Killer cloud: report says Amazon Web Services threatens all IT incumbents

New Morgan Stanley research expects AWS to hit $24 billion in revenue by 2022 and to put the hurt on legacy IT providers in the process.

Amazon Web Services faces growing competition from a dozen or more legacy name-brand IT giants. But instead of taking a hit, it poses a bigger-than-ever threat to the those vendors — all of which are building their own competitive clouds, according to new Morgan Stanley research.
Oh, and the researchers project that AWS will hit $24 billion in revenue by 2022. Amazon doesn’t break out AWS revenue, but most pundits figure it passed the $2 billion-a-year mark about a year ago.
The fact that AWS has a huge lead in cloud over the rest of the world is not news to anyone who’s been watching, but these projections could be a wakeup call to investors who think tech incumbents — companies like IBM, Microsoft, HP, VMware, Red Hat, as well as every telco and hosting provider — can challenge Amazon in cloud computing.
“Applying retail economics to the delivery of technology services well positions Amazon Web Services [to be] a Top 5 vendor within the $152 billion TAM [total addressable market], ” according to Morgan Stanley analysts Scott Devitt, Keith Weiss and team.

Nobody’s immune

The move to cloud computing means fewer companies will buy huge numbers of servers and storage arrays for their own use. Over the next five years, Morgan Stanley’s expects that 3 percent to 17 percent of current spending could be sucked up by cloud-based IT service providers. AWS represents a key risk for infrastructure vendors EMC, Brocade, NetApp, VMware and Qlogic, in particular, according to the report.
Other key takeaways:
  • “We expect on-premise server growth to remain negative long-term on the back of smaller footprints post the adoption of server virtualization combined with new workloads moving to the cloud. Partially offsetting the decline is 20% growth in servers shipped to cloud providers, though some of the demand is fulfilled by whitebox makers like Quanta and Wistron.”
  • “Storage market at risk of decelerating growth that isn’t fully baked into expectations (unlike servers which already declined in 2012). We expect 0-5% storage revenue growth going forward, down from 5-10% historically. EMC and NetApp likely gain share from server vendors, like IBM. We downgrade BRCD to UW, given over 30% of revenue derived from server OEMs.”

AWS as enterprise software power

And then there is enterprise software, where Amazon threatens VMware and Red Hat in the virtualization market. And, as we’ve reported, Amazon is pushing hard for enterprise workloads with its DynamoDB NoSQL database and RedShift data warehouse. Those AWS efforts represent a long-term threat to Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. In content delivery, where Amazon’s CloudFront is a factor, Akamai faces a long-term threat.
Morgan Stanley isn’t the first analyst firm to up the ante on AWS expectations. In January, Macquarie Capital projected that AWS would account for $38 billion of an overall $71 billion cloud services market by 2015. If you don’t like Morgan Stanley’s take on AWS, hold on — there are bound to be others.
The growth of Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure and its push beyond startups into the enterprise,will doubtless come up at GigaOM’s Structure event, where Amazon CTO Werner Vogels will speak.

By Barb Darrow

Neelie Kroes calls on EU Parliament to help kill mobile roaming costs, guarantee net neutrality

European Commission VP Neelie Kroes delivered an interesting political rallying cry in front of the European Parliament (EP) this morning in an effort to abolish mobile roaming costs and safeguard citizens’ right to access an ‘open Internet’.
Kroes called on the EP to “join her in rushing to complete” a legislative package that she hopes will include plans to finally end mobile roaming in Europe, and guarantee net neutrality. More specifically, she hopes to get this done by Easter 2014 (elections time!)
The outspoken EC veep, a strong proponent for a single ICT and telecoms market in Europe, said she will “fight with my last breath to get us there together”.
She believes completing the single telecoms market could give Europe a boost of 110 billion euros – about $143 billion – a year.
From her speech delivered to Members of the European Parliament:
“You and I share the stake in this debate, so tell me: will join me in building something special between now and the European elections?
I want us to show citizens that the EU is relevant to their lives. That we made the digital rules catch up with their legitimate expectations.
I want you to be able to go back to your constituents and say that you were able to end mobile roaming costs.
I want you to be able to say that you saved their right to access the open internet, by guaranteeing net neutrality.
I want you to be able to say we took real action on cybercrime and other threats.”
The telecommunications sector is squarely at the core of the European Commission’s growth plan and Digital Agenda for Europe, yet fragmentation between countries still exists.
Thus, setting up a single European telecoms market has become a top priority for Kroes, and Brussels is keen to accelerate the process to get the plan approved before the European Parliament elections slated for May 2014.
Kroes, however, realizes that the proposed package won’t please everyone even if she deems it a necessity. Again, from her speech:
“I am not promising a single market package that gives you everything you dreamed of. This package will have to strike a sensitive balance if we are to agree it quickly.
But I am promising to spend the next 12 months building a bridge with you to our citizens, your constituents.
Whether they need it for travel, for trade, or for transactions – our people need this reform.”
Later, she said:
“There is no other sector of our incomplete European single market where the barriers are so unneeded, and yet so high.
The time for change is now.
Change must come from all directions, but it starts with all of us in this room.
Our mutual responsibility and our greatest contribution will be to develop a radical legislative compromise. One that our innovators and citizens can build on. A real result.
I chose those words carefully.
“Radical” because an economic disaster requires big action.
“Compromise” because everyone will have to give, in order to get.”
It will be interesting to listen to what Etno, the European telecoms industry body, has to say about those compromises, as well as national regulators. But definitely a noteworthy rallying cry.

By Robin Wauters

Investing in a South African solar project

As we search for investments that can help speed up the adoption of renewable energy, we’ve been looking beyond the U.S. and Europe to parts of the world where our investments can have an even greater impact. We’ve just closed our first investment in Africa: $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Upon completion, Jasper will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent, capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
When we consider investing in a renewable energy project, we focus on two key factors. First, we only pursue investments that we believe make financial sense. South Africa’s strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest—which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year. Second, we look for projects that have transformative potential—that is, projects that will bolster the growth of the renewable energy industry and move the world closer to a clean energy future. The Jasper Power Project is one of those transformative opportunities. To explain why, perhaps some background would be helpful.

Back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage, which resulted in blackouts throughout the country and slowed down economic growth. Since then the South African government has been actively supporting the growth of new sources of electricity to power the nation. While today South Africa is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, there’s lots of potential for renewable energy—it’s a country blessed with abundant wind and solar resources—and the government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (as a comparison, the entire South African grid is currently 44 GW).

To meet this goal, the South African government has established the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Through the program, renewable energy projects compete on the basis of cost and contribution to the local economy to be awarded a contract with Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned energy utility. Jasper and the other projects being developed through the REIPPPP have the potential to transform the South African energy grid. And given South Africa’s position as an economic powerhouse in Africa, a greener grid in South Africa can set an example for the whole continent.

Once constructed, the project will use solar panels like these.

Just as compelling are the economic and social benefits that the project will bring to the local community. Jasper will create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region experiencing high rates of unemployment, as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues—amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project—for enterprise and socio-economic development. We appreciate how forward-thinking the South African government has been in designing the REIPPPP to encourage these kinds of local economic benefits.

Google has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments and we continue to search for new opportunities. Our search has brought us from the U.S. to Europe and now to Africa. We’re excited to see where else it might lead.

By Rick Needham, Director, Energy & Sustainability

Distinguishing Brain From Mind

In coming years, neuroscience will answer questions we don't even yet know to ask. Sometimes, though, focus on the brain is misleading.

From the recent announcement of President Obama's BRAIN Initiative to the Technicolor brain scans ("This is your brain on God/love/envy etc") on magazine covers, neuroscience has captured the public imagination like never before.
Understanding the brain is of course essential to developing treatments for devastating illnesses like schizophrenia or Parkinson's. More abstractly but no less compelling, the functioning of the brain is intimately tied to our sense of self, our identity, our memories and aspirations.
But the excitement to explore the brain has spawned a new fixation that my colleague Scott Lilienfeld and I call neurocentrism -- the view that human behavior can be best explained by looking solely or primarily at the brain.
Sometimes the neural level of explanation is appropriate. When scientists develop diagnostic tests or a medications for, say, Alzheimer's disease, they investigate the hallmarks of the condition: amyloid plaques that disrupt communication between neurons, and neurofibrillary tangles that degrade them.
Other times, a neural explanation can lead us astray. In my own field of addiction psychiatry, neurocentrism is ascendant -- and not for the better. Thanks to heavy promotion by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, addiction has been labeled a "brain disease."
The logic for this designation, as explained by former director Alan I. Leshner, is that "addiction is tied to changes in brain structure and function." True enough, repeated use of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol the neural circuits that mediate the experience of pleasure, motivation, memory, inhibition, and planning -- modifications that we can often see on brain scans.
The critical question, though, is whether this neural disruption proves that the addict's behavior is involuntary and that he is incapable of self-control. It does not.
Take the case of actor Robert Downey, Jr., whose name was once synonymous with celebrity addiction. He said, "It's like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger's on the trigger, and I like the taste of gunmetal." Downey went though episodes of rehabilitation and then relapse, but ultimately decided, while in throes addiction, to change his life.

By Sally Satel
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International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics

June 24-26, 2013
Seattle, Washington-USA

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A new inbox that puts you back in control

We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, Gmail is getting a brand new inbox on desktop and mobile that puts you back in control using simple, easy organization.

On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.

You can easily customize the new inbox - select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.

In the Gmail for Android 4.0+ and Gmail for iPhone and iPad apps, you'll see your Primary mail when you open the app and you can easily navigate to the other tabs.

If the new inbox isn't quite your style, you can simply switch off all optional tabs to go back to classic view, or switch to any of your other favorite inbox types.

The new inbox is rolling out gradually. The desktop, Android and iOS versions will become available within the next few weeks. If you'd like to try out the new inbox on Desktop sooner, keep an eye on the gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the Settings options.


Filter Effects 1.0 Draft Published

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Working Group and the SVG Working Group have published a Working Draft of Filter Effects 1.0. Filter effects are a way of processing an element's rendering before it is displayed in the document. Typically, rendering an element via CSS or SVG can conceptually be described as if the element, including its children, are drawn into a buffer (such as a raster image) and then that buffer is composited into the elements parent. Filters apply an effect before the compositing stage. Examples of such effects are blurring, changing color intensity and warping the image. Although originally designed for use in SVG, filter effects are a set of operations to apply on an image buffer and therefore can be applied to nearly any presentational environment, including CSS. They are triggered by a style instruction (the ‘filter’ property). This specification describes filters in a manner that allows them to be used in content styled by CSS, such as HTML and SVG. It also defines a CSS property value function that produces a CSS value.


2nd Cybersecurity Framework Workshop


Under Executive Order 13636, NIST was given responsibility to develop a cybersecurity framework to reduce cybersecurity risks for critical infrastructure. This meeting will bring together stakeholders to solicit their comments in person. NIST is interested in collecting information about current risk management practices; use of frameworks, standards, guidelines and best practices; and specific industry practices.
The second workshop on the Cybersecurity Framework will be an opportunity for attendees to identify, refine, and guide the many interrelated considerations, challenges, and efforts needed to develop the Framework. The majority of the workshop will be working sessions where participants will analyze and discuss the initial inputs to the Framework (including responses to the RFI) and the related preliminary analysis conducted by NIST. In order to make this a useful exercise, we ask that all participants review the RFI submissions. We also request that participants study the NIST preliminary analysis which is available here.
Please note that due to space limitations, registration for this workshop will be limited to 500 people. Plenary sessions will be webcast and reports on the breakouts will be available after the workshop. The workshop's plenary sessions will be webcast live from this page:
The workshop will be hosted by Carnegie Mellon University. The plenary sessions will be held at McConomy Auditorium, 5000 Forbes Avenue.
Federal Register Notice
Cybersecurity Framework Web Site


FINAL Agenda - Updated May 28, 2013


Start Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
End Date: Friday, May 31, 2013
Location: McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA
Audience: Industry, Government, Academia
Format: Workshop
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White Paper: Use Case and Scenario Development for ANSI/NIST‐ITL 1‐2011 SUPPLEMENT: Mobile Identification

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The Mighty Himalayan Glaciers are Vanishing.

The snow and ice stored within this resplendent arc of nearly 50,000 high-altitude glaciers are vital sources of water for the major rivers of Asia. GlacierWorks is a non-profit organization that vividly illustrates the changes to Himalayan glaciers through art, science, and adventure.

The Mission

Founded by acclaimed mountaineer, photographer, and filmmaker David Breashears, GlacierWorks is a non-profit organization that vividly illustrates the changes to Himalayan glaciers through art, science, and adventure. Since 2007, GlacierWorks has undertaken twelve expeditions to document the current state of the glaciers, retracing the steps of pioneering mountain photographers in order to capture new images that precisely match the early photographic records. Over the past five years, they have recorded losses and changes to glaciers that are inaccessible to all but the most skilled climbers.

The Imagery

Gigapixel imagery lies at the heart of the GlacierWorks website and work. A gigapixel is a single, super high-resolution image created from a series of smaller photographs shot in sequence. In the field, our team uses specially designed hardware to capture each frame, as each must overlap the next by a precise amount. We then use software that recognizes the inter-frame overlap and organizes the pictures accordingly. Specialized web-based viewing tools are then used to allow deep zooms and explorations of these massive images.
High-resolution gigapixel photography enables viewers to experience the glaciers as never before: up-close and with extreme precision. Using these online tools, it is possible to soar thousands of feet above a glacier and view it in its entirety or dip down to the ground and explore pebbles in the ice. We believe that this approach will foster a deep understanding of the changes at work in this remote and frozen region.

The Exhibits

GlacierWorks’ exhibit “Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya” showcases our contemporary imagery alongside archival photographs taken over the last century by the world’s greatest mountain photographers. These matched pairs of images starkly reveal the changes that have quietly taken place over the last century. “Rivers of Ice” has shown in Copenhagen, prior to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, as well as at New York’s Asia Society, London’s Royal Geographical Society, and Italy’s Trento Film Festival, the oldest and most respected film festival in Italy. Imagery from “Rivers of Ice” was also showcased at Beijing’s Three Shadows Gallery in late 2011. GlacierWorks’ next exhibition is slated for the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The MIT exhibition will open in April 2012 and run through March 2013.

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If you’re disappointed with big data, you’re not paying attention

There has been a backlash lately against big data. From O’Reilly Media to the New Yorker, from Nassim Taleb to Kate Crawford, everyone is treating big data like a piñata. Gartner has dropped it into the “trough of disillusionment.” I call B.S. on all of it.
It might be provocative to call into question one of the hottest tech movements in generations, but it’s not really fair. That’s because how companies and people benefit from big data, data science or whatever else they choose to call the movement toward a data-centric world is directly related to what they expect going in. Arguing that big data isn’t all it’s cracked up to be is a strawman, pure and simple — because no one should think it’s magic to begin with.

Correlation versus causation versus “what’s good enough for the job”

One of the biggest complaints — or, in some cases, proposed facts — about big data is that is relies more on correlation than causation in order to find its vaunted insights. To the extent that’s true, it’s a fair criticism. Only I’m not certain how often it’s true for things that really matter.
Honestly, for song or product recommendations, who really cares?
But in areas like medicine, finance and even marketing, people are becoming much more concerned with finding out “why” once they’ve found out “what.” If you’re a police department trying to figure out a strategy for stopping people on the street, for example, even a strong correlation between race and certain crimes probably won’t be enough to justify harassing minorities. Oncologists might benefit from seeing the similarities among cells in a biopsy, but targeting certain markers doesn’t guarantee you can cure someone’s cancer.
Or if you’re a retail store, knowing that Mac users who visit your site tend to buy more-expensive products might make you want to show them more-expensive products. Some deeper digging — perhaps even via direct questions — would show they’re really concerned with craftsmanship. The more you learn beyond what a clustering algorithm can tell you, the better you can connect with customers.
This is why some people call the process of asking interesting questions of data “exploratory analytics.” Data analysts can send out a virtual Christopher Columbus to see what’s doing inside their data. If they find something potentially valuable, they dig in further. Correlations are just a notice that there might be something worth looking at here.
Clusters show where oncologists should start investigating.
Clusters show where oncologists should start investigating. Source: Columbia University
And even in the realm of machine learning — where algorithms are tearing through datasets trying to discover complex patterns humans could never spot — very few people are seriously suggesting we take the machines at their word. In case after case after case, the story is the same: machines do the heavy lifting but humans still play critical roles in training the models by correcting mistakes or adding judgment into an otherwise entirely logical process.

Web data is only part of big data

There’s another idea floating around, too, which is that web-derived data — be it from social media, search queries or some other place — is somehow synonymous with big data. Critics are quick to point out that there are biases in this type of data and that we shouldn’t abolish traditional methods of qualitative, non-digital research in lieu of methods utilizing this fast, easy web data. Of course these critics are right.
But who is really suggesting we do away with traditional forms of research? Social media data shouldn’t usurp traditional customer service or market research data that’s still useful, nor should the Centers for Disease Control start relying on Google Flu Trends at the expense of traditional flu-tracking methodologies. Web and social data are just one more source of data to factor into decisions, albeit a potentially voluminous and high-velocity one.
Even if they’re biased or perhaps even slightly misleading, though, these new data types are still valuable, even for social science research. It is a source of new, large, and arguably unfiltered insights into attitudes and behaviors that were previously difficult to track in the wild. I’m thinking of the researchers who identified new insights into bullying by studying Twitter activity, and of those who have mapped racist tweets across the United States.
Floating Sheep's Hate Map
Floating Sheep’s Hate Map
The drawbacks should be pretty easy to overcome. Demographic or other biases might be relatively easy to spot when information is also tagged with geodata and perhaps profile information, for example. And assuming the data is mostly indicative of macro trends, there’s definitely value in being able to track it by the day, hour or minute and see trends shaping up in something far closer to real time than traditional research methods would allow.

It’s not all about insights

Which brings me to another point, this one about the idea that big data is all about finding out new things through exploration. Sure, that can be the case if you’re starting to analyze entirely new data sources (like social media data) or using entirely new techniques, and it’s a very compelling reason to get started down the big data path. But sometimes big data is just about automation.
Technologies like Hadoop, for example, aren’t designed to write you better models — they’re designed to process a lot more data a lot faster. If your models still work, Hadoop should help you run them better against a much larger dataset. That might lead to more accurate models and faster answers, but it won’t necessarily lead to some “a ha” moment — like that you’ve been doing business all wrong for all these years.
If you’re a law firm, analyzing e-discovery files faster and more accurately might be reward enough in itself. Or maybe you’re just trying to get a better view of customers or products by putting all your data on them, that you’ve collected over years, into one place. The point is these are valuable objectives even if they don’t involve finding a needle in the haystack.
I think MailChimp is a great example of this. It used big data techniques to discover some interesting things about the characteristics of spam, but the bigger goal was automating the spam-detection process. Those insights don’t directly affect the bottom line, but they did free up resources to help apply data science in others areas that could.

Lower your expectations. Or at least know them

Like anything in IT, big data is almost destined to be a money pit if you go into it without a plan. I’ve heard stories of large-enterprise CIOs deploying Hadoop clusters — sometimes numerous flavors of Hadoop clusters — just because they felt obligated to. I assume there are companies trying desperately to hire data scientists with no real idea what types of problems they’ll be trying to solve. That’s crazy.
In some ways, this type of thinking ties back to the idea that new digital data sources somehow overtake a company’s legacy data in terms importance. Without any actual plan of attack, proposing “We’ll use social media” as a solution to finding out more about consumers is about as useful as proposing “We’ll use Hadoop” as a solution to a question about a big data strategy. Both might very well be parts of any given plan, but they need to be used for what they’re good for.
One major takeaway from my recent interview with MetLife, for example, was how fast the company was able to move on a new data-centric project because it approached it with a plan in place about the types of data and technology it needed. I don’t think it’s surprising, either, to hear the team at Infochimps say that while customers often approach thinking they need Hadoop, it turns out they usually need to begin with something a little less industrial-strength.
So, no, new data types, technologies for processing them and techniques for analyzing them aren’t going to change the world through their mere existence. At the worst, they’re just bigger, shinier and arguably better versions of what we already had. At the best, however — and used appropriately — they really could make a big difference.
Big data will never equal perfect data, but it can definitely point us in the right direction. I suggest not throwing the baby away with the bathwater.

By Derrick Harris

Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies

Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict.
The Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of government and civilian experts, did not accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs. But senior military and industry officials with knowledge of the breaches said the vast majority were part of a widening Chinese campaign of espionage against U.S. defense contractors and government agencies.
The significance and extent of the targets help explain why the Obama administration has escalated its warnings to the Chinese government to stop what Washington sees as rampant cyber­theft.
In January, the advisory panel warned in the public version of its report that the Pentagon is unprepared to counter a full-scale cyber-conflict. The list of compromised weapons designs is contained in a confidential version, and it was provided to The Washington Post.
Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.
Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.
Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously.
China, which is pursuing a comprehensive long-term strategy to modernize its military, is investing in ways to overcome the U.S. military advantage — and cyber-espionage is seen as a key tool in that effort, the Pentagon noted this month in a report to Congress on China. For the first time, the Pentagon specifically named the Chinese government and military as the culprit behind intrusions into government and other computer systems.
As the threat from Chinese cyber-espionage has grown, the administration has become more public with its concerns. In a speech in March, Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser to President Obama, urged China to control its cyber-activity. In its public criticism, the administration has avoided identifying the specific targets of hacking.

By Ellen Nakashima
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Me and Sad Keanu: A 3D-Printing Story

I ordered him one day from a website that sells 3D-printed objects, a marketplace for goods created in the new way. Then I forgot all about it until the day he showed up, a meme materialized.

It all began in June of 2010 when a photographer spotted Keanu Reeves eating a sandwich on a New York park bench. In one shot, Reeves looks dejected for reasons unknown. The image was metastatic: he was isolated from the original and pasted into new scenes all over the web. Sad Keanu was born, and then reborn, as a life-like 3D rendering.
But that was all in the computer. Now he'd been printed. This was the real world. What had the the flip-flop done to him?
Light did not reflect off Sad Keanu the way it was supposed to. It was as if the photons knew he did not belong here.

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Broadband Statistics Report

Report Description:

This report highlights the differences in broadband availability in rural vs. urban areas. The metrics used to illustrate these differences include speed, technology and provider availability.

- Urban/ rural definitions based on US Census 2010 block geography

- Data as of June 2012, Report published January 2013

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This Pentagon Project Makes Cyberwar as Easy as Angry Birds

The target computer is picked. The order to strike has been given. All it takes is a finger swipe and a few taps of the touchscreen, and the cyberattack is prepped to begin.

For the last year, the Pentagon’s top technologists have been working on a program that will make cyberwarfare relatively easy. It’s called Plan X. And if this demo looks like a videogame or sci-fi movie or a sleek Silicon Valley production, that’s no accident. It was built by the designers behind some of Apple’s most famous computers — with assistance from the illustrators who helped bring Transformers to the silver screen.

Today, destructive cyberattacks — ones that cause servers to fry, radars to go dark, or centrifuges to spin out of control — have been assembled by relatively small teams of hackers. They’re ordered at the highest levels of government. They take months to plan. Their effects can be uncertain, despite all the preparation. (Insiders believe, for example, that the biggest network intrusion in the Pentagon’s history may have been an accidental infection, not a deliberate hack.)

With Plan X, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking to change all that. It wants munitions made of 1s and 0s to be as simple to launch as ones made of metal and explosives. It wants cyberattack stratagems to be as predictable as any war plan can be. It wants to move past the artisanal era of hacking, and turn cyberwarfare into an industrial effort. Across the U.S. government, there are all kinds of projects to develop America’s network offense. None are quite like this.

“Plan X is a program that is specifically working towards building the technology infrastructure that would allow cyber offense to move from the world we’re in today — where it’s a fine, handcrafted capability that requires exquisite authorities to do anything… to a future where cyber is a capability like other weapons,” Darpa director Arati Prabhakar told reporters last month. “A military operator can design and deploy a cyber effect, know what it’s going to accomplish… and take an appropriate level of action.”

But you can’t expect the average officer to be able to understand the logical topology of a global network-of-networks. You can’t expect him to know whether its better to hook a rootkit into a machine’s kernel or its firmware. If cyberwar is going to be routine, Darpa believes, the digital battlefield has to be as easy to navigate as an iPhone. The attacks have to be as easy to launch as an Angry Bird.

“Say you’re playing World of Warcraft, and you’ve got this type of sword, +5 or whatever. You don’t necessarily know what spells were used to create that sword, right? You just know it has these attributes and it helps you in this way. It’s the same type of concept. You don’t need the technical details,” says Dan Roelker, the cybersecurity specialist who helped develop some of the world’s most widely-used intrusion detection software, came up with the idea for Plan X, and joined Darpa to make it happen.
By Noah Shachtman
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Online Service Is Accused in Laundering of $6 Billion

The operators of what the authorities described as one of the world’s largest online money laundering organizations, a central hub for criminals trafficking in everything from stolen identities to child pornography, were charged in an indictment unsealed by federal prosecutors on Tuesday.
The organization, Liberty Reserve, was responsible for laundering over $6 billion over the last seven years, with millions of customers around the world, according to the indictment. Prosecutors said that the company “facilitated global criminal conduct” and that the case, which involved law enforcement agencies in 17 countries, is believed to be the largest international money laundering prosecution in history.
The charges detailed a complicated system designed to allow people to move sums of money both large and small around the world with virtual anonymity, according to a three-count indictment announced by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
“This was really PayPal for criminals,” a senior law enforcement official said, calling the company and a system of related businesses “a shadow banking system for criminal conduct” that was “able to facilitate all sorts of criminal conduct that would not otherwise happen.”
The indictment charges seven of the company’s principals and employees. Five of them were arrested Friday in Spain, Costa Rica and Brooklyn.
“Liberty Reserve was in fact used extensively for illegal purposes, functioning in effect as the bank of choice for the criminal underworld,” the indictment states.
Liberty Reserve, an online currency exchange, has surfaced as a preferred vehicle to transfer money between parties in a number of recent high-profile cybercrimes, including the indictment of eight New Yorkers for their role in looting $45 million from bank machines in 27 countries.
Liberty Reserve was incorporated in Costa Rica in 2006 by Arthur Budovsky, who renounced his United States citizenship in 2011, and was arrested in Spain on Friday.
Preet Bharara, the United State attorney in Manhattan, was expected to announce the charges at a Tuesday afternoon news conference along with officials from the Justice Department, the Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to the criminal charges, five domain names were seized, including the one used by Liberty Reserve, and officials seized or restricted the activity of 45 bank accounts.
The charges outlined how the money transfer system operated, offering a glimpse into the murky world of online financial transactions that bounces money between far-flung accounts from Cyprus to New York in the blink of an eye.
In order to transfer money using Liberty Reserve, a user needed to provide a name, address and date of birth. But they were not required to validate their identity.
“Accounts could therefore be opened easily using fictitious or anonymous identities,” the indictment states. Prosecutors cited “blatantly criminal monikers” used by Liberty Reserve clients like “Russia Hackers.”
Essentially, all a customer needed to open an account was an e-mail address.
The senior law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not yet been announced, said that one undercover agent was able to register accounts under names like “Joe Bogus” and describe the purpose of the account as “for cocaine” without questioning. That no-questions-asked verification system made Liberty Reserve the premier bank for cybercriminals, facilitating a broad range of illegal online activity.
The senior law enforcement official said the case was significant because it attacked the financial infrastructure utilized by many cyber criminals in much the same way that drug money laundering prosecutions have sought to target the financial underpinnings of the narcotics trade.
“They’re not going to have this kind of fluid system that allows them to work globally in the same way,” the official said, noting that federal authorities were unaware of any other such system that operates on a similar scale. “It’s not the end of it,” the official said, referring generically to such cyber money laundering schemes, “but it’s a big deal.”
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eGovernment improving but citizens ask for more

Almost half of EU citizens (46%) now go online to look for a job, use the public library, file a tax return, register a birth, apply for a passport or use other eGovernment services. 80% say online public services save them time, 76% like the flexibility and 62% say they save money. But these users are more satisfied with online banking (8.5 satisfaction rating on a scale of 0 to 10), and online shopping (7.6) than with public services online (6.5).
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes responded to the results saying: "These are promising trends for eGovernment in Europe. However, when users are more satisified with online banking than online public services, it shows that public administrations must do better at designing eGovernment services around users' needs. And we have to do more to make eGovernment work across borders."
The Digital Agenda for Europe aims to increase the use of eGovernment services to 50% of EU citizens by 2015.
The eGovernment Benchmark 2012 report surveyed 28 000 internet users across 32 countries. Among the key findings:
  1. The most popular services were declaring income taxes (73% of users declare taxes online), moving or changing address (57%) and enrolling in higher education and/or applying for student grant (56%).
  2. While 54% of those surveyed still prefer face-to face contact or other traditional channels, at least 30% of them indicated they could also be regular eGovernment users if more relevant services were provided.
  3. 47% of eGovernment users got all they wanted from online services, 46% only partially received what they were looking for.
The report also signals that improvements are needed to online services for important life events like losing or finding a job, setting up a company and registering for studying.
  1. For people living in their own country, on average more than half of the administrative steps related to these key life events can be carried out online. Websites give information about the remaining steps. However, more transparency and interaction with users is needed to better empower citizens.
  2. The picture is less bright for the almost 2 million people who move or commute between EU Member States. While the majority of Member States provide some information about studying or starting a company from abroad, online registration is less common. Only 9 countries allow citizens from another EU Member State to register to study online, and only 17 countries allow them to take some steps to start a company in this way.



Mobileye has invested over 12 years in R&D and has gained an unparalleled know-how. The company is one of the global leaders in the development of monocular vision-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), providing system-on-chip and computer-vision algorithms to run DAS customer functions such as Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Vehicle Detection for radar vision fusion, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Headway Monitoring (HMW), Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent High Beam Control (IHC), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), vision only Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and more.
Mobileye has been selected by a wide range of global automotive companies for their production vehicles, including BMW, GM, Volvo, Hyundai, and more. To date, Mobileye’s technology has been implemented and launched by BMW on multiple production platforms: 5-Series, 6-Series, 7-Series, Volvo S80, S60, XC70, XC60 and V70 models, and GM on the Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and STS.
Currently Mobileye has a wide range of Tier1 partners. These include Autoliv, Delphi, Continental AG/Siemens VDO, Magna Electronics, Leopold Kostal GmbH, TRW Automotive Mando Corporation and SL Corp. Each Tier1 partner brings unique technical and commercial advantages and hence Mobileye has secured multiple series production wins with most partner companies.
Mobileye’s key technical breakthroughs lie in the use of a mono camera for all of its applications and in bundling together multiple applications to run simultaneously on a single EyeQ®and EyeQ2® processor based camera. Mobileye therefore has clear advantages in offering systems with multiple functions on a single hardware platform and in performing tasks previously only possible by an array of different sensors.
Mobileye’s award winning EyeQ™and EyeQ2™ vision processors represent a major breakthrough combining high performance, low cost and the consolidation of multiple applications on a single platform. They enable high-end functions combinations to be offered to all market segments.
Mobileye’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems’ consumer product line contains features already in OEM production and new customer features to be launched by OEMs in the future. Mobileye C2 series is sold worldwide as an Aftermarket safety solution for passenger cars and commercial fleets.
Mobileye is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Best Telematics Safety & Security Solution Award, International Fleet Industry Award 2011, the Red Herring Top 100 Innovators Award and the Frost & Sullivan 2006 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award in the Automotive Industry. This recognition signifies the company’s identification of a unique and revolutionary product solution with significant market potential.

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Advice paper on essential elements of a definition and a provision on profiling within the EU General Data Protection Regulation

The connection and linking of personal data to create profiles may have significant impacts on the basic right to data protection. Profiling enables a person’s personality or aspects of their personality – especially behaviour, interests and habits – to be determined, analyzed and predicted. In many cases this is done without the data subject’s knowledge. This is why data subjects can be treated with insufficient transparency and therefore may feel unable to exercise sufficient control over the processing of their personal data.

Profiling has found its way into many areas of life in the form of consumer profiles, movement profiles, user profiles and social profiles, for example. However, due to the widespread availability and possibility of linking data on the Internet and the fact that technical devices whose operation is based on the processing of personal data pervade our everyday lives, the online world can present one of the biggest challenges to the right to the protection of one’s personal data in the 21st century, considering, for example, the geo-location capabilities of mobile devices that most of us carry with us most of the time. Also, the back-drop of Big Data needs to be taken into account here.

As already stated in its Opinion 01/2012 on the data protection reform proposals (WP 191)1 the Working Party believes that more must be done to explain and mitigate the various risks that profiling can pose.

With respect to the ongoing legislative debate in the European Parliament and the Council the Working Party proposes the following essential elements for a definition and provision on profiling within the new EU data protection legal framework:

1. Proposal for a definition on profiling

In the light of the increasing usage of profiling technologies in the private and in the public sector and their possible impacts on the basic right to data protection, the Article 29 Working Party deems it is necessary to include a definition of profiling in Article 4 of the General Data Protection Regulation. This view is shared by the Rapporteur of the European Parliament for the General Data Protection Regulation, Jan Albrecht2.

Based on the 2010 Council of Europe Recommendation on profiling3 and the Commission’s wording in Article 20(1), the Working Party proposes the following definition:

“Profiling” means any form of automated processing of personal data, intended to analyse or predict the personality or certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular the analysis and prediction of the person’s health, economic situation, performance at work, personal preferences or interests, reliability or behaviour, location or movements.
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European Data Protection Authorities argue for clear limits to profiling – further input to the data protection reform discussions

Connecting personal data to create and use profiles has become an important challenge for individuals’ rights and freedoms. Profiling enables companies as well as public authorities to determine, analyze or predict peoples’ personality or aspects of their personality – especially their behaviour, interests and habits. Furthermore, people usually do not know that and to what extent they are being profiled.

Profiling has found its way into many areas of life, for example in the form of consumer profiles, movement profiles, user profiles and social profiles. Due to the widespread availability of personal data on the internet, the increasing possibilities of linking such data and the fact that technical devices operating on the basis of processing personal data pervade our everyday lives, profiling has become one of the biggest challenges to privacy.

Therefore the Working Party has adopted an advice paper on profiling giving some further input into the discussions on the European data protection reform.

The European Data Protection Authorities deem it necessary to include a clear definition on profiling into the General Data Protection Regulation and propose concrete wording based on the Council of Europe’s recommendation on profiling of 2010. In addition, the Working Party makes some proposals to improve Article 20 of the General Data Protection Regulation which is the provision on profiling:

 The scope of the provision should be broadened in order to include the collection and creation of profiles as such.

 The lack of transparency has to be repaired by guaranteeing additional information rights and a higher level of control for individuals.

 Accountability and responsibility of data controllers have to be strengthened by establishing specific safeguards to protect data subjects’ rights like an obligation to anonymise or pseudonymise personal data.

 A balanced approach taking the different categories of profiling and the different risks for the individual’s rights into account is necessary; the European Data Protection Board should play a strong role by issuing guidelines on the interpretation and application of provisions on profiling.


VISUALS of the ICT, LAWS and INNOVATION CONFERENCE of IT Law Institute at İstanbul Bilgi University in Collaboration With the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Network of Centers

For some pics see: