Around the IT Industry 8/19-8/23

by Modis on August 23, 2013

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US Government to Issue Secure Online Ids

Most people who have spent more than a little time on the Internet are familiar with modern technology’s obsession with logins and passwords.  Some people use the same information to log into multiple sites while others keep separate sets of credentials for every portal they log into, providing greater security overall.  Now, however, the US Government has awarded a contract to Toronto-based Internet security firm SecureKey to create standardized credentials for citizens to access their own federal records.  The project, called the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCXX), is designed to allow access to multiple federal agencies with a single set of encrypted credentials unique to each user, much like a digital Social Security Number.  With it, citizens would be able to access their state health insurance benefits, retirement benefit information, Social Security records, and IRS information all with a single set of credentials.

The Death Knell of Patent Trolling?

The business of patents has become a major talking point in the technology industry of late and few things have drawn the collective ire of the tech community quite like patent trolls.  Patent trolls are individuals or entities who exercise control of their patents far beyond what they were ever intended for and a federal judge in Illinois recently delivered a telling blow to their kind when he denied the claim that Helferich Patent Licensing, LLC made with regards to embedding hyperlinks within cell phone messaging systems.  The grounds for the denial?  A oft-overlooked caveat in patent law known as “patent exhaustion.”  The judge ruled that, by licensing their patents to every mobile phone manufacturer (who then sell devices to customers), Helferich exhausts those patents entirely to the licensing entity.  Therefore, Helferich (and other trolls) cannot make patent abuse claims against users who lawfully acquired the patent-bearing devices from another legally-licensed entity.

Super HD Goes Portable

Whenever we hear the term “high definition” we often think in terms of HDTVs, which feature resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 pixels.  However, display technology goes much further than even those standards, with resolutions in particularly large computer displays going up to 2560 x 1600 and cinematic cameras even higher still.  Handheld devices tend to refer to their screen resolutions in pixels per inch (PPI), with the HTC One boasting one of the highest at 468 PPI.  LG, however, has decided to raise the bar in handheld screen resolution with something it calls the “Quad HD” IPS panel which boasts incredible 2560 x 1440 resolution in a 5.5-inch screen (or 538 PPI).  This resolution is most commonly seen on PC displays between 27” and 30” in size, which means the individual pixels are virtually undetectable on the Quad HD display.

Malware Comes to the Cloud

Cloud-based services such as Dropbox are useful tools to many people who like to have a central cache of data available to them across multiple devices in multiple locations, but digital forensic science has determined that cloud-based ‘syncing’ can also distribute malware and viruses across a vast network of devices with relative ease.  Since the cloud-based data services synchronize the contents of the shared directories across every machine with access to the directory, any malicious data within those directories also gets shared and completely bypasses any network firewalls that may be in effect due to the nature of the synchronization.

Technology Leaders Unite for Global Internet Access

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and a host of other tech industry giants have pooled their collective resources together to launch an initiative known simply as Internet.org.  The goal of the program is simple: to bring Internet access to the billions of people around the world who do not already have it and to develop technologies which will lower the cost of connectivity worldwide.  The program’s official website has launched and provides an overview of the program’s objectives as well as a list of all participants.  In the coming weeks, it will host a series of interviews with technology experts as well as updates on the initiative’s progress and activities.

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