Sunday, September 30, 2012

Check processing for international merchants


eComTechnology payment processing - High Risk Credit Card Processing .
eComTechnology high risk credit card processing
Since 2003 eComTechnology provides merchant account credit card processing services to businesses, working with not only traditional businesses but high risk and high volume businesses as well. eComTechnology is established with many International Business and Banking Services and will match your company with a Bank worldwide.
Some of our accepted businesses:
ADULT, PHARMACY, GAMING, TRAVEL SERVICES, MULTI-CURRENCIES, HIGH AVERAGE TICKETS, CREDIT/DEBT COLLECTIONS, POOR CREDIT, ELECTRONICS, MAIL ORDER, TELEPHONE ORDER, HIGH RISK, HIGH VOLUME, TIMESHARES, REAL ESTATE, HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS, FINANCIAL CONSULTING, TELEMARKETING, DATING WEBSITES, EBOOK DOWNLOADS, SOFTWARE DOWNLOADS, SEO SERVICES, EVENT TICKETS, PREPAID DEBIT CARDS, CALLING CARDS, VOIP SERVICES, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, MLM MARKETING, DIRECT SELLING, BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES, FFL DEALERS, ANNUAL CONTRACTS, MAGAZINE SALES, VACATION RENTALS, GENERIC DRUGS.
Asia, United States, Canada or based in Europe inquire or apply below today and in most cases you can be processing in less than 10 days through your own virtual terminal or gateway.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Google buys wind energy

U.S. Internet company Google Inc on Wednesday agreed to buy 48 megawatts (MW) of wind energy for its Oklahoma data center from the Canadian Hills wind power project in Oklahoma, which is expected to enter service later this year.
In a release, Google said it has been working with its local utility, the Grand River Dam Authority, to procure additional renewable energy since plugging in the Oklahoma data center in 2011.
In conjunction with the electricity the Grand River Dam Authority already supplies Google to operate its data center, Google said it would pay a premium to purchase renewable energy generated by Canadian Hills.
The Google data center is located in Mayes County about 170 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Friday, September 28, 2012

LIBOR (the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) is now set for big changes


IT DETERMINES the interest payments on almost half of flexible-rate mortgages in America and underpins financial contracts worth an estimated $300 trillion worldwide. But having been tarnished by a rate-rigging scandal, LIBOR (the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) is now set for big changes. The first step will be a report due on September 28th. The report’s chief author, Martin Wheatley of Britain’s Financial Services Authority (FSA), needs to give solid answers to some thorny questions.
Everybody agrees that the current set-up is broken. LIBOR (there are actually 150 rates for 15 maturities in 10 currencies) is set, every day, by the British Banker’s Association (BBA), and aims to measure banks’ own cost of borrowing. Lenders estimate what they would have to pay if they asked other banks to lend to them, and submit these guesses to the BBA. Once all the estimates are in, the extreme values are thrown out and the remainder averaged.
If the estimates were honest, the system would work. But traders employed by banks submitting rates stood to win or lose millions based on the level of LIBOR. This allegedly led to systematic fiddling with the rate. Estimates were based not on banks’ borrowing rates, but set at levels that would inflate traders’ profits. At least 12 banks are being investigated globally.
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coca-Cola Co plans to deliver and operate water purification systems


Coca-Cola Co plans to deliver and operate water purification systems in rural parts of the developing world, working with the inventor of the Segway transportation device in a project that will also help further Coke's sustainability targets.
The world's largest soft drink maker said on Tuesday that it is teaming up with American inventor Dean Kamen to roll out his new invention, called the Slingshot, to bring clean water to areas where it is limited.
Kamen, whose organization is called Deka R&D, has made many inventions in the medical device field but is best-known for his Segway personal transporter. He also worked with Coke on its Freestyle fountain dispenser.
Kamen expects to deliver 30 Slingshot machines to Coke by the end of 2012. Next year, Coke will place machines in rural areas of South Africa, Mexico and Paraguay, in places like schools, health clinics and community centers.
By 2014, the distribution should widen to include thousands of units, and later to extend to India, the Middle East and Asia.
"For us to partner with Deka and embark on a project with huge societal implications gives me huge excitement," Coke Chief Executive Muhtar Kent told Reuters. "And it fits perfectly with our other sustainability pillars, such as our goal for water neutrality."
As part of Kent's "2020 Vision" Coca-Cola has committed to replenish 100 percent of the water used in its drinks and their production. Through 386 water projects in 94 countries, the company is 35 percent of the way toward the goal.

antitrust investigation suspended

EU regulators are set to suspend indefinitely an antitrust investigation into suspected preferential tariffs on credit default swaps offered by ICE Clear Europe to nine banks due to lack of evidence, a European Commission source said on Wednesday.
The EU watchdog's decision also took into account the entry of European clearing house LCH.Clearnet into the market, the source said.
ICE Clear Europe is a credit default swap clearing house owned by exchange operator InterContinentalExchange Inc.
LCH.Clearnet, which is set to be acquired by the London Stock Exchange, expanded into European credit default swaps in May, which insure the buyer against a borrower's debt default based on leading European indexes.
The Commission opened an investigation into the $28 trillion credit default swaps market in April last year, concerned that ICE Clear Europe's tariff deals may have locked the banks into the ICE system and hurt competitors.
It identified the nine banks as Bank of America, Barclays Bank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley and UBS.
The Commission will continue a separate investigation into suspected collusion by CDS prices provider Markit and 16 banks, the source said. Companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their global revenues for breaching EU rules.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

air pollution shortening lives in Europe

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, ...
Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, air pollution was not considered a national environmental problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Air pollution is shortening lives by almost two years in parts of the European Union, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) said, strengthening the case for a tightening of emissions restrictions in the bloc.
Legislation had managed to cut the amount of some toxins belched out by exhaust fumes and chimneys across Europe, according to an EEA report published on Monday.
But there were still dangerous levels of microscopic particles, known as particulate matter and linked to diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems, it added.
On average, air pollution was reducing human lives across the region by roughly eight months, the report said. It also quoted separate European Commission-funded research showing that a reduction in particulate levels could extend life expectancy by 22 months in some areas.
The report did not spell out where those areas were, but it said that Poland and other industrial regions of eastern Europe had particularly high levels or particulate pollution.
Alone among British cities, London also exceeded daily EU limits for particulate matter.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

carbon tax bill passed on EU tax for airlines

The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Saturday that would shield U.S. airlines from paying for their carbon emissions on European flights, pressuring the European Union to back down from applying its emissions law to foreign carriers.
The European Commission has been enforcing its law since January to make all airlines take part in its Emissions Trading Scheme to combat global warming, prompting threats of a trade fight.
The Senate approved the bill shortly after midnight, as it scrambled to complete business to recess ahead of the November 6 congressional and presidential elections.
Republican Senator John Thune, a sponsor of the measure, said it sent a "strong message" to the EU that it cannot impose taxes on the United States.
"The Senate's action today will help ensure that U.S. air carriers and passengers will not be paying down European debt through this illegal tax and can instead be investing in creating jobs and stimulating our own economy," Thune said in a statement.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, the measure's other chief sponsor, said, "It's refreshing to see strong, bipartisan support for the commonsense notion that Americans shouldn't be forced to pay a European tax when flying in U.S. airspace."

Monday, September 24, 2012

U.S. companies avoiding taxes offshore


Two of the IT industry’s biggest companies were singled out for criticism for shielding profits from U.S. corporate income taxes by transferring the funds to offshore accounts.
Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard were identified by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations as companies that use offshore units to shield billions of dollars from U.S. taxes by taking advantage of loopholes and stretching the limits of the tax code, according to Reuters.
Both companies were served with subpoenas for documents, and representatives of each were interviewed and their activities used as case studies for a report released by the subcommittee.
The report stated that Microsoft used transactions with subsidiaries in Puerto Rico, Ireland, Singapore and Bermuda to save at least $6.5 billion in taxes.
In the case of HP, the report said it funded U.S. operations with a stream of intercompany loans, using an exception in the law for short-term loans, to avoid billions of dollars in taxes. News reports did not specify an amount that HP reportedly avoided paying in U.S. taxes.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee, did not accuse the companies of breaking the law, although he said he was “highly dubious” of HP’s legal justification for its practices.
U.S. companies have a total of $1.5 trillion in offshore funds and admit it’s there to avoid U.S. tax liability. Of the top 10 companies with the most funds offshore, five are in the technology sector, Reuters reported.
"The high-tech industry is probably the number one user of these offshore entities to transfer intellectual property," Levin said.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

eComTechnology payment processing - High Risk Credit Card Processing .
eComTechnology high risk credit card processing
Since 2003 eComTechnology provides merchant account credit card processing services to businesses, working with not only traditional businesses but high risk and high volume businesses as well. eComTechnology is established with many International Business and Banking Services and will match your company with a Bank worldwide.
Some of our accepted businesses:
ADULT, PHARMACY, GAMING, TRAVEL SERVICES, MULTI-CURRENCIES, HIGH AVERAGE TICKETS, CREDIT/DEBT COLLECTIONS, POOR CREDIT, ELECTRONICS, MAIL ORDER, TELEPHONE ORDER, HIGH RISK, HIGH VOLUME, TIMESHARES, REAL ESTATE, HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS, FINANCIAL CONSULTING, TELEMARKETING, DATING WEBSITES, EBOOK DOWNLOADS, SOFTWARE DOWNLOADS, SEO SERVICES, EVENT TICKETS, PREPAID DEBIT CARDS, CALLING CARDS, VOIP SERVICES, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, MLM MARKETING, DIRECT SELLING, BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES, FFL DEALERS, ANNUAL CONTRACTS, MAGAZINE SALES, VACATION RENTALS, GENERIC DRUGS. Asia, United States, Canada or based in Europe inquire or apply below today and in most cases you can be processing in less than 10 days through your own virtual terminal or gateway. eComTechnology is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago, IL., and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Microsoft updates


Early this week, the company released a Fix It tool to provide a temporary solution for users until a patch was ready. The zero-day impacts Internet Explorer (IE) versions 6, 7, 8 and 9.
"Today we released Security Update MS12-063 to address limited attacks against a small number of computers through a vulnerability in Internet Explorer versions 9 and earlier," blogged Yunsun Wee, director, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. "The majority of customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because protections will be downloaded and installed automatically. For those manually updating, we encourage you to apply this update as quickly as possible."
In addition to the zero-day, the update also addresses four other privately disclosed security issues in IE. None of those four vulnerabilities are known to have been exploited in the wild, Microsoft said. All four are remote-code-execution vulnerabilities.
In the case of the zero-day, the vulnerability is due to the way Internet Explorer accesses an object that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. As a result, the vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user, Microsoft warned. Attackers can infect users, the company added, via a specially crafted Website designed to exploit the bug after convincing victims to view the site.
"Microsoft had to respond very quickly to this bug," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle. "In addition to the serious security threats it posed to their customers, Internet Explorer’s market share is at risk. Many security pundits and organizations have been telling users to switch browsers until a patch is available; I'm sure that got the attention of a lot of Microsoft executives."
The German government's Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, advised users this week to temporarily switch browsers until a patch was ready.

Friday, September 21, 2012

the Internet Association


Internet-based companies, such as Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Salesforce and Yahoo, haven't really formally organized in the past to make sure that their business concerns and interests were being heard and recognized by political leaders across the United States.
That changed Sept. 19 with the official launch of The Internet Association, which claims to be the first trade association that directly represents companies that conduct their business online, as well as their customers and partners.
The charter members are Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, Salesforce, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga.
"We're building this group from scratch," said CEO and president Michael Beckerman in an interview with eWEEK. "The Internet has a major impact on our economy. Our group will help the industry as a whole to grow, and we'll help the industry create jobs in other sections of the economy."
The new group has a three-pronged policy platform: protecting Internet freedom, fostering innovation and economic growth, and empowering users.
"Just like [government] regulators and legislators can't anticipate what will happen … we can't anticipate what regulations and legislative challenges will happen in the next several years," said Beckerman. "We just want to be ready. Part of my view is to win these battles before they start."
In the last couple years, the arrival of several proposed and controversial federal laws, including Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) acts were seen as real threats and were major wake-up calls for Internet companies, according to Beckerman. 

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Microsoft Corp warned a newly discovered bug in its Internet Explorer


Microsoft Corp warned a newly discovered bug in its Internet Explorer web browser makes PCs vulnerable to attack by hackers and urged customers to download a piece of security software to mitigate the risk of infection.
The security flaw affects hundreds of millions of Internet Explorer browser users. Microsoft said attackers can exploit the bug to infect the PC of somebody who visits a malicious website and then take control of the victim's computer.
The software maker advised customers on its website late on Monday to install the security software as an interim measure, buying it time to fix the bug and release a new, more secure version of Internet Explorer. The company did not say how long that will take, but several security researchers said they expect the update within a week.
The free security tool, which is known as the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET, is available through an advisory on Microsoft's website: blogs.technet.com/b/msrc/
The EMET software must be downloaded, installed and then manually configured to protect computers from the newly discovered threat, according to the posting from Microsoft. The company also advised customers to adjust several Windows security settings to thwart potential attackers, but cautioned that doing so might impact the PC's usability.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alvin is the longest-serving deep submergence vehicle (DSV) on Earth


Alvin's hatch
Alvin's hatch (Photo credit: groovysuvi)
Over the course of 4,400 dives, Alvinhas done just about everything. Its recovered lost nukes, explored the ruins of the HMS Titanic, and upturned our understanding of the deep sea with the discovery of hydrothermal vents bustling with unimaginable forms of life. But after 48 years of service, the venerable ROV is starting to show its age, and is quickly being eclipsed by newer models.
That's the story, at least, until Alvin gets $40 million in upgrades, and becomes the world's premiere deep submergence vehicle once again.
Alvin is the longest-serving deep submergence vehicle (DSV) on Earth. When it first entered active service in 1964, Alvin was nothing short of revolutionary. Designed as a replacement for earlier, less-mobile bathysphere technologies, the 23 foot-long, 17-ton manned submersible offered researchers the unprecedented opportunity to explore 4,500 meters below the surface. Its 6-foot diameter personnel sphere offered just enough space to cram in two researchers and a pilot, while a trio of 13 cm-wide viewing ports allowed for at least a bit of scientific rubbernecking. However, as Cindy Van Dover, a former Alvin pilot describes to Nature, "sometimes it was a great view, but often it wasn't, so you'd end up watching a video of what the pilot was doing." And in the past few years, France, Russia, Japan, and China have all fielded research vessels with capabilities exceeding Alvin's. Well, that just won't do.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PCI security standards for mobile payments


The council’s guidance on best practices is meant to improve security as the market for mobile payment solutions balloons.

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) is unveiling a set of best practices for mobile payment acceptance security.
The standards, announced Sept. 13, follow predictions by analysts that the global mobile payment market will continue to grow. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile payment transaction values will surpass $171.5 billion in 2012, a roughly 62 percent increase from the $105.9 billion in 2011. The firm also predicts the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million by the end of the year, up from 160.5 million in 2011.
"The trend in mobile payments is to utilize consumer grade devices for operations that were historically performed by hardened hardware terminals," Nicholas J. Percoco, senior vice president at Trustwave's SpiderLabs, told eWEEK. "The challenges are broad and many but some of the top issues revolve around management/control over the device, the integrity of the payment applications, and the security of the payment process."
The best practices were announced at the PCI SSC's North America Community Meeting. Dubbed the PCI Mobile Payment Acceptance Security Guidelines, the best practices are meant to offer software developers and mobile device manufacturers guidance on how to include security controls in solutions for merchants to accept mobile payments safely. The guidelines are focused on securing the payment transactions as well as the broader mobile application platform environment.
Recommendations include:
• Isolate sensitive functions and data in trusted environments
• Implement secure coding best practices
• Eliminate unnecessary third-party access and privilege escalation
• Create the ability to remotely disable payment applications
• Create server-side controls and report unauthorized access

Monday, September 17, 2012

Decide crunches data for online shoppers

E-commerce start-up Decide.com is launching a guarantee on Thursday, claiming it will help online shoppers handle increasingly swift price swings known as dynamic pricing.
Decide.com crunches data to tell shoppers the best products to buy and also when to buy them.
The latter service is becoming more important as Amazon.com Inc and other online retailers change the prices of some products by the hour and even by the minute. Twenty percent of products tracked by Decide.com change price each day, and some change a dozen or more times a day.
The company's new guarantee covers all buy recommendations on its website - over 200,000 products daily across at least 75 categories such as electronics, appliances and tools.
If the price drops below what the consumer paid within two weeks after making the purchase, Decide said it will pay the difference in cash, up to $200 per product. The guarantee is free for Decide users.
In the future, it will be offered as part of a Decide.com paid membership.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Merchant accounts for International merchants


Credit card processingTo get a merchant account, you must go through an application process to assure your business is qualified and to assume this responsibility. eComTechnology has succeeded with their clients for a decade now and been the driving force behind their clients success.
Applying for a merchant account is similar to applying for a business bank account or loan.
eComTechnology evaluates each application to assure the company and owner do not have unresolved issues with past merchant accounts. Discrepancies in the your documents, extended truths will not produce a successful application, however pointing out where you went wrong the last time might make you successful the second time around.
eComTechnology is an extension of what the banks demand for a successful application. eComTechnology matches the client with a bank worldwide and has been successful at this for 10 years now.
eComTechnology is a registered ISO/MSP for BMO Harris Bank, N.A., Chicago, IL., and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

50 percent of Android devices have serious vulnerabilities


More than 50 percent of Android devices have serious vulnerabilities that are unpatched because carriers are often slow to update the software, a mobile security researcher says.
"Since we launched X-Ray [Android app used for scanning for vulnerabilities], we've already collected results from over 20,000 Android devices worldwide. Based on these initial results, we estimate that over half of Android devices worldwide have unpatched vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a malicious app or adversary," Jon Oberheide, chief technology officer at Duo Security, wrote in a blog post. The results are then extrapolated using Google's published data on Android versions, he said.
Oberheide, who will be presenting the full details of his research on Friday at the United Summit conference in San Francisco, says the vulnerabilities detected by X-Ray are serious. "That is, if the user has installed a malicious app or an attacker has gained code execution via a browser exploit, these vulnerabilities allow for privilege escalation and full control of the device," he wrote in an e-mail.

Friday, September 14, 2012

billion dollar fine for LCD maker

Image representing AU Optronics as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase
The U.S. Department of Justice has reined down hard on a Taiwanese LCD screen maker in court, demanding $1 billion in fines and significant jail time for two former executives.
According to the Associated Press, AU Optronics carried out an extensive price-fixing scheme that feds said was the most significant ever prosecuted in the U.S. During a federal trial in March, the jury found both AU Optronics and two of its executives, Hsuan Bin Chen and Hui Hsiung, guilty of price-fixing.
The original complaints for the case alleged that the company worked to create an international "cartel" to set and control the pricing of LCD panels. In addition to the $1 billion in fines, federal prosecutors are also seeking 10-year prison sentences for Chen and Hsiung.
AU Optronics' lawyers asked the court for a reduced fine of $285 million and much lower prison sentences. It's not yet known how the judge will rule.
This is latest in a long line of legal proceedings on the matter. Seven LCD manufacturers, including Samsung and Sharp, allegedly involved in the scheme agreed to a settlement of $553 million last December. Of that sum, about $501 million was set to go toward a refund program for consumers, and about $37 million was to be doled out to governments and others involved for legal damages.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Banks to link payment systems


high risk credit card processingThe four biggest U.S. banks are in talks to link their digital payment systems to allow more consumers to easily transfer money with mobile phone messages and emails instead of cash and checks.
A link-up could be a key step toward revolutionizing the way consumers pay one another, like when roommates pay one another for rent. Electronic payments would cut banks' processing costs by reducing the cash they have to handle and the checks they have to process. Over time, banks may also be able to boost revenue from electronic transactions by charging a nominal fee.
Banks and other companies have been unsuccessfully pushing electronic payments for years, but with younger consumers wed to their smart phones, there may be new hope, analysts said.
Three of the four biggest U.S. banks -- JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co -- have already agreed to operate through a system known as clearXchange, while Citigroup Inc and some 1,400 smaller banks are on a system known as Popmoney. That business is managed by Fiserv, a provider of processing services to the banking industry.
The banks hope that by connecting the two systems they will create a network with a critical mass of customers who can use the systems to pay one another without a second thought. Customers of Popmoney and clearXchange combined account for roughly half of deposits owned by individual consumers.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Google buys Virus Total


Search engine giant Google continued its efforts to bolster security credentials with the acquisition of VirusTotal, which provides a free service analyzing suspicious files and URLs and helps detect viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware. The announcement was made via a VirusTotal blog post, which expressed excitement about the deal and reiterated its dedication to keeping computers from threats.
“We’re delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because: The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them,” the blog post reported. “This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.”
The announcement also explained VirusTotal would continue to operate independently and would maintain partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. The platform acts as an information aggregator, which accrues the output of different antivirus engines, Website scanners, file and URL analysis tools and user contributions. The malware signatures of antivirus solutions present in VirusTotal are periodically updated as they are developed and distributed by the antivirus companies.
The company has also released a number of desktop applications and tools for interacting with the service, such as a one-click file uploader, browser extensions. According to the company’s Website, there have also been a number of VirusTotal users that have developed their own applications and have made them publicly available on the Internet. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

FBI turning to facial recognition


The FBI is turning to facial recognition in an attempt to bust more crime--and has a budget of $1 billion to do it with. The bureau's Next Generation Identification project has already been given the greenlight in some states, and is expected to go nationwide by 2014. This will give law enforcement officials the ability to put their library of mugshots to greater use.
The technology will work in two directions: agents will be able to match existing mugshots up with faces in crowd photos; and CCTV images will be compared to the FBI's photographic database. Very little is known about the algorithm driving the technology--something the agency will wish to keep a secret, and something that civil rights activists will campaign to have made public.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Scotts Miracle-Gro illegally including insecticides in bird food products


Scotts Miracle-Gro HQ
Scotts Miracle-Gro HQ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lawn product company Scotts Miracle-Gro Co will pay $12.5 million in criminal fines and civil penalties for illegally including insecticides in bird food products and for other violations, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
The company pleaded guilty in February to charges that it violated the federal law governing the use of pesticides.
The sentence imposed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, includes a $4 million criminal fine, the Justice Department said. Separately, the company agreed to pay more than $6 million in civil penalties to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and spend $2 million on environmental projects.
The two penalties are the largest in the history of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Justice Department said. The law has existed since 1947.
"Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws" because it is the world's largest marketer of residential-use pesticides, said Ignacia Moreno, the U.S. assistant attorney general for environmental matters, in a statement.
Scotts, based in Marysville, Ohio, said in a statement on its website that the conduct was not consistent with its values.
"As we reach closure on these issues, it's important for all of our stakeholders to know that we have learned a lot from these events and that new people and processes have been put in place to prevent them from happening again," Scotts Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said in the statement.
The company sold illegally treated bird food for two years before it voluntarily recalled the products in March 2008, prosecutors said. It treated the food to try to protect it from insect infestations during storage, but the pesticides it used were toxic to birds and barred by the EPA.
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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Facebook stock up

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Facebook's stock is up following a disclosure that its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, won't sell stock in the company for at least a year.
Zuckerberg holds about 504 million shares and options and had been eligible to start selling them in November. The company currently has about 692 million shares eligible for sale. The concern is that if Zuckerberg floods the market with additional shares, prices would go down further.
The stock is still trading at less than half of the $38 that it went for in Facebook's May initial public offering. It gained 78 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $18.51 in midday trading Wednesday. That more than wiped out Tuesday's loss, during which the stock hit an all-time low of $17.55. It closed at $17.73.
Since the IPO through Tuesday, Facebook's stock has been down on 45 trading days, up on 28 and unchanged on two.
Facebook revealed Zuckerberg's commitment in a regulatory filing late Tuesday. It also said that two of its board members, Marc Andreessen and Donald Graham, have no "present intention" to sell stock beyond what they need to cover taxes.
Even without Zuckerberg's share, up to 1.2 billion more shares could enter the market over the next several months, including those from employees eligible to sell on Oct. 29.
Investors have been concerned about Facebook's ability to keep increasing revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience.

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Friday, September 07, 2012

social sites influencing political views


Social networking sites play a modest role in influencing most U.S. users' political views, with the biggest impact among Democrats, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The poll by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project comes as Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are using Facebook Inc pages and other social media as campaign tools ahead of the November election.
"For most of those who use the sites, political material is just a small portion of what they post and what they read. And the impact of their use of the sites is modest, at best," Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project, said in a statement.
Thirty-six percent of social networking site users say they are "very important" or "somewhat important" to them in keeping up with political news, the survey showed.
The sites are "very important" or "somewhat important" to 26 percent of site users in recruiting people to get involved in political issues that matter to them.
A quarter of the site users say they are "very important" or "somewhat important" for discussing or debating political issues, the poll showed.
Twenty-five percent of users say the sites are "very important" or "somewhat important" in finding other people who share their views about important political issues.
In each case, Democrats are more likely than Republicans or independents to say the sites are important.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Nokia gets into music streaming

Image representing Nokia as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

After the failure of its Comes With Music service in 2011, Nokia is once again trying introduce a music-streaming service in the U.S. in an attempt to improve flagging sales.
Nokia is launching a new, free music streaming service available for customers who own a Lumia handset, the company announced Tuesday.
The new Nokia Music app will feature over 150 playlists, including some created by well-known artists, including Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Users will also be encouraged make their own playlists, using the Create feature, which will give them access to millions of songs in Nokia’s MP3 store. Nokia will allo customers to listen to their playlists offline.
The service also offers the Gig Finder feature, which customers can use to find concerts and shows based on their location.
Nokia Music will be ad-free and will not require a subscription.
"The USA is the most vibrant and competitive digital music market in the world - by a wide margin. We have worked extra hard to ensure our service meets the expectations of the demanding, active and inspired music fans in the USA,” Jyrki Rosenberg, VP of Entertainment at Nokia, said in a statement.
“I would like to challenge everyone to try Nokia Music and see just how easy and enjoyable the service is to use."
Customers who own a Nokia Lumia 900 or Nokia Lumia 710 can currently download the app for free.
The company will be making another announcement later today, in which it will unveil a partnership between Nokia Music, AT&T and Green Day, which will be centered around Greenday’s new album Uno. Green Day will be performing an special concert and will be providing exclusive playlists to Nokia Music for AT&T consumers.
Nokia will be opening its Nokia World 2012 event starting tomorrow, where it is expected to debut new phones on the Windows Phone operating system from Microsoft.

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