6/30/2010

Airport scanners are totally going to kill us

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More doctors are sounding the alarm over the new full-body scanners becoming popular in airports.

Several doctors are expressing concerns that full-body scanners may indeed deliver a low level of energy as advertised — reportedly this is why they’re “safe” compared to X-ray machines — but they worry that all the energy becomes dangerously concentrated on and directly beneath the skin, particularly at the face and neck, delivering much more radiation to the traveler than previously thought.

The upshot: You may not get lung cancer from the machines, but your risk of skin cancer — particularly basal-cell carcinoma — could be significantly higher. In children, the impact may likely be even worse.

Columbia University’s David Brenner says that this effect of concentrating energy on the skin means that the level of radiation delivered is actually 20 times higher than official estimates.

Hulu launched a subscription service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Online video site Hulu, under pressure from its media company parents to generate a bigger profit, launched a subscription service Tuesday with complete access to back episodes of popular television shows.

For $9.99 a month, subscribers can get the entire current season of “Glee,” “The Office,” “House” and other shows from broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC, as well as all the past seasons of several series. The popular, ad-supported website will continue to have a few recent episodes for free online.

In a surprise move, however, paying subscribers will get the same number of ads as users of the free website.

Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said keeping ads was necessary to help keep the subscription price low.

Google Finds Flaws In Android Security Report

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The security of Android apps was called into question by a report issued on Tuesday by SMobile Systems, an Ohio-based mobile security company.

The survey of over 48,000 apps in the Android Market notes that “one in every five applications request permissions to access private or sensitive information that an attacker could use for malicious purposes.”

It further states that one in twenty Android apps have the potential to place unauthorized calls. “One out of every twenty applications has the ability to place a call to any number without interaction or authority from the user,” the report says.

Google says the report has problems. “This report falsely suggests that Android users don’t have control over which apps access their data,” a company spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. “Not only must each Android app gets users’ permission to access sensitive information, but developers must also go through billing background checks to confirm their real identities, and we will disable any apps that are found to be malicious.”

6/29/2010

HP To Spam Your Printer

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hewlett-Packard plans to use Yahoo’s advertising network in a pilot program that will deliver targeted advertisements for content printed with its latest line of Web-connected printers.

HP launched a line of Web-connected printers last week that allow users to print content directly from the Web or send content from their mobile phone to a remote printer using an e-mail address specific to that printer.

HP also launched a program called “scheduled delivery,” where a user can regularly schedule printing, for example, portions of a daily newspaper every day at 7 a.m.

USPTO Lets Amazon Patent the “Social Networking System”

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After shelling out a reported $90 million to buy PlanetAll in 1998, Amazon shuttered the site in 2000, explaining that ‘it seemed really superfluous to have it running beside Friends and Favorites.’ But years later in a 2008 patent filing, Amazon described the acquired PlanetAll technology to the USPTO in very Facebook-like terms. And on Tuesday, the USPTO issued US Patent No. 7,739,139 to Amazon for its invention, the Social Networking System, which Amazon describes thusly: ‘A networked computer system provides various services for assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users.

6/27/2010

ATM security flaws could be a jackpot for hackers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A security expert has identified flaws in the design of some automated teller machines that make them vulnerable to hackers, who could make the ubiquitous cash dispensers spit out their cash holdings.

Barnaby Jack, head of research at Seattle-based, security firm IOActive Labs, will demonstrate methods for “jackpotting” ATMs at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that starts on July 28.

“ATMs are not as secure as we would like them to be,” Jeff Moss, founder of the Black Hat conference and a member of President Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council said. “Barnaby has a number of different attacks that make all the money come out.”

Google and YouTube defeat Viacom in copyright lawsuit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc won a landmark victory over media companies as a Manhattan federal judge threw out Viacom Inc’s $1 billion lawsuit accusing the Internet company of allowing copyrighted videos on its YouTube service without permission.

Viacom claimed “tens of thousands of videos on YouTube, resulting in hundreds of millions of views,” had been posted based on its copyrighted works, and that the defendants knew about it but did nothing to stop illegal uploads.

But in a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said it would be improper to hold Google and YouTube liable under federal copyright law merely for having a “general awareness” that videos might be posted illegally.

“Mere knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general is not enough,” he wrote. “The provider need not monitor or seek out facts indicating such activity.”

Viacom said it plans to appeal to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Frenchman convicted for hacking Obama’s Twitter

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A court in central France has convicted a young Frenchman accused of infiltrating Twitter and peeping at the account of President Barack Obama, and given him a five-month suspended prison sentence.

The lawyer for Francois Cousteix, whose online name was Hacker Croll, said his client was happy with Thursday evening’s decision by the Clermont-Ferrand court. He risked up to two years in prison and a 30,000 euro fine for breaking into a data system.

Early iPhone 4 owners in grip of reception problem

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The first slew of iPhone 4 complaints are in, among them that just holding the iPhone 4 a certain way can interfere with calls.

Apple Inc. redesigned the fourth generation of its smart phone, replacing sloping edges with a stainless steel band that wraps around the more squared-off sides. The metal band acts like a sturdy skeleton for the delicate phone, and it does double duty as the device’s antenna.

Some people said the iPhone 4 would disconnect mid-call when the phone was nestled in their hands in such a way that the lower-left corner of the device was covered.

While some iPhone owners reported no problems at all, others say the issue is intermittent: “It’s only every once and a while,” Lawrence Ho, 27, said outside the Apple store on New York’s Fifth Avenue on Friday.

6/23/2010

E-Ink Tatoo

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

How many people do you know who regret their tattoo? You grow up, you dump (or get dumped), or maybe you picked a tattoo “artist” that learned their craft in prison using ballpoint pens and a sharpened paper clip. At that point, your choices are: deal with it, get it covered up, or get shot with lasers to take it off. And nobody wants to go for a job interview only to be given the evil eye because you’re a little more inked than the current employees! Body modification discrimination is a sad fact of life.

What do you do when you want a tattoo but don’t want the commitment of permanent ink? The moodInq system is a breakthrough in tattoo technology, using a skin-safe proprietary E ink encapsulated pigment system that lasts a lifetime but can be configured to display any design (or none!) to suit your mood.

San Francisco board passes cell phone emission law

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In this city known for producing laws both path-breaking and contentious, legislators have forcefully stepped into another debate - this time over the potential danger of cell phone use.

With the Board of Supervisors’ 10-1 vote in favor of an ordinance Mayor Gavin Newsom has indicated he will sign, San Francisco has waded into the as-yet unresolved debate over the relationship between long-term use of cell phones and health problems such as brain tumors.

It would be the country’s first law requiring cell phone retailers to disclose the phones’ specific absorption rate, or SAR, to customers.

SAR measures the maximum amount of radiation absorbed by a person using a handset. The Federal Communications Commission limits SAR to an average of 1.6 watts per kilogram of body tissue, but information about radiation levels is not usually readily available when people purchase phones at stores.

6/22/2010

Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users’ precise locations

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Inc. is now collecting the “precise,” “real-time geographic location” of its users’ iPhones, iPads and computers.

In an updated version of its privacy policy, the company added a paragraph noting that once users agree, Apple and unspecified “partners and licensees” may collect and store user location data.

When users attempt to download apps or media from the iTunes store, they are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions. Until they agree, they cannot download anything through the store.

The company says the data is anonymous and does not personally identify users. Analysts have shown, however, that large, specific data sets can be used to identify people based on behavior patterns.

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