The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WeChat overtakes Facebook in Indonesian market

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-01-29

The WeChat logo. (Photo/CFP)

Chinese smartphone messaging app WeChat has become one of the four major instant messaging tools widely used in Indonesia, reports Shanghai's China Business News, citing Andi Ardiansyah, an Indonesian representative based in Guangzhou.

As of the third quarter of 2013, the number of active users of the Chinese and global version of WeChat touched 271.9 million, surging by 124%. Internet giant Tencent, which developed the popular app, said the growth has been aided by strengthening international marketing campaigns.

Ardiansyah stated that many Indonesian entrepreneurs like using WeChat for its reliability. The growing proximity between China and Indonesia's political and business circles has also helped boost its popularity.

"I use WeChat because many of my Chinese friends use it," said Ardiansyah.

In addition to forging closer ties between the two countries, Tencent has been operating in the Southeast Asian country and has entered a joint venture with MNC, a subsidiary of Indonesia's largest media group PT Global Mediacom, which has sped up the expansion of WeChat in the social media market.

MNC said it was mainly broadcasting advertisements or hosting events to promote the app.

Before WeChat entered the Indonesian market, Facebook was the largest social media network in the country. WeChat now has an edge given the flourishing development of mobile internet in Indonesia.

Market observers said that an outstanding marketing strategy was the key to WeChat's success in the country as the app has captured considerable market share in a short period of time through advertising.

In addition to MNC, WeChat broadcasts different television advertisements in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Mexico by cooperating with local tech or media firms. WeChat also collaborated with Google to promote its services in the United States last week, the paper said. WeChat faces a number of obstacles in the mature European and US market, however.

Ma Huateng or Pony Ma, founder and CEO of Tencent, is now placing great emphasis on the internationalization of WeChat. He said China used to copy the models adopted by the US market in the internet arena but the mobile internet's development has been faster in China compared to Western countries, which presents Chinese firms with a rare opportunity.

Chemists unveil 'water-jet' printer

Google – AFP, 28 January 2014

Water drops are seen in Honduras on March 4, 2010 (AFP/File, Orlando Sierra)

Paris — Like any ordinary printer, this machine ingests a blank page and spits it out covered in print.

But instead of ink, it uses only water, and the used paper fades back to white within a day, enabling it to be reused.

A team of chemists claims their "water-jet" technology allows each page to be reprinted dozens of times -- a money- and tree-saving option in a digital world that still relies heavily on hard copy.

"Several international statistics indicate that about 40 percent of office prints (are) taken to the waste paper basket after a single reading," said Sean Xiao-An Zhang, a chemistry professor at Jilin University in China, who oversaw work on the innovation.

The trick lies in the paper, which is treated with an invisible dye that colours when exposed to water, then disappears.

The print fades away within about 22 hours at temperatures below 35 degrees Celsius (95 deg Fahrenheit) as the water evaporates -- quicker if exposed to high heat, Zhang and a team wrote in a paper describing their invention in the journal Nature Communications.

The print is clear, claim the designers, and the technology cheap.

"Based on 50 times of rewriting, the cost is only about one percent of the inkjet prints," Zhang said in a video on the Nature website.

Even if each page was re-used only a dozen times, the cost would still be about one-seventeenth of the inkjet version.

Sean said dye-treating the paper, of the type generally used for printing, added about five percent to its price, but this is more than compensated for by the saving on ink.

Crucially, the new method does not require a change of printer but merely replacing the ink in the cartridge with water, using a syringe.

"Water is a renewable resource and obviously poses no risk to the environment," said the study.

Previous work in the quest for a disappearing ink has tended to yield a low-contrast print, often at a high cost, and sometimes using hazardous chemicals.

Zhang and his team used a previously little-studied dye compound called oxazolidine, which yielded a clear, blue print in less than a second after water was applied.

They have managed to create four water-printed colours so far -- blue, magenta, gold and purple -- but can only print in one hue at a time, for now.

The next step is to improve both the resolution and the duration of the print.

They are also working on a machine that will heat pre-printed sheets of paper as they are fed into the machine, fading the pages instantaneously for re-printing.

At 70 C (158 F), the colour disappears within about 30 seconds.

Zhang said the dyed paper was "very safe" but toxicity tests are underway on mice to be sure.


Related Article:


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

US, tech firms agree on spy agency data disclosure

Google – AFP, Rob Lever (AFP), 28 January 2014

Civil liberties activists hold a rally against surveillance of US citizens
in Washington on January 17, 2014 (AFP/File, Nicholas Kamm)

Washington — The United States agreed to give technology firms the ability to publish broad details of how their customer data has been targeted by US spy agencies, officials said.

Facing a legal challenge and a furious public debate, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the companies would now be allowed to disclose figures on consumer accounts requested.

"The administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers," the officials said in a joint statement Monday.

US President Barack Obama speaks
 about the National Security Agency 
and intelligence agencies surveillance
 techniques in Washington, DC on
January 17, 2014 (AFP/File, Jim Watson)
In a letter to tech giants Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo, the Justice Department freed them to release the approximate number of customer accounts targeted.

President Barack Obama's administration has faced pressure from the tech sector following leaked documents outlining vast surveillance of online and phone communications. The companies have said the reports have already begun to affect their business.

Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo, which sued for the right to publish more data, said in a joint statement they were pleased with the settlement.

"We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive," the companies said.

"We're pleased the Department of Justice has agreed that we and other providers can disclose this information. While this is a very positive step, we'll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps to address all of the reforms we believe are needed."

Under the agreement filed with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the companies will be able to disclose the numbers, within ranges.

They will have an option to reveal within bands of 1,000 the numbers of "national security letters" and specific court orders. Another option will be to disclose, in bands of 250, all the national security requests, lumped together.

The reports will have a six-month lag time, so data for the second half of 2014 may be published in mid-2015, according to the agreement.

Previously, the existence of orders made by the secret for access to private online data was itself classified, to the outrage of the firms.

In addition to the bare numbers of targeted consumers, the companies will also be permitted to disclose the number but not the nature of selection criteria for broader Internet sweeps.

Civil liberties groups welcomed the deal, while arguing for even more transparency.

"This is a victory for transparency and a critical step toward reining in excessive government surveillance," said Alex Abdo, an ACLU attorney.

But Abdo said more is needed: "Congress should require the government to publish basic information about the full extent of its surveillance, including the significant amount of spying that happens without the tech companies' involvement."

Kevin Bankston of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, called the news "an important victory in the fight for greater transparency around the NSA's surveillance programs" but said the agreement "falls far short of the level of transparency that an unprecedented coalition of Internet companies, privacy advocates and civil liberties organizations called for this summer."


A picture taken on October 26, 2013
 shows a portrait of Edward Snowden
 declaring him a "hero" during a protest
 against government surveillance in
Washington, DC (AFP/File, Mandel
Ngan)
"Meaningful transparency means giving companies the ability to publish the specific number of requests they receive for specific types of data under specific legal authorities," Bankston said.

"Fuzzing the numbers into ranges of a thousand -- and even worse, lumping all of the different types of surveillance orders into a single number -- serves no national security purpose while making it impossible to effectively evaluate how those powers are being used."

US tech firms have claimed that reports on the US government's secretive data collection programs have distorted how they work with intelligence and law enforcement. The firms have been asking for permission to disclose more on the nature of the requests and what is handed over.

Google's petition said that despite reports to the contrary, the US government "does not have direct access to its servers" and that it only complies with "lawful" requests.

The issue caught fire after Edward Snowden, a former IT contractor at the National Security Agency, revealed that US authorities were tapping into Internet user data.

Related Article:


Monday, January 27, 2014

Philippine priests swap sermons for 'selfies'

Google – AFP, Mynardo Macaraig (AFP), 27 January 2014

Philippine Bishop of San Pablo, Laguna, Buenaventura Famadico (L), and 
Auxillary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga, Roberto Mallari, show their Facebook
accounts on their tablets in Manila on January 22, 2014 (AFP, Noel Celis)

Manila — For some of the Philippines' most powerful clergymen, stepping off the pulpit and into cyberspace felt impossibly daunting until they took their first "selfies" and posted them on Facebook.

Their initial forays into the brave new virtual world took place in a groundbreaking class for 50 of the Philippines' top bishops and monsignors in Manila earlier this month, part of the Catholic Church's strategy to remain relevant in the digital age.

Sean-Patrick Lovett, a programme director with Vatican Radio who flew in from Rome to lead the seminar, said Social Media 101 had not been taught to such a group of senior Church figures anywhere in the world before and he was surprised by his students' reactions.

"I've never seen bishops so happy and so excited. They were taking pictures of themselves and putting them on Facebook," Lovett told AFP after the three-hour session, which saw the priests partner with younger, more tech-savvy seminarians or nuns to show them the ropes.

Philippine Bishop of San Pablo, Laguna, 
Buenaventura Famadico, checks his
 Facebook account on his tablet at the
Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila
 on January 22, 2014 (AFP, Noel Celis)
"After half an hour on the web, one bishop became very emotional. People he hadn't heard from in years were contacting him."

Bishop Buenaventura Famadico, who leads the major San Pablo diocese near Manila, gave the impression the class was a lightbulb moment after years of largely avoiding computers.

"I am a very private person. I still have a very limited appreciation about the Internet and social media," the 57-year-old told AFP.

"But now there is that opening, about staying in touch with others through Facebook."

Famadico recounted that during the training seminar he opened the webpage of his own diocese and found it was so out of date it still had his predecessor listed in his place.

"Now I have new friends, I contacted my brothers and sisters abroad. I am very encouraged to upload my thoughts and homilies to my Facebook account," he said.

The class involved teaching the clergymen, some of them in their 70s, simply how to use the Internet, set up Facebook and Twitter accounts and, most importantly, how to make their messages worth reading.

One seminarian said that, while some priests already had their own Facebook pages, most did not and one elderly bishop had never even used a computer before.

"Just typing on the keyboard was a new experience for him," said the seminarian, who asked not to be identified.

The Catholic Church is already using social media as a powerful tool to deliver God's messages, and Lovett said his students were encouraged by Pope Francis having nearly 3.6 million Twitter followers.

The Philippines' top clergyman, Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle, is also prominent on social media with his Facebook account attracting more than 450,000 "likes".

Yet Lovett said the bishops had struggled with following their leaders' examples because they simply felt overwhelmed with unfamiliar technologies.

"The bishops know that social media is important. But it is one thing to know it and another to experience it," Lovett said.

Lovett said it was important for Church leaders to adapt so they could reach the widest audience possible, particularly in countries such as the Philippines where the youth demographic is so strong.

"The average age of the Filipino population is 23 years. If you want to talk to 23-year-olds, you have to use the language they use," he said.

And the Philippines is so important to the Church because it has about 80 million Catholics -- the biggest number of any country in Asia -- a legacy of Spanish colonial rule that ended in 1898.

Lovett said one key part of the class, which was also attended by the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, was how to attract and hold the interest of the youth.

Sean-Patrick Lovett, a programme director with
 Vatican Radio, is interviewed by AFP interview
 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila
on January 22, 2014 (AFP, Noel Celis)
"The old days of putting long homilies (online) and expecting young people to read them is over," he said.

Monsignor Crisologo Manongas, 56, said he and his fellow students were taught not to use long sermons but use "short messages that can be picked up by the people".

They were also told to use more photographs rather than words. "Nowadays, it is pictures that talk," he said.

Lovett said the class also addressed the priests' fears of being too vulnerable on the web by teaching them how to use privacy settings and set up special "groups" where access is restricted.

"We taught them how to be careful about who you invite and who you befriend, and what you say and how you say it," he said.

Lovett said he hoped the initial enthusiasm shown by the clergymen would not flare out after the class.

"Because people want to be contacted by their bishops. They want to know that their bishops are out there, they want to be inspired by their presence," he said.

However Lovett also indicated that the priests had deep reservations that may prevent them from fully embracing the Internet.

"Some bishops said to me, 'I'm afraid I might become addicted to Facebook,'" he said.

"Then they asked: 'If I become addicted, can I pray while I'm on Facebook?'"


Pope Francis poses with young people in the Church of Saint Augustine
 in Rome on August 28, 2013 (Osservatore Romano/AFP/File, Francesco
Sforza)


Croatian Researchers Pioneer Use Of Robots To Diagnose Autism

Radio Free Europe, Ankica Barbir-Mladinovic, January 26, 2014


Four-year old Croatian boy Luka (left), who has autism spectrum has
developed an unusual friendship with a robot called Rene.

ZAGREB -- Four-year-old Luka is enthusiastic about his new friend.

"He can write. He can sit down. And he can drink water," he says.

The two also like to dance together.

But it is an unusual friendship. Luka is a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability that inhibits social, behavioral, and communications skills. And his friend, Rene, is a robot.

They met thanks to a joint project of the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences and its Faculty of Electronics and Computer Sciences. The initiative aims to use robots to improve the diagnosis and assessment of children with the disorder, a process that until now has been highly complex and subjective.

The robot is intended to assist, not replace the clinician.

"For children with autism, the robot is a stimulus that is very simple and always the same," says researcher Jasmina Stosic. "Its eyes are always in the same place. Its mouth is always in the same place. People are rather complicated for such children because when we talk we make various gestures. And one day we'll wear a red t-shirt and the next day, a blue one. The robot is one constant stimulus, and the children don't need to think about so much different information and instead can concentrate on the essence."

Because of the difficulties of assessment, ASD children are often diagnosed quite late. In Croatia, most ASD children are only diagnosed and begin receiving specialized education and therapy at around 5 or 6 years of age.

WATCH: A Robot Gives A Demonstration Of Tai-Chi Exercises At A Zagreb Lab


Marija Cukelj, whose 4-year-old son Filip is part of the robot project, has experienced the frustration of trying to get specialist assistance for children who are younger than this.

"Filip started to close down when he was 14 or 15 months of age," he says. "He stopped looking people in the eye -- even us, his parents. Within about two months we started looking for help. Unfortunately, it took time because he was 1 1/2 [years old] and we were told: 'The child is too small, anything could happen. We need to wait and see.' It took a year between the time we told doctors something was wrong and when our son got a reliable diagnosis. We lost that time."

According to Cukelj, meeting Rene was a ground-breaking moment for Filip.

"The first time he saw the robot, he simply sat on a chair and watched it," Cukelj says. "For Filip, who is so energetic and who is calmed down by very few things, it was a great success to see him sit down and carefully watch something."

Positive Reactions

Researcher Maja Cepanec says that Rene has elicited positive reactions in trials with children so far.

"Children with attention-deficit issues, who have trouble making eye contact, react relatively well to the robot," she says. "They watch it and they are excited about it. So far, our experiences have been relatively positive."

Rene was made in France and several research institutions around the world have been using similar robots to work with ASD children.  The researchers in Croatia, however, are focusing on using the robots to develop a standardized diagnostic protocol.

Cepanec says the goal of the project is to use the robot to collect data on, for instance, recurrences of repetitive behavior, and to conduct uniform testing of particular behaviors such as drinking from a cup or addressing the robot by name.

"We believe that ASD assessment, empowered by advanced behavioral and social-signal processing, might become more objective and reliable," says Cepanec. This improved process would also include using objective quantitative metrics.

"The robot is equipped with a camera, microphones, speakers, and it can record things we might miss," says Cepanec. "It can code a child's vocalizations, his or her closeness to the parent, how many times the child initiates communication, how much eye contact the child makes, and so on."

In order to build on the project's promising start, the researchers are working with the Croatian National Science Fund and European sources in hopes of expanding the number of children they can include in their research.

Related Article:

Human Evolution –  27 Sep 2008 (a message from Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)

“.. What do you think the Human brain can really do? What do you think it's built to do? Let me give you an example of what your society has come to accept as an "unbalanced person." Some of you think it's a "sick person." Let me talk about the autistic one. Let us talk about autism in what you call the most severe case.

Blessed is the autistic one who has come to this earth to show you what future Human evolvement looks like! They spend a lifetime trying to figure out linearity and it frustrates them. Blessed is the savant who the earth looks at and calls unbalanced. For the Humans who do this cannot see what they don't understand. The autistic one is able to get up off the paper and be in color! Many of the autistic ones can do what your calculators can do on your desks, did you know that? And they don't need a calculator! Give them a problem - two digits multiplied by three digits. Now watch how fast they give you the answer. Because they're not linear! Ask them what weekday the 13th of August will be in 2012, and they'll tell you, and they don't need a calendar. You might say, "What kind of a mind can do that?" I'll tell you - a nonlinear one without the walls in the brain that you have.

Have you ever thought about that? The autistic have a nonlinear mind. The barriers are dropped. Can you imagine the frustration of this Human? Here he is in a world of black and white while he is in color. Not only that, you want him to go in a straight line when he is used to all directions at once. This also explains why the only energies that will work to calm him are interdimensional ones - music, art, and love. Does this start to make sense to you? (see below)

What is taking place, dear ones, for all to know and see and understand, is that very, very slowly you have the linearity of the Human brain starting to be reduced. Unlike the autistic, it will be in ways that will still be balanced and make sense. In other words, you will be able to move in and out of quantum thought any time you wish in order to live in a linear, 3D existence, but have quantum consciousness. It will be a return to a form of consciousness that Lemurians had, but with the wisdom of the ages that you have collected. This will not be fast, but the forerunners of that are already here.

I'm going to give you some attributes of Human evolution in a moment, but let's return to the autistic ones. Many reading this are very concerned about autism. You wish to know why there are so many autistics being born. You say it's beyond coincidence that there are suddenly so many! There's more autistic children being born today than there ever have been on this planet. Humans are scurrying around wanting to know what's wrong. Is it the chemistry of the food? Perhaps it must be vaccinations! Some are saying, without any proof, "Yes, that's it - vaccinations must be it." You are grasping at almost anything to solve the puzzle of why so many autistics are arriving.

Yet very few Humans, if any, have looked at the puzzle and said, "Perhaps we're evolving, and this is the first wave of what we're going to see?" Not mentally unbalanced, but nonlinear thinking! This is, indeed, the case. You are seeing a form of evolution and you are calling it odd and unusual. It's simply those who are coming in early with activated quantum DNA. This early forerunner has DNA activated in an uncontrolled way, and so learning is needed to know how to make sense of it all. This is what they are doing, and each generation of savant will have a better time of it, figuring out what is linear and what is not.

Watch the autistic child go through what they must do (autism in its most severe form). They are so nonlinear that there is incredible frustration in trying to linearize even the Human voice as you speak to them. They will do the same actions over and over and over, trying to linearize the nonlinear. The linear walls are gone in their brain, and they have to learn to build the ones that they need. Humans then see them as a problem, and it's not a problem. It's a form of gifted children who are helping this planet to grow. Blessed are those who come into Earth as the new wave of consciousness to show you where it's going. They are setting the stage for a new kind of Human. For this quantumness will develop in a balanced way where many will have the autistic talents where they want them, and the linear when they want that. That's what the Human mind is capable of - being quantum when they wish to be. That's a return to the way it was given to you.  ‘’

Lloyds and TSB customers vent anger as IT glitch hits ATMs and debit cards

Account holders complain of being unable to withdraw cash or pay for food and petrol in latest meltdown for high-street banks

theguardian.com, Ben Quinn, Sunday 26 January 2014

Lloyds and TSB both admitted customers were having problems with
debit cards and ATMs. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Customers vented their anger after Lloyds and TSB became the latest high-street banks to experience a technological meltdown which led to many people being unable to withdraw money or use their cards.

Furious customers complained on Sunday of having to leave shopping behind at supermarket counters and being unable to pay restaurant bills.

Lloyds said the problem was affecting debit cards and its internet banking service but not credit cards, while TSB said some customers were unable to use debit cards or withdraw money from ATMs.

"Wife's card declined in Asda had to go get my card from home how embarrassing standing and waiting #poorbankingservice", said Carl Bullivant on Twitter.

Jess McKell tweeted at TSB: "not able to buy food this evening, or petrol to get home, this is ridiculous."

Frank Nkparu asked: "How a bank that makes hundreds of million pounds in profit can't have a reliable IT system for customers? @TSB and #Lloyds bank are #jokers".

The two banks became separate last year but operate for now under the Lloyds Bank group banner. The problems come after an estimated 750,000 RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers were unable to use their credit and debit cards for three hours last December.

Paul Pester, TSB's chief executive, who used Twitter to talk directly to customers on Sunday evening, said that Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and TSB use the same IT systems.

He told one customer who complained that there had been no answer on the bank's helpline: "sorry Craig. At one point we had 300 customers queuing to speak to the call centre – sorry if you couldn't get through."

TSB said through its group Twitter account: "We're having issues with ATMs and debit cards at present.

"We're hoping to have this fixed shortly, apologies for inconvenience caused."

Lloyds issued a statement by email, saying: "We are aware that some customers are unable to use their debit cards either to make purchases or to withdraw money from ATMs. We are working hard to resolve this as swiftly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

‘The internet is a gift from God’ - Pope Francis

RT.com, January 23, 2014

Pope Francis.(AFP Photo / Andreas Solaro)

Pope Francis has proclaimed the internet a “gift from God,” lauding its ability to connect disparate groups and foster communication across religious, economic, and political divides. The comments were part of his message for World Communications Day.

“A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive,” read the pontiff’s statement.

He outlined ways in which the world we are living in is “growing smaller” and edging towards the “unity of the human family.” He added that the digital world is not “a network of wires,” but rather “a network of people.”

“Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God,” he stated.

Pope Francis has bolstered his progressive, modern image since assuming his role – a photo of him posing with young fans in a “selfie” went viral last year. He has also received praise for leading a more humble lifestyle than his predecessors. However, his statements on atheism and homosexuality have roused more conservative Catholics.

He also incited controversy after calling abortion “horrific” and part of a “throwaway culture” in his State of the World address in mid-January.

Pope Francis equally noted some downsides to the information age on Thursday, despite declaring that the information age was a godsend. “The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgment, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression,” he noted.

His comments seem to fall in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - later Pope Benedict CXVI - who instructed the young in 2011 that they should beware of the virtual world. He claimed that teenagers were “in danger of alienation and detachment from reality by excessive use of digital media.”

While Benedict himself has also made calls for further interreligious dialogue in the past, the issue of whether the Catholic Church alone holds the “fullness of the means of salvation” continues to hang over the Vatican.

“To [have a] dialogue means to believe that the 'other' has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective,” Francis wrote. “Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretence that they alone are valid and absolute.”

Related Article:

The Internet  - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20,2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lenovo seeks takeover of IBM's low-end server division

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-01-24

Lenovo's booth at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 7. (Photo/Xinhua)

Lenovo, China's leading IT firm, is reportedly seeking to acquire the lower-end server division of IBM with an offer worth up to US$2.5 billion.

The move follows the takeover of IBM's PC division for US$1.25 billion (10 billion yuan at the then exchange rate) in 2005, which despite subsequent controversy helped propel Lenovo to the world's largest PC maker in 2013.

Industry insiders characterize Lenovo's strategy as one of "eating leftovers," or the acquisition of marginal lines of market leaders before restructuring operations to make up for their own weaknesses or facilitating their entry into a brand new field. The main goal of Lenovo, say insiders, is acquisition of technologies, thereby saving R&D time for developing the capability of business solutions and deployment in the IT service sector.

Lenovo has adopted the strategy in order to facilitate its entry into the IT service sector, breaking the development bottleneck facing the company and other PC giants such as HP and Dell.

Both HP and Dell are likewise gearing up to enter the IT service sector and have continually acquired enterprises in fields such as cloud computing, mega data, solutions,and server frameworks, at costs of up to billions of US dollars in recent years.

Prompting the companies to enter the sector is its huge potential and IBM's extraordinary success following its restructuring several years ago. Market demand in China is extraordinary. In 2012, a group purchasing website in China spent 60 million yuan (US$10 million) to have IBM set up an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, an enormous investment considering the company's business scale. With the rapid progress towards a smart society, enterprises, government buildings, shopping malls, schools, airports, and hospitals in China alike all need complete IT solutions.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shops are secretly monitoring consumers via their mobile phones

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 23 January 2014

Customers should be able to choose
 whether they followed through WiFi:
CPB (Nos)
At least three Dutch retail chains are secretly monitoring the behaviour of consumers by using wifi to track them via their mobile phones as they move about the shops.

Technology website Tweakers says the Bas Group, which operates the Dixons, Mycom and iCentre stores has admitted using the tracking technology and this week has rolled it out in all 160 shops.

Other companies have also looked at wifi tracking, Tweakers says. ProRail has used it in the past, to monitor how passengers use Groningen railway station. And supermarket group Jumbo, which admits looking into wifi tracking last summer, would not say if it had taken the plunge.

Privacy

According to the Dutch privacy watchdog CBP, shops should always inform customers if they are being tracked. The Bas Group does not consider this necessary because ‘all shops use systems to count customers’, Tweakers said.

The system takes advantage of the wifi cards which all smart phones are equipped with and which look constantly for networks to join. Shops use special equipment to pick up each phone’s wifi card, learning its unique ID number and then using this to follow the phone as people move through the shop.

The information is not personalised but shops can use it to cross reference with other data and build up a detailed picture of their customers, Tweakers says.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Millions of passwords and email details stolen in Germany

BBC News, 21 January 2014

It is estimated that 16 million email users are affected

Related Stories

The passwords and other details of 16 million email users in Germany have been stolen, the country's security agency has revealed.

The Federal Office for Security said criminals had infected computers with software which allowed them to gather email addresses and account passwords.

The agency has not commented on what progress it has made in tracking down the hackers.

It has set up a website for people to check whether they have been victims.

The agency learnt that the online criminals had managed to infect millions of computers with a program that would enrol them on to a network from where data could be stolen.

The scale of the attack is the equivalent of almost a fifth of the German population being at risk.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Korea’s Biggest Card-Data Theft Triggers Resignations Amid Probe

Jakarta Globe – Bloomberg, Seonjin Cha, January 21, 2014

Some 106 million cardholders’ information is at risk in what would be
South Korea’s largest card-data theft. (Bloomberg Photo)

South Korea’s biggest theft of personal information on credit-card holders prompted dozens of top executives at financial firms including KB Financial Group to offer to quit this week as a regulatory probe widened.

Lee Kun Ho, chief executive officer of Korea’s largest bank, was among 27 executives who sent resignation letters to KB Financial CEO Lim Young Rok, an official at the Seoul-based company said yesterday, asking not to be named in accordance with company policy. Nine officials at Lotte Card Co. also offered to quit, that company said in an e-mailed statement.

The breaches triggered regulatory and criminal probes this month in a country where credit cards are used for more than half of total consumer spending. South Korean prosecutors have indicted three people on suspicion of stealing names, social-security numbers and card data tied to millions of customers of Lotte Card, KB Kookmin Card Co., and Nonghyup Bank.

“The incidents will probably hurt the firms’ brand value and lead them to incur one-time costs such as fines and compensation,” said Michael Na, a Seoul-based analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. “It will spur regulators’ demands that financial companies protect consumers, which isn’t necessarily positive for earnings.”

While there’s no evidence that the leaked information has been misused, the card companies will fully compensate victims for any damage, Financial Services Commission Chairman Shin Je Yoon told reporters yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement. The regulator will consider revising rules to seek stricter punishment including fines, he said.

One of the people charged was a software engineer who was working for the three firms from May 2012 to December 2013 and who copied client information onto a USB device before selling it to loan companies, the prosecutors’ service said on Jan. 8.

A total of 106 million pieces of information were transferred, the Financial Supervisory Service said in a Jan. 19 statement. About 20 million card holders at Lotte Card and Nonghyup Bank and 40 million at KB Kookmin Card were affected, the FSS said. The estimate may include overlaps for multiple card holders or former customers.

The three card companies aren’t publicly traded. Shares of KB Financial rose 0.5 percent to 39,250 won at 11:20 a.m. in Seoul. The benchmark Kospi index rose 0.5 percent. Lotte Shopping Co., the nation’s biggest department store operator and owner of Lotte Card, fell 0.1 percent to 380,500 won.

The FSS said on Jan. 19 that it began probing operations at Kookmin Bank, the nation’s largest lender, in relation to information breaches at the card unit. It ordered 14 other financial firms to examine possible data theft, without disclosing the names of the institutions.

The agency also started inspecting local units of Citigroup and Standard Chartered on Jan. 17 after prosecutors last month found that their customer information was leaked.

South Korean card users aren’t alone in having their information compromised. Target Corp., the US’s second-largest discount retailer, said in December that credit- and debit-card data for as many as 40 million people who shopped in its stores before Christmas may have been taken. Earlier this month, the Minneapolis-based company said the thieves also got access to the names, phone numbers and home and e-mail addresses of as many as 70 million people.

KB Kookmin chief Shim Jae Oh was among the executives who sent resignation letters. Lim hasn’t decided whether to accept the offers, the KB official said. Nonghyup Bank card division chief Sohn Kyoung Ik resigned, the Seoul-based lender said in a statement yesterday.

The three card companies issued statements yesterday expressing regret for the breaches and their CEOs bowed in apology at a briefing broadcast on the YTN cable news network.

“We feel deeply guilty and ashamed for losing clients’ trust following this accident,” KB Kookmin Card’s Shim said at the briefing. “We’ll take all legal and moral responsibility,” although there haven’t been any reported cases of the information being abused, Shim said.

The FSC’s Shin said last week that his agency will hold top managers responsible for such incidents and will take stern action to avoid a repetition of the data theft, calling it a “severe crime that shakes the foundation of the financial industry.”

The watchdog formed a task force on Jan. 17 to find ways to ensure financial institutions properly protect personal data.

South Koreans held a total of 115 million credit cards as of June, in a country with a population of 50 million. People participating in the economy own 4.4 cards each on average, according to the Credit Finance Association, a lobby group for credit card issuers and leasing companies. Credit cards accounted for 66 percent of consumer spending, up from 14 percent in 2000, the latest association data show.

Bloomberg