithms and crowdsourcing to design objects that can be 3D printed in materials such as silver, steel or silicone. MIT's Technology Review says "The rules EndlessForms uses to generate objects and their variants resemble those of developmental biology—the study of how DNA instructions unfold to create an entire living organism. The technology is 'very impressive,' says Neri Oxman, director of the MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter research group. She believes the user-friendliness of the evolutionary approach could help drive the broader adoption of 3-D printing technologies, similar to how easy-to-use image editors fueled the growth of digital photography and graphic manipulation. Oxman [notes] that this could ultimately have an impact on design similar to the impact that blogs and social media have had on journalism, opening the field to the general public." The New Scientist has a quick video tour and describes how the same technology can evolve complex, artificially intelligent brains and bodies for robots that can eventually be 3D printed."
IOS

Submission + - iPhones Reveal Passwords Regardless of Protection (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: Losing your iPhone or iPad equals having your passwords compromised — even if the device is protected with a passcode. The results of an experiment conducted by Jens Heider and Matthias Boll, two researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, have proven that the combination of a modified jailbreaking technique and the installation of an SSH server on a device running iOS results in a complete circumvention of the passcode. According to the researchers, this is not the first time that someone managed to access great portions of the data stored in these devices without having to know the passcode. "Tools are available for this tasks that require only small effort. This is done by tricking the operating system to decrypt the file system on behalf of the attacker. This decryption is possible, since on current iOS devices the required cryptographic key does not depend on the user’s secret passcode," they explain.
Open Source

Submission + - With Android Apps Open Means Open, for Good or Bad (ostatic.com)

Thinkcloud writes: Ars Technica has made waves with a report on how some apps for the open source Android operating system have been identified as covertly sending GPS data to advertisers. Based on research from Duke University, Penn State University and Intel Labs, it notes that "a significant number" of Android apps transmit location data without informing users in any way. Granted, this is non-ideal, but it's also a by-product of a mobile ecosystem that is vastly more open than the one that Apple oversees. And openness remains a good thing.

Submission + - New CCTV site in UK pays people to watch

pyrosine writes: Have you ever felt like being paid for watching live CCTV footage?
The BBC are reporting CCTV site, "Internet Eyes" is doing exactly that. Offering up to £1000 to people who report suspicious activity, the scheme seems an easy way to make money.
Not everyone is pleased with the scheme though, the Information Commissioner's Office is worried it will lead to voyeurism or misuse, but what difference does it make when you can find said webcams with a simple google search?

Submission + - Who gets your Twitter account when you die? (badlanguage.net)

mstibbe writes: Death is inevitable but the law decides what happens to our goods when we go. The new question is: what happens to our virtual identity and our online assets? The law says nothing about our ‘digital legacy’. What can we do about it? Do you need a sort of digital will? Also, a link to a detailed legal analysis and summary of several companies' policies.

Submission + - Google banned my /. email. (google.com) 1

Odetta2012 writes: This weekend, Gmail locked me out of my Odetta2012 account.I went to Google Help, who stated with no additional explanation that this email had been disabled.
Google did allow me to tell my side of it: The Odetta account exists mainly as a repository for IT digests. And Odetta is the email that allows me to blog here.
There is nothing remotely non-TOS about Odetta, but Google states that it doesn't have to have any reason to deactivate any person's account.
I have nine units of college classes starting in three weeks, all in CSIT. All students are being assigned a special gmail through the school. If someone at Google has a bad day, having the approved email cut off without warning might hurt one's grade.

Cellphones

Submission + - Hacker builds $1,500 cell-phone tapping device (wired.com)

suraj.sun writes: A security researcher created a $1,500 cell phone base station kit (including a laptop and two RF antennas) that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear. Most of the price is for the laptop he used to operate the system.

The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they are routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP.

The low-cost, home-brewed device, developed by researcher Chris Paget, mimics more expensive devices already used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies — called IMSI catchers — that can capture phone ID data and content. The devices essentially spoof a legitimate GSM tower and entice cell phones to send them data by emitting a signal that's stronger than legitimate towers in the area.

Encrypted calls are not protected from interception because the rogue tower can simply turn it off. Although the GSM specifications say that a phone should pop up a warning when it connects to a station that does not have encryption, SIM cards disable that setting so that alerts are not displayed. Even though the GSM spec requires it, this is a deliberate choice on the cell phone makers, Paget said.

Wired: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/intercepting-cell-phone-calls/

Encryption

Submission + - Wikileaks uploads encrypted insurance file (wikileaks.org)

An anonymous reader writes: It looks like the threats for Wikileaks and its founder(s) are serious. They have uploaded a encrypted file called "insurance file" in their Afghan War Diary page.

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