'I'm the first to admit that we've made a bunch of mistakes'
Plus 'The last Kardashian clan I heard of were on Star Trek'
Quotw This was the week when an Android app developer claimed he had conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly logging key presses, locations and even messages.
And Best Buy hoped to smack Dixons around a little before it runs back overseas with its tail between its legs, with a big closing down sale.
This was also the week when hacktivists breached the website of the UN's Development Program, snaring hundreds of email addresses, usernames and passwords that were later dumped on Pastebin, supposedly as a protest against corruption in the body.
Despite the UN's attempts to downplay the incident, security experts thought it was a big deal, with Jason Hart of Cryptocard saying:
The UN is seen as a symbol for security and trust for many millions of people around the world. Hacking their systems is TeaMp0isoN's way of making a big statement to the outside world.
As though hacking the UN wasn't enough work for one week, TeaMp0ison also teamed up with Anonymous to launch attacks on banks in support of the Occupy movement:
In regards to the recent demonstrations and protests across the globe, we are going to turn the tables on the banks. Operation Robin Hood is going to return the money to those who have been cheated by our system and most importantly to those hurt by our banks. Operation Robin Hood will take credit cards and donate to the 99% as well as various charities around the globe. The banks will be forced to reimburse the people there [sic] money back.
Meanwhile, Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg was eating humble pie on privacy issues after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided to subject the social network to a bi-annual privacy review for the next 20 years. In what can only be described as a rather blatant bending of the truth, considering how long campaigners have been saying Facebook has privacy issues and Facebook has been saying they haven't, the Zuck said in a blog post:
I'm the first to admit that we've made a bunch of mistakes.
Another federal body, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, not to be confused with the FTC) was slating AT&T and T-Mobile USA over their proposed merger, accusing the telcos of being less than forthcoming about job creation and other supposed benefits:
The staff also explains that the economic and engineering models on which the Applicants rely to show consumer benefits are, in the staff's assessment, unreliable and, at a minimum, raise substantial and material questions of fact.
The staff finds the Applicants' assertions that the transaction would create jobs in the United States to be inconsistent with AT&T's internal analyses and record statements concerning cost reductions from the merger
In European legal issues, Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC and German patent firm IPCom were locked in a war of words, following their courtroom battle over patents. IPCom claimed it had an enforceable injunction on all HTC products in Germany, with MD Bernhard Frohwitter spluttering:
HTC’s claim that it is 'business as usual' in Germany is utterly misleading. Fact is: the patent in question is valid, and the Mannheim ruling of February 2009 covers all HTC 3G devices, since the patent covers a mandatory 3G standard, valid for all devices and networks.
While HTC insisted the ban was only on one defunct handset, and the patent was invalid anyway:
Furthermore, HTC has modified its implementation of the UMTS standards, so even in the unlikely case that the Mannheim court reinstates an injunction, it will have no impact on HTC’s sales in Germany.
In potentially overly-optimistic news, open-source search engine YaCy announced its plans to break Google's stranglehold on the market with this power-to-the-people statement from project leader Michael Christen:
Most of what we do on the Internet involves search. It's the vital link between us and the information we're looking for. For such an essential function, we cannot rely on a few large companies, and compromise our privacy in the process. YaCy's free search is the vital link between free users and free information. YaCy hands control over search back to us, the users.
On the wackier end of the scale, Elvis Costello tried to stop fans buying his new £210 box set, or just successfully stirred a lot of interest in the high-priced offering, by posting this on his website:
Unfortunately, we at www.elviscostello.com find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.
All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping - when there are really bigger fish to filet these days - we are taking the following unusual step.
And Daniel Craig, aka Bond, James Bond, had a right go at the darlings of reality TV, the Kardashians, when GQ asked him about celebrity privacy:
Look at the Kardashians, they're worth millions. I don't think they were that badly off to begin with but now look at them. You see that and you think 'what, you mean all I have to do is behave like a fu*king idiot on television and then you'll pay me millions'.
Which prompted one reader to say:
I've been asleep for a while.... Who are these people? The last Kardashian clan I heard of were on Star Trek.
And speaking of space (well, Star Trek → space), boffins have finally answered the burning question of whether or not garbage worms can survive when they're sent into space alone (they can). The researchers launched the astroworms to help figure out what happens to human beings in space. Worm project leader Dr Nathaniel Szewczyk said:
While it may seem surprising, many of the biological changes that happen during spaceflight affect astronauts and worms and in the same way. We have been able to show that worms can grow and reproduce in space for long enough to reach another planet and that we can remotely monitor their health.®