Breakfast Briefing: Microsoft answers Surface critics, Raspberry Pi gets a camera, twisting the DMCA

7 Feb 2013
Breakfast Briefing

Today's top technology stories feature Microsoft, Raspberry Pi, how to manipulate the DMCA, and a hack on the Federal Reserve

Today's tech headlines include Microsoft's answers to Surface critics, camera module for Raspberry Pi, how to manipulate take-down rules and the Federal Reserve hack.

Microsoft answers Surface battery critics

Microsoft answered some of the criticism over battery life and storage space in its Surface Pro devices, following internet outrage that batteries would last only four hours and that the 64GB version only had 23GB of free capacity. The Verge reports on a Reddit question session with a Microsoft staffer who admits there were tough design and engineering questions that limited what the company could squeeze into the tablet.

"Microsoft says, ultimately, that it 'picked a smaller battery' to keep the weight under 2lbs and keep it thin for tablet inking use," The Verge reports.

Raspberry Pi reveals camera plans

Raspberry Pi has announced plans for a camera module, although the peripheral remains a month or more from production. The add-on is expected to cost $25 and, when pressed on weight and dimensions by a forum commenter building Pis into home-spun hot air balloons, Raspberry Pi said "the board is 20x25x10mm. And weighs naff all. (technical term)".

Using the DMCA to your own ends

Ars Technica has a bewildering story about the US DMCA copyright takedown system, with it being used to remove unflattering blog posts.

"Retraction Watch, a site that followed (among many other issues) the implosion of a Duke cancer researcher's career, found all of its articles on the topic pulled by WordPress, its host," Ars says. "The reason? A small site based in India apparently copied all of the posts, claimed them as their own, then filed a DMCA takedown notice to get the originals pulled from their source. As of now, the originals are still missing as their actual owners seek to have them restored."

US Federal Reserve confirms internal systems hacked

Breaking into the US Federal Reserve sounds like something out of heist film, but Anonymous has apparently done it digitally. The central bank admitted that its internal system had been hacked, with details on thousands of executives leaked.

Like the hack against the New York Times last week, the Fed appears to be pinning the blame on third-party software. "The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Security company Veracode has a detailed look at what was leaked and why it's important.

Movie firms "can't profit from piracy"

IT World reports how a UK judge has ruled out giving money made through content indexing site Newzbin2. In a ruling, the judge declined the Motion Picture Association of America's claims to profits made on the site, saying that because it was illegal to download copyright material, rights holders should not profit from it.

"A copyright owner does not have a proprietary claim to the fruits of an infringement of copyright. I shall not, therefore, grant proprietary injunctions," wrote judge Guy Newey.

Military expert: hire hackers, don’t arrest them

The US military needs cyber experts, notes military policy magazine Foreign Policy - so maybe it should stop arresting hackers, and start hiring them.

"Oddly, the people who can best lead our explorations of virtual 'inner space' have received less than heroes' welcomes in the United States,” notes John Arquilla, professor of defense analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School. "Hackers may be courted and pampered in China, Russia, and other countries, but in the United States they are often hunted by lawmen."

He notes the case of Gary McKinnon, saying if President Obama wants to attract "master hackers", he should pardon the Brit.

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