Google, Microsoft Push Feds to Fix Privacy Laws

By Ryan Singel March 30, 2010 4:38 pm

A coalition of the net’s biggest online service providers, including Google and Microsoft, are joining with the top internet rights groups to demand Congress modernize the nation’s privacy laws.

Among the reforms pushed by the so-called Digital Due Process coalition is a requirement that law enforcement get warrants from a judge when they want to force companies to turn over your e-mails, documents and location data. But despite issuing a clarion call to change privacy laws, none of the companies that are pushing citizens to store more and more sensitive information online announced any change to their own practices.

The coalition announced its four principles in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The group says they’ve briefed the White House, the FBI and Congress on the proposed changes and expect hearings this year. Congress isn’t expected to act before 2011, because of a crowded legislative agenda.

Changes in technology dictate the need to update the nation’s electronic privacy law, known as the 1986 Electronic Communications Protection Act, according to Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3

By Jon L. Jacob – March 29, 2010, 4:43 PM EDT

Everything Lenovo sells, including the third-gen, 10.1-inch IdeaPad S10-3 netbook ($369, as of 3/29/10) appears to be intended for the board or meeting room–in this case, perhaps the meeting room imagined in Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil (the top or cover of the unit has a slightly psychedelic red checkerboard pattern)–but a meeting room nonetheless.

The 2.76-pound, business-oriented S10-3 netbook is a bit pricier per spec than the competition. Most other 10.1-inch, 1024-by-600-resolution netbooks sell for $10 to $50 less with the same 1GB Intel N450/3150 CPU/GPU combination, as well as a more-capacious 250GB hard drive compared with the S10-3’s 150GB model. While 150GB is more than enough for most users, it means that you are getting a bit less of the basics and paying a bit extra for the business features and software.

Or is it the ergonomics you’re paying for? Whoever is in charge of Lenovo’s input devices deserves a raise and/or high praise. The innovative multitouch combination touchpad/rocker button on the S10-3 is a relief for anyone (including this writer) who hates inadvertently tapping while dragging, or hunting for buttons. Simply apply a little pressure to the bottom left or right corners of the device, and you have your click.

Read more at BusinessWeek

Facebook Mulls Privacy Changes, Causes More Outrage

Jared Newman Mar 29, 2010 6:07 pm

Facebook users are expressing strong disapproval of proposed privacy changes that will let the site share some user information with third-party Web sites and applications.

Under Facebook’s current rules you’re asked first if you want to share information (your name, photos and friends list) with third-party sites. The proposed policy, which Facebook hasn’t implemented yet, would bypass asking you for approval when visiting some sites and applications Facebook has busines relationships with, sharing limited personal information automatically.

In other words, if Facebook deems a Web site or application trustworthy, it’ll immediately grab your information when you visit or use it, provided you’re logged into Facebook when that happens. Users will be able to opt-out, but it’s not clear if this would happen on a user’s settings page or by some other means. Facebook didn’t get into specifics on when these changes will be made, why they’re happening now or which sites will be participating.

Read more at PC World.com

Apple may be working on iPhone for Verizon: report

(Reuters) – Apple Inc appears to be working on a new iPhone model for No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Wireless, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Verizon Communications Inc shares surged on the news, rising 3.4 percent in after-hours trading, while the shares of AT&T Inc, the current exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States, fell 2.2 percent.

Apple is apparently developing a CDMA-compatible iPhone model that would work on Verizon’s network, the Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation.

Verizon also declined to comment. Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon and Vodafone Group Plc.

When asked about the report, an AT&T spokesman said: “We have a great relationship with Apple and we don’t comment on the specifics of that relationship.”

AT&T also repeated previous comments that the iPhone “will be an important device for us for quite some time.”

Apple has released a new iPhone model every summer for the past three years and is widely expected to do so this summer.

Read more at Reuters.com

Chinese city is world’s hacker hub

Times of London, Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

A city in eastern China has been identified as the world capital of cyber-espionage by an American Internet security company.

A city in eastern China has been identified as the world capital of cyber-espionage by an American Internet security company.

The firm traced 12 billion e-mails in a study which showed that a higher number of “targeted attacks” on computers come from China than previously thought.

Researchers for Symantec found almost 30% of “malicious” e-mails were sent from China and that 21.3% came from the city of Shaoxing alone. They were able to identify key targets for the hackers as experts in Asian defense policy and human rights activists, strongly suggesting state involvement.

Read more at the Times of London

#011 – Tech Barbarians – 3/29/10 – TechBarbarians.com – TechJives.net – Chris Pope & Mark Eoff

03-29-10 “Scott Johnson Guest Hosting!” http://Frogpants.com & http://myextralife.com Check out TechBarbarians.com for show notes! This episode is part of the TechJives.net network and is hosted by: Chris Pope and Mark Eoff