Hackers say Syria is using American software to censor the Internet. Mitt Romney’s online campaign for the US Presidential elections. And a man juggling and solving Rubik’s cubes...
American software used in Syria to censor Internet
Is Syria using American software to censor the Internet? Washington is taking the question very seriously. The State Department has launched an enquiry following accusations made by hacker group Telecomix.
Founded by Swedish hackers Telecomix claims to have hacked into the Syria Telecommunications Establishment in August and collected data which suggests that equipment supplied by Californian company Blue Coat, was being used by the Syrian government to censor the Internet.
The company has denied selling such equipment to Syria. Sales by US companies to Syria are illegal under sanctions imposed in 2004, with the exceptions of food and medicine. But because Blue Coat products are available on the Internet there is the possibility that the equipment was sold on via an intermediary body.
Arturo Filastò is an Italian computer specialist and has analyzed the data released online by Telecomix. He has drawn up this pie chart showing the types of sites blocked using American technology. They include advertising, adult themes, and also social networks and video sharing platforms which are used by cyber activists to coordinate actions and share accounts of the situation in Syria.
A number of hacker groups have lent their support to Syrian activists to help them bypass any monitoring by the authorities. During a short period at the beginning of September, Telecomix had put a system in place to redirect Internet traffic to this site which provided technical advice on how to secure online communications.
Mitt Romney’s online campaign for the US presidential election
Mitt Romney’s campaign for the Republican nomination in the US Presidential elections scheduled for November 2012 is in full swing. A large proportion of his campaign is taking place on the web, in a bid to win over as many voters as possible.
In June, the campaign team behind the former governor of Massachusetts set up the site “Obama isn’t working”. It hosts a number of videos like these ones which criticize Barack Obama’s time in power and poke fun at his supposed inability to get the country’s economy back on track.
But Obama is not the only one in the Mormon candidate’s line of fire. Romney recently launched “careerpolitician.com” which openly attacks one of his competitors for the Republican nomination: Rick Perry. He is described as a professional politician who has no experience in the real world economy, and therefore not the experience required to run the country. There are also campaign videos available to view on the site, like this one which highlights the differences in Perry and Romney’s political programs and in particular their policies on reducing unemployment.
This attack on a member of his own party could cause trouble later on when the Republican National Committee starts the online campaigning for all of the conservative candidates. The Committee provides national leadership for the Republican Party and is currently running a highly aggressive anti-Obama campaign on the web. The president is accused, amongst other things, of being more preoccupied with his own campaign for reelection next year than the problems facing the people of America.
Statue of Liberty torch webcams
The Statue of Liberty which was gift of friendship to the United States from the French government turns 125 this week. To celebrate five webcams have been installed inside her torch and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to offer a live video feed of previously unseen views. One of the webcams will provide a 360 ° panoramic view of the New York City Harbor and Ellis Island.
Now trending on social networks
Supermarket chain Cora has incurred the wrath of French web users. Many have taken to Twitter to stand up for cashier Anne-Marie, who found herself threatened with dismissal. What did she do wrong? A shopper had left a receipt which included a money-off voucher for a fast food restaurant. Anne-Marie retrieved the receipt and intended to give it to her son. But her bosses accused her of theft; she was given a legal warning and almost lost her job. Hundreds of outraged web users then leapt to her defense, posting messages on the company’s Facebook page until the company agreed to let her keep her job.
Video of the day
In this video we see David Calvo, from Spain, carrying out the amazing feat of juggling three Rubik’s cubes whilst solving one of them …this video is enjoying huge success on sharing sites where it has already been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.