#392 Dec 15, 2014 – Google Shuts Down News Service in Spain

This week’s headline story: Google Shuts Down News Service in Spain

google_esFor the first time in its history, Google has announced that it will shut down Google News for an entire nation — Spain — and remove all Spanish publications from its index of news reports. The changes, blamed on changes to Spain’s copyright law, will take effect Tuesday. The issue, according to Richard Gingras, Google’s senior director of news and social products, is recent legislation enacted by the Spanish government that will require news aggregators like Google to pay a fee to publishers for use of headlines and story snippets that then link to the publishers’ Web sites. The new law, set to go into effect Jan. 1, covers all types of publications, including bloggers, national newspapers and local news outlets. Publications would be required to charge companies like Google even if they opposed the fees.

in other tech news…

  • White House Focuses on Computer Science in Schools [ABC News]The Whitehouse has announced that seven of the largest school districts in the U.S. are joining more than 50 others to start offering introductory computer science to all their students. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Houston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are committing to require a computer science course in high school or middle school. The big focus? Getting girls and minority boys into these classes. Computer-related jobs are projected to expand for years to come, but only a small percentage of college graduates obtain a degree in the field.
  • No One Has Privacy Now, Thanks to Super Cookies [Ecommerce Times]It may be the end of the little remaining privacy anyone thinks they may still have online. Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation is accusing Verizon of enabling it’s customers to be tracked on the Web. According to Hoffman -Andrews, Verizon is “silently modifying its users’ Web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker … sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device.” Furthermore, he says, Verizon’s tracker includes an HTTP “super cookie” that allows the websites owner to know the identity of the Verizon customer visiting the website. A senior editor at Forbes claims that AT&T is also testing super cookies.
  • New York Cabbies May Try Operating Uber-Style [Ecommerce Times]New York city may soon take on cab hailing online services Uber and Lyft with an app of its own. A Manhattan lawmaker has introduced new legislation requiring the city to launch an e-hail app for yellow and green cabs in the city.


and in Information Security news this week..

  • Strike Two? Sony PlayStation Network Is Attacked [NewsFactor]Sony Execs Debated Risk of ‘The Interview’ [NewsFactor]
    North Korea Denies Hacking Sony, But Calls It ‘Righteous’ [NewsFactor]
    Sony has experienced a 2nd major data breach in as many weeks. Two weeks ago, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked compromising private company data, and now Sony’s PlayStation Network has come under attack. Clearly Sony has an enemy in the hacker community. Sony suspects that it is North Korea which has threatened Sony over its soon-to-be released comedy “The Interview” which depicts a fictional assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea denies any involvement but basically says that it serves Sony right.
  • FIDO Alliance Launches ‘Password Killer’ Spec [Ecommerce Times]
    One Step Closer to the End of Passwords [NewsFactor]
    The Google-supported FIDO Alliance this week achieved a key milestone in its mission to end the use of passwords by releasing version 1.0 of its namesake open standard. FIDO, which stands for “Fast IDentity Online,” consists of two specifications: Universal Authentication Framework and Universal 2nd Factor. Together, they aim to enable any website or cloud application to give users new password alternatives by interfacing with a broad variety of FIDO-enabled authenticators, including biometrics and hardware tokens.
  • Researchers Stymied by Hackers Who Drop Fake Clues [NewsFactor]
    Hackers are getting smarter. Newly discovered cyberattacks targeting Russian and Eastern European embassies, oil companies and military officers have stumped security researchers. “The level of misdirection is impressive,” said Hugh Thompson, a security strategist at Blue Coat Systems, Inc. Blue Coat says the code of the malware — nicknamed “Inception,” carries words in Arabic and Hindi, another piece of code carries the words, “God Save The Queen” and a third clue, suggesting Chinese involvement.
  • Iranian Hackers Reportedly Exact Revenge on Casino Empire [NewsFactor]
    It was recently disclosed that Hacktivists believed to be operating from Iran launched a cyberattack on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. that shut down large sections of the casino company’s computer networks earlier this year. The attack, apparently precipitated by Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson’s comments that the U.S. should use nuclear weapons to threaten Iran, could cost the company at least $40 million in repair and recovery efforts.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • For Sync 3, Ford Picks BlackBerry, Kicks Microsoft to the Curb [Ecommerce Times]
    Ford Revamps Its Glitchy Sync Infotainment System [NewsFactor]
    Ford is ditching its highly-criticized “My Ford Touch” in-dash Infotainment System and replacing it with Sync 3 beginning with its 2016 fleet of vehicles. My Ford Touch, and it’s predecessor Ford Sync were based on Microsoft’s Windows Automotive. Sync 3 will be based on BlackBerrys QNX operating system. The move signals the beginning of strong competition in the automotive computing area.
  • Facebook Claims Graph Search Is a Big Step Up [NewsFactor]
    For many people Facebook has served as a repository of their life’s events over the past several years. Facebook will be upgrading its search tool to allow users to search for people, posts, photos, places, Pages, Groups, apps and events on their timeline. Keyword searches such as “Tyler’s Graduation,” “Restaurants in Boston,” or “Frank’s Dog,” will bring up related content from a users Timeline. Why has it taken so long for Facebook to provide this service? In an interview with reporters, Zucherberg explained that “There’s just so much content that people have shared on Facebook that simply building the infrastructure to index all of it and start ranking it is a multi-year effort.”
  • HP Will Release a “Revolutionary” New Operating System in 2015 [MIT Technology Review]
    Hewlett-Packard will take a big step toward shaking up its own troubled business and the entire computing industry next year when it releases an operating system for an exotic new computer. The company’s research division is working to create a computer HP calls The Machine. It is meant to be the first of a new dynasty of industrial computers that are much more energy-efficient and powerful than current products.
  • It’s Official: Instagram Is Bigger Than Twitter [NYTimes]
    It’s official! Instagram is bigger than Twitter. Instagram has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in just nine months. Twitter, has just 284 million monthly active users.

and finally…

  • Zuckerberg Talks Nuances of Doing a ‘Dislike’ Button [NewsFactor]
    In a recent public forum Mark Zuckerberg stated that there will never be a Dislike button for Facebook posts. “That’s not something that we think is good for the world,” Zuckerberg said. “I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook for whether posts are good or bad.” However, he did admit that the company is evaluating new ways that users could express support or empathy in a more nuanced manner.

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