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.)

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, December 28, 2011

EU proposals erode internet freedoms

RNW, 27 December 2011, by Willemien Groot

 (Cartoon movement)
While Europeans were busily preparing for the festive season, Brussels quietly published a document that will have far-reaching consequences for everyone's ability to see what they want on the internet.

The plans contained in the CleanIt Project are supposed to create a clean internet without any terrorists or extremists. The new blueprint for the internet is a dangerous development.

The CleanItProject is a European public-private partnership that fights "the illegal use of the internet by terrorists and extremists" from the perspective of counter-terrorism. Because governments, entrepreneurs and businesses cannot agree on measures to 'keep the internet clean, tidy and safe', Cleanit's proposals are an attempt to impose an agreement on cleaning up the internet. Concerned parties can simply implement the proposals on a voluntary basis. The proposals are not anchored in legislation but are a framework of general principles and best practices.

European point of view

It is difficult to find political and cultural nuances in the proposals. CleanIt contains the well-known list of 'threats to a clean and safe internet'. The threats stem from a limited European idea of reality. Internet crime, discrimination, illegal software, child porn and terrorism are all trotted out and displayed as threats that ordinary, decent folk need to be protected against in their everyday internet use.

Political threats come from every level of society: extreme-left, extreme-right, animal rights extremists, environmental extremists, racists and religious fanatics. Governments have already prohibited the dissemination of violent images, propaganda material and training handbooks for terrorist activities.

It is an uncomfortable truth; the democratisation of the internet has led to a gradual erosion of liberties. Very few people want violent images or child pornography on the net but banning such content is not a solution, it will only go underground.

Murky waters

The think tank behind the proposals, which is partially funded by EU money, maintains that existing national laws prohibiting illegal use of the Internet by extremists and terrorists are more than adequate to counter the threats posed by 'dangerous individuals or organisations'. However, one can debate the veracity of that statement: should the WikiLeaks cables be considered subversive and a threat to national security? Should the Ku Klux Klan be allowed to have a website? Is an instructional video uploaded by a Dutch animal rights activist a call to violence? The answers all lie in the eye of the beholder.

Western governments praised the Arab Spring - the uprisings across much of the Arab world that were driven by social media - but at the same time they demanded strict controls over the selfsame social media in order to block 'unwanted' content. The Egyptian authorities agreed wholeheartedly and simply cut all internet links during the first demonstrations on Cairo's Tahrir Square.


The CleanIt document predicts a far from happy future; it's not easy to create a clean world wide web. Everybody has to be vigilant; not only governments and companies but also internet providers, human rights organisations, churches, social and cultural organisations... the list goes on and on.

Ordinary people can also join the vigilantes: according to CleanIt: “individual users can help by warning providers and police about internet use by terrorists and extremists.” Welcome to North Korea.

The proposals have to be viewed alongside the increasing calls for prohibiting people from using the internet anonymously. Chinese authorities in several cities already force people using Weibo - the Chinese version of twitter - to register under their own name. Google+ doesn't allow pseudonyms and Facebook is doing its level best to get rid of people using pseudonyms as well.

Terrorist or freedom fighter?

CleanIt emphasises that the proposals are not anchored in law and only serve as guidelines. But as time goes on, these sorts of guidelines can sometimes assume the authority of actual legislation.

If the European Union decides that extremist views do not belong on the internet; will then be all right for China, Indonesia and Syria to come to a similar decision? Every country will be able to ban what it decides are extremist views. Indonesia can quietly continue working on its own internal code of conduct that every internet user will be forced to adhere to.

The guidelines are not only poorly thought out, they also gnaw away at the unregulated and uncontrolled access that makes the internet such a glorious, free place that users love and want to preserve. Everyone who believes that it is possible to bend the chaotic internet into a neat and tidy, well-mannered place, falls into the same trap.

It is impossible to promote internet access as a human right, which is high on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s agenda, and at the same time try and restrict and regulate it. The best policy is no policy.

After SOPA Flip Flop, Did GoDaddy Thwart Efforts to Drop Domains?

PC Mag, by Chloe Albanesius, December 27, 2011

The drama surrounding GoDaddy and its stance on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) continued this weekend, with reports of customers having difficulty dropping their domains from the company.

Yesterday, registrar NameCheap said in a blog post that GoDaddy was "thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them."

"Specifically, GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules," the company said.

In a statement provided to CNET, GoDaddy said the delay was due to "the normal rate limiting," which is in place to prevent abuse. GoDaddy criticized NameCheap for failing to contact the company about the problem, and instead opting for a blog post. "Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy," GoDaddy said.

In response, NameCheap updated its blog post to say that "all we know on our side is that GoDaddy was preventing us from conducting normal business with our clients, and in turn causing harm to our reputation and at the same time overloading our support channels."

The blog post, NameCheap said, was intended to "inform our clients," but the press "decided to make this into some sort of story."

The debate, meanwhile, focuses on GoDaddy's support of a controversial online piracy bill known as SOPA. The bill would expand the ability of the Justice Department to go after Web sites overseas that traffic in fake goods like counterfeit purses or prescription drugs. According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith, the DOJ would have to get a court order against an infringing site, and if granted, could request that the site be blocked. Search engines would then have to remove links to those sites.

Critics, however—like Google, Facebook, and Twitter—are concerned that the bill is too far-reaching and broad, and could potentially harm Web sites that don't actually contain infringing content or were acting in good faith.

Initially, GoDaddy said it was in support of the bill, but after a Reddit member proposed a boycott of GoDaddy over its support—and high-profile domain owners joined up—the company reversed course and said it will support SOPA "when and if the Internet community supports it."

Customers who switched their domains in the last few days reported that GoDaddy called them to explain their current SOPA stance and to get them to reconsider.

There have been a few reports circulating about how many domains were actually dropped from GoDaddy after the SOPA drama. Citing info from, said more than 15,000 domain names were transferred from on Thursday and over 21,000 were transferred away from GoDaddy on Friday. Domain Name Wire, however, said data can be misleading since domain names can take five days to transfer and DailyChanges tracks nameserver changes, not domain transfers.

"I'm not writing this to blast the people who have used DailyChanges as a proxy. After all, I kept an eye on it during the elephant boycott and called it a 'proxy' for domain transfers," Domain Name Wire said. "But looking at the data this time I think it's actually a poor proxy."

SOPA, meanwhile, will be taken up when the House reconvenes next month. A similar Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act, is scheduled to be addressed in late January.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CIA’s daily menu: 5 mln foreign tweets!, 27 December, 2011

CIA’s daily menu: 5 mln foreign tweets!

It has been a while since the US Central Intelligence Agency admitted it keeps an eye on everything that appears on Facebook and Twitter. A new report now says the CIA “vengeful librarians” have to follow up to 5,000,000 foreign tweets a day.

In November, the CIA acknowledged a full monitoring of social networks. Almost two-thirds of intelligence reports made by the CIA for Washington now come from analysts monitoring millions of individual messages sent worldwide, says the Associated Press.

The CIA’s “vengeful librarians,” as the CIA Open Source Center (OSC) director Doug Naquin named them, monitor everything available regardless of its significance and language. This also includes TV news channels, internet chat rooms, local radio stations, and newspapers. Social media became the focus of the group’s activities during the unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran, following its 2009 presidential election.

The goal is to map “the mood of a region” where the US pursues interest. Such a process let Washington in on the global public reaction after the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan back in May.

Before that, the analysts saw the popular uprising coming to Egypt, but could not predict its exact timelines, said the center’s director, Doug Naquin.

Fast-paced riots, as the ones which took place during the Arab Spring, put social networks such as Facebook and Twitter on to the top among crucial intelligence tools. The two also offer a growing coverage, with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook network boasting over 800 million active users, while June statistics showed over 300 million were singed in the Twitter microblog.

Facebook unwelcome in Vietnam, but Zuckerberg OK

Associated Press, Dec 27, 2011 

In this Dec. 26, 2011 photo, Facebook website founder Mark Zuckerberg
rides  a water buffalo in northern resort town of Sapa in Lao Cai province, 
Vietnam  in this picture taken. Vietnam may block its citizens from using to 
Facebook, but that didn't stop website founder Mark Zuckerberg from spending
 his vacation there. Zuckerberg spent Christmas Eve in the popular tourist 
destination Ha Long Bay, local official Trinh Dang Thanh says.
(AP Photo/VnExpress, Le Thanh Hieu)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Vietnam may block its citizens from using Facebook, but that didn't stop website founder Mark Zuckerberg from vacationing in the communist country.

Zuckerberg spent Christmas Eve in the popular tourist destination Ha Long Bay, local official Trinh Dang Thanh says.

State-run media say Zuckerberg arrived in Vietnam on Dec. 22.

Zuckerberg spent Christmas Day at an ecolodge in the northern mountain town of Sapa and rode a buffalo, said Le Phuc Thien, deputy manager at Topas Ecolodge.

Zuckerberg, Facebook's 27-year-old CEO, founded the social networking site in 2004.

Vietnam's aggressive Internet censors block access to Facebook and other websites, but young Vietnamese easily bypass the restrictions.

Monday, December 26, 2011

'Anonymous' hackers hit US security firm Stratfor

BBC News, 26 December 2011

Related Stories 

Stratfor urged its members to notify
authorities about any suspicious
credit card activities
The activist hacker group Anonymous says it has stolen thousands of emails, passwords and credit card details from a US-based security think-tank.

The hackers claim they were able to obtain the information because the company, Stratfor, did not encrypt it.

They say Stratfor's clients include the US defence department, law enforcement agencies and media organisations.

The Austin-based company says it has now suspended the operation on its servers and email.

An alleged member of Anonymous posted an online message, claiming that the group had used Stratfor clients' credit card details to make "over a million dollars" in donations to different charities.

Stratfor later announced that it would keep its email and servers suspended for some time.

It also said the disclosure was "merely a list of some of the members that have purchased our publications and does not comprise a list of individuals or entities that have a relationship with Stratfor".

Anonymous has previously claimed responsibility for cyber attacks on financial institutions seen as enemies of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks.

Related Article:

Egyptian blogger free after two months' detention

Deutsche Welle, 25 December 2011  

Abdel-Fattah met his son for the
first time
One of the first online activists to protest against Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak has been released from prison following two months' detention.

One of Egypt's pioneering online activists, who was a leading figure in the February protests that ended the rule of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, was released from detention on Sunday after being held for nearly two months.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah was detained at the end of October for refusing to take part in a military investigation into a protest rally he was a part of on October 9. The protests turned violent when security forces advanced on the crowd, and Abdel-Fattah and 27 others were accused - but never formally charged - of inciting the violence.

"We know from the beginning that I am not the one who killed people," Abdel-Fattah said outside of Cairo's police headquarters following his release, in remarks carried on news network Al-Jazeera. "We have not gone after the real criminals who killed people." 

Plenty of Egyptians supported
Abdel-Fattah during his detention
While greeting reporters, Abdel-Fattah also met his son Khaled, who was born while his father was in prison.

Military rulers

Abdel-Fattah's case is still open, but has been turned over to a civilian court, and he will not be allowed to leave the country as long as the investigation is ongoing.

His supporters maintain that Abdel-Fattah was targeted in an effort to silence a prominent critic and absolve the military for its role in the violence at protests that left 27 people dead. Some of the victims, according to activists, were killed when they were run over by military vehicles.

Activists like Abdel-Fattah are putting pressure on Egypt's new military rulers because they say little has changed since the generals took power following Mubarak's ouster.

Many accuse the military of violently crushing opposition and killing dozens of protesters.

Author: Matt Zuvela (AFP, Reuters, AP)
Editor: Ben Knight
Related Article:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Volkswagen turns off Blackberry email after work hours

BBC News, 23 December 2011

Related Stories 

UK unions have warned that VW-style
email restrictions might not suit other
Volkswagen has agreed to stop its Blackberry servers sending emails to some of its employees when they are off-shift.

The carmaker confirmed it made the move earlier this year following complaints that staff's work and home lives were becoming blurred.

The restriction covers employees in Germany working under trade union negotiated contracts.

Campaigners warned that the move would not be suitable for all companies.

A spokesman for VW said: "We confirm that this agreement between VW and the company's work council exists", but would not comment further.

Under the arrangement servers stop routing emails 30 minutes after the end of employees' shifts, and then start again 30 minutes before they return to work.

The staff can still use their devices to make calls and the rule does not apply to senior management.

"The agreement was received very positively," Heinz-Joachim Thus of the VW workers council told the German newspaper Wolfsburger Allgemeine.

Spare time

The move follows criticism of internal emails by Thierry Breton, chief executive of the French information technology services giant, Atos. He said workers at his firm were wasting hours of their lives on internal messages both at home and at work. He has taken the more radical step of banning internal email altogether from 2014.

Last month the maker of Persil washing powder, Henkel, also declared an email "amnesty" for its workers between Christmas and New Year saying messages should only be sent out as an emergency measure.

Industry watchers say the moves reflect growing awareness of a problem.

"It's bad for the individual worker's performance being online and available 24-7. You do need downtime, you do need periods in which you can actually reflect on something without needing instantaneously to give a reaction," said Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation.

"Secondly it has a poor impact on an individual's well-being. I think that one has to patrol quite carefully the borderline between work and non-work.

"So I can see why some firms are taking this action, the problem is that a universal response is impossible... but certainly we should have the capacity to be opted out of it rather than be opted in."


Union officials in the UK have also cautioned other firms against repeating Volkswagen's move without consultation.

"The issue of employees using Blackberrys, computers and other devices out of working time is a growing one that needs to be addressed as it can be a source of stress," Trades Union Congress (TUC) secretary general Brendan Barber told the BBC.

"However other organisations will need different solutions and what works in VW may not work elsewhere.

"By working in partnership with their union, Volkswagen's policy will have the support of all their employees. Where employers simply introduce policies on their own, however well-meaning they may be, they are unlikely to be successful."

Related Article:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Irish privacy watchdog calls for Facebook changes

BBC News, 21 December 2011

Related Stories 

Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg,
has said the firm can do better on
The Irish data protection commissioner has recommended widespread changes to improve privacy on Facebook.

They include making its terms and conditions clearer and offering users greater control over how their data is used on the site.

The findings are particularly significant because Facebook Ireland was given responsibility for all non-US and Canadian data in September 2010.

Facebook has six months to implement the changes.

Commissioner Billy Hawkes will conduct a formal review of its progress in July.

Commenting on the report, he said: "This was a challenging engagement both for my office and for Facebook Ireland. The audit has found a positive approach and commitment on the part of FB-I [Facebook Ireland] to respecting the privacy rights of its users."


Facebook welcomed the review, saying: "We are pleased that the report demonstrates how Facebook adheres to European data protection principles and complies with Irish law.

"Of course, the report highlights some areas where we can improve and reach best practice."

The report suggested widespread changes, including: 
  • a mechanism for users to make an informed choice for how their information is used and shared on the site, including in relation to third party apps
  • an update to its data use policy/privacy policy to take account of recommendations as to where the information provided to users could be further improved
  • transparency and control for users via the provision of all personal data held to them on request and as part of their everyday interaction with the site
  • the deletion of information held on users and non-users via what are known as social plug-ins, and more generally the deletion of data held from user interactions with the site much sooner than presently
  • increased transparency and controls for the use of personal data for advertising purposes
  • an additional form of notification for users in relation to facial recognition/"tag suggest" that, it is considered, will ensure Facebook Ireland is meeting best practice in this area from an Irish law perspective
  • an enhanced ability for users to control tagging and posting on other user profiles
  • an enhanced ability for users to control their addition to groups by friends
  • The review is the latest in a series of privacy investigations. Last month the US Federal Trade Commission said the social network giant had engaged in "unfair and deceptive" practices over changes made to its privacy settings in 2009.

In a blog post at the time, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company had made a "bunch of mistakes".

But he added that this had often overshadowed the good work that the social networking site, which has more than 800 million users, had done.

Related Article:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bahrain blogger Zainab al-Khawaja freed on bail

BBC News, 21 December 2011

Bahrain Protests 

Images of Zainab al-Khawaja being dragged away by
police attracted widespread coverage
Bahrain police have released Zainab al-Khawaja, a blogger and human rights activist, after five days in custody.

Ms Khawaja, the daughter of a jailed opposition leader, was arrested on Thursday during an anti-government demonstration.

Images of her arrest, in which she was dragged to a police vehicle after refusing to leave a sit-in, had received widespread coverage.

She was released on Tuesday night pending trial.

After her release she tweeted that the last few days had been "tough".

The 28-year-old is the mother of a young child. Her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, her husband and other male relatives have been imprisoned since April.

In February and March an uprising of Bahrain's majority Shia population against the Sunni rulers began, inspired by the Arab Spring. The government crackdown left at least 24 people dead, though some accounts put the toll as high as 40.

An inquiry by an international panel of human rights experts found police had used excessive force. King Hamad has put together a committee to implement the recommendations of the panel's report.

Related Articles:

Monday, December 19, 2011

IBM Next 5 in 5: 2011 (Video)

IBM unveils its sixth annual "Next 5 in 5" -- a list of innovations with the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. The Next 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from IBM's Labs around the world that can make these innovations possible.

In this installment: you will be able to power your home with the energy you create yourself; you will never need a password again; mind reading is no longer science fiction; the digital divide will cease to exist; and junk mail will become priority mail.

Guangzhou joins other Chinese cities in launching official microblog   2011-12-19
GUANGZHOU, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The municipal government of the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou launched its official microblog Monday, joining other cities that have used the popular social networking tool to better interact with the public.

The official microblog "Zhongguo Guangzhou Fabu," which roughly translates to "China Guangzhou News Release," was launched simultaneously on and, two of the country's popular microblogging websites.

Nearly 12 hours after being officially launched at 9:40 a.m., the microblog had accumulated over 110,000 followers on both sites.

Twenty-four municipal government agencies, including police and education authorities, will post newly-released policies and regulations, work developments, and information about news conferences on the joint microblog account, Mayor of Guangzhou Wan Qingliang said.

More government agencies will join the microblog account in the future, he said.

Last month, the municipal governments of Beijing and Shanghai unveiled similar news release platforms, as microblogging is becoming a widely recognized platform and channel for interactions between the government and the public.

According to the latest statistics from Internet giant Sina, which operates, nearly 10,000 government agencies had opened verified microblog accounts by early November this year.

The latest statistics show that China now has more than 300 million registered microblog users among its 485 million Internet users.

Saudi prince invests $300 million in Twitter

The Jakarta PostAdam Schreck, The Associated Press, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Mon, 12/19/2011

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment company said Monday they are investing a combined US$300 million into the microblogging site Twitter.

The joint investment with Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co. follows months of negotiations and represents a strategic stake in Twitter, according to the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based investment firm.

Alwaleed, who has a long history of investing in media and technology, said the deal represents an interest in investing "in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact."

Twitter allows users to send short messages of up to 140 characters. It has been instrumental in connecting protesters and relaying on-the-ground developments during this year's Arab Spring uprisings.

"We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend," Ahmed Halawani, KHC's executive director of private equity and international investments, said in a statement.

Alwaleed is the main shareholder in KHC, which has a major stake in Citigroup Inc. KHC also holds stakes in other Western giants, including Apple Inc. and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

In February 2010, Alwaleed's Rotana Group media company agreed to sell a stake of just over 9 percent to News Corp. for $70 million.

Alwaleed is in the process of launching a new Arabic news channel that will challenge established players such as Qatar's Al-Jazeera and Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya.

The channel, which will be called Alarab, is expected to begin operations next year and will feature reports from business news service Bloomberg LP. Alwaleed has said he hopes the new network will focus on the shifts taking place across the Arab world, with an emphasis on freedom of speech and of the press.

KHC also owns a sizable stake in a Saudi media company that publishes the influential Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat and other publications.

Spending spree: Saudi billionaire Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal has announced today
that he is investing $300 million into social
networking site Twitter

Related Articles:

“... In March of 2011, Bloomberg news reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co., arguably the largest corporate bank in the world, “has invested in a fund that has bought about $400 million in Twitter Inc. shares....”

Well connected: Prince Alwaleed leaves
Westminster Abbey after attending the wedding
of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Internet Explorer: Microsoft plans 'silent' updates

BBC News, 16 December 2011

Related Stories 

Once IE is updated, future changes will
be applied without a user's knowledge
From January, Internet Explorer (IE) users will be automatically updated to the latest version of the browser.

Microsoft said it was starting the project to update millions of machines to improve security online.

Future updates to the browser would be applied without a user's knowledge to help beat scammers catching people out with fake updates.

Those who did not want their browser updated could opt out or uninstall the software, said Microsoft.

"The Web overall is better - and safer - when more people run the most up-to-date browser," wrote Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's IE boss, in a blogpost explaining the plan.

He said the data gathered by Microsoft for its security intelligence reports showed that many cyber criminals targeted old or outdated software when they tried to trick people into installing fake updates.

To beat such scams, Mr Gavin, said that once the latest version of the browser was installed all future updates would arrive silently and be applied without a user getting involved.

Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, said the plan would aid those who did not see the importance of staying up to date.

"Microsoft has been struggling with browser stragglers for years," he said in a statement.

Demise of IE6

The giant upgrade programme will affect IE users running Windows XP, Vista and 7, and will first be rolled out in Australia and Brazil. Only those Windows users with automatic updates turned on will be enrolled in the programme.

Those using Windows XP will be upgraded to IE8, while those on Vista and 7 get bumped up to IE9. This will probably mean the demise of IE6, a 10-year-old version of the browser that Microsoft has been trying to kill off for a while.

Figures gathered by Microsoft suggest IE6 is used by about 8.3% of people around the world, with the biggest number of users in China, where almost 28% of people remain wedded to it.

Globally, Internet Explorer is still the most popular browser, with more than 52% of people using it, according to net market research firm Net Applications. Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome are battling it out for second place.

Microsoft said it had made tools that would let people avoid or uninstall the more up-to-date versions of the browsers if they wanted to stay with an older copy.

Related Article:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Facebook 'unfriends' coal and 'likes' clean power

Agreement to power its operations using clean and renewable energy follows a two-year campaign by Greenpeace, James Meikle, Thursday 15 December 2011

Facebook director of operations, Tom Furlong, announces plans to build
a 'green' datacentre in Lulea, northern Sweden. Photograph: Susanne
Lindholm/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has announced it will move away from coal and power its operations – including datacentres – with clean and renewable energy.

The move follows a two-year campaign by environmental group Greenpeace, which argued that the company's massive energy consumption was contributing significantly to climate change.

The agreement comes after Greenpeace united 700,000 supporters behind its Unfriend Facebook campaign to lobby the company to change its energy policies. "This move sets an example for the industry to follow," said Tzeporah Berman, co-director of Greenpeace's international climate and energy programme. "This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities."

In April 2011, a Greenpeace report, How Dirty is your Data?, calculated that 53.2% of Facebook's electricity was generated by coal. Energy consumption by datacentres is growing rapidly and each of Facebook's US datacentres is estimated to consume the same electricity as 30,000 US homes.

Facebook said it wanted to develop its platform to work more closely with Greenpeace to "promote environmental awareness and action" after the two organisations published a joint statement on future collaboration.

Marcy Scott Lynn, of Facebook's sustainability programme, said it looked forward "to a day when our primary energy sources are clean and renewable, and we are working with Greenpeace and others to help bring that day closer. As an important step, our datacentre siting policy now states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy."

She added that Greenpeace had been "particularly effective" in using Facebook, saying: "We are excited to work with them to explore new ways in which people can use Facebook to engage and connect on the range of energy issues that matter most to them – from their own energy efficiency to access to cleaner sources of energy."

Facebook's commitment to renewable energy "raises the bar for other IT and cloud computing companies such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Twitter", said Casey Harrell, senior IT analyst for Greenpeace International.

The environmental group has argued that IT companies, by increasing their electricity consumption while avoiding increasing demand for coal, could become a strong force in helping move countries to low-carbon economies.

In October, the company announced plans to build a "green" datacentre in Lulea in northern Sweden that would handle all data processing from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Powered primarily from renewables, the planned facility will cover 30,000 square metres - about the size of 11 football pitches.

Related Articles:

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The internet
 giant has published its carbon footprint for the first time.

Photograph: David Paul Morris/Getty Images
  (Photo: RNW)