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Science expert David Bradley reports on the latest technology news and views.
- Facebook changes privacy options – At last, Facebook has finally announced a revamp of its privacy settings that might actually be useful and understandable to everyday users of the site. Among the changes, items posted online will each have their own sharing settings determining who can see them. Users will also be able to approve tagging of photos by other people. This is the latest response to continued criticism from the technorati and activists pressuring the social networking site to address concerns about how members are limited by the system in how they could manage their personal information.
- Anonymous to kill Facebook on November 5? – Oh, by the way…Anonymous (the “hacker” group) is allegedly planning to “destroy” Facebook on November 5th. Guy Fawkes’ Day in the UK. I’d do a backup on the 4th, just in case. But, then again, Anonymous itself, as if it were a single entity, has distanced itself and denied the threat. Perhaps the lesson to learn aside from not believing everything you read is not to rely on someone else’s computer system, Facebook, Twitter, Google, whatever for your livelihood or to preserve and protect your photos, contacts etc…just in case.
- FaceBerry – Facebook has launched an instant messaging service for mobile phones, similar to BlackBerry Messenger.
- Clouds vulnerable to lightning – Amazon and Microsoft European cloud services were down at the weekend of 6-7 August 2011, after a lightning strike caused power failures at their datacentres in Dublin, Ireland.
- Encrypt the Web with HTTPS Everywhere – Quite some time ago, I mentioned the little “s” you really all ought to be using when visiting sites to which you have to login. Now, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in collaboration with the Tor Project, has launched an official 1.0 version of “HTTPS Everywhere”. This Firefox tool helps automate the process and enables secure web browsing by encrypting connections so that anyone snooping on your internet connection cannot steal your login. It currently works with more than 1,000 major websites, including Paypal, Twitter, Facebook, Google Search, Wikipedia, bit.ly and WordPress, but will grow over the coming weeks and months.
- Privacy and social media investigation – It is relatively easy to find out a lot of information about an individual, their family, their mother’s unmarried name, first pet etc etc, just by following a few tweets, checkingLinkedIn profiles and exploiting the fact that the majority of Facebook users have no clue about how much of their info, photos and family connections are laid bare to the internet by default. Voicemail hacking? Who needs it, when you’ve got the whole of the Internnet to investigate…
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About the Author: David Bradley has worked in science communication for more than twenty years. After reading chemistry at university, he worked and travelled in the USA, did a stint in a QA/QC lab and then took on a role as a technical editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry. Then, following an extended trip to Australia, he returned and began contributing as a freelance to the likes of New Scientist and various trade magazines. He has been growing his portfolio and and has constructed the Sciencebase Science News and the Sciencetext technology website. He also runs the SciScoop Science Forum which is open to guest contributors on scientific topics.