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)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

WeFightCensorship publishes banned articles

IJNet, Margaret Looney, June 28, 2013

At the start of the Chinese New Year, Guangzhou-based weekly Nanfang Zhoumo planned to run an editorial calling for constitutional reforms in China. But the original version never appeared in the paper. Instead, the piece could only be published after extensive revisions from a Propaganda Department official.

That's where Reporters Without Borders stepped in. WeFightCensorship (WeFC), its secure portal aimed at making censorship obsolete, made the original version of the editorial available on a global scale.

Reporters Without Borders launched the site as a way for journalists and bloggers to submit articles, photos, video or audio that were all or partly banned in countries prone to government censorship.

So far, the site has received reports from Belarus, Brazil, China, Cuba, India, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Syria. All reports are published in English and French. The site also accepts articles that were originally published in Arabic, Chinese, Persian or Russian.

Contributors can submit content via a "digital safe" that protects the anonymity of the user. Submissions aren't published automatically, but are first vetted by an editorial committee for accuracy and quality. Currently, the majority of contributions come from a network of 150 correspondents based at RWB's regional desks around the globe, enabling on-the-ground verification of submitted reports, Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of RWB, told IJNet.

WeFC also makes it easy to create a mirror version of the site, so that every piece of banned content published on WeFC will be instantly duplicated. WeFC operates under the "Streisand Effect," which means the more a censor tries to quiet a piece of online content, the faster the Internet community will try to spread it. The more versions of the content are available online, the harder it is to censor the information.

The website also features an Online Survival Kit, offering resources on how digital journalists can best protect themselves online. Here you can learn tips for journalists visiting Iran, how to send encrypted emails and all about virtual private networks.

IJNet Editorial Assistant Margaret Looney writes about the latest media trends, reporting tools and journalism resources.

Related Articles:

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

" ... 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)

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“…  Government

Let us speak of government. We're not speaking of your government, but of any government - the way it works, how it survives, how it has survived, the way it campaigns, and how it elects leaders. It's going to change.

Years ago, I told you, "When everybody can talk to everybody, there can be no secrets." Up to this point on this planet, government has counted on one thing - that the people can't easily talk to each other on a global scale. They have to get their information through government or official channels. Even mass media isn't always free enough, for it reports that which the government reports. Even a free society tends to bias itself according to the bias of the times. However, when you can have Human Beings talking to each other all at once, all over the planet without government control, it all changes, for there is open revelation of truth.

Democracy itself will change and you're going to see it soon. The hold-outs, the few countries I have mentioned in the past, are doomed unless they recalibrate. They're doomed to be the same as they have been and won't be able to exist as they are now with everyone changing around them.

I mentioned North Korea in the past. Give it time. Right now, the young man is under the control of his father's advisors. But when they're gone, you will see something different, should he survive. Don't judge him yet, for he is being controlled.

In government, if you're entire voting base has the ability to talk to itself without restriction and comes up with opinions by itself without restriction, it behooves a politician to be aware and listen to them. This will change what politicians will do. It will change the way things work in government. Don't be surprised when some day a whole nation can vote all at once in a very unusual way. Gone will be the old systems where you used to count on horseback riders to report in from faraway places. Some of you know what I am talking about. Government will change. The systems around you, both dark and light, will change. You're going to start seeing something else, too, so let's change the subject and turn the page. …”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

China's state media embraces microblogs to guide public discourse

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-06-27

Microblogs have become a powerful tool for state media to direct public
discourse in China. (Photo/Xinhua)

China's state media outlets have taken control of public discourse in the country by carving out a dominating presence on popular Chinese microblogs.

According to the 2013 Report on Development of New Media in China produced by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, national-level state media such as the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, China's official Xinhua news agency and national broadcaster CCTV have all embraced the Twitter-like microblogs such as Sina Weibo, which has more than 500 million registered users as at the end of last year.

Netizens have, in return, also embraced the opportunity to engage in discussions on these microblogs. The People's Daily official microblog, for example, registered 15.56 billion visits in the second half of 2012 alone, with total page views reaching nearly 74 billion and the total amount of time spent on the site exceeding 1.5 billion hours.

While microblogs are still behind search engines, internet videos, online shopping and traditional blogs in terms of generating traffic, their power to drive public discourse has far exceeded that of community forums, social media and mainstream media websites.

According to the report, as at the end of 2012 there were more than 110,000 media-related microblog accounts on Sina Weibo, with major media outlets such as the People's Daily, Xinhua, CCTV and China National Radio each possessing several microblog pages focusing on different topics ranging from breaking news to society and charity. The CCTV News microblog alone has more than six million fans.

Analysts say the increased use of microblogs by Chinese state media can significantly boost its power to guide public discourse while also greatly minimizing its former weaknesses, namely slow reaction time and incorrect statements.

On the other hand, microblogs have also become the main channel for online rumors in China. There were 617 reported rumors in China in 2012, one third of which were spread primarily through microblogs, the report said.

The statistics show that political rumors accounted for 16.1% of all tabulated rumors, followed by rumors about people's livelihoods (11.3%) and financial rumors (11%).

Twitter CEO defends 'principled' data request policy

Google – AFP, 26 June 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during a discussion on social
media on June 26, 2013 at the Brookings Institution (AFP, Mandel Ngan)

WASHINGTON — Twitter is holding to a "principled" policy on national security data requests and will "push back" in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Dick Costolo, appearing at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, declined to comment on whether Twitter had specific requests under the vast data-gathering program called PRISM made public this month.

But he said the popular messaging service maintains its policy of allowing users to be informed of any requests from authorities, both in the United States and abroad.

"We've been very clear about having articulated a very principled policy around access to user data," he said.

"When we receive a valid, legal request in the countries in which we operate we will abide by the rule of law."

He added that for "other requests that may be more broad in scope and not specific legal requests that don't meet our principle... we will push back on."

Twitter was not among the nine Internet firms cited in documents for providing access to the secretive National Security Agency, which seeks to identify potential terrorist threats from abroad.

Costolo steered clear of questions on why Twitter was absent from the list, which includes Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

But he noted that Twitter has gone to court in certain cases to fight "gag" orders and to allow users to be in informed of how their own data is used.

"We feel that our users have a right to know when their information is being requested," he said.

"This is not just something we deal with in the US, it's something we deal with in all the countries (where) we operate."

Costolo also defended the messaging platform in the face of criticism from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who branded Twitter as a "troublemaker" inciting protests against his rule.

"The beauty of having this open public platform that allows everybody around you to see and hear what you think is that... that it's this public town square. That's what it is. We don't editorialize what's on it," he said.

"We don't say, 'If you believe this you can't use our platform.' You can use our platform to say what you believe... The platform itself doesn't have any perspective on this. It's a vehicle for people to give their perspective."

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sony launches giant waterproof Xperia Z Ultra phone

BBC News, Leo Kelion, Technology reporter, 25 June 2013

Related Stories 

The Xperia Z Ultra is marketed as
being waterproof
Sony has announced a waterproof Android smartphone with a 6.4in screen (16.3cm).

The firm is pitching the Xperia Z Ultra as being the slimmest large-screened handset on the market.

It can also accept sketches or notes written using a standard pencil or metal-tipped pen in addition to an optional stylus.

The firm says it intends for the device to challenge Samsung's dominance of the jumbo-sized handset sector.

According to a study by consultants Transparency Market Research, Samsung accounted for 70% of the overall "superphone and phablet" market in 2012 thanks to the popularity of models including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.

Earlier this year, it added the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Mega - a 6.3in-screened handset - to its line-up.

Sony already offers a 5in handset of its own, the original Xperia Z, which it unveiled in January.

The Ultra follow-up was unveiled at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. The new device will go on sale in China, Indonesia and Singapore in July and then in Europe in September.

"Southeast Asia is the key market for the product because the trend towards large-screened smartphone devices is stronger there," Calum MacDougall, director of Xperia marketing, told the BBC.

"But we also see the trend in Europe as well.

"In the large-screen segment at the moment most consumers are looking at the Galaxy Note. Now we can offer something that is really distinct: a stronger screen, greater portability, waterproofing and something different around the stylus and the pen."

Sony is not alone in seeking to erode Samsung's lead.

Over recent months Huawei has announced the the 6.1in Ascend Mate; ZTE the 5.7in Grand Memo; Acer the 5.7in Liquid S1; Asus the 6in FonePad Note; and Lenovo the 5.5in Ideaphone K900.

Mr MacDougall said Sony intended to compete against these by promoting the Xperia Z Ultra's "premium" features rather than trying to match or undercut the Chinese and Taiwanese firms' prices.

The Japanese firm reported its first annual profit in five years in May, but some analysts said its figures were skewed by asset sales and did not reflect a turnaround for its electronics divisions.

Headphone flap-free

The Xperia Z Ultra is 6.5mm (0.26in) thick - only slightly deeper than the thinnest device on the market, Huawei's Ascend P6.

Sony's new model is a fraction bigger
than Samsung's Galaxy Mega
Unlike the original Xperia Z the new phone does not need a flap over its headphone socket to protect it from water damage, addressing complaints the feature was fiddly to use.

It can also be submerged to a deeper limit - 1.5m (4.9ft) in freshwater for up to half an hour.

The device also features:

  • A 1080p resolution screen with in-built software to upgrade lower definition videos and photos
  • 16 gigabytes of internal storage with support for 64GB microSD cards
  • An 8 megapixel rear camera
  • A battery offering up to 11 hours talk time or 120 hours of audio playback - a figure which Sony claims is a record

Those concerned about using such a big device for quick tasks are also offered an optional bluetooth add-on which can be paired to the handset using NFC (near field communication) to make calls, view text messages or stream music.

The accessory is similar to the HTC's Mini accessory announced in January for its 5in Butterfly handset.

Transparency Market Research said that over 150 million Android super-sized phones were sold in 2012 and predicted the market would grow to 400 million by 2018.

Another consultancy firm, Frost & Sullivan, agrees that demand for such devices appears to be robust despite the fact many users would struggle to use them unless they had both hands free.

"For many people in developing parts the phablet is their first communications and computing device and allows them to have a single machine rather than multiple ones," the firm's managing director Manoj Menon told the BBC.

"But going forward companies are going to find it increasingly hard to differentiate between their products on size - it will have to be on software and other features. So, Sony seems to have the right strategy at this time."

In Asia, ancient writing collides with the digital age

Yahoo – AFP, Miwa Suzuki (AFP), 25 June 2013

University student Akihiro Matsumura uses his tablet computer in Tokyo
on June 19, 2013. (Photo By Yoshikazu Tsuno)

As a schoolboy, Akihiro Matsumura spent hundreds of hours learning the intricate Chinese characters that make up a part of written Japanese. Now, the graduate student can rely on his smartphone, tablet and laptop to remember them for him.

"Sometimes I don't even bother to take notes in seminars. I just take out my tablet to shoot pictures of what instructors write on blackboards," he told AFP.

Like millions of people across East Asia, 23-year-old Matsumura is forgetting the pictographs and ideographs that have been used in Japan and greater China for centuries.

While some bemoan what they see as the loss of history and culture, others say the shift frees up brainpower for more useful things, like foreign languages, and even improves writing as a whole.

Naoko Matsumoto, a professor of law who heads international legal studies at the prestigious Sophia University near Tokyo, said the students in her classes now write more fluently than their predecessors.

Akihiro Matsumura (L) uses his tablet
computer as his friend practices writing
Chinese characters in Tokyo on June 19,
2013. (Photo By Yoshikazu Tsuno)
"I'm in my 40s and compared with my generation, they have more and more opportunities to write using Twitter" and other social networking services, she said.

"I think they are actually better at writing" because they write in a simple and easy-to-understand way, she said.

Priorities are changing with more emphasis placed on building logical thinking strategies -- a case of content becoming more important than form.

"The skill of handwriting kanji (Chinese characters) perfectly is becoming less necessary compared with earlier times," the professor said.

Kanji developed in China as a mixture of pictographs -- characters that represent a thing, like "mountain" -- and ideographs -- those that depict an abstract concept, like "think".

Greater China uses only these characters -- a simplified version on the mainland and the traditional form in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Japan imported kanji some time during the first millennium to use as a writing system, despite there being no linguistic link between Japanese and Chinese.

By around the 8th-9th centuries, it developed a syllabary -- a system of consonant/vowel blends -- called "hiragana".

Where kanji contain a meaning, but no inherent sound, each hiragana character represents a sound, but has no inherent meaning -- like a letter in the Latin alphabet. Unlike the alphabet, however, each syllable only ever has one sound.

A second syllabary, called "katakana", also developed. Modern-day written Japanese is a mixture of kanji, hiragana and katakana, with an increasing amount of Western script also thrown in (known as "romaji" or Roman letters).

In both Chinese and Japanese, computer and smartphone users need only to type the pronunciation of the kanji from the constituent sounds using either the syllabary or the alphabet. They then choose one of several options offered by the device.

Very different meanings can come from the same sounds. For example, in Japanese, "shigaisen" produces "street fighting" and "ultra-violet rays".

"It's easy to forget even the easiest of characters," said Zhang Wentong, an assistant at a calligraphy centre in Beijing.

"Sometimes you've got to think for ages. Occasionally I'll repeatedly type the character out phonetically in my phone" until the right one pops up.

Graduate student Matsumura said his reliance on devices leaves him adrift when faced with filling in forms for repairs at the electronics shop where he works part-time.

University student Akihiro Matsumura
writes sentences on a tablet computer
in Tokyo on June 19, 2013. (Photo By
Yoshikazu Tsuno)
"I sometimes can't recall kanji on the spot while a customer is watching me," he said. "I remember their rough shapes but can't remember exact strokes... It's foggy."

Traditionalists fear that forgetting kanji means the irrevocable loss of a fundamental part of culture.

In Hong Kong, Rebecca Ko said her 11-year-old daughter uses the computer more and more, but she insists the child learn traditional characters, and sends her to a Chinese calligraphy class.

"We cannot rely too much on computers, we should be able to write... (and) we should be able to write neatly, it's a basic thing about being Chinese," she said.

But, says Matsumura, times change and the spread of technology gives people opportunities to develop their language capability in other ways, for example allowing some to read more.

"I'm one of them. I used to listen to music blankly on trains, but I now read news and other things," he said.

Guardians of the characters say there is no evidence of any drop-off in enthusiasm.

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, a Kyoto-based organisation, says the number of people who take its exam every year is holding steady at around two million.

People are "increasingly using text messages rather than making phone calls", which means they need to know which characters to use, said a spokeswoman.

And kanji characters are not falling out of favour with all younger people.

Yusuke Kinouchi, a 24-year-old graduate student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, thought children should keep learning the characters in the way they have done for hundreds of years.

Kanji provide a certain economy, he said, where one character can stand in for the sounds made by several letters in a language such as English -- something particularly useful on Twitter, for example, with its 140-character limit.

But beyond the economy, there is one other good reason to keep them alive, he said.

"They are beautiful."

Monday, June 24, 2013

China looks to quantum mechanics to protect secrets from US hackers

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-06-24

Sensitive transmissions at the 18th National Congress in Beijing last November
were reportedly carried out on quantum communications systems. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Chinese government is developing quantum communications technology to prevent confidential information from being intercepted by the United States, reports Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po.

Beijing is said to be extremely concerned that sensitive or classified information being discussed at government meetings remain prone to cyber espionage, especially given recent revelations brought to light by ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed that the US National Security Agency had been hacking targets in Hong Kong and mainland China.

According to Snowden, who on Sunday fled Hong Kong to seek asylum in Ecuador, the US recently hacked into China's top Tsinghua University in January, with at least 63 computers or servers attacked on a single day.

"The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cellphone companies to steal all of your SMS (texting) data," Snowden said, adding that the NSA also invaded the Hong Kong headquarters of internet service provider Pacnet.

To prevent data from being leaked to foreign countries, China has already banned handling sensitive information over the internet, with most of it being transmitted via closed networks developed exclusively for China and using core chips manufactured by domestic companies.

The level of security, however, is still regarded as insufficient, which is why Chinese leaders are turning with quantum mechanics to guarantee secure communication. Under a quantum key distribution system, two parties will be able to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages. China plans to launch its first quantum communications satellite in 2016.

In fact, Chinese leaders have already been using quantum communications before the Snowden scandal erupted. As recently as the 18th National Congress last November, when Xi Jinping replaced Hu Jintao as the general secretary of the Communist Party, sensitive transmissions were conducted using quantum mechanics.

The problem with quantum technology at the moment, according to expert Bao Xiaohui, is that most quantum communication systems can only cover an area of around 50 kilometers at the moment, meaning certain breakthroughts need to be attained to take this form of transmission to the next level.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Privacy' search engines see jump after NSA row

ZeeNews – AFP,  June 22, 2013

Washington: Internet users are taking a fresh look at "privacy" search engines that do not store data or track online activity, in light of the flap over US government surveillance.

While Google's market share has not seen a noticeable dent, privacy search engines like US-based DuckDuckGo and European-based Ixquick have seen jumps in traffic from users seeking to limit their online tracks.

"I think people are seeking out privacy alternatives," said Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, an engine created in 2007, which does not store IP addresses or create profiles of users.

The stored data has become a concern following revelations of a massive surveillance program run by the secretive National Security Agency, with access to data from Google, Yahoo! and other Internet firms.

US officials say the information gathered is vital in the fight against global terrorism.

The same data and profiles can be used by the search engine to deliver ads and sold to outside marketers as well.

"What people type in their search engines is their most personal things," Weinberg said. "It's a little creepy that a search engine can know so much about you."

DuckDuckGo had been growing slowly in recent years, but its traffic charts showed a surge after the first news broke June 6 of the government's PRISM surveillance program. By June 20, traffic had hit nearly three million queries, double the level of a year earlier.

More than half of DuckDuckGo traffic comes from outside the United States, Weinberg said.

"This NSA story played into the trend of people's fears" about online tracking, said Weinberg.

Weinberg said another factor is that Google results are being gamed by search engine spammers and other companies trying to rank their results higher."

Dutch-based Ixquick, which also uses the name StartPage, said it too has seen a dramatic jump in usage after news of the PRISM data sharing program.

Last week, the two meta-search engines -- which use the results of Google and other search sites and strip out identifying information -- served as many as 3.6 million queries.

"This growth has been sustained, it shows no signs of slowing down," said spokeswoman Katherine Albrecht.

The revelations about PRISM "really have woken people up," she said.

"People had heard the message of privacy but hadn't been able to nail it down to how it relates to them."

The company proclaims it "has never turned over user data to any government entity anywhere on earth" and is "not directly subject to US jurisdiction."

Another search engine, California-based Blekko, allows users to select privacy settings and keeps no data if the user selects "do not track."

"Even if you are not a criminal, you probably make searches that you don't want your minister, boss, or spouse to know about," said Blekko's Greg Lindahl.

Weinberg said DuckDuckGo's model allows it to make money through "keyword" advertising, without stored profiles. So if someone is searching for a "mortgage," they might see ads for banks.

This differs from search engines that track the pages people visit and then deliver related ads, a practice known as "retargeting."

"Retargeting is effective only for a small amount of people, the rest are just annoyed by it," he said.

Danny Sullivan, editor in chief at the specialized website Search Engine Land, said these kinds of search engines were "interesting" but unlikely to have a major market impact.

"It's extremely unlikely in the next three to five years that any player will come along and take a sizeable share away from Google," he said.

A survey of the US market by the research firm comScore showed Google with a 66.5 percent market share, with 13.3 billion search queries in a month, followed by Microsoft (17.3 percent, 3.5 billion) and Yahoo! (12 percent, 2.4 billion).

Sullivan said the news over NSA surveillance "so far doesn't seem to be spooking" the public.

He said Google does not force people to create a profile that can be used to connect with its other services.

"You can go to Google, and you can do a search without being logged in, and you still get very good results," Sullivan said.

"If you do log in and connect to these services, Google blows DuckDuckGo out of the water. When it has access to your calendar and search history, Google can predict your answers before you even ask them."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Samsung Ativ Q tablet runs both Windows 8 and Android

BBC News, 20 June 2013

Related Stories
Samsung has unveiled a tablet that can switch between the Windows 8 and Android operating systems.

The Ativ Q has a 13.3in (33.8cm) screen that sits over a keyboard that can be folded out for typing or set to act as a stand. In addition it has a stylus.

It comes just over a fortnight after Asus unveiled its own laptop-tablet hybrid which also runs both Microsoft and Google's systems.

One analyst said he expected this to be a trend that other firms would follow.

"It's a very cost-effective way for manufacturers to offer extra value to consumers at a time when it's very hard to differentiate benefits from one device to another," said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group.

"You can tap into the industry-standard Windows productivity solutions - from Office to third-party programmes - as well as all the mobile apps of Google's system. It's the logical next step."

The Ativ Q runs off Intel's new Haswell chip and Samsung said it offered up to nine hours of battery life. It added that the device's screen had been designed to be bright enough to be used outside on a sunny day.

The launch was announced at a press conference in London.

Android camera

Samsung also showed off another touchscreen computer, the Ativ Tab 3 which it described as the world's thinnest tablet to run the full Windows 8 system, as well as new PCs.

Among the other announcements was the Galaxy NX - a camera which allows its lenses to be changed, runs off the Android system and supports 4G data transfers.

It marks the firm's latest attempt to sell a device which offers higher quality images than the typical smartphone, but also allows pictures and video to be edited with apps and uploaded to the internet.

Samsung added an Android-powered
 interchangeable lens camera to its Galaxy line-up
It adds to a product line that also includes a handset featuring a 10x optical zoom.

"The Galaxy NX camera looks impressive and is more likely to appeal to serious photographers than its S4 zoom, which is quite a bulky smartphone because of the lens on the back," said Graeme Neill, deputy editor at Mobile Today.

"Samsung's main difference from its rival Apple is the sheer volume of products it brings to market.

"It is really determined to be making a smartphone, tablet, camera and laptop for everybody, from those who want high-end devices to consumers on a budget."

The announcements come at a time when the South Korean firm's stock has come under pressure.

Samsung Electronics shares have fallen by nearly 14% since 4 June after a number of banks cut their profit forecasts for the company.

They said they were worried its flagship Android device, the Galaxy S4, was not selling as well as they had previously predicted and raised concerns about rising competition from Chinese smart device makers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Google asks US court to allow data query release

Google – AFP, 18 June 2013

Google petitioned the Foreign Intelligence 
Surveillance Court for permission to
publish data (AFP/File, Karen Bleier)
WASHINGTON — Google said Tuesday it asked a special US court handling national security investigations for permission to publish the number of government requests for data to the Internet giant.

The court filing in Washington came amid a firestorm of protests over revelations that the National Security Agency had accessed vast amounts of data in a surveillance program under the supervision of the special court, which operates in secret.

Google said it already publishes in its "transparency report" data on requests from law enforcement and so-called National Security Letters from the FBI.

"However, greater transparency is needed, so today we have petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow us to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately," a Google spokesperson said.

"Lumping national security requests together with criminal requests -- as some companies have been permitted to do -- would be a backward step for our users."

FISA refers to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which authorized the secret court.
Google said it was seeking a court ruling to allow it to publish "limited, aggregate statistics" on orders for the company to hand over data.

"Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false and misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegations," the petition said.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yahoo! says it has received thousands of US requests

Google – AFP, 18 June 2013

The Yahoo logo is displayed in front of the company's headquarters on
July 17, 2012 in Sunnyvale, California (Getty Images/AFP/File, Justin

WASHINGTON — Internet giant Yahoo! said in a letter to users that it has received up to 13,000 requests for information from US law enforcement agencies in a six-month period ending May 31.

The letter titled "Our Commitment to Our Users' Privacy" was posted on the company's Tumblr page late Monday, and was signed by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and the company's top lawyer, Ron Bell.

Yahoo!, along with Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of a vast, covert Internet surveillance program by the US government, which it insists targets only foreign terror suspects and has helped thwart attacks.

Between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013 "we received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests."

According to the letter, the most common requests "concerned fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations."

"Like all companies, Yahoo! cannot lawfully break out FISA [US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified; however, we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue."

Major Internet firms have faced a public backlash since government contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM, a vast program that saw nine high-tech companies turn over user data to the US National Security Agency.

The companies have denied claims the NSA could directly access their servers. US authorities have said the program was legal and limited.

Yahoo! said that it will issue in the next months "our first global law enforcement transparency report, which will cover the first half of the year. We will refresh this report with current statistics twice a year."

Snowden's leaks have reignited debate over the trade-offs between privacy and security more than a decade after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

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