Many top websites share their visitors' names, usernames, or other personal information with their partners without telling users and, in some cases, without knowing they're doing it, according to a new study from Stanford University.
Many websites "leak" usernames to third-party advertising networks by including usernames in URLs that the ad networks can see in referrer headers, said the study, released Tuesday by Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. While there's a debate in legal circles whether usernames are personal information, there's a growing consensus among computer scientists that Web-based companies can use usernames to identify their owners, said Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford graduate student who led the study.
"The vast majority of usernames are unique," he said. "Given the prevalence of social networking, often times, once you have a username for a social network, you then also have a person's real name, possibly a photo, possibly more." Read more...
Microsoft reports the take-up of Office 2010 is the fastest for a software product in the company’s history. All well and good, but some doubters remain.
Microsoft is keen to mop up migration and has assembled a bag of tools to smooth the process.
The company’s in-house tech evangelist, Simon May, refers to Office 2010 migration as “the armadillo upgrade”: perceived to be hard on the outside but in fact easy on the inside. The key lies in good preparation.
“You have to know what you have and what your environment is like so that you can avoid compatibility issues," May says. Read more...
But Obama on Tuesday said that real changes to high-skill immigration policy will require action from Congress.
"On the high-skill immigration area, that's not something that we can necessarily do on our own," Obama said at a meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
"We can expedite some of the visas that are already in place and try to streamline that process to make it move faster," the president said, but "we may need some legislative help on that area." Read more...
Intel on Tuesday said it was winding down its TV business and reallocating the resources to develop "ultrabooks," smartphones and tablets.
Intel will move engineers who were developing TV chips to the group responsible for tablets, said Claudine Mangano, an Intel spokeswoman. It's also refocusing its efforts on IP-based content delivery networks, for which there are similarities between tablets and TVs, she sad.
"We believe these collective moves will help ensure that Intel has the best people focused on our top business priorities," Mangano said.
Sony's TV sets and Logitech's Revue set-top box, both running Google TV software, are the more famous products based on Intel's TV chips. Its CE4100 and CE4200 chips were adopted by companies including Comcast and Boxee. Intel has other TV efforts under way, including the Widget Channel, a platform designed to meld television and the Internet, which was announced in 2008 with Yahoo. Read more...
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 1,200-square-foot data center at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering -- that means the facility has been operating three years longer than CIO and vice president of operations Joanne Kossuth had originally planned. Now, even though the school needs a facility with more capacity and better connectivity, Kossuth has been forced to back-burner the issue because of the iffy economic times.
"Demand has certainly increased over the years, pushing the data center to its limits, but the recession has tabled revamp discussions," she says.
PayPal, eBay's online payment service, plans to announce a new service Wednesday that aims to make it easier to shop online by cutting down on the number of accounts consumers have to create with various Web retailers.
Called PayPal Access, the service will be unveiled at eBay's X.commerce developer conference in San Francisco. It will be launched with X.commerce, a new eBay Inc. business launching Wednesday geared toward developers and merchants that encourages developers to integrate eBay's technology into mobile commerce apps. X.commerce merges the software developer communities for eBay.com, PayPal and eBay-owned e-commerce software company Magento, which together include 850,000 developers.
EBay spokesman Anuj Nayar said PayPal Access will let users log on to participating retailers' sites and pay with their PayPal username and password, rather than creating a separate account as many online retailers currently require. As it stands now, shoppers on some sites have to set up an account even if they're paying with PayPal, the details for which they don't enter until near the end of the transaction. The service would keep a user's personal details within PayPal, Nayar said. Read more...
The Tokyo-based company temporarily locked about 93,000 accounts whose IDs and passwords were successfully ascertained by the blitz. Sony sent email notifications and password reset procedures to affected customers on the PlayStation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment services.
Credit card numbers linked to the compromised accounts are not at risk, Sony said. It has "taken steps to mitigate the activity" and is investigating any wrongful use of the accounts themselves. Read more...
To some people, Apple's new iPhone 4S isn't the complete overhaul they have been hoping for. Its model number, which doesn't include a "5," reeks of the status quo.
Sure, the 4S doesn't render the iPhone 4 hopelessly obsolete, and on the surface they're nearly identical. But with a faster processor, new software, a voice-activated personal assistant and a souped-up camera, it's a major improvement over the current iPhone.
The 4S will be available Friday in black or white. It will cost $199 to $399, depending on storage space. It requires a two-year service contract with Verizon Wireless, Sprint or AT&T. Read more...
Today, UK media regulators launched ParentPort, a website which will allow parents to complain more easily about TV shows, adverts, products and Internet sites which they believe are inappropriate for their children. As part of the deal four leading ISPs will offer a porn-filtering service when new customers sign-up. But will file-sharing sites be censored too?
There can be little doubt that the architects of the ParentPort website have the best interests of children, the most important and vulnerable people in our society, at heart. That can only be a good thing – after all, we’ve all seen things online that we wished we could unsee. As adults, however, we hopefully have the experience to deal with the fallout. Read more...