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North Korea's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has announced a nation-wide ban on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube and even porn sites.
The Associated Press reports that North Korea is tightening its grip on censorship by blocking access to major social media sites for "a certain period of time". The ban also includes several South Korean websites, as well as gambling and porn sites. The government warns that anyone who attempts to circumvent the ban or distribute "anti-republic data" will be punished.
As North Korean citizens are walled off from the outside web and only have access to a government-controlled intranet, the new restrictions are aimed at making it extremely difficult for visitors and foreign residents to share the country's current events with the outside world. Before now visitors were able to enjoy unrestricted access to the web. Interestingly enough, Instagram has been whitelisted and isn't banned by the new law.
In response to the devastating terror attacks in Paris, the French government may pass a series of bills severely limits the online freedom of its citizens during declared states of emergency.
The French newspaper Le Monde acquired the leaked Ministry of Interior documents that outline key legislature that compromises the online privacy of its citizens. According to the publication, there are two separate bills that have different ranges of severity.
The first bill calls for all free and shared Wi-Fi connections to be forcibly closed during a state of emergency. The idea behind this is to disrupt terrorist communications and make it easier for police and officials to track suspects. While open Wi-Fi networks are generally more insecure, police have a hard time pinpointing the location of users tethered to free hotspots.
We all heard about Ahmed "Clock Kid" Mohamed, where earlier this year he was arrested under the suspicion of making a "hoax bomb" that turned out to just be a clock.
At the time, one teacher at his school said they saw Ahmed's creation and said it looked like a bomb. But now Ahmed's family has lawyered up, with their lawyer stating that school officials never thought of the clock as an explosive device and that the second teacher didn't treat the clock as if it were dangerous.
The teacher escorted Ahmed to the office, where he met five police officers, the principal and the assistant principal, where they performed and "interrogation". During that time, Ahmed wasn't allowed to contact his parents, and he was forced to sign a letter of confession as he was threatened with expulsion. Ahmed's family moved home to Qatar last month, but they want to come back. Their letter of demand is seeking $15 million, but they also want written apologies from both the mayor and Irving police chief for leading Ahmed's reputation "permanently scarred".
Well then. According to the information scraped from Ashley Madison's database, it looks like as much as 95% of their members were male. But now The Impact Team has gone through the dumped data, with quite the revelation: just 12,000 of the 5.5 million women on the site were 'real'.
Out of the 37 million accounts, 31 million were men and 5.5 million were women. But this is where The Impact Team and their look into the data gets juicier. After speaking with a data scientist, the publication began comparing male and female profiles, looking for certain patterns. Looking at members' e-mail addresses pointed towards a few very obvious accounts, such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and so on. When the IP addresses were checked, it showed that 80,000 or more accounts were created locally, within the company.
But the biggest anomaly of them all is that there were unusual last names for hundreds of accounts, but there's the biggest glaring fact: just 1,492 women checked their messages on the site. Comparing 1,492 women checking their messages, against the 20 million men who checked their accounts, we can see that there is a big disparity in the sexes there. Just 2,400 women started a conversation using the chat system on Ashley Madison, compared to the 11 million men that used the chat feature.
In a petition on Change.org, Billy Johnson from the US has asked Ellen Pao, the CEO of Reddit, to step down from her position. I went to write this article about two hours ago but had to run out of the house for a while, where at that time, there were 75,300 signatures.
Two hours later, there are 83,500 signatures asking for Pao to step down. Why is Pao being asked to step down? Well, the company just fired its Director of Communications, Victoria Taylor, who was responsible for some of the most popular subreddits on the site, such as /r/IAmA and many more. Taylor was the main contact for many celebrities and other high-profile figures, and in response to her being fired, Reddit moderators have "effectively shut down many of the site's most popular sections" reports The Verge.
But when it comes to the petition asking for Pao to step down, Johnson writes: "Ellen K. Pao is a lawyer and the chief executive officer of the Internet company Reddit Inc. After Pao lost her gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins she was appointed CEO of Reddit Inc and Reddit entered into a new age of censorship. A vast majority of the Reddit community believes that Pao, "a manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top", has overstepped her boundaries and fears that she will run Reddit into the ground. Alternative sites to Reddit.com have sprung up and have received vast amounts of traffic within the recent months". He finishes with: "Action must be taken to prevent Reddit from being further run into the ground".
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just announced that their cloud provider service will be powered by a wind farm in the future. Looking to produce 150 megawatts total of power, this is part of AWS' bid to move toward fully renewable energy supplies.
This farm is aiming to generate half a million megawatt hours by January 2016, seeing the 150 megawatt value being reached at a later date.
Named Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge), this project is being developed with help from AWS partners Pattern Energy Group. This announcement is further said to be due to Greenpeace attacking Amazon for refusing to provide details on how it planned to make the more to renewable energy. Amazon also claims that cloud computing is more environmentally friendly than traditional options due to sever capacity usage and less power consumption is needed to power their infrastructure.
Doctors have said that a 32-year-old man has died after playing 72 hours of non-stop games at an Internet cafe in Taiwan, without taking a break from his long gaming session.
The man known as Hsieh was found slumped motionless in his chair, reports the Taipei Times. He died last week, but the press only caught wind of the story on Friday. Gamers that surrounded Hsieh in the Internet cafe thought he was just sleeping after his massive gaming binge, but one of the Internet cafe's employees noticed that he wasn't breathing. Once Hsieh reached the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
The cafe attendant told reporters: "Hsieh was a regular customer here and always played for consecutive days. When tired, he would sleep face-down on the table or doze off slumped in his chair. That is why we were not aware of his condition in the beginning". Hunei Police Precinct Chief Wend Chung-neng said: "We advise people to get up and move around after every two hours of computer gaming. More patrols will be conducted to remind residents about the dangers of prolonged sitting and game-playing".
Some hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of the New York Post and the United Press International, where they said that World War III had been declared by the Pope and that the United States and China were engaged in a serious military battle.
This was obviously a hoax, with both the UPI and New York Post stating their respective Twitter feeds had been hacked by 1PM on Friday, just as US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the media about the concerns of cyber security, and the fact they need to increase their online defenses.
The news organizations' Twitter feeds were throwing out some really huge statements, saying that China condemning President Obama's "pivot to Asia" before firing on, and damaging the USS George Washington, which is an American aircraft carrier based in the Pacific. The hacked feeds were also spouting that the US were engaged in "active combat" against China in the South China Sea. One of the tweets read: "US Joint Chief of staff: USS George Washington damaged, US navy now engaged in active combat against Chinese vessels in South China sea". Another tweet said "JUST IN: Xi Jinping: Obama 'condemned' for Asia pivot, 'has forced China to protect its interests through military means".
On its flight from Indonesia to Singapore, an Air Asia flight has gone missing according to the National Agency Search and Rescue Republic of Indonesia. Air Asia has confirmed that flight QZ8501 is indeed missing, with 162 people on board. The airline lost contact with the plane at 6:17pm local time near Indonesia.
Air Asia has since released a statement saying "AirAsia Indonesia regrets to confirm that flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24hrs this morning. At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service. AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is +622129850801. AirAsia will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the AirAsia website, http://www.airasia.com."
It feels like we've written 50+ stories on Sony in the last couple of weeks, but the stories just continue. News has broke that the hacked company has hired Judy Smith, who is a crisis specialist, so much so that there's even a TV show based on her career - ABC's Scandal.
TMZ was the first to report that Sony Pictures had hired Smith, reporting that she has already started "quietly advising Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal." We've seen President Obama chime in, saying that Sony's decision to pull The Interview was "a mistake" but Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton replied, saying "We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie."
North Korea has since offered a joint investigation with the United States to find the real culprit, after the Obama administration and the FBI pegged the blame on Pyongyang.