Archive for April 2010

Forward!Forward!Forward!

April 24, 2010

                                            

I have a friend who sends me dozens of forwarded emails which she feels are so cool or so important that she can’t resist sharing them with everybody she knows. Finally I got fed up and asked her nicely not to!

I believe most of you have had a friend like this. It can be addictive, I know. What happens is that we end up opening the email and then we get infected. We also think the email is so cool or so important that we have an urge to forward it. And we do so to as many people as we can thinking that they’re going to enjoy it.

You may not realize it, but there are some good reasons why you should control yourself from hitting the forward button in order to break the chain. First of all, you are annoying most of your friends by passing all that junk on. It’s true. Who cares if Jennifer Aniston has bought a new hamster! I can’t tell you how annoying it was to wait for a huge attachment to download only to find out it was nonsense! There is enough spam out there already, don’t add to it by sending junk to all your friends.

Secondly, they are a hoax. So many of the “call to action” type email forwards are simply not true. For instance, Virus hoax, which are characterised by warnings of highly virulent malware with exaggerated destructive power. The thing is they’re completely untrue.

Thirdly, each of your forwarded junk email is another spammer’s treasure! Believe it or not, you’re helping spammers in a big way by exposing your email address. They get  forwarded emails easily and add everyone on email addresses to their mailing list. Yeah, that’s it, spams are on their way!

I think I’ve mentioned enough reasons for you to STOP forwarding emails. 

I’ll take that, thank you very much!

April 22, 2010

It’s been a while that I’ve been receiving emails which are titled “Account Identification” from some well-known banks that I’ve never been a customer of or even attempted to be! Just out of curiosity, I went trough the emails even though it was clear from the start that some thing wasn’t quite right! As far as I know, most banking organizations nowadays don’t send urgent emails requesting the customers to provide information in such a hurry.

After looking at the emails closely, I noticed that they included links that didn’t lead where they appeared to. And also the interesting thing was the reason they wanted that information desperately which was “regular maintenance” turned up an account error of some type! Apparently you will most likely receive a letter in your mail from your bank explaining the situation.

These are the perfect examples of email phishing and email spoofing. It looks like threats for identity theft are everywhere you turn. Your email, your computer, your public records and published information on social networks and even your trash! all make opportunities for scammers to have easy access to your personal information. To prevent identity theft, you must constantly be aware of the ways the scammers will use to have access to your personal, identifying information.

So do your homework! Be suspicious if anyone asks you for your personal information. Always take your time to check whether it is a genuine request.     

Mind your own business!

April 17, 2010

I was doing some reading about the Privacy and Data Security obligations on some popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed. I noticed that  all these social networks are providing the privacy conditions in a same manner. Nothing much to explain, they only represent some certain forms of collecting information about their users, which obviously means us!,  and sharing them with their third parties, in regard of delivering services and better understanding of usage.

Whatever they are collecting in any possible way as much as we provide them, it remains either  in their huge databases or in their third parties’ servers. Once you release a single piece of any kind of data, you can’t take it back. It’s done! Any requested, accessed, corrected or even removed information will be maintained on the servers for an unknown period of time.

What I really don’t get is the reason why users appear to have less concern about their privacy by publishing their personal data through these mediums!  Since the information is given up freely, it puts the spot light on the user and the extent to which the user is aware of the consequences of making their information available for third parties, and obviously falling argument on the service provider!

With everything that I have said, still my concern is at what extent should the social networking provider be responsible both morally and legally for its users’ information. Do they literally process our information fairly and lawfully?

Careful what you Google in Australia!

April 13, 2010

After the most restricted Internet censorship by china in the world, there has been a lot of talk about the proposed banning on the Internet in Australia. Australia plans law and regulation at both Commonwealth and State/Territory Government level, that will ban all Refused Classification content. Within that, objectionable content will be blocked.

Based on the report of the Sydney Morning Herald, Google, Yahoo and many others have criticized the Australian government for making such huge demands. Moreover, Google has stated that it is a large-scale filtering and it would affect internet speed and could mislead parents to a false fear of safety.

Still Google is in a battlefield with China and Australia. Although Google did not give into China’s filtering regulation and it shut down its Internet Search Service there in March 2010. Do you think Google will give into Australia or not? We’ll see!  

Sources: Los Angeles Times, The New York Times.

to LINK or not to LINK?

April 13, 2010

As interactivity is the distinctive nature of the Internet, linking is the soul of the Web. By creating hyperlinks, the Internet users are enabled to quickly shift to related content sources. This practice has been used by Web designers to have linked their Web pages with other Web pages without requesting or obtaining permission from the owner of the linked page. 

But is it illegal to link to any Web site you want to? Probably not! As I mentioned earlier, linking is the core of World Wide Web. Therefore, imagine for a second linking were not permitted legally, the Web would no longer exist!

In general there are disputes involving linking in four types:

  1. The Linking Page uses Copyright or Trademark protected text or images from the Linked Page.
  2. The Linking Page does not link to the Linked Page’s “Home Page” but instead links to an internal page of that Web site.
  3. The linking Page links to the Web site that carry Defamatory material or display Infringing copies of copyrighted works.
  4. The Linking Page uses frames to link to the content of Web site, can mislead to and confuse the viewers of the Linked Page as the  owner of the Linked Page.   

Linking from your Web sites to other Web sites can be a commercial potential or a powerful communication tool for your business but be aware of where and how you link! Let me know what you think.

Source: Bitlaw. Read the Linking and Liability. 

Google’s SEARCH for justice!

April 11, 2010

A trademark infringement suit was brought to the EU court by Google after losses in the French Court system. Louis Vuitton filled a suit against Google claiming that Google was allowing other companies to bid for and use its brand name as keyword to trigger ads on its website. The EU court of justice said ” Google has not infringed trademark law by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors’ trademarks”. The ECJ also added ” Advertisers themselves, however, cannot, by using such keywords, arrange for Google to display ads which do not allow internet users easily to establish from which undertaking the goods or services covered by the ad in question originate”. It was a close call for Google, but they managed to come on top. What’s your take on it?

Source: guardian.co.uk. Read the full Post

 

Microsoft K.O.!

April 11, 2010

Microsoft was in court again over a patent infringement case. This time the plaintiff was a company located in Toronto, Canada. Infrastructures for Information Corporation (i4i), took Microsoft to the court on an infringement charge over an XML patent in Word. The “Custom XML” term used by Microsoft is another name for “XML Data Store” – a file added to a MS Office document – is similar to the technology patented by i4i on June 2, 1994; “U.S. Patent № 5,787,449“. In a hearing which lasted only eight days Microsoft ended up paying $200 million, and an injunction against the inclusion of custom XML features in Word. 

Source: Milan Kupcevic website. Read the full Post.