3/10/2006

Brazil tries to seize data on users of Google’s Orkut

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Brazilian authorities said on Friday they will seek warrants to seize information on hundreds of users on the Orkut social network, operated by search engine giant Google Inc., for suspected Internet crimes.

Sergio Suiama, a federal public prosecutor at the cyber-crimes unit of the Public Ministry, said the ministry will seek warrants to investigate Brazilian users suspected of publishing child pornography and drug trafficking on Orkut.

The request for warrants would be based on a report by the nongovernmental group Safernet, http://www.safernet.org.br, which monitors crime on the Internet, Suiama said.

Suiama met on Friday afternoon with Alexandre Hohagen, the director of Google Inc.’s local subsidiary, Google Brasil, and Safernet President Thiago Nunes de Oliveira.

Orkut’s terms of service prohibit illegal activity including child pornography as well as hate speech and advocating violence, a Google spokeswoman said.

“Google Brasil was sensible and was willing to help (in the investigations), but it will seek guidance from headquarters in the United States,” said Suiama.

Source: Reuters

Terrorist activity on Google’s Orkut

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Al-Qaeda sympathizers are using Orkut, a popular, worldwide Internet service owned by Google, to rally support for Osama bin Laden, share videos and Web links promoting terrorism and recruit non-Arabic-speaking Westerners, according to terrorism experts and a survey of the sites.

Most jihadist message boards on traditional websites are in Arabic and require users to know someone connected with the boardbefore they can gain access. Social networking services such as Orkut, Friendster and MySpace, however, allow users to create personal profiles and associate with “communities” based on shared interests. After users join one of these services, they have access to the forum postings in any public community.

On Orkut, at least 10 communities are devoted to praising bin Laden, al-Qaeda or jihad (holy war) against the United States. They can be found easily through a simple English-language search of the site. The largest bin Laden community has more than 2,000 members, according to Orkut’s tracking data, available on the site. It has a link to the site of the Islamic Army in Iraq, the group that claimed responsibility for and released a video of a bombing Dec. 2 that killed 10 Marines in Fallujah.

Source: usatoday

EU Tells Microsoft It Hasn’t Obeyed Ruling

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The European Commission told Microsoft Corp. on Friday that it was “still not in compliance” with a 2004 antitrust ruling that ordered it to share information with rivals to make their software work with Microsoft servers.

“The Commission takes the preliminary view that this information continues to be incomplete and inaccurate,” the regulators said in a statement, basing their view on two reports from independent experts who looked at the latest version of documentation Microsoft had submitted.

“The letter sent today brings this information to Microsoft’s immediate attention, in order to provide Microsoft the opportunity to make its views known in writing,” the Commission said.

The man appointed to monitor Microsoft’s compliance with the ruling — computer science professor Neil Barrett — found that although the documentation had improved slightly, “nothing substantial was added.”

“The improvements required to the documentation are not merely refinements or improvements to the text: The documentation as it stands is unusable,” the Commission said.

Source: AP

Hamas Web Site Encouraging Kids to Become Martyrs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Palestinian Authority’s ruling Hamas terror group has launched a web site for children, preaching the moral desirability of being a suicide terrorist via cartoons and children’s stories.

Hamas has a special web site for children, al-fateh.net, where violence is glorified and death for Allah is labelled a “victory.” Al-Fateh means ‘The Conqueror.’ The Shahada deaths of terrorists during attacks against Israel are presented to children as a time of celebration. A mother is quoted on the website as saying that when she heard that her son had become a shahid (martyr), she bought dates, candies and coffee to give out.

Source: pmw.org

Google Testing New Layout

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

While searching today in Google I landed on a result page that didn’t look like the regular Google interface. The new result page had two columns where in the left column it showed the Google categories, i.e images, news, groups in which the query got results and on the right column it showed the results. I took a quick screen shot of my result page, and on other queries I could not get this page layout back, but the regular Google layout.

Google New Layout
Click Image To enlarge

Work-At-Home Mom Pleads Guilty To Porn Spamming

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A work-at-home mom pleaded guilty this week in federal court to sending millions of spams hyping Internet porn sites, prosecutors said.

Jennifer Clason, 33, of Raymond, N.H., was part of a spam gang that sent mass quantities of messages containing pornographic images, said officials from the Department of Justice. She admitted conspiring with two others, Jeffrey Kilbride, 39, of Venice, Calif., and James Schaffer, 39, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in sending the messages, which advertised various Internet porn sites.

Clason, who pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act and to one count of criminal conspiracy, will forfeit her ill-gotten gains under the agreement she struck with authorities. She also faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Working at home, she operated the Web site MommyJobs.com, but authorities say the homemaker was also part of a gang that sent massive quantities of spam messages containing pornographic images.

Source: Information Week

Canon says no intention of giving up on SED TVs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japan’s Canon Inc. said on Friday it plans to press ahead with the development and production of a new type of flat TVs despite a delay of more than one year in the commercial launch, believing that there will still be room for the product in the fast-growing market.

Canon and Toshiba Corp. said on Wednesday they would delay the launch of surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) TVs to the fourth quarter of 2007 to improve cost competitiveness, casting a shadow over the product’s commercial feasibility.

“We will never give up on SED TVs,” a Canon spokesman quoted President Fujio Mitarai as saying. Mitarai made the comments at an analyst meeting that was closed to media.

Toshiba and Canon formed a joint venture in 2004 to develop and make SED panels, which are thinner and consume less energy than liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panels, currently the main technologies used for flat panel TVs.

Source: Reuters

Porn Billing Leak Exposes Buyers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Seventeen million customers of the online payment service iBill have had their personal information released onto the internet, where it’s been bought and sold in a black market made up of fraud artists and spammers, security experts say.

The stolen data, examined by Wired News, includes names, phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses and internet IP addresses. Other fields in the compromised databases appear to be logins and passwords, credit-card types and purchase amounts, but credit-card numbers are not included.

An online payments firm that specialises in processing payments to porn sites has denied that a supposed haul of consumer data originated from its databases.

iBill says “records” of the email addresses of 17m plus net voyeurs recovered by two security companies do not match its own records. It claims only three entries from files separately obtained by Secure Science and SunBelt Software correspond to email addresses on its database, Wired reports.

Microsoft Offers Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Xbox 360 Owners Invited to Jump Into 72 Hours of Free Action-Packed Xbox Live Multiplayer Online Gaming Courtesy of Verizon

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced the first Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend, presented courtesy of Verizon (NYSE: VZ). From March 31 through April 2, Xbox 360 gamers are invited to connect to Xbox Live and enjoy an action-packed weekend of multiplayer gaming in a community of 2 million players, free of charge.

The Verizon-sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend will feature 72 hours of nonstop events, constituting the largest programming effort of online Xbox multiplayer games ever. Events will include the following:

  • A 72-hour multiplayer schedule of the most exciting games on Xbox 360
  • Xbox Live Arcade leaderboard tournaments
  • Xbox Live Play and Win contests
  • Xbox Live veterans hosting new gamers on Xbox Live

In addition, the exclusive Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway offers gamers the chance to win points to purchase the latest Xbox Live Marketplace digital downloadable content, including Xbox Live Arcade titles and the hottest game and entertainment content, while supplies last.

Google buys Web word-processing technology

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Showing that it’s more than a little interested in enabling people to handle office tasks over the Internet, Google said Thursday that it has snapped up Writely, a maker of a Web-based word processor.

The acquisition was noted on both Writely’s main Web site and on a blog run by Writely co-founder Claudia Carpenter.

“Yes, we’ve been acquired by Google,” Carpenter wrote. In a frequently asked questions page on Writely’s site, the word processor company says it doesn’t yet know what the implications of the sale are.

“We haven’t yet figured out all the details,” Writely said on its site. “Coming to Google will eventually give us a leg up on getting things done that we just haven’t been able to with our tiny team.”

A Google representative confirmed the deal in an e-mail. “We acquired Writely for the innovative technology and talented team,” Google said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have them here.” The purchase price was not disclosed.

There has been considerable speculation that Google would look to create a Web-based rival to Microsoft’s dominant software suite, speculation that was fueled in October when Google announced a partnership with Sun Microsystems, which has been a leading backer of OpenOffice. That same month, Google also said it was hiring several programmers to help work on improving OpenOffice.

Writely is one of several companies that offer hosted productivity applications.

Source: News.com

French parliament blocks move to legalise downloads

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

MPs from France’s ruling conservative party have blocked a move to legalise Internet downloading of movie and music files, after several days of sharp debate in parliament.

The vote by members of the UMP party late Thursday signalled a victory for the government as it pushes through a bill that would outlaw the downloading of commercial files as well the breaking of copyright protection on DVDs or CDs.

MPs from the Socialist, Communist, Green and UDF parties walked out in protest ahead of the vote, allowing it to be adopted nearly unanimously.

Nevertheless, deep divisions remain in France over how best to balance consumer rights against copyright in the Internet age.

The UMP vote scrapped an article in the bill which would have upheld a text adopted by parliament last December to legalise downloading in return for Internet users paying a de facto flat tax of eight to 12 euros a month that would go to pay artists’ royalties.

Source: AFP

MSI Shows Solar-Powered Laptop, MP3 Player

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Micro-Star International (MSI) is showing off a notebook computer and an MP3 player at CeBIT that use on-board solar panels to recharge and extend battery life.

The Taiwanese company, known mainly for its motherboards and graphics cards, said the products are experimental, and it doesn’t expect to put them on sale. They’re an attempt to dabble in ways to provide power to portable devices in remote areas and recharge batteries, areas the company’s research and development team has been focusing on, says Marc Chen, product manager for the notebook computer division.

“This is only a concept–to create a vision for the future,” Chen says.

The lid of the laptop is covered with solar panels so that even when it’s closed, it’s still gathering the sun’s energy. The system needs a voltage converter to adapt the output of the solar cells to the laptop’s battery charging circuitry, says MSI.

The company’s other solar device, the “Solar Cell MP3 player”, a version of its MSI Mega Player 540 that has 4GB of storage capacity, is also too expensive to consider for mass production, says Jack Tsai, marketing manager for MSI’s consumer electronics unit. But it extends battery life by 3 hours and can recharge the battery, he adds.

Source: PCWorld

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