I recently found two very interesting articles outlining two aspects of the social network Linkedin that most of the users don’t really think of. Where does your profile belong to, and… where do your contacts belong to?
Since Facebook appeared, people have started sharing information about themselves with others without really thinking the consistencies and especially their personal privacy. Linkedin was founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003,it is mainly used for professional networking. Because of its focus on professional networking it finally became one of the most powerful social media channels for corporate and local marketers as well. That it the reason that companies are encouraging employee use of the product as part of corporate marketing efforts. This helps both the corporate marketing and the employee’s career goals. Here comes the big brother! Companies have started monitoring the social media profiles of their employees, also announcing that they have a say in how their employees will handle their personal profiles. If you want to read more you may read the whole article of Deb McAlister here.
A related issue is if your contacts belong to you, or to the company that you work for. Many of your contacts after all might have become your contacts through e.g. business trips while working for your company. According to the article of June 2008 of The Telegraph a court in England has issued an order that requires an employee who resigned to start his own consulting business to turn over all of his LinkedIn contacts to his former employer – along with receipts and contracts proving that none of them became clients of his new firm. If you want to read more you may read the whole article of Deb McAlister here.
Just yesterday, Sony Ericsson announced that it will let the users unlock the bootloader of some of the Xperia smartphone models. As they state “With its new generation of 2011 Xperia™ smartphones, Sony Ericsson will allow advanced developers to unlock the boot loader in a secure and legal way.” . This is in the exactly opposite direction than what Google announced some days ago, about the Honeycomb release of the Android (v 3.0) operating system. Google has been traditionally in the field of the companies that would empower the developers (Android Open Source Project (AOSP) releasing the source of all the versions of the Android operating system.
This is a very interesting comparison between two different companies of the market, and different strategies in keeping a balance between getting part of the market, the traditional business plan of theirs and the quality of service they intend to offer to their customers.
On the 16th of March Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found out that Microsoft was blocking the use of HTTPS to the Hotmail users from more than 16 countries, amongst which Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Congo, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. There was a reaction immediately since most of the countries are either Middle Eastern or African since the assumption was that probably Microsoft changed its policy and it would disable the feature for those countries which it introduced in December 2010.
Finally, Microsoft replied through the media that this was because of a bug which also affected countries such as Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Fiji.
Botnet is a jargon term for a collection of software agents, or robots, that run autonomously and automatically. The term is most commonly associated with malicious software, but it can also refer to a network of computers using distributed computing software.
The network of computers having that specific software installed, can be used for attacking services and infrastructures, since the software enables users or groups of users to take control of the computers and use them usually for nefarious purposes.
According to Verisign iDefense botnets are available for rent on the Internet for users who just want to use them, for just $8.94 per hour. It is obvious that it is more than easy for users or groups that don’t have the technical knowledge or huge amount of money to to hire of botnet services instead. This allows a wider range of cybercriminals to launch attacks designed to shut down a targeted company’s systems or to spread malicious software.
For example, the Mariposa botnet case in March, which was responsible for stealing credit card numbers, and account details using a network of 12.7 million computers, is proved that was created by non-technical knowledge people.
Google is going to offer a new service called “Google Editions” according to the Wall Street Journal. This service will be available to the public in the end of July and it will be the online bookstore of Google. The users will be able to access electronic versions/copies of books through their web browser. This way of offering the books is different than the model Amazon and Apple follow, who enable the users to download the books. The books available through the Google’s bookstore will be free of any DRM (digital rights management) issues while the non-availability for the users to download the books to their computers/devices eliminates many other DRM problems Google would have to deal with.
It is also expected a different business/cost model by Google compared to its competitors for its bookstore because of the special characteristics of the new service. Dan Clancy, Engineering Director for Google Book Search, has also stated to The New Yorker that the editors will probably be able to put the cost for their books at the Google’s bookstore.
In the meantime, Google has still issues with editors and writers in the US related with its Google Book Search service.