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)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

First papal 'selfie' goes viral on social media

Google – AFP, 31 August 2013

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

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has broken protocol once again, appearing with a puzzled look on his face in a "selfie" photo taken with a group of teenagers visiting the Vatican.

The picture appeared on the Facebook page of one of the youngsters, who used it as his profile picture, and was going viral on social media on Saturday.

The picture comes in the same week that the Oxford English Dictionary included the word "selfie" to denote a self-taken photograph on a smartphone.

The young believers were part of a church group from northern Italy who met with the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday and were seen going up to him afterwards to take their photo.

"There is no marketing behind these actions. The pope clearly likes being with people while his predecessor liked being with books," said Beppe Severgnini, columnist for the Corriere della Sera daily.

The 76-year-old pope, Latin America's first pontiff, has repeatedly broken with Vatican tradition since being elected in March, including regularly picking up the phone and calling ordinary people who write to him.

The photo prompted bemused reactions on Twitter, with one user saying "Now I've seen everything" and another quipping: "It's the end of the world as we know it."

One unenthused tweeter commented: "Just because Pope Francis poses for a 'selfie', doesn't make it okay!"

Related Articles:

Microsoft Joins Google in US Spying Suit

Jakarta Globe – AFP, August 31, 2013

Microsoft and Google filed suits in federal court in June, arguing a right to
 make public more information about user data requests made under the
auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (Reuters Photo)

Microsoft says that a battle to shed light on secret US government requests for Internet user data will play out in court after failed peace talks.

Microsoft and Google filed suits in federal court in June, arguing a right to make public more information about user data requests made under the auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The technology titans agreed six times to extend the deadline for the government to respond to the lawsuits, allowing time for negotiations that “ended in failure,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post.

“To followers of technology issues, there are many days when Microsoft and Google stand apart,” Smith said.

“But today our two companies stand together… We believe we have a clear right under the US Constitution to share more information with the public.”

Silicon Valley Internet titans want to be able to provide users with better insight into what information the government gets its hands on.

The issue caught fire after Edward Snowden, a former IT contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed that US authorities were tapping into Internet user data, sometimes using national security letters that bar companies from telling anyone about the requests.

US officials on Thursday said they would begin publishing annual tallies of national security requests for Internet user data, but that step is not enough, according to Smith.

“For example, we believe it is vital to publish information that clearly shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email,” Smith said.

He argued that, along with providing numbers of requests, disclosures should provide context regarding what is being sought.

“We believe it’s possible to publish these figures in a manner that avoids putting security at risk,” Smith said.

“With the failure of our recent negotiations, we will move forward with litigation in the hope that the courts will uphold our right to speak more freely.”

There has been a wave of legal action since revelations in the media about the PRISM program, believed to collect vast amounts of phone and Internet data as part of efforts to protect national security.

Internet companies have stated they release information only in response to specific court orders, and claim that reports about providing easy access to US authorities are exaggerated.

US authorities insist the surveillance programs are entirely lawful and have helped thwart dozens of terror attacks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hugo Barra quits Android to help Xiaomi's overseas expansion

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-08-30

Hugo Barra shows off Google's Nexus 7 tablet. (Photo/CFP)

Hugo Barra, former vice president of Android's product management department, has left the Google mobile platform. His departure follows rumors of a romantic relationship with Google co-founder Sergey Brin's estranged wife Anne Wojcicki.

Barra announced on his Google+ page that he is leaving the internet giant to join Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi, which has grew rapidly since 2011. He will help the company to expand its business in overseas markets and facilitate its further cooperation with Android's operating system. It is speculated that Barra will attend Xiaomi's next product launch on Sept. 5.

Barra joined Google in March 2008 and was promoted to vice president in his second year at the company. He has been considered a spokesman for Android and never missed Google's events to unveil new products and I/O developers. In early July, he demonstrated the second generation of Google's Nexus 7 tablet.

He was formerly romantically involved with Amanda Rosenberg, manager responsible for marketing Google Glass and for the slogan "Ok, Glass." He has more recently been linked to Anne Wojcicki, who is separated from her husband.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said the company will work with Barra as it targets international markets. The company has not ruled out the possibility of teaming up with Google's Android department to help ensure Android's development in China will not be blocked by antitrust investigations 

References:

Xiaomi  小米
Lei Jun  雷軍

Cisco fixes critical remote command exec vulnerability in Secure ACS

Vulnerability could allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to take control of the underlying operating system, the company said

TechCentral.ie, 30 August 2013
               
Tech4Biz | 30 Aug 2013 :  Cisco Systems released security patches for Secure Access Control Server (Secure ACS) for Windows to address a critical vulnerability that could allow unauthenticated attackers to remotely execute arbitrary commands and take control of the underlying operating system.

Cisco Secure ACS is an application that allows companies to centrally manage access to network resources for various types of devices and users. According to Cisco's documentation, it enforces access control policies for VPN, wireless and other network users and it authenticates administrators, authorises commands, and provides an audit trail.

Cisco Secure ACS supports two network access control protocols: Remote Access Dial In User Service (RADIUS) and Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus (TACACS+).

The newly patched vulnerability is identified as CVE-2013-3466 and affects Cisco Secure ACS for Windows versions 4.0 through 4.2.1.15 when configured as a RADIUS server with Extensible Authentication Protocol-Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunnelling (EAP-FAST) authentication.

"The vulnerability is due to improper parsing of user identities used for EAP-FAST authentication," Cisco said in a security advisory. "An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending crafted EAP-FAST packets to an affected device."
 
"Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands and take full control of the underlying operating system that hosts the Cisco Secure ACS application in the context of the System user for Cisco Secure ACS running on Microsoft Windows," the company said.

The vulnerability received the maximum severity score, 10.0, in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which indicates that it is highly critical. Cisco Secure ACS for Windows version 4.2.1.15.11 was released to address the flaw.

There are no known workarounds, so upgrading to the patched version of the application is recommended.

iPhone 5 charger explodes, causes blackout in Guangzhou

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-08-30

iPhone chargers. (File photo/Wang Ying-hao)

An iPhone 5 charger exploded and caused a blackout at a company in Guangzhou on Thursday, according to local news website ycwb.com.

A staff member at the company surnamed Li plugged in the charger for her white iPhone 5 on Thursday morning. The charger promptly blew up and sparks came out of the place where the two devices connected. Li quickly pulled her hands away but her fingertips were turned black by the considerable smoke produced by the sparks.

The overload caused the power supply to the whole company to shut down. Burn marks could be seen on the phone's USB connector, the charger and a power socket beneath Li's desk. The smartphone and the socket survived the explosion, however.

Li said Apple staff had contacted her to ask for her smartphone's serial number and to ascertain whether she was using a standard Apple charger. Li says she has not had any reply since then.

In July, A 23-year-old flight attendant named Ma Ailun from Xinjiang in northwestern China died when she was electrocuted while using her iPhone 4S as it was charging from a non-authenticated charger. Her death has been attributed to the charger itself, which may have been manufactured with inferior materials leading to an electricity surge going directly into the iPhone battery. A similar case was also reported in Beijing, where a man surnamed Wu remains in a coma after being electrocuted by his charging iPhone 4S.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

France launches probe into US spy programme

Google – AFP, 28 August 2013

Protesters demonstrate against US surveillance outside the US consulate
in Hamburg, Germany, on July 11, 2013 (DPA/AFP/File, Angelika Warmuth)

PARIS — French prosecutors are investigating alleged US spying under the PRISM surveillance programme following complaints by two human rights groups, sources close to the case said Wednesday.

They launched an investigation on July 16 into fraudulent access to personal data and personal correspondence following complaints by the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights, the sources said.

The complaint also targets the role played by Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltak, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple in the alleged espionage.

PRISM is said to give the US National Security Agency and FBI easy access to the systems of nine of the world's top Internet companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype.

A lawyer for the two groups, Emmanuel Daoud, said they wanted to determine whether these firms had cooperated with US intelligence gathering and made their servers available to the FBI and NSA.

If the companies had done so, they could face criminal charges in France for violating data protection and privacy rules, he said.

There has been deep concern in Europe about the alleged abuses of privacy.

Documents leaked by former CIA worker Edward Snowden suggest that Britain's electronic eavesdropping centre GCHQ has had access to a US Internet-monitoring programme since at least June 2010.

Related Article:


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Facebook report reveals depth of data requests

Deutsche Welle, 27 August 2013


Governments around the world issued around 25,000 requests for information about Facebook users in the first half of this year. Facebook has published its first report on the matter; Washington fielded the most requests.

Released on Tuesday, the report showed 71 countries had made more than 25,000 data requests affecting around 38,000 people. Facebook received between 11,000 and 12,000 requests from the US, with India (3245), the United Kingdom (1975) and Germany (1886) others to feature prominently.

The reasoning offered to justify the requests included “both criminal and national security," Facebook said via a statement. The report said at least some data was released in 79 percent of US data requests and around 60 percent overall.

"We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests," the site's general counsel Colin Stretch said in a blog post. "When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name."

Stretch continued by stating “transparency and trust are core values at Facebook," but the website is still prohibited by law from disclosing specific information about the requests it had received from the US government.

It is the latest technology firm to release such a report, following in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft and Twitter.

This comes after the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal that broke in June, in which documents provided by the US intelligence agency's former system administrator Edward Snowden were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post.

The documents detailed surveillance and data collection by the NSA around the world via complex programs and initiatives. The NSA is the foreign intelligence service for the US.
Germany was the European Union's most-targeted nation, with German security agencies accused of sending intercepted data to the NSA.

ph/msh (AFP, AP)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kinpo unveils US$499 3D printer

Want China Times, CNA 2013-08-27

An XYZprinting 3D printer. (Photo/Yen Chien-lung)

A local Taiwanese electronics conglomerate Kinpo Group unveiled Monday a three-dimensional printer priced as low as US$499 to tap into what it calls a promising industry.

The 3D printer dubbed the da Vinci will carry the brand name of XYZprinting, a joint venture by two Kinpo subsidiaries: Kinpo Electronics and Cal-Comp Electronics and Communications.

Other brands' products using the same fused filament fabrication printing technology are currently priced at between NT$42,000 and NT$66,000 (US$1,400-$2,200).

XYZprinting is ready to take online pre-orders for the new printer in September and to display the machine in stores of Vibo Telecom, another Kinpo subsidiary, while actual sales will begin in Taiwan and China in December, said XYZprinting chairman Simon Shen.

XYZprinting has set its global sales target of 3D printers at 1 million units over the coming three years, as the company plans to expand its distribution networks to the United States, Japan and Europe in the first quarter of 2014 by partnering with online stores and retailers there, he said.

"3D printers are not almighty, but we believe that this technology will gradually replace people's day-to-day household item purchases," Shen said at a press conference to launch the new printer, adding that mid-range and high-end models are scheduled to be unveiled next year.

However, XYZprinting is not expected to turn a profit with its 3D printers during the coming one-and-a-half years until the new technology gains more consumer traction, said Rock Hsu, chairman of the Kinpo Group, which owns the world's number two contract notebook maker, Compal Electronics.

3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid objects of virtually any shape from a digital model.

3D printing is already changing the design, prototyping and manufacturing processes in a wide range of industries, according to a report by market research firm Gartner.

Enterprises should start experimenting with the technology to improve traditional product design and prototyping, as industrial 3D printers will soon be available for under US$2,000, the report said.

The technology will also become available to consumers via kiosks or print-shop-style services, creating new opportunities for retailers and other businesses, the report said.

"3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption," said Pete Basiliere, a research director at Gartner. "It is a technology of great interest to the general media, with demonstrations on science shows, on gadget websites and in other areas."

"We see 3D printing as a tool for empowerment, already enabling life-changing parts and products to be built in struggling countries, helping rebuild crisis-hit areas and leading to the democratization of manufacturing," the analyst said.

US tech sector feels pain from PRISM

Google – AFP, Rob Lever (AFP), 27 August 2013


A 'Secure Cloud Storage' drive is seen at the CeBIT, world's biggest IT fair,
in Hanover, on March 3, 2011 (AFP/File, Johannes Eisele)

WASHINGTON, DC — Revelations about vast US data collection programs are starting to hit American tech companies, which are ramping up pressure for increased transparency to try to mitigate the damage.

An industry group, the Cloud Security Alliance said last month that 10 percent of its non-US members have cancelled a contract with a US-based cloud provider, and 56 percent said they were less likely to use an American company.

A separate report this month by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, or ITIF, a Washington think tank, said US cloud providers stand to lose $22 billion to $35 billion over the next three years due to revelations about the so-called PRISM program.

Daniel Castro, author of the report, says a loss of trust in US tech firms could lead to "protectionist" measures that hurt the fast-growing cloud sector.

"The risk is that a country like Germany will say you have to be a German company to provide data services in Germany," Castro told AFP.

"I don't think that helps anyone. We do benefit from free trade and the robust competitiveness in the tech industry."

The report notes that the United States dominates the cloud computing market both domestically and abroad, and that US firms could lose between 10 and 20 percent of the foreign market in the next few years.

Tech companies, especially firms in cloud computing, have been in a frenzy since details leaked in June about surveillance efforts led by the secretive National Security Agency, including PRISM, believed to scoop up massive amounts of data as part of efforts to thwart terrorism.

Castro said in his report "the disclosures of the NSA's electronic surveillance may fundamentally alter the market dynamics."

The news "will likely have an immediate and lasting impact on the competitiveness of the US cloud computing industry if foreign customers decide the risks of storing data with a US company outweigh the benefits," he wrote.

Much concern in being expressed in Europe. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik last month urged the EU to develop its own cloud industry, noting that 95 percent of the services come from US firms.

"Recent months have proven once again that it's very important for Europe to have its own data clouds that operate strictly under European legislation," he said.

Some analysts say losses could be even greater than the ITIF predicts, if the fallout affects consumer-based services like email and search.

And Forrester Research analyst James Staten argued that, in addition to the loss of foreign customers, US customers may look overseas for cloud services, and the rest of the tech sector could also see an impact.

"Add it all up and you have a net loss for the service provider space of about $180 billion by 2016, which would be roughly a 25 percent decline in the overall IT services market," Staten said.

The tech sector has been active on several fronts, filing court cases and making public pleas to the US administration for more transparency, in the hope that fuller disclosure will ease fears about how data is shared.

Six large high-tech lobby groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama this month asking for such steps, saying more transparency "can assist in reestablishing trust, both domestically and globally."

Ross Schulman of Computer & Communications Industry Association, one of the tech associations, said "the lack of information is compounding the trust problem."

Schulman said it's not clear if the volume of data collected by the government is more or less than people believe.

"If it's less, that could help trust," he said. "If it's more, people could have an informed discussion of surveillance practices."

But in the current situation, he said, "it's difficult to go to customers and say the cloud is the best place for your data."

Related Articles:



Monday, August 26, 2013

Facebook rallies thousands to Philippines protest

Google – AFP, 26 August 2013

Thousands of protesters make a thumbs down sign during a rally against
corruption at a park in Manila on August 26, 2013 (AFP, Ted Aljibe)

MANILA — Tens of thousands of people gathered in a central Manila park on Monday to protest against embedded corruption in the Philippine political system after a rallying call on Facebook and Twitter.

The so-called "million people march" is one of the largest public demonstrations since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform.

The protesters ranged from nuns and priests and students to businessmen, middle-class families, lawyers and other professionals, showcasing the broad-based anger over graft in the impoverished nation.

"The Filipino people are now modern. Proof is the million people march that we can't be fooled by our leaders anymore," a protester calling himself Gundam08 tweeted from the rally site.

An activist applies finishing touches to 
masks in Manila on August 25, 2013,
ahead of an anti-corruption protest (AFP,
Noel Celis)
Government officials' misuse of funds has been long embedded and practically accepted in the Philippine political system but a series of newspaper articles, like about how government funds were allegedly diverted into private hands, have stirred new anger outside of the usual protest groups.

The calls for the protest began circulating on Facebook and Twitter about two weeks ago after reports in the popular Philippine Daily Inquirer of an alleged scam involving legislators' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The PDAF is money allocated for lawmakers to be used in their pet development projects. Critics see it as funding "pork barrel" projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

At the centre of the controversy is a woman the newspapers reported to have allegedly connived with legislators to siphon off some 10 billion pesos ($230 million) from the fund.

Aquino had previously expanded the PDAF under his 2014 budget so that each senator will receive 200 million pesos ($4.5 million) while each member of the House of Representatives gets 70 million pesos for their "pork barrel."

But in the face of growing anger earlier this month, he had suspended the releases of money and vowed to reform the PDAF system.

The protestors, carrying signs saying "Abolish pork barrel" and "Change the culture of political patronage," were peaceful even if they appeared to have no leader, said national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac.

"It's a very respectable gathering. There are families here like a picnic. They are policing their own ranks. This is purely social-network propelled," he told AFP while monitoring the rally.

Of the huge crowd at the Luneta Park, only a few hundred were from the leftist protest groups that usually lead such street protests, he said.

Similar rallies were being held in public parks throughout the country, Sindac said, adding they were also peaceful.

Related Articles:

"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. …”

Sunday, August 25, 2013

US spy chief to speak about internet security at Dutch conference

DutchNews.nl, Friday 23 August 2013

NSA General Keith Alexander
The controversial director of America's National Security Agency is visiting the Netherlands next month at the invitation of telecoms firm KPN, the company confirmed on Friday.

General Keith Alexander is speaking at a private KPN symposium which is focusing on privacy and cyber security, magazine Vrij Nederland reported earlier.

Troels Oerting, head of Europol's cybercrime centre and former Dutch armed forces chief turned cyber security expert Dick Berlijn are also on the list of speakers.

According to KPN, Alexander will speak about 'threats and developments in terms of internet security'.

Snowden

Alexander had already been invited before whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information about NSA's internet spying activities, KPN said.

The NSA and the FBI are accused of tapping directly into the central servers of leading US internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

According to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, NSA has access to 75% of US internet traffic.

NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies

• Top-secret files show first evidence of financial relationship
• Prism companies include Google and Yahoo, says NSA
• Costs were incurred after 2011 Fisa court ruling

The Guardian, Ewen MacAskill in New York, Friday 23 August 2013

The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between
the tech companies and the NSA.

The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.

The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.

The October 2011 judgment, which was declassified on Wednesday by the Obama administration, found that the NSA's inability to separate purely domestic communications from foreign traffic violated the fourth amendment.

While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly, documents passed to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden describe the problems the decision created for the agency and the efforts required to bring operations into compliance. The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.

The intelligence agency requires the Fisa court to sign annual "certifications" that provide the legal framework for surveillance operations. But in the wake of the court judgment these were only being renewed on a temporary basis while the agency worked on a solution to the processes that had been ruled illegal.

An NSA newsletter entry, marked top secret and dated December 2012, discloses the huge costs this entailed. "Last year's problems resulted in multiple extensions to the certifications' expiration dates which cost millions of dollars for Prism providers to implement each successive extension – costs covered by Special Source Operations," it says.

An NSA newsletter entry dated December 2012 disclosing the costs
of new certification demands. Photograph: guardian.co.uk

Special Source Operations, described by Snowden as the "crown jewel" of the NSA, handles all surveillance programs, such as Prism, that rely on "corporate partnerships" with telecoms and internet providers to access communications data.

The disclosure that taxpayers' money was used to cover the companies' compliance costs raises new questions over the relationship between Silicon Valley and the NSA. Since the existence of the program was first revealed by the Guardian and the Washington Post on June 6, the companies have repeatedly denied all knowledge of it and insisted they only hand over user data in response to specific legal requests from the authorities.

An earlier newsletter, which is undated, states that the Prism providers were all given new certifications within days of the Fisa court ruling. "All Prism providers, except Yahoo and Google, were successfully transitioned to the new certifications. We expect Yahoo and Google to complete transitioning by Friday 6 October."

An earlier undated newsletter after the Fisa court ruling on
certifications. Photograph: guardian.co.uk

The Guardian invited the companies to respond to the new material and asked each one specific questions about the scale of the costs they incurred, the form of the reimbursement and whether they had received any other payments from the NSA in relation to the Prism program.

A Yahoo spokesperson said: "Federal law requires the US government to reimburse providers for costs incurred to respond to compulsory legal process imposed by the government. We have requested reimbursement consistent with this law."

Asked about the reimbursement of costs relating to compliance with Fisa court certifications, Facebook responded by saying it had "never received any compensation in connection with responding to a government data request".

Google did not answer any of the specific questions put to it, and provided only a general statement denying it had joined Prism or any other surveillance program. It added: "We await the US government's response to our petition to publish more national security request data, which will show that our compliance with American national security laws falls far short of the wild claims still being made in the press today."

Microsoft declined to give a response on the record.

The responses further expose the gap between how the NSA describes the operation of its Prism collection program and what the companies themselves say.

Prism operates under section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act, which authorises the NSA to target without a warrant the communications of foreign nationals believed to be not on US soil.

But Snowden's revelations have shown that US emails and calls are collected in large quantities in the course of these 702 operations, either deliberately because the individual has been in contact with a foreign intelligence target or inadvertently because the NSA is unable to separate out purely domestic communications.

Last week, the Washington Post revealed documents from Snowden that showed the NSA breached privacy rules thousands of times a year, in the face of repeated assurances from Barack Obama and other senior intelligence figures that there was no evidence of unauthorised surveillance of Americans.

The newly declassified court ruling, by then chief Fisa judge John Bates, also revealed serious issues with how the NSA handled the US communications it was sweeping up under its foreign intelligence authorisations.

The judgment revealed that the NSA was collecting up to 56,000 wholly US internet communications per year in the three years until the court intervened. Bates also rebuked the agency for misrepresenting the true scope of a major collection program for the third time in three years.

The NSA newsletters say the agency's response to the ruling was to work on a "conservative solution in which higher-risk collection would be sequestered". At the same time, one entry states, the NSA's general counsel was considering filing an appeal.

The Guardian informed the White House, the NSA and the office of the director of national intelligence that it planned to publish the documents and asked whether the spy agency routinely covered all the costs of the Prism providers and what the annual cost was to the US.

The NSA declined to comment beyond requesting the redaction of the name of an individual staffer in one of the documents.

UPDATE: After publication, Microsoft issued a statement to the Guardian on Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Microsoft, which seeks reimbursement from the government on a case-by-case basis, said: "Microsoft only complies with court orders because it is legally ordered to, not because it is reimbursed for the work. We could have a more informed discussion of these issues if providers could share additional information, including aggregate statistics on the number of any national security orders they may receive."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Software firm's shares jump almost 9% after announcement that Ballmer will retire as CEO once a successor is found

theguardian.com, Staff and agencies, Friday 23 August 2013

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, is to retire after more than
32 years with the US software firm. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

Microsoft has said its chief executive, Steve Ballmer, will retire within the next 12 months, once it has selected a successor, sending its shares up almost 9%.

Ballmer said in a statement on Friday that he would have timed his retirement in the middle of Microsoft's announced transformation to a devices and services company. But he said: "We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."

The software company said its board had appointed a special committee to direct the process of appointing a new chief executive.

The committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board's lead independent director, and includes Microsoft founder and chairman, Bill Gates, as well as other board members Chuck Noski and Steve Luczo.

It will consider both external and internal candidates and is working with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International, according to the company.

Microsoft shares rose by 8.9% to $35.27 in pre-market trading.  

In an email to Microsoft employees, Ballmer said: "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction." 

He said he was proud of what he had achieved at the company: "We have grown from $7.5m to nearly $78bn since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100% emotionally all the way. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history."

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Makerbot Digitizer: Desktop 3D scanner goes on sale

BBC News, 22 August 2013

The device takes around 12 minutes
to scan a small, simple object
A desktop device that can quickly scan objects so they can be replicated using a 3D printer has gone on sale.

The Makerbot Digitizer, which costs $1,400 (£900), will be shipped to the first buyers in October.

Demand for the machine appeared to overload the company's store when it went on sale on Thursday evening.

The Digitizer is the latest product looking to bring 3D printing to mainstream technology users - but experts are sceptical.

The machine is designed to allow the replication of objects without any need for the user to learn any 3D modelling software or have any other special expertise.

It works by pointing several lasers at the object and detecting contours in the surface.

It also allows users to upload their 3D designs directly to Thingiverse, a website where 3D designs can be shared.

No hamburgers

The time it takes to scan an object varies, but one demonstration involving a small gnome was said to take around 12 minutes.

"The MakerBot Digitizer is for early adopters, experimenters, and visionaries who want to be pioneers in Desktop 3D Scanning," the company says.

"This includes, but is not limited to, architects, designers, creative hobbyists, educators, and artists."

However, Makerbot has made it clear that the scanner is not suitable for intricate designs and that users should not expect "too much" from the machine.

"Expectations should be realistic," the machine's FAQ page reads. "You will not be able to, for example, scan a hamburger and then eat the digital design."

It adds that objects that are shiny, reflective, and fuzzy are not well suited to scanning.

Despite the industry's hopes that 3D printing will be hugely popular in the near future, others have dismissed home 3D printing as something of a gimmick.

"Appearances have become completely unhinged from reality when it comes to the mania created in so-called '3D Printing' stocks," warned influential investment analysts Citron Research.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Facebook Unveils Global Internet Access Initiative

Jakarta Globe – AFP, August 21, 2013

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he
 poses with a laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian
town of Zenica on Aug. 14, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Dado Ruvic)

New York City. Facebook and other technology giants launched an initiative on Wednesday designed to give the whole world access to the Internet.

The project is entitled Internet.org and its goal is to extend Internet access to five billion people by cutting the cost of smart phone-based Internet services in developing countries.

“Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said.

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy,” he said, adding that the project aimed to make it easier and cheaper to connecting to the web.

The other partners in the project are Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Opera, while Twitter and LinkedIn are also due to sign up.

Today some 2.7 billion people, just over a third of the world’s population, have access to the Internet, and the number of new users is growing only slowly each year, a statement said.

“The goal of Internet.org is to make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today,” the statement said.

The seven founding partners are going to develop joint projects, share knowledge and mobilize governments and industry to bring the world online.

Specifically, they want to simplify mobile apps to make them more efficient and improve telephone components and networks so they perform better while consuming less energy.

They also want to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy Internet access in underserved communities.

Zuckerberg insisted in an interview with CNN that the project was not simply aimed at generating more customers.

“If we were just focused on making money, the first billion people we’ve connected have way more money than the rest of the next six billion combined. It’s not fair but it’s the way that it is,” he said.

The partnership emulates one launched by Facebook in 2011 called Open Compute Project, which also aims to improve the materials used in call centers and make them less energy-hungry.

That project was originally met with scepticism but has gradually won over the major players in the computer industry.

The new thrust comes at a key time for tech groups. Mature markets are saturated and have little potential for significant growth, while poor regions like Africa, Latin America and some parts of Asia are pools of potential new customers.

Agence France-Presse