Archive for June 8th, 2012

‘Anonymous’ activists gather support

The global movement against curbs on Internet freedom seems to have taken roots in India.

After squatting on some public and corporate in the last few weeks, ‘Anonymous’ activists are spreading their influence in major cities.

The activists informed that similar protests would be held in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata to bring home the message that restrictions on Internet freedom will not be tolerated. As if to mark the June 9 congregations, Anonymous activists had attacked MTNL Web site, denying services to the Web site users.

They have announced that they will hold a rally at Necklace Road and at Hi-Tech City in Hyderabad on June 9. The group ‘Occupy Hyderabad – Protest for Internet freedom’ has attracted 500 Facebook members. They have invited 7,400 more users on the social networking site to join the group and in the rally.

“The Government has censored a majority of media sharing Web sites. Anonymous – the faceless, region-less, leaderless organisation – has called for all citizens to hold peaceful demonstrations in every part of India,” the administrators of the group said.

Those who want to take part in the protest have been asked to come with the trademark mask of ‘Anonymous’ which has become a symbol of protest globally. The activists also asked the protestors not to disclose their identities at any cost. You just tell them: “we are Anonymous”.

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Anonymous gears up for June 9 nationwide protests‎

Tomorrow, the 9th of June, 2012 may be the weekend for some, but for others it is a date marked on their calendar under – Anonymous Protests. Throughout the nation, the popular hacktivist group will conduct a series of protests, voicing their opinions that are strongly against Internet censorship – a wave that has been trending in our country, since a while now. A press release, on the group’s blog further mentions that the protests will take place, as planned by 4PM IST, tomorrow. On the group’s official blog page, details about the protest have been listed down.


For one, the group has specified that it wants the protest to be a peaceful one and to this end it has listed down the following directives –
The protest is a Non-Violent one.
Protesters may not use vehicles to protest as this may cause accidents, please keep vehicles out of the protest crowd.
One shall not keep any harmful items like weapons, stones etc with oneself.
Those who can wear the Guy Fawkes Mask. Printable version is available on the web.
Please bring placards, banners etc that you can prepare so for the cause.
For whom it is possible bring cameras and record events. Use your smart phone to stream it online using ustream. This will give us proof if something bad is attempted at the protest.
Fire or burning at all of any figures or material is to NOT be done.
Please hand over anyone who causes violence to the police.
Protest well, our future may depend on it.

Interestingly, the Guy Fawkes Mask written about in the directive is up for sale across eBay and Amazon. Tomorrow, as aforementioned, across different cities in the country, the group will hold their now widely publicized peace protests. here’s a list of the cities and loactions where the protests will be held –

Occupy Mumbai – Azad Maidan, Mumbai. Volunteers Needed Join Now
Occupy Delhi – India Gate
Occupy Chandigarh – The Plaza, Sector 17, Chandigarh.
Occupy Indore – Regal Square.
Occupy Kolkata – South City Mall.
Occupy Hyderabad – Necklace Road.
Occupy Bangalore – M.G. Road.
Occupy Cochin – Marine Drive.
Occupy Calicut – Calicut Beach Opposite To Beach Hotel.
Occupy Nagpur – *tentative*
Occupy Pune – Shivaji Nagar.
Occupy Chennai – *tentative*
Occupy Ahmedabad – Vastrapur.
Occupy Jaipur – *tentative*
Occupy Thiruvananthapuram – *tentative*
Occupy Mysore – *tentative*
Occupy Manipal – Manipal.
Occupy Coimbatore

As the above list shows, while most protest locations have been confirmed, those in some cities are yet to be finalized. Those planning to join in the protests or wish to simply stay updated with the proceedings of the day can do so by visiting the group’s official page, here.

Regarding their upcoming June 9th protests, as the group’s official press release states – “On June 9th we will be organizing massive protests in multiple locations all over the country and we are calling every one who can be there to be there. We remind the Indian public that trusting a corrupt government to solve corruption and other problems is like expecting a serial killer to catch himself. The movements will assigned within the title of Occupy India that will be kicked off this June 9th. The Cities that are getting ready to take part are Bangalore Delhi Mumbai Culcutta Chennai Kochi Mumbai Hydrabad and many more. Any one who feels they need this movement needs to be in their city can start a FB page for the Occupy City movement and let us know about it. We call on the people to help spread this message and get your friends and family to join this noble cause.”

Web censorship has been a topic of debate in recent times. The gravity of the issue came to light only recently when incidents of hacking in retaliation to web censorship became a frequent occurrence. With the government on one side taking an increasingly active stance in tightening the reins on the way we access content on the web, groups like Anonymous are on the other hand citing free speech. OpIndia is against the banning of entire websites, if only a part of the website infringes copyrights.

Recently, Reliance acquired John Doe orders to safeguard copyrights of its films. Then, Chennai-based Copyright Labs also acquired the same for movies like Dhammu and 3. This led to the complete blocking of websites, like The Pirate Bay and Vimeo. All this hasn’t gone well with Anonymous, which stands by online freedom. Hence, the protest.




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‘Anonymous’ says they will protest at Jantar Mantar on June 9

TelecomTiger received a letter from the Anonymous Group which is believed to be behind the attack on MTNL website on Wednesday. We are publishing it as it is.

Dear India Press 

The recent attack on the Freedom of Speech and expression in India was done by misuse of Madras High Court order which required blocking of certain content.

The HC Madras never issued any list of websites to be blocked, the DoT never issued a list of websites to be censored. Why is that ISPs are forced to block file sharing websites? Why is that instead of blocking few links the whole domain was blocked? The blocking of these websites is wrong and unjustified.”

“Torrents are widely used to distribute open source and free software such as Linux distributions, and many other books and publications that are in the public domain. Video hosting sites like Vimeo are used by millions of people every day. You no longer have access to this content even though it is perfectly legal.”

We are against this Internet Censorship in disguise.

Our objective is to repeal the ban on entire websites, where only a section of the content infringes on copyrights, and to contest the ‘intermediary guideline rules that have been effect since April 2011, besides annulment of section 69 of the amended Information Technology Act, 2008.

The April 2011 rules, an update to India”s Information Technology Act (IT Act) of 2000 (amended in 2008), popularly known as the “intermediary guidelines,” instruct online “intermediaries” — companies that provide Internet access, host online content, websites, or search services — to remove, within 36 hours, any material deemed to be “grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous,” “ethnically objectionable,” or “disparaging” by any Internet user who submits a formal objection letter to that intermediary. Under the guidelines, any resident of India can compel Google, at the risk of criminal and/or civil liability, to remove content from its site that the resident finds politically, religiously, or otherwise “objectionable.”

Hence GOI, with certain individuals misuse this act, can access any content, seek it’s removal and invade into privacy of citizens. This IT Act is taking away citizen’s legitimate right to privacy and freedom of speech and expression. Speech censorship is illegal and contradicts freedom of speech guaranteed by Constitution of India.

We are organizing a peaceful protest on Saturday June 9, 2012 between 1600 hrs and 1900 hrs at Jantar Mantar, Delhi to express our opposition to Internet Censorship and invasion of our Privacy by Government.

We seek removal of blocks on websites and call for amendment of Information Technology Act so as to protect privacy of Indian citizens.

We do not have a country, name or face. Our cause is our only identity. We are ANONYMOUS.

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Smartphones, tablets transform mobile gaming market

LOS ANGELES: Smartphones and tablet computers are expanding the market for handheld video games and challenging traditional devices, forcing game developers to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Executives at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) held this week in Los Angeles said the industry – long focused on generating blockbuster titles for PlayStation, Wii or Xbox 360 – are taking a new look at portable platforms.

The new market includes not only die-hard gamers but more casual players, the kind who tap the touchscreens of their iPhones or Android devices while riding the train or waiting for the dentist.

Olivier Pierre, of the game publisher BulkyPix, said there is room for both segments to grow.

“Mobile is a new platform, as is Facebook. And these new platforms do not cover the same audience as console games,” he said.

“I don’t see a real competition between smartphones and consoles so far. Maybe in the future, but that’s not the case right now.”

But some analysts say the rise of smartphones and tablets is threatening to crowd out handheld consoles like Nintendo’s 3DS and the Sony Vita.

A survey by ABI Research shows some 38 million handheld gaming devices from Sony and Nintendo are expected to ship in 2013, down from a peak of 47 million in 2008.

The report said smartphone and tablet use for gaming continues to expand, providing increased competition in the handheld market.

“Mobile devices will compete with dedicated handheld gaming devices, but select consumer segments like core gamers and those individuals who do not want or have a smartphone or tablet will still provide some demand,” ABI analyst Michael Inouye said.

Jack Buser, senior director of PlayStation Digital Platforms for Sony, said growth in mobile games is good for the market.

“Because of the prevalence of digital devices, (users) are discovering that, yes, they are gamers,” he said.

“This is a trend that is extremely healthy for the industry, and we will embrace it. We are all for the evangelization of electronic games to the broadest audience possible.”

Mobile gaming is a unique market, with games that are either free – financed by advertising – or costing just a few dollars.

This represents a change for classic developers, which invest millions of dollars in major franchises and sell games for around $60 apiece.

“The game should be designed for mobile,” said Eiji Araki, head of the social games studio GREE.

“The mobile player is different from the console game player. They are always online and they can play games all the time… so the game should be designed for three-minute sessions, for minimum times.”

Mobile is a hot topic at E3, a major gathering for the gaming industry.

New mobile game releases are coming from GREE, social games maker Zynga, and industry heavyweights like Electronic Arts.

A mobile version of the auto racing game “Need for Speed,” the arcade game “Tiny Troopers” and the romantic comedy “The Act” are all on display at E3.

Araki, whose company has seen rapid growth in recent years, said the mobile space is special: “The games are getting simpler and easier as the casual audience grows.”

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Nintendo’s new Wii fires up two-screen game debate

Nintendo’s new holiday-ready “Wii U” gaming console marks the biggest bet so far on a concept that two screens are better than one.

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo touted features at the industry’s biggest annual gathering this week that let gamers employ a separate display in tandem with their TVs. Publishers like Ubisoft are designing games that will make use of this second screen – like a companion display you can glance at while the main action proceeds on your TV.

The videogame industry is looking for ways to hold fickle gamers’ interest as its base is increasingly drawn toward more casual games on the Internet or on mobile devices such as Apple Inc’s iPad.

The jury is still out on whether the adoption of a second screen is enough to jumpstart a $78.5 billion videogame industry that saw US hardware sales fall more than 30 per cent in April, the latest reported month, according to NPD Research.

Nintendo, whose Wii U was the big unveil of the E3 expo, hopes the new “GamePad” controller with its own 6.2-inch touchscreen will be the differentiator against the Xbox and PlayStation. The Wii U represents the only significant new console until at least 2013 when Microsoft or Sony are expected to unveil new hardware.

It’s the Japanese console maker – which sent waves through the industry with the then-groundbreaking, motion-controlled Wii in 2006 – that may have the most at stake, as it tries to claw its way back up to the pinnacle while stemming heavy losses.

The supplementary screen concept had not been talk of E3 until this year. Using two screens to play a game is nothing new as PC gamers have been using an extra screen or two to chat and strategize for at least a decade.

Many remain skeptical. Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive of Take Two Interactive, the publishers of the blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” titles, said a second screen will not be a game changer because people like to be immersed, not distracted.

“It’s hard for you to imagine pulling your eyes away from the core screen to another screen and not missing something along the way,” Zelnick said in an interview.

But all agree: ultimately the gamers will decide. “You don’t really get game consoles until you actually touch it,” Nintendo’s global president Satoru Iwata said. “People are really going to ‘get’ the (Wii U) when they actually use it.”

Nintendo argues that a second screen offers so-called asymmetrical game play, meaning several players can play the same game in different ways in the same room. The company envisions a scenario where an avid gamer in a household uses the more advanced tablet controller to play a game with family members who might be novices and holding Wii remotes.

“It enables players of different abilities to play the same game and still have a enjoyable experience,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Secondary screens can display anything from weapons or items collected into a game to maps that help players navigate a complicated in-game universe. Console makers appear to be taking a cue from the mobile industry, where gaming has grown faster on tablets and smart phones than in the dedicated gaming market.

Taking a page from Nintendo, Microsoft unveiled an app called “SmartGlass” on Monday that lets gamers turn their tablets or phones into screens that can be used in Xbox games. Microsoft showed an example of a gamer drawing a football play on a screen in Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL” game without an opponent seeing it.

And Sony announced new content for its “Little Big Planet” adventure kids’ game where its handheld Vita can be used as an additional screen in conjunction with the PlayStation 3. Jack Tretton, the executive who runs PlayStation in the United States, says Sony will offer consumers the option of having some games on a second screen, but won’t force consumers to adopt it.

“We’re not going to go into exclusive second-screen gaming. It’s going to be an adjunct to what we do. It’s a similar approach we had to motion gaming,” Tretton said in an interview.

In the Warner Bros Wii U Batman game, showed off this week, the screen was used to scan a crime scene for evidence, for example. The screen can work independently, so one family member can watch TV while another plays a game with the controller.

Some game makers are throwing their support behind dual-screen action, with at least 23 games so far in development for the Wii U, according to Nintendo. Ubisoft is making eight games for the Wii U incorporating the screen: like Zombie U, where players can send out zombie hoards using Nintendo’s GamePad.

But the industry’s biggest players remain cautious, meaning franchises such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty” will watch from the sidelines for now.

And without the right games employing the screens, the technology may be a tough sell, according to Roy Bahat, the president of the video game website IGN.

“Ultimately what will make the two screens work or not is if somebody creates an incredible game. Without that, it is meaningless,” Bahat said.

Eric Hirshberg, the chief executive of Activision Publishing, the unit of Activision Blizzard that oversees the most successful shooter franchise globally, “Call of Duty,” also has doubts.

“I am interested in a second screen as a way to further the immersive experience of the game on the main screen, not a way to distract me from it or give me irrelevant additional information,” Hirshberg said.

It’s a “game enhancer and not a game changer.”

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Cyber experts warn of ‘intelligent weapons’

TALLINN: Quick advances in cyber war technologies could soon lead to a new generation of so-called “intelligent cyber weapons” which top global IT defence experts warn could be virtually unstoppable.

“Rapid developments in cyber (technology) might lead to intelligent cyber weapons that are hard to control and it’s practically impossible to use formal methods of verifying the safety of intelligent cyber weapons by their users,” Enn Tyugu, IT expert at Tallinn’s NATO Cyber Defence Centre said at its fourth annual conference Thursday.

He also warned that programmes developed to counter attacks by malwares like Stuxnet can act independently and could possibly themselves spark conflicts.

“They are quite autonomous, and can operate independently in an unfriendly environment and might at some point become very difficult to control… that can lead to cyber conflict initiated by these agents themselves,” Tyugu said.

“Stuxnet and Flame have shown the side of cyber of which the average user does not think of but which will bring a lot of challenges to all experts who deal with critical infrastructure protection issues – IT experts, lawyers, policy makers,” Ilmar Tamm, Head of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre told reporters on Thursday.

“The number of cyber conflicts keeps rising and it is important to understand who the actors in these events are, how to classify these events and participants, and how to interpret all that,” Tamm said, noting Western leaders have been slow to become aware of even existing cyber threats.

Experts at the conference noted that both China and Russia have significantly upgraded their cyber-defence capabilities in recent years by creating new IT units.

“But the most powerful weapon today in cyber space is still the propaganda, the chance to use the Internet to spread your message,” Kenneth Geers, US cyber defence expert told some 400 top IT gurus attending the meeting Thursday.

Keir Giles, head of Oxford University’s Conflict Studies Research Centre, noted that some Russian leaders seemed to “sincerely believe that the recent opposition rallies after the presidential elections in Russia were initiated by the US in cyberspace.”

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Facebook, Microsoft shopping for space in Manhattan

NEW YORK: Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp are shopping for more office space in Manhattan, sources say, underscoring New York’s stature as a must-have location for top tech companies who need to be “book-ended” on both the west and east coasts.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has browsed several locations in the city including the former New York Times Building at 229 West 43rd Street, two people familiar with the search said.

The social-networking company’s New York staff is primarily in sales, although there are also some marketing and engineering personnel in the city. Last year, Facebook said it planned to hire more engineers in New York.

Facebook, which currently occupies about 40,000 square feet of office space at 335 Madison Avenue near Grand Central Station, is shopping for 100,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet of office space, one source familiar with the matter said.

Microsoft, also has looked at the former Times building and at a new building at 51 Astor Place, two sources said. Microsoft is looking for about 200,000 square feet, the source said. It currently occupies 174,000 square feet at 1290 Avenue of the Americas near 52nd Street, another source said.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, based in Redmond, Washington, declined to comment, as did Facebook.

It is unclear how far along either company is to committing to a new location and they could opt to stay at their current New York offices.

Facebook is still sending out requests for proposals. It signed a 15-year lease at 335 Madison in December 2010.

Microsoft’s lease expires in 2014, two sources said. New York, chiefly Manhattan, is a growing incubator for technology. In the fourth quarter of 2011 it ranked No. 2 behind California as the top destination for technology venture capital funding, according to CB Insights data.

In the last five years, information technology jobs in the city have increased nearly 29 per cent to 52,900, according to a report issued last month by the Center for an Urban Future. The report identified 486 digital startups created in New York since 2007 that have received angel, VC or other outside funding.

Many of those companies are located south of 34th Street in Manhattan’s Midtown South office market, the New York home of Internet search and advertising powerhouse Google Inc.

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LinkedIn works with FBI on password theft

LinkedIn Corp is working with the FBI as the social network for job seekers and professionals investigates the theft of 6.4 million member passwords, the company said on Thursday.

The company does not know of any accounts that were taken over as a result of the security violations, according to LinkedIn spokesman Hani Durzy.

A spokeswoman with the FBI declined to comment. LinkedIn is still in the early stages of the investigation. Durzy said it was not yet determined whether the email addresses that corresponded to the hacked passwords were also stolen.

On Wednesday, LinkedIn confirmed that millions of passwords were stolen. The company sent affected members emails explaining how to change their passwords.

Several security experts said that LinkedIn’s stolen passwords had not been adequately secured and that the company did not employ best practices utilized by the world’s largest websites.

When asked to comment on that criticism, Durzy said that LinkedIn had already boosted the security of its database. “We place the highest value on the security of our members’ data,” he said.

The attack on LinkedIn is the latest in a series of security breaches that could affect sensitive consumer data. The online dating service eHarmony warned on Wednesday that some of its user passwords had been breached after security experts discovered scrambled files with passwords for millions of online accounts.

LinkedIn caters to companies seeking employees and people scouting for jobs. It has more than 161 million members worldwide and makes money by selling marketing services and premium subscriptions.

Shares of LinkedIn closed up 1.1 per cent at $94.13 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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