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  • Obama ordered cyber attack target list to be created, according to leaked document

    Obama ordered cyber attack target list to be created

    President Obama hasn’t been shy about engaging the public and other nations on digital issues, and that includes the idea of cyber warfare. While his administration has been pretty aggressive in building up our cyber defenses, our offensive capabilities have remained somewhat more mysterious. According to a leaked document obtained by the Guardian, the White House has made moves to seriously step up its digital arsenal. In fact, it appears that a Presidential Policy Directive issued in October (though, never released for public consumption) ordered that a list of over-seas targets be drawn up for potential future offensives. Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (or OCEOs) are cited in the directive as having “unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world.” It then goes on to say that the government will, “identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power.”

    The more aggressive approach to battling foreign nations through the internet is likely to raise concerns in certain circles about the weaponization of the web. Of course, such fears about militarization aren’t completely unwarranted. But with countries like China posing serious digital threats, government officials will likely see the moves as necessary. The document also says that any operations must abide by US and international law, though, we doubt any suggestions that our government blatantly ignore such rules would ever be put down on paper. The leak of the document follows hot on the heels of the growing PRISM scandal, which has put the nations digital policies front and center in the public’s mind.

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    Source: The Guardian

  • Google patents new facial recognition technology to let users unlock phones with a wink and a smile

    Google first implemented face-unlock in ICS, and since then, they’ve been hard at work improving the feature and acquiring new IP related to it. Last fall, the search giant patented a way for multiple users to use face-unlock on a single device. This week it obtained a new patent for a method that requires users to make a series of facial expressions to gain access to a system. Essentially, the patent claims a method where a device captures two images of a user, then compares the differences in the images to identify a facial gesture and authenticate a user.

    In other words, its a face-unlock method where a device looks at two images of your mug to tell if you’re raising an eyebrow, frowning or sticking your tongue out as instructed by a prompt from the device. And, it double checks to ensure that it is, in fact, the same face in both images. Oh, and the patent leaves room for a series of expressions to be used — so at some point in the future, you may have to give your Google-fied phone a wink and a smile before it grants you access. Guess that’s easier than remembering a PIN, right?

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    Via: BBC News

    Source: USPTO

  • Bing Desktop update adds inline search, at-a-glance news

    Bing Desktop adds inline searching, news at a glance

    Microsoft wants Bing Desktop to transcend the limits of web-based search, and that’s especially clear with a newly posted app update — it’s all about doing what most browsers can’t. The software brings inline searching that lets users run Bing queries on websites, PDFs and Word files just by selecting text. Newshounds also don’t have to wade into every article now that there’s both at-a-glance previews and a trending stories section. We suspect most users won’t mind the real-time weather forecasts and live Facebook notifications, either. Existing Bing Destkop users should automatically receive the new features in the days ahead, but those who refuse to wait can grab the upgrade straight from the source.

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    Via: Bing Search Blog

    Source: Bing

  • Softbank reportedly eyeing T-Mobile as backup plan to Sprint deal

    Softbank allegedly eyeing TMobile as backup plan to Sprint deal

    Softbank’s plan A is still a $20.1 billion deal for Sprint, as it looks to enter the US wireless market. But, with stiff competition from Dish in the effort to acquire the black and yellow carrier, rumors are that it’s keeping one eye on T-Mobile. You know… just in case. According to a report from Reuters, the Japanese company is in discussions with Deutsche Telekom for its share of Big Magenta. Softbank was involved in discussions last year to purchase T-Mo, before the MetroPCS deal was eventually struck, following the collapse of a proposed merger with AT&T. Obviously none of this is official just yet. But, if Sprint’s shareholders reject the Softbank deal on June 12th, we wouldn’t be surprised if it quickly made moves to purchase the second most beleaguered national wireless provider in America.

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    Source: Reuters

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