Apr 17

- Yahoo’s de Castro got $58M for 15 months on job (USA Today, April 17, 2014):

Henrique de Castro’s 15 months as Yahoo’s chief operating officer may have ended on a sour note, but it was sweetened by a severance package valued at nearly $58 million.

All but about $1 million of de Castro’s severance was based in the value of his equity award in Yahoo, which began appreciating after former Google colleague Marissa Mayer joined the company in July 2012. He became Mayer’s first big hire just four months later. But in a letter to employees following de Castro’s Jan. 16 ouster, Mayer said she “made the difficult decision” that he should leave.

His exit package outpaced Mayer’s 2013 compensation, valued at $24.9 million. She gained an additional $21.2 million from vested shares, Yahoo said in a preliminary proxy filing Wednesday.

Continue reading »

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Feb 28

- GCHQ spied on millions of Yahoo video chats, harvested sexual images of chatters, compared itself to “Tom Cruise in Minority Report” (Boing Boing, Feb 27, 2104):

NSA ragout 3

NSA ragout 1

A stunning new Snowden leak reveals that the UK spy agency GCHQ harvested images and text from millions of Yahoo video chats, including chats in which one or both of the participants was British or American. Between 3 and 11 percent of the chats they intercepted were sexual in nature, and revealing images of thousands of people were captured and displayed to spies. The programme, called OPTIC NERVE, focused on people whose usernames were similar to those of suspects, and ran from at least 2008 until at least 2010. The leak reveals that GCHQ intended to expand the programme to Xbox 360 Kinect cameras and “fairly normal webcam traffic.” The programme was part of a facial recognition research effort that GCHQ compared to “Tom Cruise in Minority Report.” While the documents do not detail efforts as widescale as those against Yahoo users, one presentation discusses with interest the potential and capabilities of the Xbox 360′s Kinect camera, saying it generated “fairly normal webcam traffic” and was being evaluated as part of a wider program. Beyond webcams and consoles, GCHQ and the NSA looked at building more detailed and accurate facial recognition tools, such as iris recognition cameras – “think Tom Cruise in Minority Report”, one presentation noted.

NSA ragout 4

Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: “Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.”

The document estimates that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains “undesirable nudity”. Discussing efforts to make the interface “safer to use”, it noted that current “naïve” pornography detectors assessed the amount of flesh in any given shot, and so attracted lots of false positives by incorrectly tagging shots of people’s faces as pornography.

UK spy agency intercepted webcam images of millions of Yahoo users [Spencer Ackerman and James Ball/The Guardian]

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Nov 07

- 14 Facts About The Absolutely Crazy Internet Stock Bubble That Could Crash And Burn In 2014 (Economic Collapse, Nov 5, 2013):

Shouldn’t Internet companies actually “make a profit” at some point before being considered worth billions of dollars?  A lot of investors laugh when they look back at the foolishness of the “Dotcom bubble” of the late 1990s, but the tech bubble that is inflating right in front of our eyes today is actually far worse.  For example, what would you say if I told you that a seven-year-old company that has a long history of not being profitable and that actually lost 64 million dollars last quarter is worth more than 13 billion dollars?  You would probably say that I was insane, but the company that I have just described is Twitter and Wall Street is going crazy for it right now.  Please don’t get me wrong – I actually love Twitter.  On my Twitter account I have sent out thousands of “tweets”.  Twitter is a lot of fun, and it has had a huge impact on the entire planet.  But is it worth 13 billion dollars?  Of course not.

When it comes to the Internet, what is hot today will probably not be hot tomorrow. Continue reading »

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Oct 31

- How The NSA Spies On Your Google And Yahoo Accounts (ZeroHedge, Oct 30, 2013):

It’s quite simple really, and as the WaPo explains, the NSA “has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials. By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.”

In a nutshell – 181,280,466 new records in 1 month:

Continue reading »

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Jul 29

- Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is (Guardian, July 28, 2013):

The press has lost the plot over the Snowden revelations. The fact is that the net is finished as a global network and that US firms’ cloud services cannot be trusted

Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.

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Jul 03

- Washington Post releases four new slides from NSA’s Prism presentation (Guardian, June 30, 2013):

Newly published top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft

The Washington Post has released four previously unpublished slides from the NSA’s PowerPoint presentation on Prism, the top-secret programme that collects data on foreign surveillance targets from the systems of nine participating internet companies.

The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI “deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA”.

Continue reading »

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Jun 08

Related info:

- President Obama & America’s Internet Companies Are ALL LYING – Here Is How Your Data Is Handed Over To Uncle Sam

- UK’s Electronic Eavesdropping And Security Agency GCHQ Also Accesses NSA’s Secret PRISM Programme

- Obama Regime To Shoot The PRISM-Gate Messenger, Launches Criminal Probe Into NSA Leaks

- President Obama Defends Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs In San Jose Speech


- How Google, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo and AOL are all blatantly lying to their own users in denying NSA spy grid scheme (Natural News, June 8, 2013):

What do Google, AOL, Skype, Facebook, Apple, Hotmail and Yahoo all have in common? They have all been caught turning over private user data to the government’s spy agency, the NSA. All these companies routinely turn over the emails, voice calls, text chats, photos, files and even logins and passwords of their users, including Americans.

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” journalist Glenn Greenwald recently told Piers Morgan (who knows all about spying and hacking people’s private data). “And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”

Tech companies rush to issue (false) denials

Continue reading »

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Jun 08

- “You Should Use Both” – How America’s Internet Companies Are Handing Over Your Data To Uncle Sam (ZeroHedge, June 8, 2013):

In the aftermath of the PRISM spying scandal, the first and logical response was an expected one: lie. The president did it, and so did the various companies implicated in the biggest US surveillance scandal ever exposed. To wit:

  • Zuckerberg: “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers.”
  • Google CEO Larry Page: “We have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers.”
  • Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”

One small problem: they are all lying.

The NYT explains just how the explicit handover of private customer data from Corporate Server X to NSA Server Y takes place.

The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.

In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.

Continue reading »

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Jun 08

UK security agency GCHQ gaining information from world’s biggest internet firms through US-run Prism programme


Documents show GCHQ (above) has had access to the NSA’s Prism programme since at least June 2010. Photograph: David Goddard/Getty Images

- UK gathering secret intelligence via covert NSA operation (Guardian, June 7, 2013):

The UK’s electronic eavesdropping and security agency, GCHQ, has been secretly gathering intelligence from the world’s biggest internet companies through a covertly run operation set up by America’s top spy agency, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The documents show that GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.

The US-run programme, called Prism, would appear to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos from an internet company based outside the UK.

Continue reading »

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Jun 08

- Spy state shock: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Skype, AOL, Apple all secretly sharing private user communications with NSA (Natural News, June 7, 2013)

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Jun 06

- Disclosed classified docs show vast, real-time, warrantless NSA online surveillance (RT, June 6, 2013):

Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.

The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.

The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.

According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.

That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”

With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more. Continue reading »

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Mar 25

- Yahoo buys mobile newsreader app Summly from 17-year-old London kid (The Raw Story/AFP, March 25, 2013):

Yahoo! announced plans Monday to buy mobile news reader app Summly from the London teenager who invented it, likely transforming him into one of the world’s youngest self-made multimillionaires.

The company did not disclose the terms of the deal it struck with 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio, but the London Evening Standard said Yahoo! would pay between £20 million and £40 million ($30 to $60 million).

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Feb 05

- Obama to meet with Goldman’s Blankfein, other CEOs Tuesday (Reuters, Feb 5, 2013):

President Barack Obama will meet with chief executives from 12 companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s Lloyd Blankfein and Yahoo Inc’s Marissa Mayer on Tuesday to discuss immigration and deficit reduction.

“The president will continue his engagement with outside leaders on a number of issues – including immigration reform and how it fits into his broader economic agenda, and his efforts to achieve balanced deficit reduction,” a White House official told Reuters on Monday.

Other chief executives include Arne Sorenson of Marriott International Inc, Jeff Smisek of United Continental Holdings Inc, and Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa Inc.

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Feb 03

- Dan Loeb Sells 15% Of Yahoo Stake In Past Two Days (ZeroHedge, Feb 2, 2013):

While the initial response to last week’s YHOO earnings was afterhours euphoria all of which fizzled in the first hours of trading, sentiment on the firm which has yet to do more than merely promise may sour in the coming days even more following news late on Friday that the company’s formerly staunchest advocate, Third Point’s Dan Loeb sold some 15% of his stake, or 11 million of 73 million shares on Thursday and Friday at a price between $19.68 and $19.70. The remaining stake is now 62 million shares, which means Third Point is now longer the firm’s largest institutional holder with a 6.17% stake, but drops to 4th place behind Capital Group and above Vanguard, who own 67 and 48.9 million shares respectively. The reason given for these opportunistic sales is that they were “motivated by Third Point`s desire to maintain a roughly consistent percentage holding of Yahoo`s outstanding shares as the company pursues its $5 billion buy-back authorization.” Of course considering the $1.5 billion in shares that YHOO has actually bought back represent some 6.5% of the outstanding, one is a little confused how a 15% stake reduction is hedged relative to an actual buyback that is some 60% smaller. Does this mean another 15% stake cut in Q1 when YHOO, supposedly, buys back another $1.5 billion? Continue reading »

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Jul 17

See also:

- Meet Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s New CEO


- The CEO is pregnant: Yahoo’s new chief reignites the can-we-have-it-all debate, with a twist (Washington Post, July 17, 2012):

NEW YORK — “Another piece of good news today,” tweeted the expectant mom, announcing to her online followers that she and her husband were awaiting a baby boy.

But this wasn’t just any excited mom-to-be. This was 37-year-old Marissa Mayer, the newly named CEO of Yahoo — obviously a huge achievement for anyone, but especially for a woman in the male-dominated tech industry. And she was about six months

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Jul 16

- Meet Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s New CEO (ZeroHedge, July 16, 2012):

Former Google employee Marissa Mayer is now Yahoo’s CEO. Good luck to the longs and Dan Loeb. In the meantime, hear (sic) she is. In the meantime, those who like us, were a little confused, this is all you need to know.


YouTube

A link to her overcaffeinated 2006 Stanford lecture where much of this was pulled from.

Read more here

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Nov 30

- US judge orders hundreds of sites “de-indexed” from Google, Facebook (Ars Technica, Nov. 29, 2011):

After a series of one-sided hearings, luxury goods maker Chanel has won recent court orders against hundreds of websites trafficking in counterfeit luxury goods. A federal judge in Nevada has agreed that Chanel can seize the domain names in question and transfer them all to US-based registrar GoDaddy. The judge also ordered “all Internet search engines” and “all social media websites”—explicitly naming Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google—to “de-index” the domain names and to remove them from any search results.

The case has been a remarkable one. Concerned about counterfeiting, Chanel has filed a joint suit in Nevada against nearly 700 domain names that appear to have nothing in common. When Chanel finds more names, it simply uses the same case and files new requests for more seizures. (A recent November 14 order went after an additional 228 sites; none had a chance to contest the request until after it was approved and the names had been seized.)

Continue reading »

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Nov 24

Message to Mr. Masayoshi Son:

How about starting and funding a campaign to expose the lies of TEPCO and the Japanese government and to wake up the Japanese people, thereby saving millions of  lives?

And how about donating to those who expose their lies since March 11?

(For  overwhelming evidence study the links below.)

A ‘Donate’ button, which so far has been extremely rarely used, can be found at the upper-right corner of this blog.

:-)


From the article:

‘We are not alone’

Anti-nuclear protesters have an unlikely ally in Masayoshi Son, Japan’s richest man. The multibillionaire CEO of Softbank, which owns a major mobile phone carrier, 40 percent of Yahoo! Japan, and a championship-winning baseball team, is pushing solar energy as a post-Fukushima alternative. Mr. Son, who is donating his lifelong future earnings to victims of the triple March disasters, is planning to build 10 mega-solar plants. He says that such facilities covering 20 percent of unused agricultural land in Japan could generate as much as power as TEPCO.

- Japan’s anti-nuclear protesters find the going tough, despite Fukushima disaster (Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 23, 2011):

Japan’s anti-nuclear protesters find the going tough, despite Fukushima disaster

Tokyo –As staffers trickle out of the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) on their way home from work, a group of women from Fukushima Prefecture shout at them through a megaphone.

“When are we going to be able to return to our hometowns? Will they ever be safe to live in again? When will you take responsibility for this?” the women call out toward the ministry, which has been responsible for both promoting nuclear energy and overseeing its safety in Japan.

Continue reading »

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Oct 25


While schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Los Altos, Calif., has a no-screen policy. Yet it has become a popular choice for children of employees who work at Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple and Yahoo.

Photo gallery

- A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute (New York Times, Oct. 22, 2011):

LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

The Waldorf method is nearly a century old, but its foothold here among the digerati puts into sharp relief an intensifying debate about the role of computers in education.

“I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,” said Alan Eagle, 50, whose daughter, Andie, is one of the 196 children at the Waldorf elementary school; his son William, 13, is at the nearby middle school. “The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Eagle knows a bit about technology. He holds a computer science degree from Dartmouth and works in executive communications at Google, where he has written speeches for the chairman, Eric E. Schmidt. He uses an iPad and a smartphone. But he says his daughter, a fifth grader, “doesn’t know how to use Google,” and his son is just learning. (Starting in eighth grade, the school endorses the limited use of gadgets.)

Continue reading »

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Sep 21

Update

We’re continuing to monitor Yahoo’s mail service and have now been able to send messages containing the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” and its website on some Yahoo accounts. On other accounts, however, Yahoo is still blocking the messages.

Update

Yahoo’s customer care Twitter account acknowledges blocking the emails, but says it was an unintentional error:

“We apologize 4 blocking ‘occupywallst.org’ It was not intentional & caught by our spam filters. It is resolved, but may be a residual delay.”

Yahoo’s main Twitter account adds:

“Thanks to @YahooMail users & @ThinkProgress for catching problem w/ #Occupywallst.org mail. Prob is fixed, but there may be residual delays.”


Yahoo blocks users from sending e-mails about the OccupyWallSt.org website with a message claiming “suspicious activity”

- Yahoo Appears To Be Censoring Email Messages About Wall Street Protests (Updated) (Think Progress, Sep 20, 2011):

Thinking about e-mailing your friends and neighbors about the protests against Wall Street happening right now? If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, think again. ThinkProgress has reviewed claims that Yahoo is censoring e-mails relating to the protest and found that after several attempts on multiple accounts, we too were prevented from sending messages about the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.

Over the weekend, thousands gathered for a “Tahrir Square”-style protest of Wall Street’s domination of American politics. The protesters, organized online and by organizations like Adbusters, have called their effort “Occupy Wall Street” and have set up the website: www.OccupyWallSt.org. However, several YouTube users posted videos of themselves trying to email a message inviting their friends to visit the Occupy Wall St campaign website, only to be blocked repeatedly by Yahoo. View a video of ThinkProgress making the attempt with the same blocked message experienced by others (click full screen for a better view of the text):


YouTube

Continue reading »

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Sep 06

- Rogue SSL certs were also issued for CIA, MI6, Mossad (Help Net Security):

The number of rogue SSL certificates issued by Dutch CA DigiNotar has balooned from one to a couple dozen to over 250 to 531 in just a few days.As Jacob Appelbaum of the Tor project shared the full list of the rogue certificates, it became clear that fraudulent certificates for domains of a number of intelligence agencies from around the world were also issued during the CA’s compromise – including the CIA, MI6 and Mossad.

Additional targeted domains include Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Skype, Twitter, Tor, WordPress and many others.

He received the list from sources in the Dutch Government, which has retracted its statement about trusting DigiNotar’s PKIoverheid CA branch, announced to its citizens that it cannot guarantee the security of its own websites, and taken over DigiNotar’s operations and immediately organized audits of its infrastructure.

Continue reading »

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Dec 03

yahoo

A little-noticed letter from Yahoo! to the US Marshals Service offers troubling insight into the surveillance policies of one of the Internet’s largest email providers.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details of Yahoo’s! policies allowing the Justice Department to request wiretaps of its users and the amount they charge US taxpayers per wiretap — the search engine leviathan declared in a 12-page letter that they couldn’t provide information on their approach because their pricing scheme would “shock” customers. The news was first reported by Kim Zetter at Wired.

“It is reasonable to assume from these comments that the [pricing] information, if disclosed, would be used to “shame” Yahoo! and other companies — and to “shock” their customers,” a lawyer for the company writes. “Therefore, release of Yahoo!’s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies.”

Yahoo! also argues that because their price sheet for wiretaps was “voluntarily submitted” to the US Marshals Service, it is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act law.

Verizon, meanwhile, says (letter PDF) they can’t provide details on how much they charge for wiretaps because it would be “confusing.”

“Customers may see a listing of records, information or assistance that is available only to law enforcement,” Verizon writes, “but call in to Verizon and seek those same services. Such calls would stretch limited resources, especially those that are reserved only for law enforcement emergencies.”

Consumers might “become unnecessarily afraid that their lines have been tapped or call Verizon to ask if their lines are tapped (a question we cannot answer),” the telecom giant adds.

Verizon also revealed it “receives tens of thousands of requests for customer records, or other customer information from law enforcement.”

Continue reading »

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Oct 30

AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.

The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled a code of conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of the proposed national internet filter.

The plan was first created as a way to combat child pronography and adult content, but could be extended to include controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia.

Communications minister Stephen Conroy revealed the mandatory censorship to the Senate estimates committee as the Global Network Initiative, bringing together leading companies, human rights organisations, academics and investors, committed the technology firms to “protect the freedom of expression and privacy rights of their users”.

Continue reading »

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Oct 21

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) — Yahoo! Inc., the Internet company that rejected a takeover offer from Microsoft Corp., reported a 64 percent drop in profit and announced plans to cut at least 10 percent of its staff after advertising spending slowed.

Third-quarter net income fell to $54.3 million, or 4 cents a share, from $151.3 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier, Yahoo said today in a statement. Sales, excluding fees passed on to partner sites, rose 3 percent to $1.33 billion.

Continue reading »

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Jun 04

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An Internet analyst for a major Wall Street firm argues in a new report that Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc will be long-term winners, while Yahoo and IAC InterActiveCorp fall by the wayside and eBay Inc becomes a merger target.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay argues in a 310-page report entitled “U.S. Internet: The End of the Beginning” to be published on Tuesday that Google and Amazon are best placed to withstand the current economic downturn.

“We expect two players to continue to perform strongly, Google and Amazon,” Lindsay writes. “Both Google and Amazon.com are still racking up annual growth rates in the 30-40 percent range, with only a relatively modest slowdown in sight.”

Lindsay reiterates his previous positions that Yahoo eventually will be sold to Microsoft Corp and that Barry Diller’s IAC e-commerce conglomerate will go ahead in August with its five-way split-up, as planned. Continue reading »

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Apr 13

Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?

Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.

Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro tests out Loopt’s new buddy-tracking device to see whether it’s helpful for hooking up with friends or just another invasion of privacy.

Making this people-tracking possible is that cellphones today come embedded with Global Positioning System technology. With it, carriers have already offered mapping features such as turn-by-turn driving instructions. But they long hesitated to offer another breakthrough made possible by GPS — tracking of cellphone users’ whereabouts in real time — because of privacy and liability concerns. Continue reading »

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Mar 14

The National Security Agency was once known for its skill in eavesdropping on the world’s telephone calls through radio dishes in out-of-the-way places like England’s Menwith Hill, Australia’s Pine Gap, and Washington state’s Yakima Training Center.

Today those massive installations, which listened in on phone conversations beamed over microwave links, are becoming something akin to relics of the Cold War. As more communications traffic travels through fiber links, and as e-mail and text messaging supplant phone calls, the spy agency that once intercepted telegrams is adapting yet again. Continue reading »

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