Breakfast Briefing: the printer ink rip-off, Firefox cookie blocking, MP's "accidental" work porn

Breakfast Briefing

Today's top tech stories include printer companies in "shocking rip-off", Firefox ups privacy ante by blocking ad networks and MPs surfing porn in the office

We start the week with a look at the way printer companies charge more for less when it comes to ink, Firefox blocking third party cookies by default, how MPs are browsing porn sites "by accident" and Windows Blue's search improvements.

Printer companies "ripping off consumers"

The Guardian has looked into the murky world of printer ink supplies and claims that printer companies are taking serious liberties. While prices have remained steady the average portion of ink has dwindled dramatically across the board, the newspaper said. As an example, the Epson T032 colour cartridge released in 2002 is the same size as the Epson colour T089 from 2008, but contains just 3.5ml of ink compared to 16ml of ink in the older cartridge.

HP received the same criticism, and was also attacked for charging significantly more for larger capacity cartridges. "HP sells half-full cartridges, then sticks an 'XL' on, fills them up, and sells them for even more money," said one recycling company boss. "The difference in manufacturing costs is pennies. It's a shocking rip-off."

Firefox to block third party cookies

Mozilla has underlined that privacy is an increasingly important weapon in the battle for browser market share by blocking third-party cookies in its Firefox browser. According to The Verge, version 22 will only accept cookies from sites being visited, blocking those from ad networks unless they already have a presence on the PC. Never short on hyperbole, the online advertising industry is up in arms, calling the move a "nuclear first strike," although Safari already uses the same tactics.

MPs in another porn shocker

The Daily Mail continues its porn battle with a tale that MPs have used work computers to access adult content more than 2,500 times. The news follows earlier claims by the paper that MPs had also been visiting extra-marital dating websites, and the paper goes on to explain "gay cruising websites have also been visited a further 3,500 times along with obscure erotica sites – including one showing naked women posing with cats". One can only imagine the Google search.

The excuse given for the browser history indiscretions? MPs and their staff may have landed on the sites "accidentally".

Android as a ready-made hacking platform

Wired reports how hackers have rigged a Nexus 7 to turn it into a penetration testing tool to test network security. The Pwnie Express security firm will be selling the handheld hack machines that are based on Google’s Nexus 7 tablets for $795, but the company is also making the Pwn Pad source code available for download so it can be installed on other Android devices.

Windows Blue to feature search improvements

Windows Blue is the next iteration of Microsoft's OS and details continue to emerge about the company's plans for the upgrade. According The Verge, among the biggest changes will be closer integration with Bing for (potentially) improved search.

"The Bing team is working closely on Windows Blue to improve search in a significant way," The Verge reports. "A number of scenarios are being targeted, including the ability for users to search for a movie and have apps surface that content and provide a quick way to play it. The current implementation of search in Windows 8 supports deep search within apps, but users currently have to select those apps to search within them."

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