Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drug war agent loses secrets on the bus

The British Serious Organized Crime Agency (heralded as Britain's FBI) confirmed that, in 2006, one of its agents lost a computer memory stick containing a list of undercover agents, informants, and details of more than five years of intelligence work. The memory stick was lost when the agent, who traveled to Colombia to work with British intelligence agencies on anti-drug trade operations, left her handbag on a transit bus at the Bogata airport. Fearing the information could fall into the worng hands, intelligence agencies halted operations and relocated dozens of agents and informants. The cost of the aborted operations was £100m.

See, "Bumbling agent lost ‘crown jewels’ of drugs war," Sunday Times, April 26, 2009, at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6169946.ece; "MI6 agent leaves secret details of the war against drugs on bus," Mirror, April 27, 2009, at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/04/27/mi6-agent-leaves-secret-details-of-the-war-against-drugs-on-bus-115875-21311667/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hackers strike Pentagon's $300 billion F-35 fighter project

Computer intruders hacked into the Pentagon's $300 billion F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter) project. In attacks apparently originating from China, the hackers downloaded huge amounts of data -- but not the most sensitive material, which is stored offline.

See, Wall St. Journal, April 21, 2009, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124027491029837401.html; see also, "Fighter Jet Hack Far From First Government Breach," PC World, April 21, 2009, at http://www.pcworld.com/article/163533/fighter_jet_hack_far_from_first_government_breach.html

Thursday, April 16, 2009

YouTube prank video damages Domino's reputation

Two employees of a Domino's Pizza fanchise created a video at work purporting to show the prepartation of unsanitary food for customer delivery. Released onto the Internet, the video was seen by more than a million YouTube viewers. Customers were disgusted and the prank resulted in a public relations crisis for Domino's. The employees were fired and also arrested on felony charges for distribution of prohibited food.

See, "Video Prank at Domino’s Taints Brand," New YorkTimes, April 16, 2009, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/business/media/16dominos.html?ref=todayspaper.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Britain's top counterterrorism cop resigns after security blunder

Britain's top counterterrorism police officer resigned after being photographed on his way to a government briefing carrying a "secret" document showing details of a major anti-terrorist operation, titled “Briefing Note: Operation PATHWAY.” Although the U.K. government banned the publication of the photo on grounds of national security, it found its way onto the Internet and the operation, designed to prevent an al-Qaida plot to bomb Britain, was moved up many hours earlier than planned.

See, "Britain’s Antiterror Officer Resigns," New York Times, April 10, 2009, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/world/europe/10britain.html?ref=todayspaper; "Police chief Bob Quick steps down over terror blunder," Guardian, April 9, 2009, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/09/bob-quick-terror-raids-leak.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

U.S. Electricity Grid Hacked by Spies

U.S. intelligence agencies have detected cyber intruders from Russia and China who have penetrated the U.S. electricity grid. The intruders appear to be on a mission to map the grid and its controls. They left behind software tools that could be used to disrupt service or destroy infrastructure components.

See, "Spies compromised US electric grid," Associated Press, April 8, 2009, at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gTamvV9J8BmeVmQift2odb--mBigD97EHMJO0; "Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies," Wall St. Journal, April 8, 2009, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123914805204099085.html#mod=todays_us_page_one.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sponsored link trademark violation claim proceeds

A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a trademark claim against Google by Rescuecom, a computer services company, can proceed on the grounds that Google's use of the company's name as a "keyword" to trigger third-party advertisements may confuse consumers.

See, "Google Faces Trademark Trial," Wall St. Journal, April 3, 2009, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123878987982287605.html; "Trademark Lawsuit Over Google Ads Can Proceed," New York Times, April 3, 2009, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/technology/companies/04bizbriefs-TRADEMARKLAW_BRF.html?ref=todayspaper.

Google orphan works settlement under fire

Critics are signalling that they will challenge the proposed settlement of a lawsuit against Google that they say will grant the company too much power over out-of-print books.

In 2005, publishers and authors sued Google because parts of copyrighted works were showing up in Google search results. The settlement allows Google, which has scanned more than 7 million books, to show U.S. readers up to 20 percent of most books, and to sell access to the entire collection to universities and other institutions. Public libraries will get free access to the full texts; individuals will be able to buy online access. Proceeds will be shared by Google, publishers, and authors.

Settlement proponents say the agreement greatly benefits the public by providing access to hard-to-find works. Opponents complain that the agreement hands Google a virtual monopoly over "orphan works," i.e., out-of-print works whose authors or other rights holders cannot be identified or located.

See, "Google’s Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged," New York Times, April 3, 2009, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/technology/internet/04books.html?ref=todayspaper; "Google's Book Settlement Is a Ripoff for Authors," Wall St. Journal, March 28, 2009, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123819841868261921.html.