GNC #683 Congrats Angelo

Getting back into the groove here in Hawaii, body is adapting back to HST which will take a few days. Your continued support of all our shows is greatly appreciated. Family Update: Shoko made it to Japan without her father passing, situation remains touch and go info on show.

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Show Links:
Red Flag Act.
Verizon May be fast in a “few” places!
TSA Cancer Cluster!
TSA has lost their minds!
Rico for Righthaven?
Police now searching for Apps in Arizona!
Is the PC on the way Out?
Wi-Fi 2010 vs 2011.
To many fake Geeks?
Firefox versus the Enterprise!
Data Plans of the Future?
Mouse Diet?
iOS 5 Beta 2.
Human Errors lead to Security Issues.
50+ Flocking to Facebook.
Wi-Fi Testing in UK.
Answers.com cleans house.
FCC No Opinion with Report.
Goggles for Getty Museum!
Genome Contamination (Deep).
East Coast Missile Launch.
7500 Mile Asteroid.
Yahoo Connected TV.
Slingbox in Boxee?
Hotfiles Battle with RIAA!
Hollywood versus UK ISP BT.
5 Cars in a 100 to control Traffic.
Scribbly!
10 Gmail Gadgets.
Sage TV Upgrades.
Yahoo Connected TV watches with your?
Tom Tom App Cool Update.
iPhone 5?
Paypal at 100 Million Users.
Supreme Court ruling on Video Games.
Fring 4 way Video Chat App.
26 Countries and User info Request at Google.
Geohot gets job at Facebook.
Rootkit Infection requires complete re-build.
TurnTable.FM

GNC #672 Big Day for LinkedIn

Geek News Central Podcast Headed back to Honolulu, I have had a great week here in Texas, much accomplished. Planning a return trip in Mid June followed by a potential east coast trip as well. Lot’s of tech with a political slant tonight kinda weird but seems that at times themes develop in the news reporting.

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Show Notes:
5 Ways to use LinkedIn
Malware on the loose for Mac Users.
Apple App Store Security Threat?
Chrome URL Bar going Bye Bye?
Religious Reaction by Apple Fanboys?
Fetch.IO
More bad news for Sony PSN?
16hr Cell Phone Marathon on Train?
Twitter Changes Rules Again.
Verizon 4G LTE Growing.
Comcast Sensitive to FCC Hire Tweets.
TokBox Group Video Chat!
Social Media Infographic.
Google Search App.
Verizon iPhone 5 Dual Mode.
Data Hungy Apps making BW Impact.
Twitter providing Reporters Intel.
Little Blue Pill Hearing Loss.
Amazon Gadget Trade In.
Intel Open Mouth Insert Foot x2.
iPhone Oximeter.
Verizon Family Data Plans.
Secret Service 2x Screw Ups.
AT&T No App Restrictions.
Wired Teaches Potentially Illegal Activities.
Philly Police and Citizen Gun Holder Incident.
Amazon and State Sales Taxes.
Who owns the Tweets.
4th Amendment under attack!
Artist to get some money after all.
Apple TV Hack.
Homeless Planets.
Don’t Take Space Program Lightly.
Windows Phone 7 comes to Verizon.
Smartphone Tracking Law.
Dark Mater Hunter.
e-books King!
Warrantless Bill backed by RIAA.
One Headset!
Guitar Self Tuner.
20 iPad 2 Apps.
T-Mobile wants You.
P2P Traffic Surge.

GNC-2010-12-20 #636 Not a Top Tech Blogger?

I received an email today from a PR firm that set me off, I talk about it in the show. It is funny when a perfectly good email has three words in it that change the whole dynamic of the mailing, listen in when I talk about the “Top Tech Blogger” attending CES that really in no way deserves that title in any way shape or fashion and everyone that has a clue that got the email will know it. I also talk about how I got pwned, during the podcast awards and the banning of a podcast from participation for life.

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Show Notes:
Did you watch the Eclipse.
NEC + Android + CES = Lets See.
Google TV Regroup.
Google TV Update.
Yelp iPad App Update.
Tivo Bans Netflix and Hulu.
Roku Sales Rocking!
Here comes Comcast in Set Top Box!
Adobe at a Billion.
iPad App Money Machine Nightmare.
Novatel LTE Modem
Google Body Browser.
LTE + Android @ CES!
Xerox Smart Document Table.
AT&T buys some RF Spectrum.
iBuildApp.com
DoNot Rent.com
Windows Live Writer 2011.
Overnight Free Shipping from Amazon Now!
Level 3 – Comcast Lied!
Saving Google TV!
Join me Jan 1st in cutting the cord!
Green USB Charger!
Powermat Wireless iPhone Charger!
Upgrade your Fridge :)
Protect that DSLR!
MPAA / RIAA go Large on Lobby Money!
.com Abandonment in P2P Space!
Green Google?
Tanking Test for Shuttle.
Soyuz docks at ISS!
Four books on Net Neturality.
Kinect getting a Upgrade?
Vancouver fights back on BW Caps!
Paypal Mission Control.
Insider Trader in Jail.
Patent that Test.
Wanna be a Snitch (Gag)
US Training International Judges with your Money?
Snow Mobile Jumping Radical!
Delicious for Sale.
Gifts for College Students.
Itunes/Apple TV and Google DNS not Good!
Gmail Calling Free extended.
Motorola CES Teaser Video.

Google Acted Illegally in UK

Google LogoThe UK’s Information Commissioner today confirmed that Google breached UK’s Data Protection Act when the Street View cars captured personal data while collecting wi-fi network information.

As a result of this, Google will be required to sign an undertaking to take steps to ensure that breaches of the Act don’t re-occur.  Google will then be audited in nine month’s time to confirm that the required policies and training has taken place. Finally, once any legal obstacles have been cleared, Google will have to delete the personal data from the UK.

Currently, the Information Commissioner does not intend to fine Google, but will take further action if necessary

Information Commissioner's OfficeThe Commissioner, Christopher Graham said,  “It is my view that the collection of this information was not fair or lawful and constitutes a significant breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act.  The most appropriate and proportionate regulatory action in these circumstances is to get written legal assurance from Google that this will not happen again – and to follow this up with an ICO audit.”

What’s interesting about this is that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had previously decided not to take action against Google because the sample data shown to the ICO was considered to be fragmentary and therefore unlikely to constitute personal data.

However, Google’s Alan Eustace admitted on Google’s own blog that, “A number of external regulators have inspected the data as part of their investigations (seven of which have now been concluded). It’s clear from those inspections that whilst most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords.”

The Commissioner then infers that because this happened in other countries, it happened in the UK, even if most of the data was fragmentary.  You can read the Commissioner’s letter to Google Inc here.

Personally, I’m pleased that Google is being held to account.  Far too often it seems that big business gets away with abusing our personal information.

13,000 Named in Adult Film Downloads

The names of thousands for BT & Sky broadband customers who had allegedly illegally downloaded adult material have been leaked on-line.  The lists appear to have been obtained from servers of a law firm ACS:Law by the notorious 4chan group.

ACS:Law had obtained the lists from ISPs Sky and PlusNet (owned by BT) and had been using the information to send out letters to the alleged copyright infringers demanding money.  Many of those accused have denied downloading any adult material.

Both PlusNet & Sky had been forced to hand over the information by a court order and sent the data by email.  It now transpires that BT failed to encrypt the data files during transmission.  However, it is believed that data was stolen by 4chan members after they accessed ACS:Law’s server and then posted on-line at the Pirate Bay.

In addition to the lists of users, confidential messages regarding the cases, money made and personal correspondence were also posted.  Reports vary in the total number named as the leaks keep coming but it appears to be over 13,000 people so far.

The UK’s Information Commissioner is now investigating ACS:Law for possible breaches of the Data Protection Act.  If found guilty, the Commissioner can fine organisations up to £500,000 ($750,000).  Christopher Graham said, “The question we will be asking is how secure was this information and how it was so easily accessed from outside. We’ll be asking about the adequacy of encryption, the firewall, the training of staff and why that information was so public facing.”

ACS:Law was already under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for its role and tactics when sending out the letters to the alleged filesharers.  PlusNet has an FAQ explaining its role in the debacle.

This story has been running for a couple of days, but it just gets worse and worse.

Broadband Basic Right In Finland

From the beginning of July, a 1 Mbit/s Internet connection will become a universal service in Finland.  Simply, this means that anyone who wants an Internet connection must be provided with one at a reasonable price by one of the 26 telecom operators.

This makes Finland the first country in the world to make Internet access a basic right and it’s interesting to compare this with the UK and France which have both threatened to cut-off the connections of persistent copyright infringers.

From a technical perspective, it’s not a big deal.  There’s already about 96% connection penetration in the country already and this means that there are only about 4000 properties that would need to be connected to achieve full penetration.

Personally, I think this is great step forwards.  1 Mbit/s isn’t super fast but it’s adequate and over time technology and commercial pressure will up the data rate.  However, the key point is that it’s a universal service or basic right enshrined in law, which means that it can’t easily be taken away.

There’s additional coverage over at the BBC.

Defamation Bill Introduced To UK Parliament

Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament. Photographed by Deryc Sands.

Lord Lester has introduced a Defamation Bill to the UK Parliament in order to clarify aspects of the the law regarding libel and slander.  One of its intents appears to be to clear up the current gray area for ISPs and forum owners with regard to defamatory postings and their responsibilities.

(This has been brought as a private member’s bill, which means that it’s not officially part of the Government’s legislative programme although it is seen as supportive.  The Bill will receive its second reading on 9th July which strangely is the first opportunity for the Bill to be debated and there’s a long way to go after that. You can read about the British legislative process here.)

Moving onto the geeky stuff, the Bill specifically refers to material stored “by electronic means” although any defence that the existing law didn’t cover the Internet has long been dismissed.

However,  the Bill does propose that there is a defence against defamatory action for “facilitators” provided that they remove the offending material with 14 days of being notified in writing.  A “facilitator” is considered to be someone concerned with “storage or transmission…of the content…and has no other influence or control”.  This is clearly aimed at ISPs, forum owners or any website that invites comments.  I would imagine it would also cover owners of websites that automatically show feeds from other sites.

On the other hand, “primary publishers” are authors or editors.  Interestingly an editor is defined as having “responsibility…for the decision to publish”.  This does raise one interesting question….if you are moderator and you approve a post which turns out to be libellous, it would appear that you may be classed as a primary publisher rather than a facilitator.  Hmm.

Other good points are that it appears that reports on scientific conferences will be protected (providing that they are “fair and accurate”) and the introduction of a “single publication” rule.  This means is that regardless of reprints or republications, the date of first publication is used for actions which can only happen once.  From an IT perspective, this means that ten year-old material downloaded today cannot create a fresh action (which is currently the case, apparently).

There’s some more comment courtesy of The Guardian newspaper, here and here.  And by the way, I’m not a lawyer.

I Hate Rumors, Yet I Hate Thieves Even More

*NOTE* Upon publishing this piece, another rumor had sprung up that Gizmodo paid $10,000 to gain access to the next generation iPhone.


There is one thing that really gets my goat when I read the news section – The inundation of  “Rumors”. One person says the right words on the right blog and everyone jumps on; Next thing you know, multiple articles on something that no-one has confirmation on.

With this weekend’s speculation took a new level as physical evidence of a certain Apple item was found. Instead of taking a couple pictures and reporting the item found, the device was dismantled and reviewed, then returned. We look at this as if it should be considered a criminal act, that is unless Apple takes full advantage of the rumors that happen…

Let’s review this weekend’s news – Someone was in a bar in California and all of a sudden looks down. They see someone else’s phone in a iPhone 3G phone case. Instead of taking that phone over to the bartender or police officer, they decide to open it up and see if they can rummage through to find a name. What they found was an iPhone that looked a little different than the current models. Could it be the next iPhone?

Well, that person then took the phone and somehow (since we don’t know the actual person that found it) Gizmodo got their hands on it and decided to disassemble the device. So would that be against the law to do?

Most people decide to use the “Finders, keepers – Losers, weepers” analogy. However, California has a statute on lost and unclaimed property. You can read the Civil Code Section 2080-2080.10 at Justica.com. Let’s take a look at the code and see how this applies.

The Civil Code:

Of course, before we move forward, I have to say I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I can only interpret the codes as best as possible. I have called a few law offices to try and get some clarification, but the understanding is this: a Civil Code is not a law, but can result in legal action of some kind. Now, with that said:

2080. Any person who finds a thing lost is not bound to take charge of it, unless the person is otherwise required to do so by contract or law, but when the person does take charge of it he or she is thenceforward a depositary for the owner, with the rights and obligations of a depositary for hire. Any person or any public or private entity that finds and takes possession of any money, goods, things in action, or other personal property, or saves any domestic animal from harm, neglect, drowning, or starvation, shall, within a reasonable time, inform the owner, if known, and make restitution
without compensation, except a reasonable charge for saving and taking care of the property. Any person who takes possession of a live domestic animal shall provide for humane treatment of the animal.

What does that mean? Well, simply put, you must make an effort to find it’s owner. You should not expect any compensation other than any charges you incur for taking care of the item. For example: If it was a puppy you found, you should be compensated if you bought dog food, a collar or any other item that keeps the dog safe while you look for the owner.

Keep in mind the most likely owner of this device is Apple. Let’s continue:

2080.1. (a) If the owner is unknown or has not claimed the property, the person saving or finding the property shall, if the property is of the value of one hundred dollars ($100) or more, within a reasonable time turn the property over to the police department of the city or city and county, if found therein, or to the sheriff’s department of the county if found outside of city limits, and shall make an affidavit, stating when and where he or she found or saved the property, particularly describing it. If the property was saved, the affidavit shall state:

  1. From what and how it was saved.
  2. Whether the owner of the property is known to the affiant.
  3. That the affiant has not secreted, withheld, or disposed of any part of the property.
    1. The police department or the sheriff’s department shall notify the owner, if his or her identity is reasonably ascertainable, that it possesses the property and where it may be claimed. The police department or sheriff’s department may require payment by the owner of a reasonable charge to defray costs of storage and care of the property.

Well that means if the property is over $100, you need to turn it over to the police within a reasonable amount of time. They will then hold said item for a 90 day period as they find the owner.  If you know who the owner is, you should disclose that.  The police would then begin the search. In 2080.3, it says if the value is over $250, the police would then increase the search by placing an ad in the paper. That is, unless they do know who the item belongs to. That, once again, would be Apple.

Disassembly:

So instead of taking this device to the proper authorities, it was given to Gizmodo, who decided to disassemble and research it. They said so here:

We’re as skeptical—if not more—than all of you. We get false tips all the time. But after playing with it for about a week—the overall quality feels exactly like a finished final Apple phone—and disassembling this unit, there is so much evidence stacked in its favor, that there’s very little possibility that it’s a fake.

They go on to say they have been contacted by Apple and that the company wants the device back. Of course, we don’t know if that happened before or after Gizmodo took the week to disassemble and review the item. I would venture a guess that it was after the fact, otherwise, the phone would be retrieved within a few hours and we would have seen pictures only. Even if  the iPhone was a fake –  That would be for Apple to determine, not Gizmodo.

Profiting by Loss:

While it’s not direct profit, Engadget (who first posted pictures) and Gizmodo are apparently profiting on this device. Not by reward, but by reporting. Ad revenues from users coming on the site to look at the supposed next gen iPhone.

The Rumor Mill as News

Of course, this brought the Apple rumor mill a buzzing once again. Not as bad as the iPad, but still just as annoying. Google news has this article on their top news stories of the day.

Fact: I scan the news everyday looking for items to talk about. I don’t think I’ve seen a day in the last 6 months where an Apple rumor has not been in the top news stories. Why is that? Do we not have good news to talk about?

If you look at the Top stories of the Nation, U.S. or Local, rumors are not present – especially not every day for over 6 months. It seems that the only place the rumor mill really churns is on the Tech side. That is a trend that needs to stop.

Does Apple push the Rumor Mill?

When the iPad rumor really hit in December, Apple stock went up to $209 a share – $6.94 in one day. Today it sits at $243 – Down from Friday’s $251 / share price. This new rumor could push up Apple – and other stocks. For instance, if Gizmodo was to have thrown down a “4G” word in their article (which they did not, but other sites like PCWorld did), I would venture a guess to see Sprint get a big boost in the market.

Let’s speculate for a second. What if, instead of “finding” the new iPhone, an Apple exec sat in a bar with someone and said “Here is the new prototype. Make sure you get this into a reporter’s hands.” They then set the wheels rolling for new anticipation of the next big Apple device.

While that statement cannot be confirmed or denied, the end result is the same – Apple continues to top the Tech news with rumors.

When the Rumors Stop, will Apple come tumbling down?

A very good question to ponder. In the last 5 years, it seems Apple does have advantage when it comes to making rumors become news. We hear of rumors from other tech companies, but no one has had staying power than Apple has. So if Apple cannot spin a good rumor for a product, could we see the company start to take a major dive?

The Good Rumors with the Bad

Some of those rumors in the past never came to fruition. Remember the clamshell iPhone? How about the iPhone mini rumors – They even had a story where China was making mini phone cases in anticipation. I wonder if that company is still in existence…

The iPad rumor actually was around for over a year before Steve Jobs showed it off to the public. It didn’t really ramp up until December of 2009, where more confirmations could be made. However, if January 27 was to have come and gone without an iPad announced, we could have seen a different outcome – One where investors would be really upset.

While my humble opinion is that I don’t care for the rumor mill, it seems to drive the tech industry. Whereas someone can take another’s intellectual property and rip it apart before returning it, then they should face consequences to said actions. Google should stop allowing these rumors in their news feeds (unless they turn into actual news, example: If Gizmodo was charged for dismantling the device they found).

Alas, rumors – Especially Apple rumors – will continue. People will continue to “obtain” not-yet released items and report them. We will read and discuss. Rinse and repeat.

Google Beats the Gecko, I Mean Geico

Google, the search engine company, won a federal court battle against Geico, the insurance company, today that allows the search engine to sell online advertisements tied to keywords that are also trademarked company names. Geico claimed that Google should not be allowed to display advertisements for rival insurance companies when the Geico name is used as a search keyword. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema disagreed.

[Read more...]

FTC Offers Bounty to Name Spammers

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced, in a public report, that a system of monetary rewards would help improve the enforcement of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2002 (CAN-SPAM Act.) That Act, which became effective on January 1, 2004, required the FTC to conduct a study and provide a report to Congress on a CAN-SPAM “bounty system.” While the fact that bounties may be offered to those who help authorities in nabbing spammers doesn’t unusual, what is very much out of the ordinary is the projected bounty amounts necessary to make them effective.

The FTC reports three hurdles exist in enforcing the CAN-SPAM Act: 1) identifying and locating the spammer, 2) developing sufficient evidence to prove the spammer is legally responsible for sending the spam, and 3) obtaining the source of funding for the bounties. The report states that those with the information most helpful to authorities are whistleblowers and insiders: those who have had personal or business contact with the spammers, themselves. Because of the real possibility of retaliation, the monetary awards encourage the whistleblowers to come forward. The FTC thinks that awards of about $100,000, upward to $250,000, are reasonable, with funding for the bounty program to come from federal taxes.

Dave’s Opinion
I wish I knew a spammer; for a quarter of a million, I could by RV my kids are clamoring for and go on the road for a few months. Why do we need an incentive to do the right thing. Turning in details of bona fide spammers is just a good thing to do. Why should we expect to be bribed by the government?

Call for Comments
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References
FTC Report
Message Center