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Australian sex offender Scott Robert Hansen recently pleaded guilty in Brisbane to sending obscene pictures to a minor, possession of images of child abuse, and failure to comply with a sex offenders order, and was busted with the help of a virtual girl. The virtual 10-year-old, named Sweetie was a unique effort to find innovative, modern methods to help law enforcement track down predators.
Sweetie was created by Terre des Hommes, a Dutch children's rights group, and was constructed to look like a 10-year-old girl. There have been at least 1,000 adults in 71 countries that have contacted Sweetie, in an attempt to have her perform sexual acts. All chat and video logs are saved and passed along to law enforcement in each country, as the effort to arrest sexual offenders continues to evolve.
The project took place for 10 weeks in 2003, as a team of four researchers were approached by adults looking to engage in sexual behavior with Sweetie.
aGoogle is making its two-factor authentication even safer, with the announcement of support being added for Security Key. With this, Google allows its users to purchase a physical USB stick from a third-party company that can be used as your personal identification when logging into Gmail, Chrome, or any other Google account.
Once you've acquired your security key, you can plug it into your computer, press the built-in button on the dongle when asked, and voila - you're secure, and you now have a security key. This key only works after verifying the site you're logging in to, verifying that it is indeed a Google site and not some phishing attack. The device uses the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which means it can be used to log into other websites that support the U2F protocol, as long as you're within Chrome.
The service itself is free, but you'll need to secure yourself a not-so-free USB security key. Amazon currently sells FIDO U2F keys starting at around $5.99, all the way up to around $50.
Google is shaking things up a bit overseas, as the company tries to help copyright groups defend against Internet piracy. Instead of prominently linking to websites that allow users to download copyrighted content illegally, Google will display legal services, including Google Play, Spotify, and other alternatives. Legal sites will float to the top and illegal content will be displayed lower in the results.
Of course, Google is requiring legal services to pay for advertising so they appear at the top of search results - and the BPI trade group doesn't think companies should have to pay.
"There should be no cost when it comes to serving consumers with results for legal services," a Google spokesperson told the BBC. "Instead we have urged Google to use the machine-readable data on the Music Matters website, which lists all services licensed in the UK, and to promote these legal services above illegal sites and results in their search, using appropriate weighting applied fairly and equally across services."
The subway system in New York City now supports Wi-Fi and mobile carrier coverage for 40 stations located in Manhattan and Queens. An estimated 47 million customers will be able to benefit from the technology boost each month system wide, with distributed antenna systems (DAS) for 3G and 4G cellular support - along with Wi-Fi hotspots - being added.
There are 76 stations that now support free Wi-Fi and additional mobile coverage for passengers, in an ongoing project. The Wi-Fi expansion is scheduled for completion by 2017, and will support all 277 subway stations, project managers noted.
"Bringing wireless service into our subway system is the latest milestone in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's effort to use technology to improve the service we provide for our customers," said Thomas Prendergast, MTA chairman.
Google has signed an agreement to start laying down fiber optic cable connection from Florida to Brazil, with the agreement made with Brazil's telecom company Algar Telecom, along with African company Angola Cables.
The cable will be covering 6,560 miles and will have six fiber pairs which should provide a network bandwidth up to 1Tbps. The undertaking of this project is said to cost about $60 million. TE Connectivity SubCom is the one who received this contract for construction and said to complete its work by late 2016. Google Latin America head Cristian Ramos said, "As more people get access to the Internet, more capacity to the infrastructure that keeps the Internet running is needed, so that everyone can have a fast, safe and useful online experience."
It is being speculated that the reason for Google to choose Brazil is to bring more Internet connectivity that can greatly benefit from high-speed connections. Many countries in South America are deemed as emerging markets according to analyst from J. Gold Associate Jack Gold. On the other side, as expected not many companies are happy with Google's entry as an Internet service provider. The CEO of Allied Fiber Hunter Newby said that companies will want to control costs, provisioning, quality and repair. He also said, "Those that have control can impose their will."
United Airlines recently announced it will modify 200 United Express regional jets, so they will provide Wi-Fi Internet access and better personal device entertainment. United passengers can expect these added perks starting prior to the end of 2014.
The personal device entertainment pairs allows passengers to watch TV shows and movies on their Apple iOS or Google Android device - and on laptops. The expansion of Wi-Fi and entertainment, even on shorter flights, gives passengers the ability to either relax and watch a movie, or get some work done without worrying about wireless connectivity.
"United is pleased to extend our growing Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment platform to our fleet of larger regional jets," said Jeff Foland, United EVP of marketing, technology and strategy, in a press statement. "These new elements will enhance the entire in-flight experience for our customers."
Google may become the first trillion dollar company, but its dominant position as the world's most commonly used search engine has intense rivalry from Amazon.
Surprisingly, Google's competition isn't other engine engine companies. Google's CEO Eric Schmidt said, "Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon". He continued, "People don't think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon."
Google also feels that its position is also threatened by startups and innovators who are probably working from a garage right now. It's understandable, considering that Google's humble beginnings were from a garage. On the matter, Mr. Schmidt said, "Someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us. I know, because not long ago we were in that garage. Change comes from where you least expect it. The next Google won't do what Google does, just as Google didn't do what AOL did." Despite its dominant position, Google is one of many search engines that is available today.
Google has been known to hire cars, boats, hikers, mountain climbers and scuba divers, but this is the first time they mount its street view camera over a camel.
The search giant hired a camel named 'Raffia' to collect images of the desert around the Liwa oasis area in Abu Dhabi. With a help of the guide, the camel took pictures of the desert region called 'the trekker' which is usually strapped on a person for taking street view images. Najeeb Jarrar, Google's product marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa said, "We hope this collection gives you a glimpse of what it may be like to travel the desert as caravan merchants have for the past 3,000 years."
The Liwa desert is a popular tourism spot in Abu Dhabi. Company spokeswoman Joyce Baz also said that undertaking such projects helps to boost tourism in the region. She said, "In the case of Liwa we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way."
As the battle against the Islamic State (IS) rages on in Iraq and Syria, government officials hope to begin battling the extremist group where they have excelled: the Internet. Unlike the Taliban and Al Qaida before it, IS has successfully used social media outlets to spread its message, while also reaching curious observers. Twitter and other social media networks are working to remove official IS accounts, but many other accounts have popped up.
"This is the most socially-mediated conflict in history," said Shiraz Maher, from the Kings College London. "You literally have thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world using social media in order to convey the message about the jihad that they are fighting."
In addition to spreading messages of jihad, the Islamic State has successfully recruited new members - and spread propaganda - largely catching intelligence officers unaware of the Internet strategy.
Music and movie copyright groups tried to fight Internet piracy by suing individual file sharers, shutting down peer-to-peer networks, and creating new anti-piracy legislation. However, as Internet piracy continued to evolve, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), tasked with movie copyright issues of the top six Hollywood studios, wants to adjust its tactics.
"The world is changing at warp speed," noted Chris Dodd, MPAA CEO. "We are not going to legislate or litigate our way out of it. We are going to innovate our way by educating people about the hard work of people."
Although it's refreshing to hear the MPAA isn't interested in creating new legislation or potential court litigation - many Internet users are weary that any new efforts could still end poorly for the community. But hearing that copyright groups understand there are new ways to provide content in a legitimate manner proves a shifting focus towards the future.