The Next GooglePlex

googleplex

googleplex

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls. And stairs. And roofs. Google and its imaginative co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, essentially want to take 60 acres of land adjacent to the headquarters near the San Francisco Bay, in an area called North Bayshore, and turn it into a titanic human terrarium.

The proposal’s most distinctive feature is an artificial sky: four enormous glass canopies, each stretched over a series of steel pillars of different heights. The glass skin is uneven, angling up and down like a jagged, see-through mountain. The canopies will allow the company to regulate its air and climate. Underneath, giant floor plates slope gently upward, providing generous space for open-air offices and doubling as ramps so the 10,000 employees who will work there can get from one floor to the next without the use of stairs. For additional office and meeting space, modular rooms can be added, stacked, and removed as needed. To accomplish this, Google says it will invent a kind of portable crane-robot, which it calls crabots, that will reconfigure these boxes and roam the premises like the droids in Star Wars

Source:  Disinfo.com

Tinder users are married

tinder

tinder

When casually swiping through Tinder, do you ever look for a wedding ring? Maybe you should, as new data has found around one third of those looking for love on the app are married.

Men outnumber women on the dating app 6:4, and the majority of users (45 per cent) are aged between 25-34. Around 38 per cent are aged 16-24, while 1 per cent are between 55 and 64 years of age, research by GlobalWebIndex has found.

While over half (54 per cent) describe themselves as single, 30 per cent are married, and 12 per cent are in a relationship. The remaining 4 per cent define themselves as divorced / widowed or as ‘other’.

Unsurprisingly, almost four in five (76 per cent) described their living conditions as rural, while 17 per cent were suburban and 7 per cent rural.

Interestingly, a quarter of Tinder users said they’d paid for an online dating service in the last month, compared to 6 per cent of average internet users and 14 per cent of dating site users.

Tinder users are presented with an image of a person of the gender of their choice, and given the chance to swipe right for yes, and left for no. Only once a pair have liked each other are they given the chance to message each other.

It’s been downloaded over 50 million times since its launch in 2012, matching around 26 million prospective couples every 24 hours. More than 1.6 billion swipes have been made since launch.

Around 90 million people used a location-based dating app in January, while around 25 million dating app users are based in China alone.

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Babies using Smart Phones

baby using smart phones

baby using smart phones

More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by 1 year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a study to be presented Saturday, April 25 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age 2. Little is known, however, when youngsters actually start using mobile devices.

Researchers developed a 20-item survey to find out when young children are first exposed to mobile media and how they use devices. The questionnaire was adapted from the “Zero to Eight” Common Sense Media national survey on media use in children.

Parents of children ages 6 months to 4 years old who were at a hospital-based pediatric clinic that serves a low-income, minority community were recruited to fill out the survey. Participants were asked about what types of media devices they have in their household, children’s age at initial exposure to mobile media, frequency of use, types of activities and if their pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

Results from 370 parents showed that 74 percent were African-American, 14 percent were Hispanic and 13 percent had less than a high school education. Media devices were ubiquitous, with 97 percent having TVs, 83 percent having tablets, 77 percent having smartphones and 59 percent having Internet access.

Children younger than 1 year of age were exposed to media devices in surprisingly large numbers: 52 percent had watched TV shows, 36 percent had touched or scrolled a screen, 24 percent had called someone, 15 percent used apps and 12 percent played video games.

By 2 years of age, most children were using mobile devices.

Lead author Hilda Kabali, MD, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network, said the results surprised her.

“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of 6 months,” she said. “Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”

Results also showed 73 percent of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60 percent while running errands, 65 percent to calm a child and 29 percent to put a child to sleep.

Time spent on devices increased with age, with 26 percent of 2-year-olds and 38 percent of 4-year-olds using devices for at least an hour a day.

Finally, only 30 percent of parents said their child’s pediatrician had discussed media use with them.

Source:  disinformation.com

NSA Reveal How To Hide From The NSA

NSA

NSA

 

If you want a truly anonymous life, then maybe it’s time you learned about Tor, CSpace and ZRTP.

These three technologies could help people hide their activities from the National Security Agency, according to NSA documents newly obtained from the archive of former contractor Edward Snowden by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The combination of Tor, CSpace and ZRTP (plus another anonymizing technology for good measure) results in levels of protection that the NSA deems “catastrophic” — meaning the organization has “near-total loss/lack of insight to target communications,” according to Der Spiegel.

“Although the documents are around two years old, experts consider it unlikely the agency’s digital spies have made much progress in cracking these technologies,” Spiegel’s staff wrote.

In comparison, accessing somebody’s Facebook messages is considered a “minor” task for the agency. Similarly, virtual private networks (or VPNs), which are widely used by companies, are easily accessed by the NSA, according to Der Spiegel’s report, as are so-called “HTTPS” connections.

So, what are these services and what do you actually have to do to use them?

Tor is basically a network that offers an easy way for people to mask their location when communicating online. Anyone can download Tor’s web browser — it’s available on Mac, Windows, Linux, and smartphones. It’s not foolproof: When using Tor, you’re advised to sacrifice the convenience of browser plugins, torrent downloads, and websites that don’t use “HTTPS encryption” if you truly want to stay off the grid.

And that’s just if you want to mask your online habits — messaging and phone calls require more steps still, meaning you also have to add CSpace and ZRTP if you want to hide those from the NSA, according to Der Spiegel.

CSpace is a program that lets people text chat and transfer files, while ZRTP is a form of encryption that protects mobile phone calls and texting — it’s used in apps like RedPhone and Signal.

If that all sounds a bit daunting, anonymous living may not be for you. There are plenty of ways to stay relatively private online. But true anonymity is harder to achieve, and so coveted that some people will pay $629 for a special phone that purports to keep a user’s information more secure.

As noted, the Snowden documents are a couple of years old; it’s possible the NSA has found ways around these tools by now. But for the privacy-conscious, they are certain to work better than a tinfoil hat.

 

Source:  huffingtonpost.com

Microsoft security is worthless

Microsoft security is worthless:

Microsoft security is worthless

Microsoft security is worthless

A assessment of Dennis Technology Labs , users antivirus software Microsoft might want to think about installing other malware protection .

Dennis Technology Labs, the independent testing laboratory software based in London , released a quarterly assessment of nine screening programs most popular in the market and found that virus Microsoft Security Essentials detected 39 percent of all malware tested .

The Microsoft program , available for free download to anyone with a validated copy of Windows rated well below the other programs evaluated , all of which drew 87 percent or higher. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 ranked first , protection against 99 percent of the virus. Avast! Free Antivirus 8 was rated the best free program not only detects 2 percent of malware.

“We are fully committed to protecting our clients consumer and business against malware ,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement . ” Our strong comprehensive solutions provide the necessary protection against malicious code and attacks. Supporting our antimalware partners helps in building a strong and diverse ecosystem to combat malware .”

Microsoft has a history of poor performance on tests of Dennis Technology Labs . A test from the beginning of this year found that it has lost 41 percent of all malware.  Microsoft has defended the performance of the product , saying it is not intended to be the only line of defense a user .

“We’ve had an epiphany a few years ago , back in 2011 when we realized that we had a higher calling and that was to protect all customers of Microsoft , ” Holly Stewart , senior manager of the Center Malware Protection Microsoft , told PC Pro . ” But you can not do that with a monoculture and you can not do that with an ecosystem of malware that is not attractive solid and diverse. ”

Stewart explained that instead of concentrating resources on your computer to have Microsoft ‘s own software will be able to identify all the latest viruses , which would focus on the search for new threats and send that information to other companies producing anti software virus .

This strategy makes sense if the ultimate goal is to keep users safe from malware Windows , but has the potential to leave some people believing that they have robust antivirus protection when you only have what Microsoft calls a ” baseline” from which users are encouraged to add additional virus protection .

61% Of Internet Users are Bots

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users:   

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users

 

A study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%.

Some of these automated software tools are malicious – stealing data or posting ads for scams in comment sections. But the firm said the biggest growth in traffic was for “good” bots.

These are tools used by search engines to crawl websites in order to index their content, by analytics companies to provide feedback about how a site is performing, and by others to carry out specific tasks – such as helping the Internet Archive preserve content before it is deleted.

To generate its report, Incapsula said it observed 1.45 billion bot visits over a 90 day period. Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre, said the figures were useful as an indication of the growth in non-human traffic.

Computers Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound

Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound:

Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound

Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound

 

 

Using the microphones and speakers that come standard in many of today’s laptop computers and mobile devices, hackers can secretly transmit and receive data using high-frequency audio signals that are mostly inaudible to human ears, a new study shows.

Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz, researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics, recently performed a proof-of-concept experiment that showed that “covert acoustical networking,” a technique which had been hypothesized but considered improbable by most experts, is indeed possible.

“If you have a high demand for information security and assurance, you would need to prepare countermeasures,” Hanspach wrote in an email to Inside Science.

In particular, it means “air-gapped” computers — that is, computers that are not connected to the Internet — are vulnerable to malicious software designed to steal or corrupt data.

“This is indeed a newsworthy development,” said retired Navy Capt. Mark Hagerott, a cybersecurity professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

“These arms races between defensive and offensive advanced technologies have been going on for [a long time], but now, with the low cost of writing code, it may get progressively more challenging to defend against,” said Hagerott, who was not involved in the study.

Secret transmissions

In their experiments, Hanspach and Goetz were able to transmit small packets of data between two air-gapped Lenovo business laptops separated by distances of up to about 65 feet (20 meters). Moreover, by chaining additional devices that picked up the audio signal and repeated it to other nearby devices, the researchers were able to create a “mesh network” that relayed the data across much greater distances. Importantly, the researchers were able to emit and record the ultrasonic and near-ultrasonic frequencies, which cannot be detected by humans, using the sound processor, speakers and microphone that came standard with the laptops.

The researchers experimented with a variety of software, but the best one was a program originally developed to transmit data acoustically under water. Created by the Research Department for Underwater Acoustics and Geophysics in Germany, the so-called adaptive communication system modem proved more reliable than the other techniques, but it had one significant drawback: it could only transmit data at a paltry rate of about 20 bits per second — a tiny fraction of today’s standard network connections.

While not practical for transmitting video or other large files, this low transmission rate is still sufficient for sending and receiving keystrokes and other sensitive data such as private encryption keys or login credentials.

“If you have small-sized files of high value, you do not want to take the risk,” Hanspach suggests.

Historical parallels

The low transmission rate would also suffice to send an electronic signal to a malware program that had been inadvertently installed — through a tainted USB stick, for example — onto an air-gapped computer and trigger an electronic attack, said Hagerott.

Moreover, Hagerott said, if history is any guide, it will only be a matter of time before someone refines the technique and increases its maximum transmission rate.

“Once you demonstrate that you can do something like this, other people will keep enhancing it,” Hagerott said.

Hagerott also saw parallels between the current cyber arms race and the contest between real-world arms races of past eras. For example, experts once declared that there was no way a plane could sink a battle ship.

“They said, the planes weren’t big enough, but then they got bigger and began carrying bigger bombs. But sadly, the experts didn’t fully absorb this lesson until two British battleships in 1941 were sent to the bottom,” Hagerott said.

Countermeasures

Military history also suggests that countermeasures will eventually be developed against the new security threat that Hanspach and Goetz demonstrated. In their paper, the researchers themselves suggest several that might work. For example, one could simply switch off the audio input and output of devices, or use audio-filtering techniques to block high-frequency audio signals.

Devices running the Linux could implement the latter technique using tools that have already been developed for the operating system, the researchers write. They also propose the use of an “audio intrusion detection guard,” a device that Hanspach and Goetz said would “forward audio input and output signals to their destination and simultaneously store them inside the guard’s internal state, where they are subject to further analyses.”

Oftentimes, though, the weakest links in cyber security systems are not hardware or software, but the humans who interact with them. For example, the Stuxnet virus that spread to air-gapped machines in the Iranian Natanz nuclear facilities and the Conficker digital worm that turned millions of PCs into a giant botnet in the city of Manchester, England, are believed to have been spread when employees used infected USB sticks.

 

Supreme Court addresses software patent

Supreme Court agrees to address key issue: Can software be patented?

 

Supreme Court agrees to address key issue: Can software be patented?

Supreme Court agrees to address key issue: Can software be patented?

 

Over the past few years, two aspects of patent law in the United States have come under increasing scrutiny. First, there’s been the rise of patent trolls who scoop up broad patents on particular methods or ways of performing an activity, then sue a number of companies (or even the end users) of that technology, claiming that their rights have been violated. Second, there’ve been an increasing number of lawsuits over the topic of software patents and the question of what is — or isn’t — patentable.

Now, the Supreme Court has agreed to take a case — Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd v CLS Bank International — that deals directly with the question of what is, or isn’t, patentable. Lower courts have been tangling with this issue for years — the question of specific software patents was at the heart of Google’s recent court spat with Oracle, which ended in a win for Google but may be lost on appeal.

Rise of the patent trolls

The central problem with software patents is the gray area between “Doing X on a computer” (clearly unpatentable) and the development of a new method of performing a task or function. The pro-patent argument is that a person who discovers a new algorithm or method of doing things in software has clearly invented something and is entitled to patent it. The anti-patent argument is that such “inventions’ are nothing but an application of mathematics. Mathematics cannot be patented in the US, so why should software carry patents?

Patent trolls, meanwhile, have inadvertently given a great deal of ammunition to the anti-software patents crowd by launching massive lawsuit campaigns to assert ownership over such mundane tasks as connecting a printer to a network. Companies now acquire huge war chests of patents specifically to use against other companies that engage in patent warfare. This is generally seen as one reason Google acquired Motorola several years ago, and Microsoft earns more from its patent licensing fees from Android than it does from Windows Phone.

One final thing to note is that patents and copyrights are two entirely different things. If software can’t be patented, Microsoft still retains a coypright on the code of Windows, Oracle still has a copyright on Java, and it would still be illegal to copy a program without an appropriate license. Lower courts have had little luck creating a clear-cut example of when a software invention is or is not patentable, so the hope is that the Supreme Court will issue clearer rules.

$80 million and Hotfile shuts down

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million:

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million

MPAA action has resulted in yet another major file-sharing site closing down. Visit Hotfile.com today, and you’ll see the above notice. It’s the result of a massive settlement with the MPAA, who were set to do battle with Hotfile in court next week. Under the terms of the settlement, Hotfile has agreed to pay damages amounting to $80 million.

Unlike some of the larger sites the MPAA and RIAA have gone after, Hotfile didn’t exactly have a stellar track record when it came to copyright takedowns. Prosecutors claimed that more than 10 million requests had been sent to Hotfile before the lawsuit was filed (back in 2011) and that only 43 user accounts had been terminated as a result. That’s not the kind of vigilance that keeps the Copyright monopoly off your back.

Hotfile also made things worse by offering what amounted to a cash incentive system for uploaders, who in turn responded by making copywritten content a substantial 10% of Hotfile’s total holdings. Hotfile did eventually put a copyright filtering mechanism in place, though not until well after the lawsuit had been filed. Clearly it turned out to be too little, too late to satisfy the MPAA.

Presiding Judge Kathleen Williams had already ruled that Hotfile wasn’t eligible for DMCA Safe Harbor protection, so net week’s trial would have been focused on sorting out the total bill for damages. Now that a settlement has been reached, all that remains to be seen is how much of the $80 million the MPAA will actually be able to collect from Hotfile.

That, and how much money actually makes it back to the supporting cast of folks who produced the content in question. After the lawyers and MPAA take their cut, there likely won’t be a whole lot left. But hey, a win against piracy is still a win — at least that’s what the MPAA always says.

Snopes.com Hoax

Snopes misleads the public, and lies to its readers:

snopes .com lie's to the public

snopes .com lie’s to the public

How can something be a half truth?  Well thanks to snopes.com, you have their personal opinion attached to it.  How is this possible you ask?  I just think it’s great when you research some fact, to find out if a rumor is true, that you get some dude’s personal opinion on top of it.  Maybe they’re cofused on the idea no one is interested in them individually, but just the damn information.  Life is complicated, but I thought this was a yes or no question?  Multiple choice style questions cannot have a half truth. Hasn’t this been ingrained in us at an early age that when we draw cute dinosaur pictures instead of answering a series of true or false question, that you’re going to fail? Oh you might get an additional one point for your prehistoric image, but you fail.

I recently contacted Snopes in response to a attack on one of my articles. The title is “Coca Cola Phosphric Acid”, and it is a brief description of the weird alternative uses you can use with coke in a pinch. Nothing in my article is incorrect, but somehow they managed to reference my article as incorrect. Confused, well me too but let’s carry on.

The article:https://frontview.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/coca-cola-phosphoric-acid-cocaine-2/

I had contacted Snopes.com about their winded article on how Coca Cola is safe to drink, and that it indeed contained many types of acids, including Phosphoric Acid.  This is their response:

“Nothing in the Wikipedia article you reference states that ingesting
Phosphoric acid in the small amounts commonly found in soft drinks
such as Coca-Cola is harmful. In fact, the article notes that
Phosphoric acid is a common food additive, which demonstrates that it
Obviously isn’t harmful to ingest in moderate quantities.”

This was my reference to Wikipedia:

Reference:

Food-grade phosphoric acid (additive E338) is used to acidify foods and beverages such as various colas, but not without controversy regarding its health effects.[6] It provides a tangy or sour taste, and being a mass-produced chemical is available cheaply and in large quantities. The low cost and bulk availability is unlike more expensive seasonings that give comparable flavors, such as citric acid which is obtainable from citrus, but usually fermented by Aspergillus niger mold from scrap molasses, waste starch hydrolysates and phosphoric acid.[7]

(wikipedia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphoric_acid

You know its funny, even if the article says, ” Food-grade phosphoric acid (additive E338) is used to acidify foods and beverages such as various colas, but not without controversy regarding its health effects.” My question wasn’t about if it was safe to drink but that it only contained Phosphoric Acid.  If they could add this important rumor to their collection of urban lies. They didn’t even answer my question properly. Well, That just simply doesn’t matter.

snopes is a HOAX

Snopes is a HOAX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it guys, I was totally wrong all these years, time to pack it up.  My doctor, nutritionist, and health professional was all wrong. Its Damn safe, sorry for the confusion. Let alone what my dentist would say about this.  Even with small amounts, these professionals would have a field day. I could go on for hours referencing just about any other profession in the world. Well you see where I am going with this.

Since then, I have attempted to contact them, stick to my guns and ask them to update one little simple fact that Coca Cola does contain these dangerous chemicals. No response! Very typical when you have something to hide. Really suspicious when you do some investigation into their Coke lore section. Very one sided, like they are trying to promote the health benefits of coke, I mean coca cola.  Are you guys being paid to promote cola’s? I mean how can you say Coca Cola used to contain Coke, that it is only a half truth?  Either its true or not, enough with your bullish% opinions!  True or False, or close down your site. No one needs to be more confused after visiting your misleading urban legends. Busted!

SNOPES-GETS-SNOPED

SNOPES-GETS-SNOPED

Cheap GPUs rendering passwords useless

 

Cheap GPUs are rendering strong passwords useless:

 Cheap GPUs are rendering strong passwords useless


Cheap GPUs are rendering strong passwords useless

Think that your eight-character password consisting of lowercase characters, uppercase characters and a sprinkling of numbers is strong enough to protect you from a brute force attack?

Think again!

Jon Honeyball writing for PC Pro has a sobering piece on how the modern GPU can be leveraged as a powerful tool against passwords once considered safe from bruteforce attack.

Take a cheap GPU (like the Radeon HD 5770) and the free GPU-powered password busting tool called ‘ighashgpu’ and you have yourself a lean, mean password busting machine. How lean and mean? Very:

The results are startling. Working against NTLM login passwords, a password of “fjR8n” can be broken on the CPU in 24 seconds, at a rate of 9.8 million password guesses per second. On the GPU, it takes less than a second at a rate of 3.3 billion passwords per second.

Increase the password to 6 characters (pYDbL6), and the CPU takes 1 hour 30 minutes versus only four seconds on the GPU. Go further to 7 characters (fh0GH5h), and the CPU would grind along for 4 days, versus a frankly worrying 17 minutes 30 seconds for the GPU.

It gets worse. Throw in a nine-character, mixed-case random password, and while a CPU would take a mind-numbing 43 years to crack this, the GPU would be done in 48 days.

Surely throwing symbols in there keeps you safe, right? Wrong! Take a password consisting of seven characters, mixed-case/symbols random password like ‘F6&B is’ (note the space), that’s gotta be tough for a bruteforce attack. Right? A CPU will take some 75 days to churn through the possibilities, while a GPU is done with it in 7 hours.

What’s the solution? Well, Honeyball doesn’t know, and neither do I to be perfectly honest. What I do know is that this is a warning, and one that we need to take seriously. Unless we’re willing to move onto 15-16 characters, mixed-case/symbols random password (which will end up on Post-It Notes), passwords will soon only offer protection against honest people.

Congress doesn’t know how NSA works

Congress NSA doesn't works

Congress NSA doesn’t works

While the president and the intelligence community cling to “Congressional oversight” as a justficiation for the pervasive intelligence-gathering programs in place within the US, members of Congress theselves are saying that they don’t have the information they need to exercise real authority over the NSA. A recent report in The Guardian quotes two House members, Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL), who have both requested information about the agency and its programs from the House Intelligence Committee, only to be rebuffed.

In a June 25th request, Rep. Griffith asked the committee for the “classified FISA court order(s)” discussed on Meet the Press the previous weekend — a 2011 opinion holding that many of the NSA’s programs under the FISA Amendments Act were unconstitutitional. Weeks later he requested additional information surrounding Yahoo’s legal challenge to the NSA’s PRISM program and Verizon’s supplying of customer metadata to government intelligence agencies. More than six weeks since the first letter, Griffith still hasn’t received a response.

In Rep. Grayson’s case, the committee did sometimes respond to his requests for information. “The transcript is classified,” read one such reply to a request for the text from a vote — itself a decision to refuse an earlier request for information. So far, neither Griffith nor Grayson have received the information they requested.

Adding to the overall lack of oversight, media reports containing classified information are similarly barred from Congress. Last month, Grayson attempted to circulate slides published by The Guardian only to be told that he could face sanctions because the material they contained was still classified, echoing the Obama administration’s 2010 decision to ban the WikiLeaks website from federal computers while the diplomatic cables it sought to block access to were being published in major newspapers. Expressing frustration at the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Griffith said, “my oath is to make informed decisions, and I can’t do my job when I can’t get even the most basic information about these programs.”

NSA

Internet kill’s brains

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever:

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes - And Forever

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever

Dr. Manfred Spitzer knows that people find his arguments provocative. In his first book, he warned parents of the very real dangers of letting their children spend too much time in front of the TV. Now, in a second book called Digitale Demenz [Digital Dementia], he’s telling them that teaching young kids finger-counting games is much better for them than letting them explore on a laptop.

Spitzer, 54, may be a member of the slide-rule generation that learned multiplication tables by heart, but his work as a neuropsychiatrist has shown him that when young children spend too much time using a computer, their brain development suffers and that the deficits are irreversible and cannot be made up for later in life.

South Korean doctors were the first to describe this phenomenon, and dubbed it digital dementia – whence the title of Spitzer’s book. Simplistically, the message can be summed up this way: the Internet makes you dumb. And it is of course a message that outrages all those who feel utterly comfortable in the digital world. In the aftermath of the publication of Spitzer’s book, they have lost no time venting their wrath across Germany.

And yet Spitzer has accumulated a wealth of scientific information that gives his thesis solid underpinnings, and the studies and data he draws on offer more than enough room for consternation.

Everything leaves traces in the brain

According to his study, many young people today use more than one medium at a time: they place calls while playing computer games or writing e-mails. That means that some of them are packing 8.5 hours of media use per day into 6.5 hours. Multitasking like this comes at the cost of concentration – experiments by American researchers have established this. And to Spitzer, those results mean just one thing: “Multitasking is not something we should be encouraging in future generations.”

Because everything a person does leaves traces in the brain. When development is optimum, memory links are formed and built on during the first months and years of life, and the structure adds up to a kind of basic foundation for everything else we learn. Scientists call this ability of the brain to adjust to new challenges “neuroplasticity.” It is one of the reasons for the evolutionary success of the human species. Spitzer also sees it as a source of present danger.

When drivers depend exclusively on their navigation technology, they do not develop the ability to orient themselves, although of course the brain offers them the possibility of learning how to do so. The same applies to children who use electronic styluses on a SMART board instead of learning how to write — the brain is kept in check. And because computers take over many classrooms and other functions that are actually good practice for kids, “it inevitably has a negative effect on learning,” Spitzer argues.

Digital media should be banned from classrooms

Stating that there have so far been no independent studies “that unequivocally establish that computers and screens in the classroom makes learning any more effective,” Spitzer goes so far as to recommend that digital media be banned from the classroom. Even more drastically, he writes: “In reality, using digital media in kindergarten or primary school is actually a way of getting children addicted.” Strong stuff for the generations who take computers and the Internet for granted, using them as a source of information and a space to communicate via social networks — and who enjoy doing so. The Internet has become the fourth cultural technology, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic.

Spitzer quotes Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who wrote that the process of learning involves the heart along with the brain and the hands. He believes it would be better if kids learned finger games to help them deal with numbers, instead of relying on computers. In a country like Germany, whose major resource is smart people and innovative ideas, maybe we should be taking Spitzer’s warnings more seriously.

What the internet is doing to our Brains:

Analytics engine will read your mind

Computation knowledge engine will soon be able to read your mind:

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

Wolfram Alpha will soon be able to read your mind, its creator Stephen Wolfram said at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin today.

Speaking at the US technology conference on Monday, Wolfram predicted that his analytics engine will soon work pre-emptively, meaning it will be able to predict what its users are looking for.

“Wolfram Alpha will be able to predict what users are looking for,” Wolfram said. “Imagine that combined with augmented reality.”

Speaking during a talk on the future of computation, Stephen Wolfram – the creator of Wolfram Alpha and the mastermind behind Apple’s Siri personal assistant – also showed off the engine’s new ability to analyse images.

Wolfram said, “We’re now able to bring in uploaded material, and use our algorithm to analyse it. For example, we can take a picture, ask Wolfram Alpha and it will try and tell us things about it.

“We can compute all sorts of things about this picture – and ask Wolfram Alpha to do a specific computation if need be.”

That’s not the only new feature of Wolfram Alpha, as it can also now analyse data from uploaded spreadsheet documents.

“We can also do things like uploading a spreadsheet and asking Wolfram [Alpha] to analyse specific data from it,” Wolfram said.

He added, “This is an exciting time for me, because a whole lot of things I’ve been working on for 30 years have begun converging in a nice way.”

This upload feature will be available as part of Wolfram Alpha Pro, a paid-for feature where Wolfram hopes the analytical engine will make most of its money. Wolfram Alpha Pro costs $4.99 per month, or $2.99 if you’re a student.

Wolfram also showed off Wolfram Alpha’s ability to analyse data from Facebook, a feature that was announced last August.

News will kill you

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier:

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

 

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether. In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.

News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.

News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.

News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.

News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.

News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.

News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.

News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?

News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.

News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Police analyze Facebook to catch you

Researchers are interested in analyzing Facebook and social media to see how you score on a Self-Report Psychopathy scale:
The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media. By analyzing stories written by students and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote. As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements. “This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write. While most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence. Their analysis revealed that psychopaths used about twice as many words related to basic physiological needs and self-preservation, including eating, drinking and monetary resources than the nonpsychopaths, they write. Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University said, “the nonpsychopathic murderers talked more about spirituality and religion and family, reflecting what nonpsychopathic people would think about when they just committed a murder”. Police and researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Unlike the checklist, which is based on an extensive review of the case file and an interview, the self report is completed by the person in question. This sort of tool could be very useful for law enforcement investigations, such as in the case of the Long Island serial killer, who is being sought for the murders of at least four prostitutes and possibly others, since this killer used the online classified site Craigslist to contact victims, according to Hancock. Text analysis software could be used to conduct a “first pass,” focusing the work of human investigators, he said. “A lot of time analysts tell you they feel they are drinking from a fire hose.” Knowing a suspect is a psychopath can affect how law enforcement conducts investigations and interrogations, Hancock said.

Speech patterns give away psychopaths

Psychopaths prone to using the past tense, making cause and effect statements and using ‘uh’ and ‘um.’

Psychopaths prone to using the past tense, making cause and effect statements and using 'uh' and 'um.'

Speech pattern gives away psychopaths

 

 

Psychopaths are known to be wily and manipulative, but even so, they unconsciously betray themselves, according to scientists who have looked for patterns in convicted murderers’ speech as they described their crimes. The researchers interviewed 52 convicted murderers, 14 of them ranked as psychopaths according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, a 20-item assessment, and asked them to describe their crimes in detail. Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money. While we all have conscious control over some words we use, particularly nouns and verbs, this is not the case for the majority of the words we use, including little, functional words like “to” and “the” or the tense we use for our verbs, according to Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University, who discussed the work on Oct. 17 in Midtown Manhattan at Cornell’s ILR Conference Center. “The beautiful thing about them is they are unconsciously produced,” Hancock said. These unconscious actions can reveal the psychological dynamics in a speaker’s mind even though he or she is unaware of it, Hancock said. Psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population and as much as 25 percent of male offenders in federal correctional settings, according to the researchers. Psychopaths are typically profoundly selfish and lack emotion. “In lay terms, psychopaths seem to have little or no ‘conscience,'” write the researchers in a study published online in the journal Legal and Criminological Psychology. Psychopaths are also known for being cunning and manipulative, and they make for perilous interview subjects, according to Michael Woodworth, one of the authors and a psychologist who studies psychopathy at the University of British Columbia, who joined the discussion by phone. Criminal Minds Are Different From Yours, “It is unbelievable,” Woodworth said. “You can spend two or three hours and come out feeling like you are hypnotized.” While there are reasons to suspect that psychopaths’ speech patterns might have distinctive characteristics, there has been little study of it, the team writes. To examine the emotional content of the murderers’ speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the “uhs” and “ums” that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying. With regard to psychopaths, “We think the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ are about putting the mask of sanity on,” Hancock told LiveScience.

 

 

Computer that will never crash

Scientists invent a self-repairing computer that will never crash:

Scientists invent a self-repairing computer that will never crash Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/14/scientists-invent-a-self-repairing-computer-that-will-never-crash

Scientists invent a self-repairing computer that will never crash

Scientists at University College London (UCL) have created a self-healing computer. The “systemic” machine, according to a report in the New Scientist, can instantly recover corrupted data. The invention is expected to have far-reaching consequences for physicians and the military. It could allow drones to recover from combat damage in a matter of seconds, or create a more realistic model of the human brain. The team behind the systemic computer built it to be able to respond to random and unpredictable events. Computers were originally designed to follow a linear set of instructions, and can only consider one thing at a time. “Even when it feels like your computer is running all your software at the same time, it is just pretending to do that, flicking its attention very quickly between each program,” Peter Bentley, a computer scientist at UCL, said in an interview with the New Scientist. Together with his colleague Christos Sakellariou, Bentley re-engineered a new computer that thinks more like the human brain. Anant Jhingran, who has been considered the brains behind IBM’s super computer “Watson,” said that new computing systems are designed to “mimic the real world better.” The vice president of products at Apigee, a “big data” analytics company, said IBM has spent years building computers that “observe and then react” like humans do. The trick is a safety in numbers approach: The new computer contains multiple copies of its instructions across its individual systems, so if one fails, it can access a clean copy and repair itself. In the future, Bentley’s team will incorporate machine learning, so if you’re sitting outside working and the temperature gets too high, the computer will respond to preemptively prevent a crash. The next generation of school kids may need to come up with a more creative excuse for failing to turn in work on time!

DARPA’S high resolution drone-mounted camera

DARPA Can See You… From 17,500 Feet In The Air:

 DARPA Can See You... From 17,500 Feet In The Air A new video from the world's highest-resolution drone-mounted camera is mind-blowingly clear. And terrifying.

DARPA Can See You… From 17,500 Feet In The Air

 

Curious as to how the Defense Department could be spying on you next? PBS checked in with DARPA about the latest in drone camera technology for the NOVA special “Rise of the Drones,” including the world’s highest-resolution camera. Actually seeing the sensor on ARGUS-IS, or Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is still classified, but the basics of how it works have been deemed fit for public consumption. ARGUS-IS uses 368 imaging chips like those found in cell phone cameras, to stitch together a 1.8 billion pixel video. That means from 17,500 feet in the air, ARGUS-IS can see someone on the ground waving their arms. And it generates that kind of high-definition video for an area 15 square miles across. It can see a bird flying through a parking lot from more than three miles in the air. It can store a million terabytes of video a day, up to 5,000 hours of footage, so soon drones will not only be able to see everything that happens on the ground, but also keep that record. Whether or not ARGUS has been used in the field is still classified. Let’s get real, though: Does this cool a toy get put in a corner?

Raytheon secret software tracks social media ‘predicts’ future behavior

Rights groups slam Raytheon secret software that tracks social media and ‘predicts’ people’s future behavior:

Rights groups slam Raytheon secret software that tracks social media and ‘predicts’ people’s future behavior

Rights groups slam Raytheon secret software that tracks social media and ‘predicts’ people’s future behavior

 

A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients. But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace. The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns. The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a “Google for spies” and tapped as a means of monitoring and control. Using Riot it is possible to gain an entire snapshot of a person’s life – their friends, the places they visit charted on a map – in little more than a few clicks of a button. In the video obtained by the Guardian, it is explained by Raytheon’s “principal investigator” Brian Urch that photographs users post on social networks sometimes contain latitude and longitude details – automatically embedded by smartphones within so-called “exif header data.” Riot pulls out this information, showing not only the photographs posted onto social networks by individuals, but also the location at which the photographs were taken. “We’re going to track one of our own employees,” Urch says in the video, before bringing up pictures of “Nick,” a Raytheon staff member used as an example target. With information gathered from social networks, Riot quickly reveals Nick frequently visits Washington Nationals Park, where on one occasion he snapped a photograph of himself posing with a blonde haired woman. “We know where Nick’s going, we know what Nick looks like,” Urch explains, “now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future.” Riot can display on a spider diagram the associations and relationships between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare, a mobile phone app used by more than 25 million people to alert friends of their whereabouts. The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them. The video shows that Nick, who posts his location regularly on Foursquare, visits a gym frequently at 6am early each week. Urch quips: “So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday.” Mining from public websites for law enforcement is considered legal in most countries. In February last year, for instance, the FBI requested help to develop a social-media mining application for monitoring “bad actors or groups”. However, Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said the Raytheon technology raised concerns about how troves of user data could be covertly collected without oversight or regulation. “Social networking sites are often not transparent about what information is shared and how it is shared,” McCall said. “Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead, it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like the Riot search.” Raytheon, which made sales worth an estimated $25bn (£16bn) in 2012, did not want its Riot demonstration video to be revealed on the grounds that it says it shows a “proof of concept” product that has not been sold to any clients. Jared Adams, a spokesman for Raytheon’s intelligence and information systems department, said in an email: “Riot is a big data analytics system design we are working on with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation’s rapidly changing security needs. “Its innovative privacy features are the most robust that we’re aware of, enabling the sharing and analysis of data without personally identifiable information [such as social security numbers, bank or other financial account information] being disclosed.” In December, Riot was featured in a newly published patent Raytheon is pursuing for a system designed to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they should be judged a security risk. In April, Riot was scheduled to be showcased at a US government and industry national security conference for secretive, classified innovations, where it was listed under the category “big data – analytics, algorithms.” According to records published by the US government’s trade controls department, the technology has been designated an “EAR99″ item under export regulations, which means it “can be shipped without a licence to most destinations under most circumstances”.

Facebook Tell’s Users They Are Being Spied On

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook to Tell Users They Are Being Tracked

Facebook has agreed to be transparent about, well, the obvious: You are being tracked so advertisers can better aim at you, and you can opt out if you make the effort. The announcement came Monday as part of the company’s agreement with the Council of Better Business Bureau. The agreement applies to ads that are shown to Facebook users, based on what else they have browsed on the Web. Let’s say you have looked at little girls’ party dresses on an unrelated e-commerce site. When you log on to Facebook, you could be tempted with a dress that you didn’t quite buy; it might even nudge you to make the purchase “for your darling daughter.” Now, if you hover over one of those ads with your mouse, a grey-blue icon will pop up alerting you to the fact that you’re being tracked. It remains unclear whether this notification would satisfy either privacy advocates or government regulators who are pressing Web companies to make it easier for users to avoid being tracked by marketers. Jeffrey Chester of the Washington-based Center for Digital Democracy panned the new initiative as inadequate. “It’s time for Facebook to face up to informing users in clear black-and-white — not grey — about how it harvests its user information,” he said in an e-mail. You can opt out of being tracked, one ad-serving company at a time. Facebook joins with several third parties to serve you those ads, on behalf of brands. The company declined to say how many such companies it joined with, only that there were in the dozens. You can also choose to hide ads from a particular brand. Facebook has always allowed users to do this; the only change is that it will henceforth nudge you with a new icon. “At Facebook, we work hard to build transparency and control into each of our products, including our advertising offerings,” the company said in an e-mailed statement attributable to its chief privacy officer, Erin Egan. Advertising is the bread-and-butter of all Web services, including Facebook. Faced with pressure to gin up profits for its public investors, Facebook has in recent months refined its aimed advertising efforts. The company earned $5 billion in advertising revenue last year. The online ad industry wants a system of self-regulation rather than by government fiat.

Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation:

 Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation


Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation. They made a computer simulation of the universe. And it looks sort of like us. A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. And since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is therefore more likely than not that our world is artificial. Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany led by Silas Beane say they have evidence this may be true. In a paper named ‘Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation’, they point out that current simulations of the universe – which do exist, but which are extremely weak and small – naturally put limits on physical laws. Technology Review explains that “the problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time.” What that basically means is that by just being a simulation, the computer would put limits on, for instance, the energy that particles can have within the program. These limits would be experienced by those living within the sim – and as it turns out, something which looks just like these limits do in fact exist. For instance, something known as the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK cut off, is an apparent boundary of the energy that cosmic ray particles can have. This is caused by interaction with cosmic background radiation. But Beane and co’s paper argues that the pattern of this rule mirrors what you might expect from a computer simulation. Naturally, at this point the science becomes pretty tricky to wade through – and we would advise you read the paper itself to try and get the full detail of the idea. But the basic impression is an intriguing one. Like a prisoner in a pitch-black cell, we may never be able to see the ‘walls’ of our prison — but through physics we may be able to reach out and touch them.

News organization allows government officials to censor

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials:

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials

 

 

In one of the most shocking articles that the New York Times has ever put out, a New York Times reporter has openly admitted that virtually every major mainstream news organization allows government bureaucrats and campaign officials to censor their stories.  For example, almost every major news organization in the country has agreed to submit virtually all quotes from anyone involved in the Obama campaign or the Romney campaign to gatekeepers for “quote approval” before they will be published.  If the gatekeeper in the Obama campaign does not want a certain quote to get out, the American people will not see it, and the same thing applies to the Romney campaign.  The goal is to keep the campaigns as “on message” as possible and to avoid gaffes at all cost.  But this kind of thing is not just happening with political campaigns.  According to the New York Times, “quote approval” has become “commonplace throughout Washington”.  In other words, if you see a quote in the newspaper from someone in the federal government then it is safe to say that a gatekeeper has almost certainly reviewed that quote and has approved it.  This is another sign that “the free and independent media” in this country is a joke.  What we get from the mainstream media is a very highly filtered form of propaganda, and that is one reason why Americans are turning away from the mainstream media in droves.  People want the truth, and more Americans than ever realize that they are not getting it from the mainstream media. The following quote comes from the recent article in the New York Times mentioned above and it is absolutely jaw dropping….

The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.

They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.

Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.

The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message.

This is an article that everyone needs to read.  If you have not read it yet, you can find it right here. What all of this means is that both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign essentially have “veto power” over any quotes from those campaigns that we see in the newspapers. According to the New York Times, virtually every major news organization has agreed to submit their quotes for “quote approval”….

It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly. Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms.

This is absolutely disgusting, and it goes against everything that our media is supposed to stand for. The following is what Joseph Farah had to say when he learned about this story….

All I can say about these people I once considered “colleagues” is that I am so ashamed of them. I am mortified. They are humiliating themselves and a vital institution for any free society.

It seems the biggest threat to the American tradition of a free and independent press is not government coercion. It’s the willing submission of the press to being handled and managed by government and politicians.

Keep in mind that Joseph Farah has been working in the world of journalism for decades.  He is deeply saddened to see what is happening to a profession that he deeply loves. But he is not the only one. Just check out what Dan Rather had to say during a speech back in 2009….

“At my age and stage I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t have to kiss up to anybody,” he said. “What a wonderful feeling it is.”

Even so, his talk emphasized what he believes is the erosion of quality journalism, because of the corporatization, politicization, and “trivialization” of news. Those three factors, Rather argued, have fueled the “dumbing down and sleezing up of news” and the decline of “great American journalism.”

Likening media consolidation to that of the banking industry, Rather claimed that “roughly 80 percent” of the media is controlled by no more than six, and possibly as few as four, corporations.

And Dan Rather is right.  The control over the media in the United States is more tightly concentrated than ever before. Back in the early 1980s, approximately 50 corporations essentially had nearly total control of the media in the United States. Today, just six monolithic media corporations dominate virtually everything you watch, hear and read. These six gigantic corporations own television networks, publishing houses, movie studios, newspapers, radio stations, music labels and video game companies.  Most Americans are absolutely addicted to information and entertainment, and those six massive corporations supply the vast majority of the information and entertainment that Americans take in. The amount of control that those six corporate giants have is absolutely incredible.  For example, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  If you can beam 153 hours of “programming” into someone’s head each month, that gives you an awesome amount of influence over that person. The six monolithic corporations mentioned above are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. There are some areas of the media that are not completely dominated by those corporations, but even control over those areas is becoming more highly concentrated than ever. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States.  The power that Clear Channel has over the radio industry in America is absolutely staggering. Even control over the Internet is becoming much more concentrated.  Giant corporations such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly controlling what we see and hear online. But it really is the “big six” that dominate most of what we see, hear and read on a daily basis.

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Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest.  Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com.  The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

———————————————————-

Please keep in mind that the list above is not exhaustive.  It only contains a sampling of the companies that those six corporate giants own. So are you starting to get an idea of how powerful they are? If you ever wondered why the version of “the news” that you get is so similar no matter where you turn, it is because control of the news is concentrated in just a very few hands. So who controls the “big six” media corporations? Would it surprise you to know that the boards of directors of those big media corporations have a tremendous amount of overlap with the boards of directors of large banks, large oil companies and large pharmaceutical companies? The following is from the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting website….

Media corporations share members of the board of directors with a variety of other large corporations, including banks, investment companies, oil companies, health care and pharmaceutical companies and technology companies.

You can find a list that shows how these boards of directors overlap and interlock right here. The giant media corporations are not going to criticize the establishment because they are the establishment. The messages that these media behemoths pound into our heads are going to be the messages that the establishment wants pounded into our heads. Anyone that believes that the mainstream media is “independent” and that it does not have “an agenda” is being delusional. Of course it is also worth mentioning that much of what we get from the mainstream media is also often directly controlled by the federal government. Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) has discovered that hundreds of American journalists have worked directly for the CIA. Not that the federal government and the establishment are opposed to one another.  The truth is that they very much work together hand in hand.  But sometimes the federal government has slightly different priorities than the corporate establishment does. In any event, the key point to take away from all this is that the news and entertainment that we all enjoy on a daily basis if very highly censored and very highly controlled. It is imperative that we understand that those that own and control the media are trying to shape society in a certain way.  They want to impose their values and their vision of the future on all the rest of us. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the “Big Brother” police state control grid that is going in all around us. Instead, they insist that all of this added “security” will keep us safe even as our liberties and freedoms are being badly eroded. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the population control agenda of the global elite. Instead, they insist that more “family planning” will help the environment and make the world a more prosperous place for all of us. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the Federal Reserve and none of them are warning us about the financial collapse that is rapidly approaching. Instead, they tell us to keep having faith in the system and they promise us that everything is going to be okay. Well, you can mindlessly believe the corporate media if you want, but I believe that in this day and age it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. Don’t be a mindless robot for anyone. Think for yourself and make your own decisions. The truth is out there and you can find it if you are willing to go search for it.

Google Pulling Videos From YouTube

Admits To Pulling Videos From YouTube

Admits To Pulling Videos From YouTube

 

We know Google operates internationally, allowing people from all over the world to have access to some form of a wealth of information. But how do these countries and governments feel about their citizens having this kind of access? For the past two years, Google has been issuing a “Transparency Report” detailing which governments have asked to have content removed. Some of these requests are granted, such as the removal of videos which contained threatening content towards US law enforcement, while some of these requests are reviewed and later denied. While it may be shocking to see how many countries have been asking to have political content removed, the team at Google says this is just the continuation of a troubling trend. For instance, Google has admitted to taking down 149 videos in Thailand which allegedly insulted the local monarchy, a crime in their country. Google said they removed these videos in accordance with local law. The search giant also said they had been asked to remove a blog which allegedly personally defamed a US law official. While Google denied this request, they did comply with a request to take down 4 out of 5 YouTube accounts which allegedly contained “threatening and/or harassing content,” to the tune of nearly 300 videos. The UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers had requested Google remove 5 YouTube accounts, claiming they promoted terrorism. Saying the videos violated community guidelines, Google terminated these accounts, resulting in the removal of 640 videos. Google also points out, however, that while some requests are removed to comply with local law, other requests to block aspects of free speech — particularly about local government — have been denied. In their Official Google Blog, Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou writes, “We noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not.” “It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.” According to Google’s Transparency Report, Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 search results in the last half of 2011. Each of these results linked to articles and blogs which referenced “public figures,” such as mayors and public prosecutors. For instance, Poland asked Google to remove a website which criticized a public institution, a request Google denied. Canada also issued a request, asking Google to remove a video of a man urinating on his Canadian passport and flushing it down the toilet. Google said they did not comply with this request. All told, Google said it had received 461 court orders between June and December 2011. Combined, these court orders covered 4,925 items. Google complied with 68% of them, in addition to complying with 47% of more “informal requests.” “We realize that the numbers we share can only provide a small window into what’s happening on the Web at large,” Chou said. “But we do hope that by being transparent about these government requests, we can continue to contribute to the public debate about how government behaviors are shaping our Web.”

Russia’s underground cybercrime market

The Russian underground economy has democratized cybercrime:

Russian cybercrime

Russian cybercrime

If you want to buy a botnet, it’ll cost you somewhere in the region of $700. If you just want to hire someone else’s for an hour, though, it can cost as little as $2—that’s long enough to take down, say, a call center, if that’s what you were in the mood for. Maybe you’d like to spy on an ex—for $350 you can purchase a trojan that lets you see all their incoming and outgoing texts. Or maybe you’re just in the market for some good, old-fashioned spamming—it’ll only cost you $10 for a million e-mails. That’s the hourly minimum wage in the UK. This is the current state of Russia’s underground market in cybercrime—a vibrant community of ne’er-do-wells offering every conceivable kind of method for compromising computer security. It’s been profiled in security firm Trend Micro‘s report, Russian Underground 101, and its findings are as fascinating as they are alarming. It’s an insight into the workings of an entirely hidden economy, but also one that’s pretty scary. Some of these things are really, really cheap. Rik Ferguson, Trend Micro’s director of security research and communications, explains to Wired.co.uk that Russia’s cybercrime market is “very much a well-established market.” He says: “It’s very mature. It’s been in place for quite some time. There are people offering niche services, and every niche is catered for.” Russia is one of the major centers of cybercrime, alongside other nations like China and Brazil (“the spiritual home of banking malware”). Russian Underground 101 details the range of products on offer in this established market—Ferguson says that they can be for targeting anyone “from consumers to small businesses.” He points to ZeuS, a hugely popular trojan that’s been around for at least six years. It creates botnets that remotely store personal information gleaned from users’ machines, and has been discovered within the networks of large organizations like Bank of America, NASA, and Amazon. In 2011, the source code for ZeuS was released into the wild—now, Ferguson says, “it’s become a criminal open source project.” Versions of ZeuS sell for between $200 and $500. Cybercriminal techniques go in and out of fashion like everything else—in that sense, ZeuS is a bit unusual in its longevity. That’s in large part because viruses and trojans can be adapted to take advantage of things in the news to make their fake error messages or spam e-mails seem more legitimate. For example, fake sites, and fake ads for antivirus software, aren’t as popular as they once were because people are just more computer literate these days. Exploits which take advantage of gaps in browser security to install code hidden in the background of a webpage have also become less common as those holes are patched up—but programs which embed within Web browsers still pose a threat, as the recent hullabaloo over a weakness in Java demonstrates. Ferguson points to so-called “ransomware” as an example of a more recent trend, where the computer is locked down and the hard drive encrypted. All the user sees on the screen is that tells them that their local law enforcement authority (so, in the UK, often the Metropolitan Police) has detected something like child pornography or pirated software on their PC, and if they want to unlock it they’ll have to send money to a certain bank account. No payment, no getting your hard drive back. Amazingly, if you pay that “fine,” then you will actually get your information back, says Ferguson. “But you’ve labeled yourself as an easy mark, and there’s no telling if they haven’t left behind a backdoor which will let them come back and try again,” he says. Child pornography and pirated software have been in the news a lot over the past few years, for obvious reasons, and that kind of thing directly influences the thinking of hackers and programmers. Taking the time to adapt these tools to recent trends can be very lucrative. DNSChanger, a popular trojan from 2007 to 2011, would infect a machine and change its DNS settings. When the user went to a webpage with ads on it, that traffic would give affiliate revenue to the scammers. One prominent DNSChanger ring (Rove Digital) was busted in Estonia in 2011—the FBI had been tracking them for six years, and during that time it was estimated that they’d earned around $14 million from this little trick. It also meant that the FBI was left with some critical Web infrastructure on its hands—those infected machines (which included machines at major organizations) could only access the Web through those Rove Digital servers. Months were spent trying to get people to check their computers for infection and ensuring that when those Estonian servers were shut off, it didn’t take down, say, a bank. The most recent trends in cybercrime, though, are very much focused on mobile—particularly Android, Ferguson explains: “We’ve seen so far 175,000 malicious threats for Android, and we expect that to be a quarter of a million by next year. Those threats come from malicious apps—if you want to stay safe, stick to official channels like Google Play, don’t just download from any site. Similarly, there aren’t any malicious iOS apps in the wild, on the App Store, but that only applies to iPhones aren’t jailbroken—downloading from other places puts your phone at risk.” These threats aren’t going away, either. In fact, according to Ferguson, “prices are going down” across the Russian underground: “Let’s not pretend that these people aren’t taking advantage of technology just like normal businesses—improvements in technology are getting faster, and there are things like cloud services which they also use. The bad guys are using technologies to drive down costs in the same way businesses are.” Ferguson cites the recent case of someone claiming to have bought the personal information of 1.1 million Facebook users for only $5 (£3.19) as further evidence of the growing problem of online information leaking into the hands of these cybercrime communities. Hackers and other cybercriminals make it their job to analyze security measures and find ways around them, because that information is where the value lies. While hackers and other cyber criminals can save by buying in bulk, the cost to the individual (or the business) that falls victim to one of these techniques is potentially much higher.

Ill boy send’s robot to school

Boy sends robot to school in his place:

Boy sends robot to school in his place

Boy sends robot to school in his place

A seven-year-old boy who is too ill to go to school has sent a robot to class in his place. Devon Carrow, from New York in America, uses the £3,000 ‘robo-swot’ to answer his teachers’ questions and take part in group discussions, all from the comfort of his home. The high-tech gadget uses HD cameras to show Devon his classroom and he can signal when he wants to give an answer with a flashing light.

Robot
The robot even has its own desk! Devon has lots of allergies, which mean it is dangerous for him to be around other children. His Mum says that the equipment helps him feel included and realise that he still has to go to school the same as anyone else.

Apple iPhone 5 Sucks

New technical specifications for the iPhone 5 just don’t make the magic mark for me, what ever happened to the clear phone concept?  And why didn’t it ever come out, they have the technology for this:

Iphone 5 Sucks

IPhone 5 Sucks

When it comes to deflating expectations, Apple chief Tim Cook takes Centre stage!  This Wednesdays launch of the new Apple iPhone 5 was a huge disappointment. Expectations were high and that it would be more than a revamping of the old iPhone 4 and 4s.  A thinner profile, with minor hardware upgrades is all that Apple had to offer its customers.  Let’s not get into the new cable, which completely renders all other existing apple products useless.

The event was held at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Performing Arts in San Francisco.  The new handset that has a mildly larger screen was showcased by none other than Apples new Failer CEO Tim Cook.  This new phone has a new operating system iOS 6 mobile, which is only a little better than the previous version compromising any new major advancement against the industry competition.  Google (GooG), Samsung (SSNLF), Microsoft (MSFT), and a few other’s clearly rival the large markets of mobile computing which Apple could have taken if not for its blunder showcase of the new iPhone 5 this Wednesday.

This semi-failure clearly shows apples incompetence in leading the way for new Smartphone products.  Since the companies co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs death last year.  Tim Cook has not been able to deliver on Mr. Jobs promise of telling everyone that they will continue to show amazing new products in the future.  Apple’s marketing guru Phil Schillers comments on the new iPhone 5 clearly misleads the public into new apple trickery when he says, ” We have the most beautiful device that we’ve ever made.”  One can tell by even a quick glance that the iPhone 4 or even the 4s for that matter, almost matches the iPhone 5 in every way.  Why would anyone who owns an iPhone 4 switch to an almost identical Smartphone?

Mr. Cooks copy cat appearance, down to the black shirt and jeans cannot hide the fact that he does not match the leadership of the late Steve Jobs.  This larger screen with its advancement of a fifth row of icons on its home screen isn’t even an improvement.  A lot of what was said at the product launch was hype. The iPhone 5 will be larger, and faster while connecting to new networks doesn’t take away the awe factor of major new advancements in the Smart phone industry! Are these even real improvements?  Shouldn’t these upgrades be applied to the older iPhone 4 and 4s?  I really love the fact that the iPhone sported a front and back glass panel. Doesn’t everyone catch on that the metal back is much cheaper to produce?  Cutting the costs of manufacturing and lying to everyone that it is major improvement is deception!  You can directly blame Apples new CEO Tim Cook for allowing this trickery to take place.

There some basic overall improvement to talk about.  One is the new A6 chip set, that almost doubles the CPU speed allowing graphics and processing power to take place.  However, these are only standard improvements dictated by the manufacturing industry. Where is the magic that everyone wanted to see with a brand new product launch?  The ability to have games played more seamlessly is only a mild added touch.  Everything else seems to be the same, just a fractional noticeable difference.

There was some criticism of the Sanfransico launch that Mr. Cooks mannerism was somewhat withdrawn, that his mood seems to less than enthusiastic.  Could this be the subconscious realization that their new product was less than wonderful.  The previous launch of the iPhone 4 was a major success, smash down the walls of where the industry was headed.  Basically if it wasn’t for the iPhone 4, most cellular providers would still be forcing everyone to use an old outdated 3g network.  While the iPhone 4 and the desire to own a world changing device indirectly blackmailed cell network providers to re-invest millions of dollars to introduce a new and better 4g service.  I just don’t see this with the new iPhone 5 at all, the ability to connect to slightly different services is just not the same.  Dual Band wifi does not take away from the fact that all major cellular providers want to squash this industry from taking off.  We just don’t see serious wifi taken off, mapping or covering a large area of a city or anything like this.  I don’t think anyone was expecting the see a brand new 5g service being introduced, but it most certainly takes away from the magic that was once present with a recently older product.   That in my view is basically the same!

U.S. security state watching you online

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online:

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

President Eisenhower was right on point about the military-industrial complex, but he could not have predicted the emergence of the massive surveillance state — combining the government and private sector — that bolsters it. Sadly, neither President Obama nor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has the desire or moral courage to fight the growing power and influence of the Corporate Security State. We are witnessing the integration of spying on two levels, the government level (federal, state and local) and the corporate level (via telecom providers, web services and credit card companies). If you are a user of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Craigslist or another popular site, the U.S. security state is watching you. An increasing number of federal agencies are employing sophisticated means to monitor Americans’ use of social networking sites. Federal entities from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are involved in developing programs to track the American public online. Here is a brief summary of some of the other programs:

1. Justice Department. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a report from the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section, “Obtaining and Using Evidence from Social Networking Sites,” that describes how evidence from social networking sites can reveal personal communications that might help “establish motives and personal relationships.” It reports that monitored data from such sites can provide location information and “prove and disprove alibis.” Perhaps most illuminating, it advises agents that “going undercover” on social media sites can enable law enforcement to communicate with suspects and targets, gain access to nonpublic information and map social relationships. The DOJ document notes that Twitter retains the last login IP address, but does not preserve data unless legally required to do so. 

2. The IRS uses a variety of social media sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life to investigate taxpayers. It seems to have started this practice in 2009, providing agents with special training on social networking. The EFF posted the IRS’ 38-page training that offers detailed tips to agents on how to conduct searches, locate relevant taxpayer information, narrow down and refine results. 

3. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is seeking a tool that integrates all online information, including web searches, Wikipedia edits and traffic webcams.

4. The Defense Department has solicited proposals through DARPA for a $42 million “Social Media Strategic Communications” (SMISC) program, a tool that tracks social media and weeds out information. It has set four goals for the project: (i) to detect, classify and measure the development of ideas, concepts in hidden social media messages; (ii) specify the structure of the campaign and influence in social media sites and the community they create; (iii) identify the participants and intention in conducting a social media campaign of persuasion and measure its effect; and (iv) develop an effective counter-message to an identified campaign carried out against the enemy. 

5. The FBI is soliciting a bid for a program that seems very similar to the DHS social-network monitoring program. Dubbed the “FBI Social Media Application,” the program would have “[the ability] to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence … to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”

15 year old hacks 259 Websites

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months:

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months

If you’re looking for a gauge as to how good or bad web security is at the moment, look no further than the case of a 15-year-old from Austria who, over the course of 3 months, managed to hack 259 company websites and databases.  The young man (boy?) was anti-social and turned to the Internet for “praise and affirmation.” He found a hacking community that rewarded successful attacks, downloaded the tools he needed, and set about bypassing the security of different websites.  Between January and March this year he successfully gained access to 259 sites including a few run by adult entertainment companies. Any that he defaced were left with a tag like the one in the screenshot above. His hacker name was ACK!3STX.  The Federal Criminal Police Office (BMI) in Austria identified the boy after many complaints when he failed to hide his IP address during a hack. It was logged and passed to the BMI who arrested him. It didn’t take long for a confession to be forthcoming.  The attacks weren’t aimed at any particular sites, instead it turns out he was just looking for security holes he could exploit in any and all websites he visited. His reason? He was bored as well as wanting praise from the hacker community.  Hacking 259 websites in 3 months is impressive not because a 15-year-old did it, but because it seems to have been done so easily. A boy with no experience and using free tools did this. Clearly website security still isn’t a major concern for the majority of companies being hacked and/or the frameworks being used to implement them.

China’s heavy-handed censorship accelerate rumors

Rumor, Lies, and Weibo: How Social Media is Changing the Nature of Truth in China:

chinese

chinese

 

When the message appeared on the Weibo account of Xinhua, China’s official news agency on April 10, announcing charges against the family of high-profile party leader Bo Xilai, it ended many days of public speculation on China’s largest political crisis in decades. But it also left Chinese web users even more deeply confused about the distinction between political truth and rumor, one that has always been hazy in China but is now blurred even more by social media.  Chinese web users began speculating, following Bo’s firing as Chongqing party chief in March, about the Bo family’s possible role in the mysterious death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman with close ties to the family. China’s Internet censors muzzled the online discussions. The government spokesmen stonewalled inquiries from the British government and told curious Chinese that Heywood died of “excessive drinking,” admonishing them “not to spread groundless rumor.”  On the morning of April 11, Chinese web users woke up to find that the reports that had previously filled their Weibo pages — in coded words adopted to evade the censors — now featured the front page of every official newspaper. The rumor, repressed by censors and dodged by government spokesmen, had become a state-approved fact overnight.  “What was treated as attacks spread by ‘international reactionary forces’ has now become truth. Then what other ‘truths’ exposed by foreign media should we believe?…God knows!” wrote Weibo user Jieyigongjiang. “How did it all become truth? Was I being fooled?” user Zousifanye asked. This hall-of-mirrors system can be confusing even for the officials who run it.  For China’s new generation of tech-savvy youth, who compose the bulk of the nation’s estimated 300 million Weibo users, the downfall of Bo Xilai is the largest political crisis they have witnessed. The sudden volatility of the official versions of truth on the story has left many of them deeply confused. Some see this as a victory for Weibo, which is moderated by censors but often too free-wheeling and fast-moving for them to maintain total control, over more traditional media, which is openly run by the state. “In this political drama that took place in Yuzhou [alternative name for Chongqing], all the media outlets were following Weibo. The power of social media is manifested here,” user Tujiayefu wrote. User Kangjialin agreed: ” ‘Rumor’ is the proof that mainstream media is now falling behind Weibo.”  The government controls all forms of media in China, including Weibo. But on occasions censorship of Weibo is known to relax, allowing windows of free speech, particularly in the cases of breaking news. Chinese distrust of the country’s traditional media, which regularly covers up food scandals and human rights violations, is leading many people to turn to Weibo for information and news. The Twitter-like service has helped expose incidents of mafia intimidation and money laundering. Weibo-based stories like that of Guo Meimei, the 20-year-old “senior official” at the state-run Red Cross Society who posted photos of her new Lamborghini and Maserati online, ignited firestorms of discussions on weightier, more sensitive, and sometimes forbidden subjects such as corruption within state-run social organizations.  In the West, social media is treated skeptically for the exact same reason that it is so embraced in China: it is rife with rumors. Its break-neck speed allows little time for fact-checking or editorial supervision, which also means it can move too quickly for censors. Its noisy, open-source discussion — anyone can say anything and watch it spread — makes it tougher for Western users to trust, but easier for Chinese users, who know that censors can pressure official news organizations but not a hundred million anonymous citizen-bloggers. That anonymity is slowly receding, but this hasn’t done much damage to the service’s popularity or power.  In the Bo Xilai saga, many Weibo users had at first dismissed the dramatic speculations over the Communist Party’s divisive infighting as sensationalized rumors. Now that the rumors have turned out to be true, they’re re-examining the established beliefs that led them to reject the stories and to take the officials at their word. “The result of rumor turning truth is that from now on all rumors will become more trustworthy,” concluded Potomac Xiaowu.  The government is fighting back, reminding Chinese web users that Weibo is also a hot bed of invented rumors, and that believing and spreading them can bring real consequences. Less than a month ago, whispers circulated on Weibo of troop movements near the leadership’s Zhongnanhai compound in central Beijing. Those whispers soon grew into a full-blown account of a coup being staged by Bo’s Party allies in Beijing. Tanks purportedly rolled in and gunshots were fired, a story with terrifying echoes of the 1989 protest on Tiananmen Square. The rumors quickly made it into Western media. Just as it became clear that these stories weren’t true, the government ordered the shutdown of 16 websites and detention of six people over the rumors, which it clearly considered threats to public order. The two massive Weibo sites, Sina and Tencent, were forced to shut down their comment function for three days in order to “carry out a concentrated cleanup.”  China’s heavy-handed censorship may now actually accelerate the spread of rumors, which could be seen as more plausible precisely because they are censored. Chinese web users trying to figure out the most likely truth must speculate not only about the rumors themselves, but also about every move the government makes in response. Did the state order censors to crack down on a particular story because they want quell a false and potentially destabilizing rumor or because they want to prevent an uncomfortable truth from spreading? If censors clamp down on a growing rumor later than expected or not at all, is this because they’re simply slow or because government wants to build up public attention for its own purposes? In the days immediately after Bo’s removal from his Chongqing office, for example, Internet rumors about his misdeeds circulated freely, in what many suspect was a state effort to build public knowledge of his corruption and turn people against him. For Chinese netizens trying to parse out truth from rumors, every story and its government response are a new mystery, and the guessing game never really ends.  This hall-of-mirrors system can be confusing even for the officials who run it, and social media consumers are not the only people in China who can confuse truth and rumor. Last February, as protest movements stormed the Middle East, starting with the “Jasmine revolution” in Tunisia, a crowd gathered quietly in central Beijing after anonymous calls for their own Jasmine protests. The small crowd was outnumbered by skittish police, not to mention a number of Western reporters. Both groups had also caught the rumor and responded swiftly.  The movement was ended before it had really started, but it continued to ripple through the life of common Chinese citizens in ways its initiators had probably not expected. In the next months, although few or no protesters actually gathered and there seemed to be little momentum for an Arab Spring-style movement, the government seemed to take the social media mumblings far more seriously than the actual activists. Streets were blocked and plainclothes police were stationed at shopping malls and movie theaters every few hundred of feet. Security officials detained dozens of leading activists, including artist Ai Weiwei, in apparent fear of their stirring further unrest, and threatened foreign journalists for reporting on the incident. When Chinese people realized the word “jasmine” was blocked from the Internet and from text messages, though euphemisms for the word were now well-known, and the flower was banned at Beijing botanic markets, the news of the pseudo-revolution had reached a wide public. The government, in its effort to quell the rumor, had ballooned it into an alternate version of truth. Their over-reaction had communicated the rumors of a revolution far more powerfully than had the actual rumors or its proponents.  The tug-of-war between the government and the people over truth and rumor happens every day in today’s China. The rise of social media has made the struggle harder and the stakes higher. The night the government announced the charges against Bo Xilai, a crowd of thousands gathered in Chongqing and clashed with local police. The government vigorously denied any connection between the incident and Bo’s expulsion, meanwhile moving to delete relevant messages and photos from Weibo. The Chinese web users reveling in the role of social networking sites in revealing the Bo scandals once again fell into debates, while others have been reflecting on larger questions. “Why does the U.S. not censor rumors?” asked one Weibo user last November. “No matter how wild they are, nobody bans them, and the creators of rumors do not worry about getting arrested. Perhaps for places where truth persists, rumors have no harm. Only places that lack truth are fearful of rumors.”  Had the censors tried to look for the original writer of this message, they would not have found him or her. The name is lost amid millions of others, who forward the message after each round of rumor-clearing seizes Weibo in a state-run information purge that can never quite keep up.

Powerful forces line up against internet around world

Google: Internet Freedom Faces Greatest Threat Ever:

1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual

1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual

In an interview published today, Google Co-founder Sergey Brin told The Guardian that internet openness and universal access are under immediate attack by “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world”. “I am more worried than I have been in the past,” he said. “It’s scary.”

Sergey Brin Google co-founder .The threat to the internet comes “from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry’s attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of ‘restrictive’ walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms,” The Guardian reports.  In the interview Brin alludes to the reach of the US government, telling how Google is forced to hand over data and is restricted from notifying users that their privacy has been breached.

Brin said he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet was dominated by Facebook. “You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he said. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”

He criticised Facebook for not making it easy for users to switch their data to other services. “Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” he said. […]

He reserved his harshest words for the entertainment industry, which he said was “shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot” by lobbying for legislation to block sites offering pirate material.

He said the Sopa and Pipa bills championed by the film and music industries would have led to the US using the same technology and approach it criticised China and Iran for using. The entertainment industry failed to appreciate people would continue to download pirated content as long as it was easier to acquire and use than legitimately obtained material, he said. […]

Brin acknowledged that some people were anxious about the amount of their data that was now in the reach of US authorities because it sits on Google’s servers. He said the company was periodically forced to hand over data and sometimes prevented by legal restrictions from even notifying users that it had done so.

Microsoft spy’s on you reports to Government

A patent filed by Microsoft reveals the company has voluntarily created software that provides the Government and other agencies seeking to spy on you:

Microsoft

A patent filed by Microsoft reveals the company has voluntarily created software that provides the Government and other agencies seeking to spy on you.

A patent filed by Microsoft seeks to give the company exclusive rights to intercept personal electronic communications and resend them directly to the Government and other agencies who may be seeking to spy on you.  By filing the patent, Microsoft clearly shows they have voluntarily created the software,  instead of waiting for a Government mandate to do so. The patent states that “the  government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications” and software acts as a “recording agent” that is able to silently record the communication”.  The patent specifically names certain types of communications, such as Skype calls, instant messaging, video conferencing software, and even meeting software but does not stop there. Instead it goes on to label just about all electronic devices you can think of as a computer and requests for a patent to be able to intercept digital communications from those devices, and even access data stored in a variety of other storage mediums, and forward the to the Government.  A Gizmodo article on the patent points out that Microsoft appears to trying to patent Skype spying,  which is specifically named within the patent,  but the scope of patent goes far beyond the ability to just spy on Skype calls.  Only by digging into the patent can you see the deceptiveness in Microsoft’s the labeling of certain technologies and realize the true scope of what the software company is trying to provide the Government easy access to spy on.  For example, the label all packet-based communication as VoIP, which clearly nothing is further from the truth. All data that can be sent over the internet is a “packet-based communication”.

[…] the term VoIP is used to refer to standard VoIP as well as any other form of packet-based communication that may be used to transmit audio over a wireless and/or wired network. For example, VoIP may include audio messages transmitted via gaming systems, instant messaging protocols that transmit audio, Skype and Skype-like applications, meeting software, video conferencing software, and the like.

The patent goes on and deceptively labels all digital electronic devices as computers, say that everything from computers, to printers, gaming devices, automobile systems, even printers, home appliances and all other mobile based electronics are computers. The patent even applies to microcontroller which are often the brain of electronic devices and used in products ranging from automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and even toys.

A computer may include any electronic device that is capable of executing an instruction[…]

Examples of well known computing systems, environments, or configurations that may be suitable for use [include] personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multiprocessor systems, microcontroller-based systems, set-top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, gaming devices, printers, appliances including set-top, media center, or other appliances, automobile-embedded or attached computing devices, other mobile devices, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like.

The patent also doesn’t stop with computers or even communications for that matter. It targets a variety of offline mediums that can used to store data and even computer programs themselves.

[…] a variety of computer-readable media [including] any available media that can be accessed by the computer  removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data.

Computer storage media includes RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile discs (DVDs) or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by the computer.

The patent further reveals that the software’s capability includes the ability to intercept all digital communications regardless of the medium, or whether they are online or offline, bluntly including the ability to intercept all modulated data signals.

Communication media typically embodies computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. Combinations of any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer-readable media.

 

Online Privacy is Non-Fiction

Your privacy is a sci-fi fantasy:

No Privacy

No Privacy

 

One bright sunny morning in the Land Before the Internet, you go on a job interview. You’re smart, skilled, motivated, and clearly destined to be an asset to any company that hires you. During the interview process, however, just as the HR manager begins to discuss the benefits package and salary, basically communicating that you have the job, he pauses.  “Oh, and we have a few procedural things to take care of,” he says. “We’ll need to assign a goon to follow you around with a parabolic microphone to listen to all of your conversations with friends, and we’ll have a few more follow your friends and family around to see what they’re saying.”  He continues: “Also, we’ll need full access to your diary, your personal records, and your photo albums. In fact, we’ll need the keys to your house, so we can rifle through your stuff to see what you have tucked away in the attic and whatnot. We will also need to do the same to all your friends. I assume that won’t be a problem?”   Just across town in the Land Before the Internet, a few officers in the local police station are bored, so they assign a few cruisers to shadow people at random, for an indefinite period of time. They pick names out of the phone book — selecting citizens who’ve otherwise raised no cause for suspicion — and follow them, simply because they can.  The cops meticulously document the citizens’ comings and goings, creating a very detailed report on their daily lives, complete with where they go, how long they stay, and when they return to their homes. They note when they go to the doctor, where they pick up their kids, everything. They maintain the trail for months or longer, then keep these reports forever.   It turns out that the police in the Land Before the Internet aren’t half as busy as the employees at the post office, who’ve been opening and reading every single letter you’ve sent and received — or the people at the phone company, who are assigned to listen to every phone call you make and transcribe the contents for easy search and recall at a later date. You could avoid their prying ears by speaking in code, but this would be documented as an attempt to evade eavesdropping, which is clearly an indicator that you’re engaging in some sort of nefarious activity. For instance, you might infringe on a copyright down the line, perhaps by singing a few bars of “In the Year 2525” to a friend over the phone.  Welcome to the twilight zone.  Of course, these upside-down horrors are unimaginable in real life. The idea that the post office or phone company would snoop is just crazy — except it’s pretty much what the major ISPs are now volunteering to do. Police stalking innocent citizens could never happen in the United States, at least not without a judge’s approval — unless it means sticking GPS devices on their cars. And under no circumstances would we allow the prospect of gainful employment to be contingent on the abrogation of someone’s personal privacy — but we might need to examine your Facebook page.  These invasions of personal privacy are occurring now because they’re suddenly very easy to accomplish. The rapid advancements in processing power and storage have opened the door to the wholesale collection and storage of vast amounts of data that can be indexed and tied (however loosely) to individuals. There’s no way that any of these entities would have the means or personnel to do this Big Brother nonsense physically, but once those communications occur over the network, they think they’re fair game.  There are many instances where digital surveillance is a good idea and essentially required because of the medium: people working on highly secure defense projects, those working with sensitive information for corporations that could be a target of corporate espionage, and obviously those in positions that require interaction with information on private individuals that should not be disseminated. The use of digital monitoring and data collection is very important in these places. Further, if you’re employed by a company, using corporate resources, you relinquish some right to privacy in order to protect the company from internal sabotage or damages that might ensue from vital internal planning, innovations, or intellectual property falling into the hands of the competition. In short, if you’re at the office running your mouth on Facebook and IM about sensitive internal information and get fired for it, it’s your fault. You’re unlikely to get fired for bitching about your ex-husband to a friend in an IM from your work PC, but don’t be surprised to know that your conversations are being monitored and recorded in an effort to crack down on the former. However, that should not extend beyond the office or into your personal time and space. Invasive digital eavesdropping and coerced access to private social networking applications is an absurd example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In an effort to find the needle, we’re burning down the haystack.

Anonymous hacks China

Over 480 gov and biz sites hit by hacktivist blitz:

anonymous

Anonymous

Hacktivist group Anonymous has finally turned its attention to the People’s Republic of China, claiming to have defaced more than 480 web sites over the past few days including government sites, whilst urging Chinese hackers to join its cause.  The group apparently began its campaign in the region with the launch of its AnonymousChina Twitter account, which seems to have begun tweeting on 30 March.  In a list posted to Pastebin, the group claimed to have defaced over 480 sites, including several belonging to regional Chinese government organizations in areas such as Chengdu and Dalian.  In several separate posts Anonymous also claimed to have hacked and leaked user names, password details, phone numbers and emails from various government sites.  All the sites on the list we have been trying now appear to have been taken down, although the Wall Street Journal managed to take a screen grab showing the following message in English:

Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall. So expect us because we do not forgive, never. What you are doing today to your Great People, tomorrow will be inflicted to you. With no mercy.

According to the WSJ, the message also contained a link to an Anonymous site detailing how Chinese web users can bypass the Great Firewall, although at the time of writing this site appears to have been killed.  Not content with that, the group also posted another message to Pastebin, urging the Chinese people to revolt.  “So, we are writing this message to tell you that you should protest, you should revolt yourself protesting and who has the skills for hacking and programming and design and other ‘computer things’ come to our IRC,” the note read.  This is the first major Anonymous campaign targeting China, which is somewhat strange given the government’s hardline stance on web censorship and human rights – two issues guaranteed to get the group’s attention.  In fact, the hacking of several minor regional government sites is unlikely to cause much consternation at Communist Party headquarters, and the group’s messages on Pastebin and posted on the defaced sites will largely have failed to reach their audience given that they were written in English.  Anonymous seems to be working on the latter issue, however, having sent a tweet out calling for help from would-be translators.  Given China’s strict web controls on social media, it’s unlikely that the group will be able to broadcast its message on platforms such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, so for the time being it’ll have to stick with Twitter – banned in China – and defacing web sites.

New York Mayor supports deviant behavior

This story couldn’t get any worse but Mayor Bloomberg Visits Goldman Employees After Smith Op-Ed, Support deviant behavior:

Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg

 

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s headquarters in Manhattan in a show of support after a departing employee publicly criticized the firm’s culture yesterday.  “The mayor stopped by to make clear that the company is a vital part of the city’s economy, and the kind of unfair attacks that we’re seeing can eventually hurt all New Yorkers,” said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor.  Bloomberg visited the firm today about 11 a.m. and met with Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein and numerous employees, Loeser said.  Greg Smith, an executive director who sold U.S. equity derivatives to clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that he is leaving the firm after 12 years. Smith assailed the company’s treatment of clients and blamed Blankfein and President Gary D. Cohn for losing hold over the bank’s culture.  They responded in a memo to current and former employees, saying that Smith’s assertions don’t reflect the company’s values, culture or “how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients.” David Wells, a bank spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment after business hours.  The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.  It’s seems important to support companies that rip-off clients in the financial community, a show of support for Goldman Sachs and its deviant behavior.  Sure, like anyone believe’s him or Bloomberg news now.  This seems all too similar to Sopa, I hope a backlash comes into effect.