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Thursday, April 26, 2012

House Approves Controversial CISPA Cyber-Security Bill


Backup: The Ultimate Security

Though the House was not expected to vote on the controversial CISPA legislation until tomorrow, lawmakers approved the bill late on Thursday by a vote of 248 to 168.
206 Republicans voted in favor of CISPA, as did 42 Democrats, while 28 Republicans and 140 Democrats voted against it. Fifteen members did not vote. The full vote tally is available on House.gov.
CISPA now moves to the Senate. The White House has already threatened to veto the bill.
Privacy groups swiftly condemned the move, but bill sponsor Mike Rogers said "America will be a little safer and our economy better protected from foreign cyber predators" thanks to the the Cyber Information Sharing & Protection Act.
CISPA would allow for voluntary information-sharing between private companies and the government in the event of a cyber attack. Backers argue that it's necessary to protect the U.S. against cyber attacks from countries like China and Iran, but opponents say that it would allow companies to easily hand over users' private information to the government.
House members debated the bill for several hours on Thursday, and offered up amendments that dealt with things like Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, details about which agencies receive private cyber-security information, clarification on certain terms, and more.

ORIGINAL REPORT :

Monday, April 23, 2012

Google spends record $5 million on lobbying

The search giant doled out a record amount to Washington lobbyists during the first quarter, a big increase over the money spent in the previous quarter.
Google continues to up the ante on the money it spends each quarter on Washington lobbying.
The search giant spent a record $5.03 million (PDF) last quarter, according to the company's lobbying report. That figure compares with $3.76 million spent in the fourth quarter and just $1.48 million in 2011's first quarter.
Among the lobbying issues grabbing Google's attention were the regulation of online advertising, privacy and competition issues in online advertising, openness and competition in online services, and International tax reform.
The search giant devoted lobby dollars to HR 1389 - Global Online Freedom Act of 2011, a Congressional bill designed to prevent U.S. companies from cooperating with repressive foreign governments in using the Internet for censorship and surveillance. Google has of course squared off in the past with China over the censorship of its search results.
The company lobbied for H.Con.Res. 114, a bill "expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global Internet."
Through its first-quarter lobbying dollars, Google weighed in on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), two proposed bills that triggered huge controversy.


Original report :

Facebook's patent spree:


When a company with nearly limitless resources shows itself ready to spend whatever is necessary to beef up its intellectual property portfolio, patent challengers have added incentive to seek out easier fights elsewhere.
So it is that Facebook is again putting its very deep pockets to work, adding a new clutch of patents from Microsoft to an earlier trove it acquired from IBM. The message to Yahoo and beyond is clear: Do you want to get into a spending war with a company whose deep pockets are about to get a lot deeper? In other words, there's a lot more where that came from.
All this marks a rapid turnaround for Facebook. The announcement earlier today that Facebook would spend $550 million to buy patents held by Microsoft was the second big patent purchase by the social networking company in as many months.
At the end of 2011, Facebook had only 56 U.S. patents. But it received the proverbial wake-up call when Yahoo sued the company, claiming that Facebook infringed upon several of its patents. Rejecting the allegations,Facebook has since countersued.
Then in March, Facebook acquired about 750 patents held by IBM, covering software and networking, for an undisclosed sum. And now this agreement to purchase a portion of the patent portfolio Microsoft recently agreed to acquire from AOL. As of today, the company is estimated to have 775 granted U.S. patents and approximately 100 pending U.S. applications, according to Erin-Michael Gill, a managing director and chief intellectual property officer at MDB Capital Group.

Monday, April 16, 2012

CrossTalk: Facebook Timeline Tyranny

Published on Apr 16, 2012 by RussiaToday - If you haven't been timelined yet, you eventually will be! Why can't Facebook let its users choose their page layout? Why is Timeline enforced on hundreds of millions of users? What is Timeline -- a perfect way to present one's biography or a way to get to know the dirty laundry of someone who hasn't cleaned his/her page yet? Does Facebook violate people's privacy, and should anyone who chooses to register on the website put up with any Facebook's initiative?



Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion.

Screenshot from http://instagr.am/
pic : Screenshot from http://instagr.am/
Facebook Inc has agreed to buy the Instagram photo-sharing/editing mobile application for about $1 billion in cash and stock. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about the acquisition on his profile: "I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acq
 “This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users ,'' Zuckerberg added. “
We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.
Recognizing fears Instagram would simply be absorbed into Facebook, Zuckerberg also wrote “we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently.” Facebook said the transaction will likely close by the end of June.
Instagram, which has been described as the default photo app for smartphones, has gained 30 million users since it was first launched in Apple’s App Store in October 2010.
After being released on the Google-owned Android platform, the app surpassed 1 million downloads in less than 24 hours.
Instagram allows users to take pictures and edit them with 17 filters. Two such filters provided a retro feel reminiscent of both Polaroid and Kodak Instamatic cameras.
The acquisition is also likely to boost Facebook’s upcoming IPO (initial public offering) as Instagram’s  team of 10, as well as its millions of users, will now fall under the massive social networking service's umbrella.
Facebook is expected to complete its initial public offering of stock next month.


Two More Years: Microsoft Reminds Windows XP Users That It’s About Time To Upgrade.

Windows XP SP3
Windows XP, the operating system that launched in 2001 and just refuses to die, will still be getting security updates and hotfixes until April 8, 2014. With “just” two more years to go, though, Microsoft today reminded these users that it’s about time to upgrade their PCs. Microsoft stopped selling retail copies of XP in 2008. Just like XP, support for Office 2003 will also end in April 2014, so Microsoft is also using this occasion to remind these users that Office 2010 is indeed a viable alternative to an office suite that was released more than eight and a half years ago.

There are still millions of XP machines out there, however. According to StatCounter, just over a third of PCs in use today still run it and it was only last in October that Windows 7 overtook XP in global usage. Many of these users are in developing countries, but quite a few small businesses and even large enterprises in the developed world still use XP today. Even in the U.S., for example about 22% of all PCs currently still run this legacy operating system.