yuna49 writes: Microsoft will provide English-language search services for Chinese search giant Baidu. I presume MS has agreed to comply with whatever censorship the Chinese government requires. Despite, or perhaps because of, Google's tiff with the government over censorship, it remains the second-largest search engine in China, a position Microsoft apparently envies.
yuna49 writes: The New York Times reports today that Nokia shares have been trending upwards fueled by rumors Nokia will drop Symbian in favor of Windows Phone in all its models. Guess they're throwing Maemo under the bus?
yuna49 writes: The European Union has halted trading of the carbon permits that underpins its new system to combat global warming. While creating a virtual marketplace to exchange pollution credits may make theoretical sense, its implementation may be straining the abilities of the EU's member governments. The system delegates the tracking of permits to the individual member countries rather than centralizing them under the purview of Brussels. Thieves exploited vulnerabilities in the systems operated by the Czech Republic and Austria. In the Czech case, a bomb threat emptied the building housing the exchange and enabled hackers to break into the system and conduct illegal trades.
yuna49 writes: PCWorld reports that analysis of the Stuxnet worm suggests its target might have been Iran's nuclear program. "Last week Ralph Langner, a well-respected expert on industrial systems security, published an analysis of the Stuxnet worm, which targets Siemens software systems, and suggested that it may have been used to sabotage Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. A Siemens expert, Langner simulated a Siemens industrial network and then analyzed the worm's attack. Experts had first thought that Stuxnet was written to steal industrial secrets, but Langner found something quite different. The worm actually looks for very specific Siemens settings — a kind of fingerprint that tells it that it has been installed on a very specific Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) device — and then it injects its own code into that system.
Stuxnet makes changes to a piece of Siemens code called Organizational Block 35. This Siemens component monitors critical factory operations — things that need a response within 100 milliseconds. By messing with Operational Block 35, Stuxnet could easily cause a refinery's centrifuge to malfunction, but it could be used to hit other targets too, Byres said. "The only thing I can say is that it is something designed to go bang," he said.
yuna49 writes: Ashlee Vance at the New York Times reports, "Oracle posted better-than-expected results for its first quarter on the back of strong sales of new software products and higher maintenance and support revenue. Wall Street analysts praised the company for turning in such results for a quarter that closed at the end of August, traditionally one of the slowest selling periods. Oracle’s performance also provided a bright spot for the business computing sector, which has produced a mixed bag of results in recent weeks. "
yuna49 writes: As reported here on Slashdot, over the weekend the New York Times distributed an ad that redirected browsers to a page designed to induce installation of a trojan posing as a phony antivirus tool. This morning the Times identified the process by which this ad appeared on its pages. Diane McNulty, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement in response to questions about the rogue ads, "The culprit masqueraded as a national advertiser and provided seemingly legitimate product advertising for a week. Over the weekend, the ad being served up was switched so that an intrusive message, claiming to be a virus warning from the reader’s computer, appeared."
I hope this unfortunate incident will make site owners more aware of their responsibilities in redistributing third-party content. In particular, no ad should ever be permitted to include scripting code.
yuna49 writes: Lately I have been visiting colleges with my daughter who's a senior in high school. Every school has proudly announced that they support both Windows and Macs, and most of these schools report having about a 50-50 split between the two technologies. However we've been a Linux household for many years now, and my daughter routinely uses a laptop running Kubuntu 9.04. Sometimes I would ask the student tour guide if Linux was supported and was usually met with a blank stare. We're obviously not concerned about whether she can write papers using OpenOffice and Linux. Rather we've been wondering about using other computing services on campus like classroom applications, remote printing, VPNs, or wifi support (nearly all these campuses have ubiquitous wifi). Given the composition of Slashdot's readership, I thought I'd pose the question here. Does your school support Linux? Have you found it difficult or impossible to use Linux in concert with the school's computing services?
yuna49 writes: The New York Times reports today that the denial-of-service attacks on Twitter and other social networking sites this week were designed to block access to pages maintained by an economist in the republic of Georgia. According to the Times's reporters, "The blitz was an attempt to block the professor's Web pages, where he was revisiting the events leading up to the brief territorial war between Russia and Georgia that began a year ago." Along with the denial-of-service attack, the economist's blog handle was used as the sender address in a "joe-job" spam attack in an attempt to defame him.
yuna49 writes: Online Media Daily reports that a federal judge in Seattle has held that IP addresses are not personal information. "In order for 'personally identifiable information' to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies a computer," U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones said in a written decision. Jones issued the ruling in the context of a class-action lawsuit brought by consumers against Microsoft stemming from an update that automatically installed new anti-piracy software. In that case, which dates back to 2006, consumers alleged that Microsoft violated its user agreement by collecting IP addresses in the course of the updates.
This ruling flatly contradicts a recent EU decision to the contrary, as well as other cases in the US. Its potential relevance to the RIAA suits should be obvious to anyone who reads Slashdot.
yuna49 writes: The US Supreme Court today ruled 8-1 that the strip search of a 13-year-old girl by officials in an Arizona middle school was unconstitutional. However, by a vote of 7-2, the Court also ruled that the individual school officials could not be held personally liable. A suit for damages against the school district itself is still going forward. We discussed this case at length back in March when the Court decided to hear the case on appeal.
yuna49 writes: BBC News reports that, "The world's largest chip maker has teamed up with the world's largest mobile phone maker to create what they say will be a 'new exciting industry'. Intel and Nokia said their 'technology collaboration' would deliver new mobile computing products — beyond existing smartphones, netbooks and notebooks." The partnership will center around several open-source mobile Linux software projects, including the Moblin platform for Atom-based processors and the Maemo operating system developed by Nokia. Intel will also acquire a licence from Nokia that is used in modem chips to connect to third generation cellular networks. In an interview with the BBC, Gerry Purdy, chief mobile analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said that while the first product could be a year or so away, it should have the potential to shake up the market. "I believe this will impact the industry for many years to come and accelerate the adoption of smartphones in the world. At the moment they are at 10% of market share. I predict that will grow to 50-60% in the next five years as a result of this partnership."
From the article: "Sweden's new policy, which is based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), allows copyright holders to obtain a court order forcing ISPs to provide the IP addresses identifying which computers have been sharing copyrighted material
"Figures from Netnod, a Swedish firm that measures internet traffic in and out of the country, suggest traffic fell from an average of 120Gbps to 80Gbps on the day the new law came into effect.
"Speaking to the BBC, Christian Engstrom, vice-chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party — said the drop in traffic was a direct result of the new law, but that it would only be a temporary fall."
Netnod appears to provide peering services in Sweden so they'd be well-positioned to measure the traffic. Unfortunately a cursory search of Netnod's website fails to bring up any evidence substantiating the BBC's story. If it's there, it's not being advertised.
yuna49 writes: Last fall, MIT student Star Simpson was arrested at gunpoint when she wore a breadboard with blinking LEDs to Boston's Logan Airport. Today she was sentenced to a year of probation for "disorderly conduct" and required to spend fifty hours in community service. The more serious, and more controversial, charge of displaying a "hoax device" was dropped by the prosecution. I'm disappointed but not surprised that the hoax-device charge was not prosecuted because the premise on which the charge was based raises serious freedom of expression issues that now won't be heard in a court of law.
yuna49 writes: Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles brought an indictment this week against a woman in Missouri for alleged cyberbullying. (Text of indictment here) The indictment includes a novel extension of the laws prohibiting hacking attempts against so-called "protected" computers, defined as any computer used in interstate commerce. The prosecutors argue that registering falsely as a teen-aged boy on MySpace and then using the service to harass a teen-aged girl constitutes accessing a protected computer to further a "tortious act." (The girl in question later committed suicide, but the local prosecutors in Missouri chose not to indict anyone in the case because they felt that no state laws were broken.)
While the case itself is certainly tragic, it does raise important questions about freedom of speech and protection of anonymity. Should it be a Federal crime to enter false information at sites like MySpace if you agree to Terms of Service which forbid such falsehoods? Doesn't this approach extend Federal protections to what are fundamentally private contracts between website operators and their users?
yuna49 writes: Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports today about the plight of a Spanish tour operator whose domain names have been embargoed by eNom after they discovered the tour operator's name on a US Treasury blacklist. It turns out he packages tours to Cuba largely for European tourists who can legally travel there, unlike Americans. The article cites "a press release issued in December 2004, almost three years before eNom acted. It said Mr. Marshall's company had helped Americans evade restrictions on travel to Cuba and was 'a generator of resources that the Cuban regime uses to oppress its people.' It added that American companies must not only stop doing business with the company but also freeze its assets, meaning that eNom did exactly what it was legally required to do."
The only part of the operator's business in the United States is his domain name registration; all other aspects of his business lie outside the United States.