Back in March, the internet's favorite repository of anonymous leaks, Wikileaks, published a classified Army document that labeled the site a security threat. According to the U.S. military, the man responsible for passing along classified information to Wikileaks, which included the above mentioned document and a helicopter video kept classified for its ignominiously incriminating nature, is now in its custody in Kuwait. He is yet to be indicted as the military is still investigating the matter.
Specialist Bradley Manning, a 22-year old resident of Potomac, Maryland , was arrested two weeks ago from Forward Operating Base Hammer, about 40 miles east of Baghdad. According to a Wired report, he had his cover blown by an erstwhile computer hacker named Adrian Lamo. Apparently, Manning blithely identified himself as the source of some key leaks on Wikileaks during their online conversations.
The braggart took credit for four leaks, which included a video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter attacking a group of innocent Iraqi civilians after mistaking a cameraman's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. The helicopter attack, which included two Reuters employees among those killed, occurred in 2007.
Manning's task was rendered easier by inadequate security measures. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file,” Manning told Lamo. “Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis … a perfect storm.”
A lawyer for Gizmodo said today that his clients may choose to file a lawsuit against the San Mateo County Sheriff for the raid on editor Jason Chen's home. The search was part of the investigation revolving around Gizmodo's acquisition of a prototype next-gen iPhone. The warrant was served to Chen on Friday, and authorized police to take Chen's computers and hard drives. Gizmodo has held that the warrant was improperly issued because California's shield law should protect Chen from seizure of property.
Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney in San Mateo County claims the issue was examined before the search was conducted. The sticking point is that if Gizmodo is the target of the investigation for the purchase of the phone, the shield law would probably not apply. The distinction is that in cases of direct wrong doing, journalists aren't protected from searches.
Civil rights groups, including the EFF, have come down firmly on the side of Gizmodo here. It would set a disturbing standard if the shield law were ignored simply because Chen works from home, and not in a traditional newsroom. Where do you come down? Should Gizmodo file the suit? More importantly, what does this mean for online journalism?
Sticklers for journalistic propriety have always frowned upon checkbook journalism, which is far more rampant now thanks to the internet. Thankfully for checkbook journalists though, their critics can do little more than protest. But buying a story is one thing, and flouting the law in doing so a totally different affair.
Last week, when Gizmodo proudly flaunted what it claimed to be a misplaced prototype of the next iPhone, it prompted many to question the legality of the way in which the phone was acquired – the blog’s editors avowedly paid $5000 for the misplaced phone. Under state law, a finder of goods who can determine the owner of lost property is under legal obligation to return it to its original owner, and the failure to do so makes him guilty of theft.
It has now emerged that cops investigating the matter raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house on Friday and confiscated four computers and two servers. According to Jason Chen, cops bust into his house in his absence and were busy scouring the place for evidence when he and his wife arrived from dinner at around 9:45PM. The cops were carrying a search warrant issued by the Superior Court of the County of San Mateo, California.
Gawker Media COO Gaby Darbyshire believes that the search warrant against Gizmodo's editor contravened section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code, which states that “a publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication” can not be forced to make any disclosures with regards to the source of any information obtained by them in their official capacity.
The entire tech world sat up and took notice this week when a prototype of the next generation iPhone was detailed by Gizmodo. Apparently Silicon Valley law enforcement was paying attention too, and have now launched an investigation into the incident. The goal of the inquiry, which is headed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office, is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to file a criminal case.
The next-gen iPhone was lost in a bar by an Apple engineer that was testing it, or so the story goes. An unnamed party found it, and upon realizing it was not a normal iPhone began shopping it around to gadget blogs. Editors at Gizmodo disclosed on their site that the person who found the phone was paid $5000 for it. It is currently unclear if the investigation is targeting Gizmodo's parent entity, Gawker Media, or the individual that sold them the phone.
California law makes clear that knowingly receiving stolen property is in almost as much trouble as the one who stole the property. Going after Gawker, however, would likely run afoul of 1st Amendment freedom of the press issues. Of course, all this is completely separate from any civil action Apple might take against Gawker for the leak. What's your take? Does the phone count as stolen? If so, should Gawker/Gizmodo be held liable.
Gizomodo Gizmodo says the documents in hand only contain promotional plans--no information about the smartphone’s hardware or software specifications. It appears that Windows Phone 7 isn’t part of the pink plan, and that social networking will be the phone’s forte.
Gizomodo Gizmodo, relying on additional inside information, says that two phones will be introduced, and that the end of April is the most likely launch time.
A virulent strain of Apple-tablet fever has the internet in its tight grip, with fanboys, skeptics and everyone in between – among those who care at all about shiny new gadgets - showing different signs. And if blogs like Gawker Media-owned Valleywag have their way, the fever will march rampantly toward an impending crescendo, which is expected to be the period intervening the unveiling and the launch of the tablet. Valleywag is offering a fortune to anyone willing to share “pictures or video or one hour of touching and licking with the Apple Tablet.” Valleywag has chosen to cap its generosity at a mere $100,000. This is what is being offered:
The Washington Post says it sought expert opinion on the legality of Valleywag's offer. Unfortunately, the lawyer they asked wasn't impressed because Apple could drag Gawker to court for “inducing breach of contract, since anyone who has their hands on the tablet is certainly under a nondisclosure agreement."
What if this is all an Apple-approved publicity stunt, one that is likely to benefit both the Cupertino-based company and Gawker? Stranger things have happened before! One thing is for sure, though,Valleywag's salivating offer will not please journalism purists, the kind allergic to checkbook journalism.
Can't get enough box art? Well then you're in luck. Polish website CentrumXP has posted what appear to be leaked images of the retail boxes for Microsoft's upcoming Office 2010 productivity suite, or at least four of the versions.
The site posted shots of Office 2010 Home and Student, Home and Business, Professional, and Professional Academic. Standing out among the four versions is Office Professional Academic 2010, which is an edition no one seems to have known was in the works. In July of this year, Microsoft announced the other three versions above, plus Standard and Professional Plus (both of which will only be available via volume licensing).
So are these leaked shots the real deal? We don't know, but since Standard and Professional Plus will come via volume licensing, it would explain why those box shots weren't shown. And CentrumXP is also the same sight that leaked photos of Windows 7 retail boxes, half of which turned out to be legit.
What's the verdict, real or fake? Hit the jump and tell us!
The paper, which is titled "Government ICT Strategy: New world, new challenges, new opportunities," notes that many new technologies are poised to become mainstream by 2015, but that the above three stand out from them all. It says that Web 2.0 will provide the foundation to improve public sector interaction between citizens and businesses, while cloud computing will lead to different business models for the use and reuse of applications. Service oriented architecture, it says, will enable the delivery of the G Cloud and ultimately lead to an online store of government apps.
Other technologies discussed in the leaked document include the potential of semantic advancements, which separate data and content files from application code and meanings, location aware services, human-computer interaction which removes the need for a keyboard, and technologies to improve energy efficiency.
While the Cabinet Office doesn't comment on leaked documents, a spokesman did say that the paper is aimed at steering the government's approach to IT over the next five years, and that a it hopes to publish a final draft in time for Christmas.
Apple Insider has also found its anonymous knight in stealthy armor. It identified its source as a Microsoft/Danger insider. For those of you who don’t know, Danger is the company that developed the T-Mobile Sidekick before being bought by Microsoft for $500 million in 2008. Danger is rumored to have been converted into “Pink”.
The insider source echoed the claims made by MobileCrunch’s source. But then the anonymous-source ego came into the picture and he made a desperate attempt to prove his superioriy as the more conscientious anonymous source of the two. He believes that the person who originally spilled the beans is clearly a “disgruntled former or current employee.”
“I have my share of disgruntlement about the situation, but it never occurred to me to do something like that. This is actually the worst possible timing for Microsoft for this information to come out (on the heels of the awful reviews of WM 6.5), and I suspect that it has already caused irreparable damage to their relationships with a number of key partners, to which I say, 'Bravo, leaker, well played.' Now allow me to twist the knife...,” he said. He is quite certain that Microsoft had intentionally leaked photos of “Pure” and “Turtle” – the two Pink phones.
But the move seems to have backfired as the tepid response to the leaks seems to have given Microsoft cold feet. I hope you are in the vicinity of a few grains of salt.
Another video of Microsoft’s Courier booklet made its way onto Gizmodo today, a week after the same site had leaked the first video of this exciting multi-touch device. The second video is meatier and more informative compared to the first one. Apparently, the device is centered on the “infinite journal,” which can be uploaded on the internet and freely shared with friends.
A journal, once it is published online, can be downloaded in three different formats - a Courier file, Powerpoint or PDF, making it possible for even non-Courier users to access it. The “infinite journal” can seamlessly shift between being an insipid digital notepad to an artist’s canvas. It also features a library that catalogues subscriptions, notebooks and apps.
Two videos of the device have now been leaked but there is not even a single frame grab of Courier’s media capabilities. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley claims to have learnt from one of her sources that the Courier is based on Windows 7, although it is not possible to install Windows 7 apps. This is because Microsoft only wants it to run applications that are “tailored to a tablet form factor.”