An anonymous reader writes "A former Pentagon analyst reports the Chinese government has 'pervasive access' to about 80 percent of the world's communications, and it is looking currently to nail down the remaining 20 percent. Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE Corporation are reportedly to blame for the industrial espionage. 'Not only do Huawei and ZTE power telecom infrastructure all around the world, but they're still growing. The two firms are the main beneficiaries for telecommunication projects taking place in Malaysia with DiGi, Globe in the Philippines, Megafon in Russia, Etisalat in the United Arab Emirates, America Movil in a number of countries, Tele Norte in Brazil, and Reliance in India.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "An article in the NY Times argues that the devices we call 'cell phones' should instead be called 'trackers.' It would help remind the average user that whole industries have sprung up around the mining and selling of their personal data — not to mention the huge amount of data requested by governments. Law professor Eben Moglen goes a step further, saying our cell phones are effectively robots that use us for mobility. 'They see everything, they're aware of our position, our relationship to other human beings and other robots, they mediate an information stream around us.' It's interesting to see such a mainstream publication focus on privacy like this; the authors say that since an objects name influences how people think about the object, renaming 'cell phones' could be an simple way to raise privacy awareness."
New submitter UtucXul points out that Richard Stallman has penned a lengthy response to NPR intern Emily White for her post on the organization's site about how she failed to pay for a significant amount of recorded music, acquiring it instead through Kazaa, friends, and CDs owned by the radio station at which she was employed. (We previously discussed musician David Lowery's response; quite different from RMS's, as you might expect.) Stallman wrote, "Copying and sharing recordings was not a mistake, let alone wrong, because sharing is good. It's good to share musical recordings with friends and family; it's good for a radio station to share recordings with the staff, and it's good when strangers share through peer-to-peer networks. The wrong is in the repressive laws that try to block or punish sharing. Sharing ought to be legalized; in the mean time, please do not act ashamed of having shared — that would validate those repressive laws that claim that it is wrong. You did make a mistake when you chose Kazaa as the method of sharing. Kazaa mistreated you (and all its users) by requiring you to run a non-free program on your computer. ... However, that was in the past. It's more important to consider what you're doing now, which includes other mistakes. You're not alone — many others make them too, and that adds up to a big problem for society. The root mistake is treating a marketing buzzword, 'the cloud,' as if it meant something concrete. That term refers to so many things (different ways of using the Internet) that it really has no meaning at all. Marketing uses that term to lead people's attention away from the important questions about any given use of the network, such as, 'What companies would I depend on if I did this, and how? What trouble could they cause me, if they wanted to shaft me, or simply thought that a change in policies would gain them more money?'"
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters reports that beleaguered wireless device maker Research In Motion is on the losing end of a patent suit that will cost them $147.2 million. The jury arrived at that number by assigning an $8 royalty for every BlackBerry connected to RIM's enterprise server software. Unsurprisingly, RIM intends to appeal the decision. 'Mformation sued RIM in 2008, bringing claims on a patent for a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network, a court filing says. According to its web site, Mformation helps corporations manage their smart phone inventory. The company also says it helps telecoms operators, such as AT&T and Sprint, with remote fixes and upgrades for users' gadgets. RIM argued that Mformation's patent claims are invalid because the processes were already being used when Mformation filed its patent application.'"
walterbyrd writes with news that Apple has been sending out letters to carriers and retailers who sell the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus, informing them of a court-mandated ban on sales and warning them against continuing to market the devices. The court order for the patent case on the Galaxy Tab says Samsung and "those acting in concert" with them are enjoined from selling the devices, and Apple has used the letters to point this out. Samsung, of course, disagrees: "Apple’s menacing letters greatly overreach, incorrectly claiming that third-party retailers are subject to the prohibitions of the preliminary injunction, which they clearly are not."
CIStud writes "A U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled that iPod, iPad and iPhone speakers docks do not infringe on a patent owned by Bose Corp. for digital audio conversion. The ruling in the case of Bose vs. small dock speaker makers SDI, DPI, Imation and others reportedly was a test case that would have set precedent for potential patent infringement by other manufacturers... and even Apple... according to the defendant's legal team. At issue: Is an iPhone, iPad or iPod a 'computer.' The judge says they aren't."
New submitter k(wi)r(kipedia) writes "A BBC investigation has found evidence of fake users skewing the results of Facebook's 'Like' recommendation system. The BBC set up a Facebook page for a fake business called VirtualBagel and invited users to 'like' it. The page reportedly attracted 'over 1,600 likes' within twenty-four hours. The test appeared to confirm the claims of a social media marketing consultant who contacted the BBC after he noticed a disparity in the distribution of users 'liking' the products of his clients. 'While they had been targeting Facebook users around the world, all their "likes" appeared to be coming from countries such as the Philippines and Egypt.'"
judgecorp writes "Mobile operator O2's network crashed on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. In the aftermath it has emerged how other services rely on mobile networks. Law enforcement agencies were unable to track some convicted criminals wearing electronic tags, and the crash also disabled parts of London's network of 'Boris Bikes' — public hire bikes."
An anonymous reader writes "Cloud-based personal data management is pretty cool... if you don't mind entrusting the entirety of your personal data to a gigantic corporation. Apart from the risks of their doing unseemly things with your data, also the security of your data is entirely in their unreliable hands. So, is it possible to build my own personal data repository, where for example, I can store my contacts and calendars to sync to multiple devices? This could be hosted on any third party hosting service assuming also that all of my data was encrypted at the data level. So even if the host wanted to look at my data, all they'd see is 1s and 0s. What are the options for the tinfoil hat wearing FOSS folks that want to participate in the cloud age?"
benfrog writes "Tridium's Niagra framework is a 'marvel of connectivity,' allowing everything from power plants to gas pumps to be monitored online. Many installations are frighteningly insecure, though, according to an investigation by the Washington Post, leaving both public and private infrastructure potentially open to simple hacks (as simple as a directory traversal attack)."
MrSeb sends this excerpt from DailyDot: "Shortly, a new system in the U.S. will allow your ISP to give you gradually sterner warnings and possible punishment if you download copyrighted material. The Copyright Alerts System (CAS) — more commonly known as the 'six strikes' policy, after the number of warnings users receive — is coming. Soon. Any minute now. Really. But it's not here yet, even though several news outlets — including CNN — said the system would go online yesterday, Thursday. Speaking to the Daily Dot, a press contact for the six strikes system says: 'We do not intend to launch until we are confident that the program is consumer friendly. We expect our implementation to begin later this year, with each of the ISPs launching at potentially overlapping but different times.' ... The six strikes system is officially helmed by an industry coalition called the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), which was created by the MPAA and RIAA. It counts the U.S.'s five top ISPs under its umbrella: AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon."
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has added sleuthing to its array of data-mining capabilities, scanning your posts and chats for criminal activity. If the social-networking giant detects suspicious behavior, it flags the content and determines if further steps, such as informing the police, are required. Reuters provides an example of how the software was used in March: 'A man in his early 30s was chatting about sex with a 13-year-old South Florida girl and planned to meet her after middle-school classes the next day. Facebook's extensive but little-discussed technology for scanning postings and chats for criminal activity automatically flagged the conversation for employees, who read it and quickly called police. Officers took control of the teenager's computer and arrested the man the next day.'"
New submitter BButlerNWW writes "Federal agencies must be assured priority and uninterrupted access to public cloud resources before fully embracing the technology for national security and emergency response IT functions, a recent report finds. It recommends creating a program to develop a system to ensure federal organizations receive 'first-in-line' access to cloud-based resources during emergency situations."
judgecorp writes "4G services could interfere with terrestrial TV in the UK, so the government plans to offer one free filter for every household affected by the issue. The analysis suggests that 2.3 million households could be affected, but many of those have cable or satellite TV, so the plan might only need a million filters (each household only gets one, even if they have many TVs)."
pigrabbitbear writes "Lamar Smith just can't get a break. The Texas congressman and widely despised author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ruffled the Internet's feathers once again this week with the quiet unveiling of a new piece of legislation that's drawing criticism for being plucked out of SOPA's language and rushed through Congress. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act (IPAA) would streamline the process by which the U.S. protects its intellectual property by enforcing U.S. copyright law abroad through specially assigned diplomats or attachés. These officers would report to a new agency-level position, the Assistant Secretary for Intellectual Property and push agendas that, according to the bill's language, are 'consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad.'"