Archive for August, 2010

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BlackBerry gives in

August 31, 2010

Canada-based Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, on Monday provided certain proposals for lawful access to its services by India’s security agencies, sources in the Home Ministry said.

The proposals would be operationalised immediately and the company would set up a server in India, the sources added.

At a high-level meeting chaired by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, it was decided that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) would study the feasibility of all such services being provided through the server located only in India.

The Ministry earlier imposed a deadline of August 31 on RIM and made it clear that the company would have to offer a solution to share heavily encrypted data or be ready to face a shutdown of its operations in India.

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New social media guidelines for Waco ISD employees

August 21, 2010

It’s the start of a new school year and with social media like Facebook and Twitter reaching all ages, Waco ISD is adding guidelines to their employee handbook on how teachers can interact with their students.

These are brand new recommendations by the Texas Association of School Boards. It’s designed as a way to protect teachers and students. “It’s just a reminder to employees that the content on social networking pages, should be professional,” Elaine Botello, Waco ISD Director of Human Resources, said.

Teachers will follow 11 new regulations when using everything from texting to social networking sites with students. Some of the regulations include prohibiting teachers from communicating with students on personal social networking pages, instead they have to create a professional page for educational purposes like questions on tests and homework.

“If we can head off the problems that are avoidable, that allows the district, teachers, and schools to focus on real problems with real consequences,” Waco High Teacher and President of the TSTA/NEA Tony Uzzell said.

At this point, This is a regulation in the employee hand book, it wont be discussed to be district policy until the fall.

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Google on privacy: change your name

August 18, 2010

Google’s chief has put forth a novel solution for today’s teenagers whose wild online antics threaten to follow them into their adult life: change your name.

His comments come as the search giant attempts to allay public concern about plans to commercialise its ever-increasing pile of data. Schmidt’s prediction for those wanting to distance themselves from their past came as part of a broad-based internet discussion with the Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” he said, as he predicted that all young people might one day be entitled to change their names in order to disown compromising activities captured on friends’ social media sites.

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Research In Motion has promised India a technical solution

August 16, 2010

Research In Motion has promised India a technical solution for decoding encrypted BlackBerry data, a senior official said on Friday, a step that could allay Indian security concerns about the smartphone and avert a shutdown.

Indian authorities, who met with RIM officials on Friday, also pledged to go after other companies — including Google and Skype — to protect the country from cyber-spying and attacks planned over the Internet.

RIM faces an August 31 deadline to give authorities the means to read email and instant messages sent over the BlackBerry. New Delhi says it will pull the plug if RIM won’t comply, threatening its future in the world’s fastest-growing telecoms market.

India is the latest country to step up pressure on RIM, which has built the BlackBerry’s reputation around confidentiality. Business professionals and politicians prefer the device. Governments, including Saudi Arabia, fear it could become a tool for terrorists or those breaking Islamic laws.

“They have assured that they will come with some technical solution for Messenger and enterprise mail next week,” said the senior Indian government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Our technical team will evaluate if it works.”

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Google Agonizes on Privacy as Ad World Vaults Ahead

August 11, 2010

A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. “vision statement” shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people’s activities?

Jessica Vascellaro talks to Simon Constable about the big privacy issue facing Google — Should it tap more of what it knows about Gmail users?

Should it build a vast “trading platform” for buying and selling Web data? Should it let people pay to not see any ads at all? These and other ideas big and small—the third one was listed under “wacky”—are discussed in the document, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and compiled in late 2008 by Aitan Weinberg, now a senior product manager for interest-based advertising. Along with interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, the vision statement offers a candid, introspective look at Google’s fight to remain at the vanguard of the information economy.

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Saudi Arabia’s plan to continue BlackBerry service

August 10, 2010

Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications regulator on Tuesday said it would allow BlackBerry messaging services to continue in the kingdom, citing “positive developments” with the device’s Canadian manufacturer.

Saudi’s announcement of the possible ban _ which came shortly after officials in the United Arab Emirates announced a more sweeping crackdown on the devices due to start in October _ was read by many analysts as a reflection of the conservative governments’ concerns over an inability to access user data.

Both countries have strict Internet controls. In addition, free speech is sharply curtailed, as much to rein in political dissent as to keep tabs on a tenacious Islamic militancy problem that has both domestic national security and global terrorism implications.

CITC said mobile phone service providers in the country had been given a 48-hour extension ending Monday night to address security concerns, and that progress had been made.

“In light of the positive developments toward addressing some of the organizational requirements … the commission decided to allow BlackBerry Messenger service to continue,” it said in a brief statement.

The commission said it would continue to work with the country’s three mobile phone service providers and, based on developments, it would “take the necessary steps.”

The regulator did not say if it had reached any final deal with RIM.

Saudi officials had said earlier the company had reached a preliminary agreement with Saudi regulators allowing the government some access to user data.

The plan being discussed involved placing a BlackBerry server in the country, which already has strong controls on the Internet to block morally offensive and political content and maintains strict controls on freedom of expression. A Saudi newspaper reported Monday that testing of the server was under way.

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USCYBERCOM Commander Eyes the First Cyberwar Defeat

August 9, 2010

“My main focus will be on building the capacity, the capability, and the critical partnerships required to secure our military’s operational networks. This command is not about efforts to militarize cyber space. Rather, it is about safeguarding the integrity of our military’s critical information systems.”
Gen. Keith Alexander, USCYBERCOM Commander
Nomination Hearing, April 15, 2009

It is not surprising that the US Government’s newly appointed head of Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, responsible for all military information and communications security, shows up in Afghanistan two days after the Wikileaks data dump of the Afghan War Diary 75,000 files.

For whom else does the buck stop for the first cyberwar defeat since US Cyber Command was established except General Keith Alexander?

And why else would the first ever photos of Alexander’s visit to a war zone be published by the Defense Department except to signal he is ultimately responsible to determine how the defeat occurred and what must be done to prevent recurrence — as soon as possible.

To take command of the investigation, to personally look at the circumstances of defeat right there where the intelligence originated, was collated and passed up the line for use by top military commanders.

Cyberspy boots were surely shaking while awaiting the master cyberspy’s arrival to assign blame for the disaster, put careers in jeopardy with McChrystal-type resignations in the offing, exculpations pre-positioned, underlings to be sacrificed, Bradley Manning one among many, there just has to be more behind this unbelievable spillage of secrets.

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