Breakfast Briefing: Cameron's running UK via iPad, Kinect spying and Office for iOS
Posted on 8 Nov 2012 at 09:45
Today's technology stories include a Kinect app that could invite copyright holders into your living room, details on how ministers plan to use app to help run the country and rumours of Office for iOS and Android solidify.
Microsoft Kinect turns Big Brother
Microsoft has raised the ire of privacy watchdogs with a patent filing that would turn Kinect devices into living room snooping tools for copyright holders. That's the extreme end of the scale, but as Wired points out, the technology that would count the number of people watching TV in a room to generate more accurate viewing figures could also have more sinister uses.
“The system would use the Kinect camera to check the number of viewers in any room and then prompt the consumer to purchase the appropriate license based on that number. This would mean that you would pay more, for example, for a family of six than if you were watching a piece of content on your own,” Wired notes. “The terrifying thing about this patent is that it would grant copyright holders virtual access to private dwellings.”
Cameron using Twitter to inform decisions
More news is emerging on Prime Minster David Cameron's plans for more apps in government, with the BBC reporting how Cameron is using a specially designed app to monitor Twitter and Facebook to inform decisions and policy. The web app gives a feed of various live data on jobs and housing as well as polling social media for public opinion.
According to the Cabinet Office, the web app is ”a data visualisation dashboard to provide ministers and civil servants with information on key public services as well as other indicators. The dashboard is in working form and is now undergoing further development".
How the web stays alive during crises
When Sandy stormed into New York it knocked out huge communications centres, but apart from local sites being knocked offline, the impact to the wider web was minimal. According to network watchers at Renesys, that's because the internet did what it was supposed to do, and rerouted traffic to compensate for lost nodes - which as Cold War-era legend goes was what its original designers had in mind. With a series of traffic graphics the company shows how “from locations around the globe as varied as Chile, Sweden and India, some internet traffic was forced onto alternate paths to avoid failures at critical transit points in the NYC area”.
Office for iPad rumours strengthened
Rumours of versions of Office for iOS and Android devices have been circulating since a few details emerged from the Czech Republic last month. According to The Verge, the rumours are true and the company is likely to announce Office for iOS in February next year, with an Android version scheduled for May.
Despite the rumours, Microsoft had kept steadfastly schtum on the variant versions, but multiple sources claim that the releases are due for early 2013.
“Microsoft will allow iOS users to purchase an Office 365 subscription within the app, or let organisations distribute codes to enable Office Mobile editing for users,” The Verge reports. “The apps will allow for basic editing, but we're told this won't go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version."
Google hacker lays into Sophos
Security expert and researcher Tavis Ormandy earlier this week published a highly critical attack on Sophos antivirus tools, claiming they pose a “significant risk to global networks.” The Google employee published his findings independently, highlighting multiple memory corruption and design flaws.
"Sophos claims its products are deployed throughout healthcare, government, finance and even the military. The chaos a motivated attacker could cause to these systems is a realistic global threat,” Ormandy wrote in his disclosure.
Sophos has countered by detailing how it had plugged many of the vulnerabilities highlighted, and thanked the hacker for highlighting the issue.
“The work of Tavis Ormandy, and others like him in the research community, who choose to work alongside security companies, can significantly strengthen software products," the company said in a statement.
Is your business a social business? For helpful info and tips visit our hub.
Still no news about the Facetime case on this tech site? Is Apple going to pay the $368 fine and start licensing the patent? Or will they risk a sales ban on virtually all their products?
"Apple had denied infringement saying that VirnetX's patented techniques had only played a small role in its systems."
Kinda like gallery bounce then.
By TheHonestTruth on 8 Nov 2012
Microsoft Kinect - Fail
Did MS have a reason to wish for ever declining sales? Given this stupid idea it is doubtful if they will sell much of the kit to anyone with working brain cells, unless the idea was to block others having such a dumb idea. Somehow I doubt the blocking idea in favour of the 'We are Microsoft, we are stupid' idea. What happens if you use my patented idea, duct tape?
By Jonesr18 on 8 Nov 2012
Or you could just unplug the Kinect, ridiculous patent that will hopefully be thrown out.
I tell you now if they add this sort of crap to Surface/future Xbox then they won't be seeing a penny of my dosh.
By Deano on 8 Nov 2012
Not For Sale!
Another sneaky attempt to make you the product.
American companies want to patent everything that exists or might turn up, before they all go bankrupt, if they already haven't!
I wont be signing up to having my personal details incorporated into 'Big Data', and I'll certainly not pay M$ to spy on me and sell the info on.
As M$ does, hello Linux...
By skgiven on 8 Nov 2012
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy