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Engineer Doe thought people's private info 'might be useful'

Plus: 'Apple, please don't make stupid assumptions'

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Quotw This was the week when, in technology's ongoing mission to look like saving the world is its number one priority and all that money stuff is just incidental, Facebook launched its option to let the world know that you're an organ donor.

The social network's "life-saving initiative" slots into your Timeline's health-relate life events alongside other important things you should let the world know about, such as your "weight loss" and whether you are "buying new glasses".

The Zuck reckons:

By simply telling people that you're an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role.

As Reg reporter Anna Leach pointed out, it looks like when Facebook said they were on a mission to make the world more open, they were also referring to your thoracic cavity.

This was also the week when it emerged that Google knew its Street View cars were picking up personal data from private Wi-Fi routers for three years before the story broke in April 2010.

The US Federal Communications Commission released details of its investigation into the information slurp, which showed that an engineer had discussed the collection of the personal info with a senior manager.

The report said:

Engineer Doe developed WiFi data collection software code that, in addition to collecting WiFi network data for Google's location-based services, would collect payload data that Engineer Doe thought might prove useful for other Google services.

The anonymously monikered Engineer Doe didn't stay incognito for long however, as just a few days later, the man responsible for the wardriving software was outed as Marius Milner by American media.

And while Google may be all squared away with the FCC, the UK's ICO wasn't too chuffed with the commission's report, and may now look at taking further enforcement action against the Chocolate Factory.

The UK has also been putting the smackdown on file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, issuing an order to British ISPs to block the site.

The Open Rights Group called the order short-sighted, saying:

Blocking the Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism.

Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes.

Meanwhile, Apple iTuners were left ticked off by a new compulsory security procedure to access their gear. The fruity firm has instituted a three-part questionnaire to supplement the email and password security, featuring such gems as:

In which city were you first kissed?

What was the first concert you attended?

Who was your least favourite teacher?

Where were you on January 1, 2000?

But users say the questions are not very secure because a lot of that information could be figured out from social networks, and additionally, the questions are just stupid.

One user moaned:

The questions are not secure, some are public knowledge and some I don't even know the answer to myself, so I would have to fake an answer, which then I won't remember.

Traditionally, additional security questions are more fact-based, such as your mother's maiden name, or there's the facility to put in your own question.

Another user pointed out that "favourite" things can change over time:

My particular sore point is the questions like "what is your favorite car ?" Erm, right now? Aston martin V8 ... 5 minutes pass... Oh, now it's the new BMW 1 series. APPLE, PLEASE DON'T MAKE STUPID ASSUMPTIONS WHEN COMING UP WITH THESE QUESTIONS!

And that's not the only security issue Apple has been having this week. The Mac-maker was also dissed by Kaspersky Lab's Eugene Kaspersky, who said that the firm was now where Microsoft had been 10 years ago.

Kaspersky argued that the Flashback and Flashfake malware attacks were just the beginning for the white computers and Apple was going to have to scramble to sort out its security:

For many years I've been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. Cyber criminals have now recognised that Mac is an interesting area. Now we have more, it's not just Flashback or Flashfake.

Welcome to Microsoft's world, Mac. It's full of malware.

In other news, a physicist has taken potshot at a key theory in the hardware industry, saying that Moore's Law will be more of a guideline for the next decade or so... before it falls over and dies.

Renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said:

In about 10 years or so we will see the collapse of Moore's Law. In fact we already see a slowing down of Moore's Law. Computing power cannot maintain its rapid exponential rise using standard silicon technology.

®

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