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'People expect privacy on Facebook and Twitter'

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QuotW This was the week when the competition over the new nano-SIM standard was heating up as Apple reportedly said it would waive its patent fees as long as its design was chosen.

But Nokia, who has a competing design for the teeny SIMs, is arguing that its proposals are far better. It will be up to ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, to decide between the two.

This was also the week when US legislators were concerned over employers asking prospective and current workers for access to their Facebook account.

Two Senators asked the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch a federal investigation into the practice.

Senator Charles Schumer said:

Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries – why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of private information about what we like, what messages we send to people, or who we are friends with?

And a Democratic lawmaker, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, attempted to sort the issue out by introducing an amendment to the Federal Communications Commission Reform Act in the House of Representatives that would have allowed the FCC to put a stop to it.

He said:

People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter. They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets. No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment.

Employers essentially can act as impostors and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee's personal social activities and opinions. That's simply a step too far.

But House Republicans disagreed with tacking the issue onto the FCC Reform Act, and shot down the amendment by 236 votes to 184.

Apple's the-new-iPad launch didn't go very smoothly Down Under as Aussie fanbois discovered that the fondleslab's so-called 4G connectivity didn't work on Australian 4G networks.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) thought this was a bit much since the fruity firm was advertising the iDevice as 4G and took Cupertino to court stating:

[Apple's advertising is misleading] because it represents to Australian consumers that the device can connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

Apple quickly said it would offer refunds to disappointed followers and issue corrective adverts, but the firm may still need to settle with the ACCC.

Fighting against cybercrime, Microsoft took down some key servers associated with the ZeuS and SpyEye banking Trojan botnets after months of investigation. Redmond said:

Cybercriminals have built hundreds of botnets using variants of ZeuS malware. For this action – codenamed Operation b71 – we focused on botnets using ZeuS, SpyEye and Ice-IX variants of the ZeuS family of malware, known to cause the most public harm and which experts believe are responsible for nearly half a billion dollars in damages.

Due to the unique complexity of these particular targets, unlike our prior botnet takedown operations, the goal here was not the permanent shutdown of all impacted targets. Rather, our goal was a strategic disruption of operations to mitigate the threat in order to cause long-term damage to the cybercriminal organization that relies on these botnets for illicit gain.

While the European Commission proposed a crack cyber-intelligence nerve centre in the shape of a European Cybercrime Centre, whose employees may or may not have costumes.

The commission said in a statement:

The centre would pool European cybercrime expertise and training efforts. It would warn EU countries of major cybercrime threats, of new ways to commit online crimes and identify organised cybercrime networks and prominent offenders in cyberspace.

It would provide operational support in concrete investigations and help set up cybercrime joint investigation teams.

In science news, China has issued some more news on their first female astronauts - they'll be fragrant, good-looking and married.

The woman taikonauts have to be married and have given birth naturally, as this reportedly ensures they have the mental and physical fortitude to survive in space. They also need flawless skin, scars could open and bleed in space and they shouldn't be smelly because the cramped conditions of the spacecraft would make the stench unbearable.

Pang Zhihao, deputy editor-in-chief of Space International magazine, is quoted as saying:

They even must not have decayed teeth because any small flaw might cause great trouble or a disaster in space.

Also, boffins have reassured the planet that there are a myriad of new homes to replace this one just as soon as we need to evacuate the most intelligent and valuable among us as chosen by the governments in the event of a world-destroying disaster event.

Around a hundred Earth-like planets are merrily orbiting in the habitable regions of stars just 30 light years away that will make wonderful homes for fleeing humans. After they have been examined for signs of life, intelligent or otherwise, and said life has been exterminated/enslaved/judged yummy enough to become a McAlien™ sandwich.

Researcher Xavier Delfosse said:

Some of these planets are expected to pass in front of their parent star as they orbit — this will open up the exciting possibility of studying the planet's atmosphere and searching for signs of life.

But don't get too excited yet, as we'd still have to get there somehow...

And finally, Abyss director James Cameron's deep sea dive into the Mariana Trench was deemed somewhat less than successful by Reg readers, who were not impressed when his submersible's robot-arm-failure resulted in a failure to collect any samples.

One commentard said:

Shooting in 3D of absolutely nothing and collecting no samples. Is this still a success story? How low can you go...

Although it has since emerged that this was the only footage publicised probably because Cameron is saving all the best stuff for his next waterlogged blockbuster - a 3D documentary of his dive. (Follow the conversation on the new forums here). ®

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