Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Technological Digest XIV

Short, sweet and coming to you from Las Vegas:
  1. Safeguard your privacy - following the item in the last digest, suggesting that border control can search your laptop to their heart's content, based on a precedence - here's the EFF's (Electronic Frontier Foundation) set of recommendations on how to protect your data and privacy when entering the US. The main theme: DO NOT LIE.

  2. Fight fire with fire - in an intriguing and controversial piece in the Armed Forces Journal, Colonel Charles Williamson suggets that the army construct a military botnet - a collection of old computers filled with viruses, spyware and other malware, to be used in case of an online war.

    Botnets have been used extensively and exclusively by spammers, hijackers and terrorists around the world for a while now. Last year, a vicious chain of attacks had been carried this way against the country of Estonia (read more here).

    Of course, once you have such a weapon, you could use it to attack (cause Denial of Service for example), as well as protect. However, the idea has merit and is easy to implement. I like the idea of finally moving the military into the 21st century.

  3. Garmin coming to Blackberry - Garmin will start offering its excellent GPS services to Blackberry owners. For a flat fee of $100 (no subscription needed), you'll be able to use the software Garmin uses on its dedicated GPS devices. If your Blackberry does not contain a built-in GPS (i.e. it's model 87xx or below), you can get a Garmin GPS device for an extra $100. Read more here.

  4. Be polite over the phone - on June 17th, the first ever telephone directory, printed at 1878 in New Haven, CT, will go on sale at Christie's auction house in New York. It's expected to fetch $30-40,000. The directory contains only 20 pages - half of them of instructions on how to use this "telephone" thing. What I like about it is the request to report any and all profanities and improper language used over the phone to the authorities smile.

  5. Put your health in Google's hands - Google launched a new service last week called "Google Health". You, the user, will upload all your personal health care data: accounts, prescriptions, appointments etc. Google, in turn, will aggregate and mine the data for its own uses (one can only assume targeted advertising is involved). read more about it in the privacy statement.

    My opinion? If you were comfortable enough to hand them your genetic data and you feel comfortable enough sharing your health data, wait awhile for "Google Money" to come out and send them your financial data as well - passwords and all. Might as well hand them your family jewels while you're at it.

    Make no mistake: I use many Google services (such as Blogger - where this blog is hosted), but their shady privacy policies scare me enough to not email or share certain information through their services. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the new service.

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