News Briefs


Google's Eric Schmidt: Internet Becoming a Cesspool Where Brands Are Increasing Important

Internet is a "cesspool," a festering sea of bad information, said Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, yesterday while speaking to a group of visiting magazine executives at the company's Mountain View, California Campus during the American Magazine Conference. Schmidt suggested that "brands" are more important than ever and key solution for this problem is brands. "Brands are the solution, not the problem," said Schmidt. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool." Branding, on the other hand, may be an essential element that helps people navigate the world, he continued. "Brand affinity is clearly hard wired," he said. "It is so fundamental to human existence that it's not going away. It must have a genetic component." more»

U.S. Counterterrorism Data Mining Measures Questioned by New NRC Report

An extensive report released today by The National Research Council (NRC), titled "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Assessment", examines the balance between security and privacy. According to the report, all U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or "mine" personal data -- such as phone, medical, and travel records or websites visited -- should be required to systematically evaluate the programs' effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. more»

Wholesale Internet Bandwidth Prices Continue to Decline Globally, Says New Study

According to a report by research firm, TeleGeography, the price of wholesale internet access (IP transit) continues to decline but varies considerably around the world. From today's report: "IP transit prices in Asia remain far higher than in the US and Europe. Prices for GigE ports in major Asian cities in Q2 2008 ranged from USD30 per Mbps month in Seoul to USD45 per Mbps per month in Tokyo. IP transit service in Latin America is even more expensive, with median GigE port prices ranging from USD73 per month in Buenos Aires to USD86 per month in Santiago." more»

Wireless at the Speed of Fiber: New Millimeter-Wave Technology Sends Data at 10 Gigabits Per Second

Researchers at Battellea, a research and development firm in Columbus, OH, have succeeded in using off-the-shelf optical telecommunication components to create a faster millimeter-wave device sending data at 10 gigabits per second. Current Wi-Fi and cellular networks operate on frequencies of 2.4 to 5.0 gigahertz. oday there are no commercial wireless systems available that could match the speed of optical fiber capable of carrying tens of gigabits per second. more»

Two Europeans Charged for DDOS Attacks in U.S.

A British man and a German man have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to intentionally cause damage to the computers of two U.S.-based retail satellite companies by launching large-scale distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks that shut down the companies' websites. The two men were allegedly hired by the owner of Orbit Communication, currently wanted by the FBI, to carry out DDOS attacks. Those attacks were directed at the public websites of two of Orbit's competitors, Rapid Satellite of Miami, Florida, and Weaknees of Los Angeles. If convicted, Walker and Gembe face 15 years in prison. more»

Stay Safe Online: Fifth Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month marks the fifth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) will be actively engaging public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to increase overall awareness and minimize vulnerabilities. This year, according to DHS, 28 state governors signed a proclamation in recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and 51 endorsements were provided by companies, non-profits, universities and government agencies. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. To learn more, visit DHS and StaySafeOnline.orgmore»

Investigation Reveals Massive Security and Privacy Breaches Affecting Chinese Version of Skype

Canadian human-rights activists and computer security researchers have released a report on the extensive surveillance system in China that monitors and archives text conversations that include politically charged words. The research group, called Information Warfare Monitor, is a joint project of The SecDev Group, and the Citizen Lab, at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. The following are introductory excerpts from the study... more»

Google Explains Why Their Data Centers are Most Efficient in the World

According to Google's findings released today, the company claims that its energy-optimized data centers are the most efficient in the world. More specifically, the company says that its data centers "use nearly five times less energy than conventional facilities to feed and cool the computers inside." This includes efforts to optimize every element in the data center, from the chip to the cooling tower. "As a result, the energy used per Google search is minimal. In the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than we will use to answer your query." more»

ICANN Faces Questions on Accountability and Outside Takeover

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held a meeting today in Washington, D.C. discussing concerns over the organizations takeover by governments and other outside entities as well as the need for further accountability to Internet users. ICANN's current oversight agreement with the U.S. government comes to an end in a year and there are no plans to sign a new agreement according to ICANN officials. However in the past few years, representatives of other countries have called for an international organization to oversee the 10-year-old ICANN. In order to steer clear of outside takeovers, ICANN proposes remaining in the U.S. where it can take advantage of the countries relatively strong antitrust and competitive laws. more»

Supposedly Private Meeting of China's Censorship Division and Wikipedia Founder

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has met with the Chinese government body in charge of censoring online content in the country. Cai Mingzhao, Vice Director of China's State Council Information Office in charge of China's "Internet Management Division" (censorship division), discussed Wales' concerns regarding censorship. Although no deals or agreements where made, it has been reported that the meeting has "opened a channel of communication and dialogue between the Wikipedia community and the Chinese government." more»

Finnish Security Researchers Decide to Go Public With a TCP/IP Flaw

Researchers at a Finnish security firm Outpost 24 claim to have discovered a flaw in the Internet Protocol that can disrupt any computer or server. After keeping the flaw quiet for years, the researchers hope that going public will help accelerate the creation of a solution, according to PC World Australia. The flaw enables attackers to bring computers and servers to a halt by sending a few specially formed TCP/IP packets. The result can be compared to a denial of service attack (DDoS), in which networks are flooded with traffic. However in this case only minimal amount of traffic is required. "We're talking 10 packets per second to take down one service," Jack Lewis, a senior researcher with Outpost24. more»

10 Years of ICANN

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, was officially incorporated on 30 September 1998 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation. Headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California, United States, ICANN was assigned to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks originally performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, such as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Back in 1998, there was only one domain name registrar; now there are over 900 ICANN-accredited registrars in the world and over 168 million domain names registered. more»

GNU Founder Richard Stallman Warns Against Cloud Computing

Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU, says cloud computing is essentially a trap that will eventually pressure more people into buying locked, proprietary systems that will continue to cost them more over time. "It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign," says Stallman. Bobbie Johnson, Guardian's technology correspondent says 'his comments echo those made last week by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who criticized the rash of cloud computing announcements as "fashion-driven" and "complete gibberish".' more»

Telcos, IT Companies Start $1B Promotion for Mobile Broadband as Alternative to Wi-Fi and WiMax

Some of the world's largest IT and mobile companies have teamed up to create a new category of always-connected 'Mobile Broadband' devices, delivering an alternative to WiFi. According to reports, in the first phase of this initiative lead by GSM Association (GSMA), mobile operators, PC manufacturers and chipset providers will collaborate to pre-install Mobile Broadband into a range of notebook PCs that will be ready to switch on and surf straight out of the box in 91 countries. more»

Rollout of Transpacific Undersea Cable Completed

Six of the world's largest telecommunications companies are reported to have completed the construction of a high-speed undersea telecommunications cable system across the Pacific. The fiber-optic cable, called Trans-Pacific Express, will directly link the U.S., China, South Korea and Taiwan, according to the Dow Jones news service. Verizon, one of the partners in the project, has said that the new cable system would be able to handle the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous phone conversations. This would be more than 60 times the overall capacity of China-U.S. existing cable, capable of handling equivalent of 1 million simultaneous phone conversations. more»

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