Around the IT Industry 11/19-11/23

by Modis on November 23, 2012

Yelp Exposes Companies That Pay for Reviews

Online review site Yelp has recently begun using a specialized filter to uncover companies that purchase false reviews from users in order to artificially inflate their positive ratings.  Companies found to be utilizing these fraudulent means of review are slapped with a warning on their page that alerts other consumers about the company’s practices.  According to various online sources, as many as 30 percent of online reviews are fake.

Firefox Enters the Mobile OS Arena

Mozilla announced its intention to enter the mobile operating system market over a year ago and has now come into the fold with a prototype of its new Firefox OS.  The platform is entirely based on Web technologies, which will make it much easier for developers to begin making applications for the new system, hopefully generating the kind of backing needed to stand up to mainstream operating systems like Apple iOS or Google Android.

Senate Bill Could Allow Feds to Read Your E-mail Without Permission

A Senate bill originally designed to increase Americans’ e-mail privacy has been subtly re-written to do exactly the opposite before going to vote next week.  The bill would allow more than 22 government agencies, including the SEC and FCC, to access Americans’ e-mails, Google Docs, Facebook, and Twitter accounts without first obtaining a signed warrant from a judge (which requires probable cause).  If the re-written bill passes, it would be a significant setback in Internet privacy in America, as government entities would need only to file a subpoena in order to access a person’s full spread of Internet correspondence.

Augmented Reality Could Help With Dieting

Augmented reality (AR) headsets such as Google Glass could certainly have an impact on the way people go about their everyday lives, but recent developments made by the University of Tokyo suggest that AR headsets could be used to help users with their diets as well.  The University research team has created a special type of software that is capable of making food appear larger or smaller than it actually is, leading to decreased (or increased) consumption based on the user’s perception.  Everyday use of such a program could result in as much as a 10% reduction in food consumption.

Anonymous Engages in ‘Cyberwar’ on Israel

In accordance with the threats posed in a video by Internet hacktivist group Anonymous, the collective has launched a large-scale cyberattack on the Israeli government.  The Israeli government claims that they have been hit with over 44 million cyberattacks since the conflict in Gaza began last week, many of which have disabled websites, leaked passwords, or otherwise destabilized the government infrastructure.  On the whole, however, the Israelis say that the attacks have been largely unsuccessful.

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