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Paul Merrell

Researchers tout electricity storage technology that could recharge devices in minutes - 0 views

  • Vanderbilt University researchers say they have come up with a way to store electricity on a silicon-based supercapacitor that would let mobile phones recharge in seconds and let them continue to operate for weeks without recharging.
Paul Merrell

Surveillance scandal rips through hacker community | Security & Privacy - CNET News - 0 views

  • One security start-up that had an encounter with the FBI was Wickr, a privacy-forward text messaging app for the iPhone with an Android version in private beta. Wickr's co-founder Nico Sell told CNET at Defcon, "Wickr has been approached by the FBI and asked for a backdoor. We said, 'No.'" The mistrust runs deep. "Even if [the NSA] stood up tomorrow and said that [they] have eliminated these programs," said Marlinspike, "How could we believe them? How can we believe that anything they say is true?" Where does security innovation go next? The immediate future of information security innovation most likely lies in software that provides an existing service but with heightened privacy protections, such as webmail that doesn't mine you for personal data.
  • Wickr's Sell thinks that her company has hit upon a privacy innovation that a few others are also doing, but many will soon follow: the company itself doesn't store user data. "[The FBI] would have to force us to build a new app. With the current app there's no way," she said, that they could incorporate backdoor access to Wickr users' texts or metadata. "Even if you trust the NSA 100 percent that they're going to use [your data] correctly," Sell said, "Do you trust that they're going to be able to keep it safe from hackers? What if somebody gets that database and posts it online?" To that end, she said, people will start seeing privacy innovation for services that don't currently provide it. Calling it "social networks 2.0," she said that social network competitors will arise that do a better job of protecting their customer's privacy and predicted that some that succeed will do so because of their emphasis on privacy. Abine's recent MaskMe browser add-on and mobile app for creating disposable e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and credit cards is another example of a service that doesn't have access to its own users' data.
  • The issue with balancing privacy and surveillance is that the wireless carriers are not interested in privacy, he said. "They've been providing wiretapping for 100 years. Apple may in the next year protect voice calls," he said, and said that the best hope for ending widespread government surveillance will be the makers of mobile operating systems like Apple and Google. Not all upcoming security innovation will be focused on that kind of privacy protection. Security researcher Brandon Wiley showed off at Defcon a protocol he calls Dust that can obfuscate different kinds of network traffic, with the end goal of preventing censorship. "I only make products about letting you say what you want to say anywhere in the world," such as content critical of governments, he said. Encryption can hide the specifics of the traffic, but some governments have figured out that they can simply block all encrypted traffic, he said. The Dust protocol would change that, he said, making it hard to tell the difference between encrypted and unencrypted traffic. It's hard to build encryption into pre-existing products, Wiley said. "I think people are going to make easy-to-use, encrypted apps, and that's going to be the future."
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  • Stamos predicted changes in services that companies with cloud storage offer, including offering customers the ability to store their data outside of the U.S. "If they want to stay competitive, they're going to have to," he said. But, he cautioned, "It's impossible to do a cloud-based ad supported service." Soghoian added, "The only way to keep a service running is to pay them money." This, he said, is going to give rise to a new wave of ad-free, privacy protective subscription services.
  • Companies could face severe consequences from their security experts, said Stamos, if the in-house experts find out that they've been lied to about providing government access to customer data. You could see "lots of resignations and maybe publicly," he said. "It wouldn't hurt their reputations to go out in a blaze of glory." Perhaps not surprisingly, Marlinspike sounded a hopeful call for non-destructive activism on Defcon's 21st anniversary. "As hackers, we don't have a lot of influence on policy. I hope that's something that we can focus our energy on," he said.
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    NSA as the cause of the next major disruption in the social networking service industry?  Grief ahead for Google? Note the point made that: "It's impossible to do a cloud-based ad supported service" where the encryption/decryption takes place on the client side. 
Paul Merrell

Tiny USB Stick Brings Android to PCs, TVs | Gadget Lab | Wired.com - 3 views

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    Vaporware, but interesting. More info on the developers' website at .  Basic idea is a computer on a stick that can be plugged into either other computers or into an HDMI flatscreen TV. In the latter scenario, Bluetooth connectivity for keyboard/mouse combo, provided by e.g., a smartphone. The USB connection is v. 2.0, but I'll guess that USB 3.0 would soon be an option in newer models.  According to the specs it can run either Android or Ubunutu. If you check the developer's website, they definitely have their eyes on the growth in the numbers of HDMI-equipped TVs. Note that if delivered as described, this breaks boundaries of mobile devices, tending toward a convergence of TV monitors and mobile devices in an unexpected way. 
Paul Merrell

Android phones outsell iPhone 2-to-1, says research firm - Computerworld - 2 views

  • Android-powered smartphones outsold iPhones in the U.S. by almost 2-to-1 in the third quarter, a research firm said today.
  • "We started to see Android take off in 2009 when Verizon added the [Motorola] Droid," said Ross Rubin, the executive director of industry analysis for the NPD Group. "A big part of Android success is its carrier distribution. Once it got to the Verizon and Sprint customer bases, with their mature 3G networks, that's when we started to see it take off." According to NPD's surveys of U.S. retailers, Android phones accounted for 44% of all consumer smartphone sales in the third quarter, an increase of 11 percentage points over 2010's second quarter. Meanwhile, Apple's iOS, which powers the iPhone, was up one point to 23%.
Paul Merrell

The Associated Press: 4G wireless: It's fast, but outstripped by hype - 2 views

  • Cell phone companies are about to barrage consumers with advertising for the next advance in wireless network technology: "4G" access. The companies are promising faster speeds and the thrill of being the first on the block to use a new acronym.But there's less to 4G than meets the eye, and there's little reason for people to scramble for it, at least for the next few years.
Paul Merrell

Cloud-based Mobile Applications On the Rise - 4 views

  • The dominant force in mobile apps is likely to be cloud computing, according to ABI Research in its recent study, “Mobile Cloud Computing.” Cloud technologies will also make mobile apps more sophisticated, allowing them to be offered to a broader audience of mobile subscribers, ABI Research stated in its report. The research firm further forecasts that the number of mobile cloud computing subscribers worldwide will rise from 42.8 million in 2008, (approximately 1.1 percent of all mobile subscribers) to more than 998 million in 2014 (nearly 19 percent).
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    Do you having a feeling as to how this might affect mobile learning?
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    I haven't thought much about that aspect. But more powerful apps along with more access to more data would seemingly enhance rather than detract from mobile learning.
Paul Merrell

FCC Chairman: Spectrum deficit could set wireless data back 50 years | Wireless News - ... - 0 views

  • "We are fast entering a world where mass-market mobile devices consume thousands of megabytes each month," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski warned at CTIA Wireless yesterday. "So we must ask: what happens when every mobile user has an iPhone, a Palm Pre, a BlackBerry Tour, or whatever the next device is? What happens when we quadruple the number of subscribers with mobile broadband on their laptops or netbooks?"The short answer: We will need a lot more spectrum."
Paul Merrell

EU looks into telecoms blocking Internet calls - International Herald Tribune - 0 views

  • European Union regulators are looking into whether mobile phone operators who block customers from making inexpensive wireless calls over the Internet are breaking competition rules. The European Commission, the EU antitrust authority, has sent questionnaires to phone companies asking what "tools" they use to "control, manage, block, slow down or otherwise restrict or filter" Internet-based voice calls. The EU deadline for responding to the survey was Tuesday. The questionnaire, obtained by Bloomberg News, does not identify any companies. Some mobile carriers have blocked services that use voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP, which allows users to make calls over the Web. Companies may be seeking to stop customers from accessing applications, like eBay's Skype, to defend voice revenue from the less expensive Internet services, Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, the research company, said.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      Building a Connected World --- The Role of Antitrust Law and Lawyers.
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    Superficially, this sounds like an application of the principles won by DG Competition in the Court of First Instance's Commission v. Microsoft interoperability decision. But note that here we deal with an investigation into deliberately-created interop barriers rather than those maintained by withholding full communication protocol specifications from competitors. Notice that the investigation encompasses throttling of internet connections for particular uses, an increasingly common practice by Comcast and other ISPs in the U.S., where both VOIP and P2P file-sharing are targeted uses. E.U. and U.S. antitrust law are similar, as efforts to harmonize antitrust law on both sides of The Pond are now decades old; this move does not bode well for bandwidth throttling in the U.S., particularly when aimed at throttling competition. It takes no giant mental leap to apply such principles to big vendor-dominated IT standards bodies that deliberately create or maintain interop barriers in data format standards. Indeed, DG Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has already served notice that interop barriers in standards-setting is an item of interest.
Paul Merrell

XHTML Modularization 1.1 Released as W3C Recommendation - 0 views

  • XHTML Modularization is a decomposition of XHTML 1.0, and by reference HTML 4, into a collection of abstract modules that provide specific types of functionality.
  • The modularization of XHTML refers to the task of specifying well-defined sets of XHTML elements that can be combined and extended by document authors, document type architects, other XML standards specifications, and application and product designers to make it economically feasible for content developers to deliver content on a greater number and diversity of platforms. Over the last couple of years, many specialized markets have begun looking to HTML as a content language. There is a great movement toward using HTML across increasingly diverse computing platforms. Currently there is activity to move HTML onto mobile devices (hand held computers, portable phones, etc.), television devices (digital televisions, TV-based Web browsers, etc.), and appliances (fixed function devices). Each of these devices has different requirements and constraints.
  • XHTML Modularization is a decomposition of XHTML 1.0, and by reference HTML 4, into a collection of abstract modules that provide specific types of functionality. These abstract modules are implemented in this specification using the XML Schema and XML Document Type Definition languages. The rules for defining the abstract modules, and for implementing them using XML Schemas and XML DTDs, are also defined in this document. These modules may be combined with each other and with other modules to create XHTML subset and extension document types that qualify as members of the XHTML-family of document types.
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  • Modularizing XHTML provides a means for product designers to specify which elements are supported by a device using standard building blocks and standard methods for specifying which building blocks are used. These modules serve as "points of conformance" for the content community. The content community can now target the installed base that supports a certain collection of modules, rather than worry about the installed base that supports this or that permutation of XHTML elements. The use of standards is critical for modularized XHTML to be successful on a large scale. It is not economically feasible for content developers to tailor content to each and every permutation of XHTML elements. By specifying a standard, either software processes can autonomously tailor content to a device, or the device can automatically load the software required to process a module. Modularization also allows for the extension of XHTML's layout and presentation capabilities, using the extensibility of XML, without breaking the XHTML standard. This development path provides a stable, useful, and implementable framework for content developers and publishers to manage the rapid pace of technological change on the Web.
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