Around the IT Industry 10/21-10/25

by Modis on October 25, 2013

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NASA’s Laser Communications Speed Up Data Transfer Significantly

Over the weekend, NASA and MIT made space exploration history when the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstrator (LLCD) beamed its data back from a spacecraft at a surprising 622 megabits per second. Laser technology could greatly enhance communications while in orbit, and the LLCD has exceeded expectations for its debut. The LLCD can successfully send and receive data, though its rates fall when the moon is low on the horizon to roughly 312 MB/s. The device will enable astronauts to download HD films in roughly 8 minutes, as opposed to 629 hours over radio wave communication devices.

Google Re-Index of DMCA Notices Makes Copyrighted Content Free Game

Google receives thousands of complaints from website holders daily, submitting claim forms known as DMCA’s. These claims aim for content rights holders to petition Google remove their content from a torrent or streaming site, etc. Google re-indexes these URLs, which house copyrighted data by re-indexing them at a site known as Chilling Effects. Google also includes the contents of the rights holder’s original DMCA request in the link that is sent to Chilling Effects. This means that pirates can often access valid, working URLs for content that Google was supposed to remove. Google also lets users know in plain text when they have encountered a link which has been petitioned, linking to the DMCA report. This gives freeloaders direct access to the content rights holders were petitioning to remove.

Problems with Obamacare Website Worry Coders

The developers who were responsible for coding the new website spoke under conditions of anonymity about the many problems plaguing the website. Pressured by unrealistic deadlines set forth by the government, the site was tested by in-house government officials rather than an outside firm who would be able to recognize and correct any code with errors. The new health care website has received far less traffic daily than even commercial websites such as PayPal, leaving many citizens wondering why the site is performing so slowly. The government has spent $394 million in contracts to build the new health care website, and administration advises users that are frustrated with online registration to call 1-800-318-2596 to register via telephone in a 30-45 minute process.

Court Rules GPS Trackers Unlawful without Warrant

A 2012 court case has received an answer to the question, “Are GPS trackers able to be used without a probable cause warrant?” the answer was a 2-1 vote of “No” by the US Supreme Court. This verdict protects the rights of US citizens, due to the fact that knowing where people drive is a privacy breach due to informing law enforcement of an individual’s social network and personal life. Many circuit courts ruled that GPS tracking was legal with probable cause; however, this ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court. The government states that law enforcement can no longer use GPS tracking to “gather information to help establish probable cause.”

Google Shield Aims to Help Small Sites Avoid DDoS Attacks

Google has announced a new project that will help small websites withstand DDoS attacks. Dubbed Project Shield, the program is dedicated to aiding smaller websites in the fight against DDoS attackers. Large scale companies have the ability to protect against these attacks, but smaller websites may often be inaccessible for days. Google is offering Project Shield free of charge, and is run by re-routing pages through its own system. This system uses Google’s Page Speed Service to help ward off DDoS attacks, while also using other avenues to mitigate the severity of an attack. Google has also announced a Digital Attack Map, allowing site owners to map where an attack is originating from. Its other service is called uProxy, which allows users to share a Web connection in order to avoid tracking while browsing.

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