cheros (223479) writes "The German government published a white paper on Trusted Computing and Secure Boot which puts somewhat of a stake through any attempt to lock up a platform. As it contains chapters such as "Complete control by device owners" and "Freedom to decide" I reckon the gist of the paper is quite clear.
Also, because it is an official government paper I suspect you are in effect reading the general stance on the subject. This wouldn't surprise me, as the German government has shown itself to be an intelligent user of Open Source in the past by sponsoring projects it intended to use itself such as GPG and other, more local projects (I could mention Munich, but I'm sure you heard of that by now).
So, in short, if the purpose of Secure Boot was lock in, it appears the German Government is telling Microsoft that it doesn't find that acceptable.." Link to Original Source top
WHOIS of major websites gives weird results - hacked?
cheros (223479) writes "On Friday I wanted to look up registration details for bluehost.com (I wanted to quickly see where they were). The answer from the command line were, well, weird. I then tried Google, Yahoo, Apple — it's a mess.
Does anyone have an idea what this is? DNS poisoning?
Whois Server Version 2.0
Domain names in the.com and.net domains can now be registered with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/ for detailed information.
cheros (223479) writes "Just in case you thought you had ANY rights to privacy protected by Facebook having a site in Ireland, you may want to read the latest update of Europe versus Facebook where the Commissioner apparently ended the discussion via SMS.
For more than a year we have been 'engaged' in the proceeding against Facebook before the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC). Now we experienced a more than surprising move by the authority (ODPC): Via a text message (!) we were told that the authority is not planning to talk to us anymore, despite the fact that we are parties of the biggest proceeding the DPC has ever had on his table... It is now unclear how we will overcome this situation.
cheros (223479) writes "The company that Phil Zimmerman has been building called Silent Circle has just sent out an email that they are in "final tweaks" to their service. The company purports to offer encrypted email, encrypted calls, encrypted VoIP and encrypted text but there is a very basic question to be answered.
This is a US based company (just do a WHOIS or "dig" for their MX record and geolocate the result), and the US hasn't exactly been inspiring trust of late with its approach to people's privacy, nor with their creative (ab)use of anti-terror laws to breach privacy at will. We also have companies like Google and Facebook whose basic approach to privacy is to break the law and say "oops" when caught out, an attitude spurred on by the minimalist fines handed out when caught. Add to that the rather cavalier attitude to the privacy of non-US citizens and I have questions. I am perfectly happy with an ability for law enforcement to go after bad guys, but only if the privilege to break a basic human right is (a) tightly controlled and (b) fully auditable, which requires transparency. If you cannot audit the use of such laws, the first question a voter has to ask is what they are trying to hide..
I am happy that Zimmermann & Co are trying, but it strikes me that they thus start with a seriously flawed foundation — having a company in the US and hosting there is not going to inspire the trust you need to get people to use this service, that is, not if they have a clue. And, of course, Silent Circle users may risk flagging themselves as people of interest but that has been the case since the first days of PGP.." top
Switzerland goes after the German data thieves - properly
cheros (223479) writes "If you thought that paying data thieves stimulated crime, it appears Swiss prosecution has arrived at that conclusion too. After investigation it appears that German tax officials have been ordering data thefts (this isn't in the article, but was mentioned on the radio), which makes it economic espionage. There is a now a massive diplomatic storm brewing over the fact that the Swiss prosecutor has ordered the arrest of three German tax officials.
cheros (223479) writes "It's now 40 years ago that the Stanford prisoner experiment went ugly so quickly it had to be aborted. Stanford has an interesting piece called The Menace Within that looks back on this momentous psychological experiment.
A pre-investigation seems to have concluded that there is enough evidence to warrant a formal investigation into market rigging and forcing members not to import music handled by another member (i.e. anti-competition).
cheros (223479) writes "Commenting on Facebook, Ed Felten has come up with a new term to describe the current attitudes to privacy that is brilliant in its simplicity: privacy theater.
It builds on the term Bruce Schneier defined to identify pretend security measures such as most of TSA's efforts: they don't do anything to make you safer, it makes you feel better. Ditto for your privacy, "privacy theater" describes measures that appear to do something for your privacy, while they are actually aimed at stopping you complaining about it.
cheros (223479) writes "Google Switzerland says it will upgrade its software to improve the blurring of faces and car registration plates on its Street View service, but doesn't want to lower its cameras (interesting — that was the same thing it was asked to do in Japan)." Link to Original Source top
It started all with work of the Goons (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) and there was somewhat of an explosion of comedy in the years of the Cambridge Footlights when people like Stephen Fry And Tony Slattery created pieces that shall forever stand tall in history (I leave you to ponder that one, grin) — do a YouTube search for "The letter, Stephen Fry" for a taste. For those that like the series "House", you may be surprised to discover that Hugh Laurie was actually a rather accomplished, multi-talented comedian as well, look for "A bit of Fry and Laurie", especially "Your name sir". A bit of a warning, here, some of it is NSFW (especially "the pre-coital agreement" discussion is only suitable for those that actually have a sense of humour).
And then the Monty Python gang got together (I think this is right chronologically, but I'm happy to be corrected). The first airing of Monty Python was on October 5th, 1969, which means today it's 40 years old. Almost everything they did is now in some form or another on YouTube, so go and enjoy it. Look for the dead parrot sketch, the argument clinic, the ministry of silly walks etc etc.
cheros (223479) writes "Google just can't get it right (it must be hard after being given a free ride practically everywhere else): the Swiss Federal Data Protection Commissioner has given Google 30 days to fix the problems with Streetview or the matter will go to court.
Another article in the Swiss press (in German) goes a little bit more into detail, not only have quite a number of complaints been handed in, Google has also been told to lower its cameras, in more or less a repeat of what it encountered in Japan, and to remove small private streets from its images unless it can obtain local permission (IMHO a somewhat impossible to meet requirement)." Link to Original Source top
"Do I have to worry about being in Streetview?" Google will publish in advance where it is going to record the images, so you can act accordingly. Comment: WTF? So people have to hide when Google rides into town? Who exactly has the obligation here?
How is my Data Protection guaranteed when my picture has been taken? Google has made masking the images of people and car license plates obligatory. Comment: I think this is where trouble starts, because their permission to go ahead against concern appears to have been dependent on how well they did this. I have browsed one particular town as an experiment and was quite quickly able to unearth unmasked faces. This means that either the algorithm they use doesn't work, or that it is done manually and they're behind (in which case they should not have put up the images IMHO).
How do I get myself removed from Google Streetview? You can tell Google where you were in the picture and they'll remove it. Comment: same comment as above (whose obligation is this?), and, in addition, how are you going to recall where you saw a Google car (if you noticed it at all)? The images take several months to show up, and you don't need to look straight at them to be in the image.
Can I get my home removed from Google Streetview? Although a picture of a home is generally not covered under Data Protection, Google has agreed to remove them if so asked, follow the same process as removing a person. Comment: I think it wouldn't be half as bad if the pictures weren't taken with a high enough resolution to see inside a house.
In short, Google has not been given the easy ride it had in other countries regarding Streetview. I actually suspect there is more to come.." top
It's easy, once things become commonplace, to forget how extraordinary they once were. When Lindbergh flew to Paris, the whole world stopped to cheer. Now thousands of people jet back and forth everyday. Some 2,000 people have now reached the summit of Mt. Everest. And almost 500 people, from 39 countries, have flown in space. Which undoubtedly explains why I'm hard pressed to name even one of the astronauts who blasted off in the Space Shuttle Endeavor on Wednesday.
I just looked at the flight computer stats: 36k memory, and an MTBF of 70'000h. Translated: 1/50000 of the currently customary 2GB, and -if used during office hours- no failure for 40 years. It's clear that Microsoft had not been founded yet:-)."
The Swiss NZZ newspaper reports (at http://preview.tinyurl.com/ldmgmw) that an interim judgement now allows the procurement of Microsoft products & services, with the proviso that such contracts could be annulled by the final judgement.
This means that the purchase of Microsoft products is presently a risk until the final judgement. IMHO this is as effective as banning purchases until then, but without enabling Microsoft to do anything about it (AFAIK, IANAL).
This interim judgement is in principle a confirmation that there is actually a case to answer, and that the existence of viable alternatives is accepted by the court.
In related news, Redmond Microsoft staff recently dismissed are asked to bring their office chairs to a storage room on the executive floor before they leave. No explanation is provided:-)" top
cheros (223479) writes "We just had a call from our phone shop as we have several iPhones in the company — apparently there's a message out from the telco for people not to upgrade just yet to iPhone v3 firmware.
It appears some newer phones have problems with the update and brick instead, leaving you with a device that is just about recognised as a USB device, but no longer as an iPhone — it's now an iBrick.
I can confirm this as a colleague had this happen. Mine's one of the early ones and it went OK-ish (needed a restart before I could enter the SIM code to allowed the whole process to complete)." top
cheros (223479) writes "NASA reports that the Spirit Mars lander is presently stuck in soft soil. The lander's wheels are halfway sunk into the soil and they are planning simulation tests to see if they can get it out again.
I hope they can get it out of there because it's picking up enough new energy to work with, however, it only has 5 wheels left to work with — one of the wheels hasn't been working for years. Fingers crossed.."