7/6/2008

Google and Yahoo’s Flash indexing is revealing… too much?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Adobe’s announcement that Google and Yahoo! will be indexing Flash content at a much deeper level was met with all sorts of reactions last week, ranging from praise from the Flash and Flex communities to utter shock and horror from some HTML fundamentalists expressing fear that the end was nigh.

Well, it appears that Google has already started using this new indexing system and some Flash developers are not happy by how much it is revealing about their applications.

Peter Elst, a prominent Flash developer (diclaimer: and member of the Flash Pack on Pistach.io, of which I am a partner), just Twittered the following:

oh no, SWF indexing seems to do just as I feared — already noticed Google was picking up my test Flash SEO swf but its now exposing URL’s

And posted his concerns on his blog, wherein he quotes Ryan Stewart from Adobe on what exactly is getting indexed:

… it will move through the states of your application, get data from the server when your application normally would, and it will capture all of the text and data that you’ve got inside of your Flash-based application.

Peter goes on to state why this could be dangerous:

The concern I have here is that URL requests to the backend will get indexed, those URLs getting exposed in search queries or spider bots hitting those URLs could cause issues. Its not like in HTML content where the search engines can ignore form submit URLs, there is no such context in a HTTPService or URLRequest.

Blogging In Iran Can Cause Death Penalty

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Iran’s parliament is set to debate a draft bill which could see the death penalty used for those deemed to promote corruption, prostitution and apostasy on the internet, reports said on Wednesday.

MPs on Wednesday voted to discuss as a priority the draft bill which seeks to “toughen punishment for harming mental security in society,” the ISNA news agency said.

The text lists a wide range of crimes such rape and armed robbery for which the death penalty is already applicable. The crime of apostasy (the act of leaving a religion, in this case Islam) is also already punishable by death.

However, the draft bill also includes “establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy”, which is a new addition to crimes punishable by death.

Those convicted of these crimes “should be punished as ‘mohareb’ (enemy of God) and ‘corrupt on the earth’,” the text says.

Under Iranian law the standard punishments for these two crimes are “hanging, amputation of the right hand and then the left foot as well as exile”.

The bill — which is yet to be debated by lawmakers — also stipulates that the punishment handed out in these cases “cannot be commuted, suspended or changed”.

Finding Fault With Google’s Privacy Policy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Viacom has recently obtained a court order that requires Google to hand over a complete list of every video watched by YouTube users. These logs will include the login names and IP addresses of the users.

Google are now asking Viacom if they can anonymize the logs before turning them over; Viacom hasn’t responded yet. But this privacy nightmare could have been greatly reduced if Google had anonymized the data in advance.

Google’s privacy policy states that they keep personally identifiable information for 18 months. There is no real reason to do so; Google can achieve everything they need even if they anonymize their search logs after just one month, and it’s time users told them to do so.

High oil prices spur demand for low energy electronics

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

These days when customers walk into electronics stores, the first question they ask is how much electricity the fridge, washing machine or laptop computer they are contemplating buying consumes.

“Energy savings were not exactly a hot topic among customers last year,” said Kim Dong-han at South Korean electronics retailer Hi-Mart. “But this year, nine out of ten people ask point blank whether a product will help them save money.”

With oil at around $145 a barrel and electricity costs jumping, consumers are becoming preoccupied with keeping down their power bills. Electronics makers that develop energy efficient product lines and market them effectively to customers may get an edge in a gloomy global economy, firms say.

“Going green is not only eco-friendly but crucial for business,” said Kim Jik-soo, a spokesman at LG Electronics Inc. “This goes beyond just products, extending throughout the development and manufacturing process.”

From washing machines that use steam instead of hot water, to fridges that use low energy compressors, to low power computer screens, electronics firms are furiously developing energy efficient products and heavily promoting lines already on the market that use less electricity than competitors’ brands.

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