Mass Suicide Threats at Foxconn

300 Foxconn workers threatened to mass suicide on 2 Jan and were later talked down by mayor of Wuhan in Hubei province on 3 Jan according to Kotaku reports.Workers had asked for pay rises but were denied. Foxconn reportedly offered the option of leave with compensation or no raise, with most selecting dismissal with compensation. However, Foxconn has since allegedly denied payments for compensation, causing worker uproar and delays at the Microsoft Xbox production plant.

In 2010, Sacom, a student activist group, filmed aluminum dust on workers and waiting for shifts in long lines. The dust was caused from polishing iPad devices for Apple and later caused an explosion killing three and injuring 15. Last year, four workers jumped from buildings and three died. Sacom said “workers have extra workloads or have to skip the second meal break under the arrangement of ‘continuous shifts’” and “workers frequently endure excessive and forced overtime in order to gain a higher wage”.

Foxconn is responsible for the production of products for most major technology companies including Apple, Nintendo, Microsoft, Amazon, HP and Intel. Foxconn is currently increasing the roles of robots in the manufacturing process with a $224 million investment over three years.

Elisa ISP Forced to Block Pirate Bay

Elisa has enacted a temporary ban on the Pirate Bay, the Music Bay and SuprNova as well as affiliated IP addresses. The ban stems from a District Court of Helsinki decision on 26 October 2011 which Elisa has appealed to the Helsinki Court of Appeal. The ban will affect Elisa and Saunalahti customers.

The company said  the decision meant “Elisa must remove the Pirate Bay service’s domain names from Elisa’s name servers and to block traffic to the IP addresses that the service uses”. Elisa also said the ban was “based on a petition submitted by the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre on behalf of IFPI Finland. IFPI has also issued petitions concerning other teleoperators”.

Anonymous members in Finland have taken down the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre, saying:

Microsoft Patents ‘Unsafe Neighbourhoods’ GPS Path

Microsoft has been awarded a patent that allows pedestrian using GPS information to avoid unsafe areas, weather conditions and even unstable terrain. Researchers say that this can select safer paths, indoor areas if it is raining or level land for elderly pedestrians.

Researchers said “since a large number of individuals travel by vehicle, application to pedestrian travel has been ignored”. Some of the information which could be used includes “maps (e.g., extracted from a database), user history, weather information, crime statistics, [and] demographic information”.

The GPS system can also learn from past routes and scrape information from your calendar. The researches give the example of a user who needs to attend their “daughter’s recital in several hours, so it is likely he wants a quickest path”.

Users will be able to select paths based on the traditional A to B paths then select conditions. The patent was filed 14 December 2007 and was awarded 3 January 2012. The patent could be used in conjunction with the existing Bing Maps product and mobile phones.

Canonical Releases Ubuntu One Files iOS App

Canonical have announced an iOS app that allows users to access and transfer files on their Ubuntu One platform, similar to the Android version released mid last year.  A major feature for the Ubuntu One Files app is the ability to automatically upload photos on your iOS device to Ubuntu One then share theme.

Ubuntu One offers 5 GB of storage and can now be used across Windows, Ubuntu, iOS and Android. The Canonical team said “the Android version of this app has been hugely successful and the iOS version delivers to the same high standard”.

Ubuntu OS and Ubuntu One will both be showcased at CES during 10-13 Jan. The Canonical team said it included a “sneak peek at the future evolution of Ubuntu One” and that “exciting times lie ahead as we will continue to lead the way in linking the personal cloud with consumer electronics”, citing the availability of Ubuntu One in a prototype car.

JavaScript and jQuery: The Missing Manual Review

JavaScript and jQuery: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly), is the latest JavaScript book written by David Sawyer McFarland. McFarland walks though jQuery with ease, explaining some difficult concepts intuitively but overall falls short for the new programmer to JavaScript and jQuery.

Now in it’s second edition, it was previously published JavaScript: The Missing Manual, but was renamed for this new edition due to customer complaints about the contents which mainly focuses on jQuery. Still perhaps the deadly mistake of the book was to teach JavaScript and jQuery together rather than dedicating a separate book to each topic. Although, McFarland can write with excellence, readers must rush through a smorgasbord of JavaScript and jQuery. McFarland is forced to skimp on JavaScript and introduce a heap of concepts including AJAX, whilst awkwardly skimping on important concepts such as regular expression (regex) in the last chapter called “Going Forward with JavaScript”.

At best, readers will know the basics of jQuery to create a few transitions and targeting elements. Though don’t expect to have an intuitive sense for creating original code.  After completing the book you’ll be hardly familiar with JavaScript or jQuery, a stark contrast to using the CSS book from McFarland.

If you’re a fan of McFarland’s CSS: The Missing Manual book, McFarland takes the same approach with writing and tutorials. Still some points are painfully verbose such as ‘advanced event handling’, though overall McFarland is able to communicate most points clearly.

Unsatisfyingly, McFarland doesn’t set programming challenges relevant to the skill level in the book. It leaves for very unmemorable programming as you copy code out of the book, whilst this approach was great for CSS: the Missing Manual, it was not so for JavaScript.

The book is best suited to those who already know JavaScript and want some walked through programming examples from jQuery. McFarland also introduces some other jQuery plugins, and gives practical examples of these too if you’re new to plugins.

Overall, this book allows for a quick introduction to JavaScript and jQuery, just don’t expect to be a pro.

Nintendo, Sony Electronics and EA Drop out of SOPA Supporters List

An updated list of supporters of the SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, now appears without popular gaming companies including Nintendo, Sony, EA and Microsoft. Sony Music companies still appear on the list, however the gaming arm has dropped from the list.

A twist in support for all four companies appears in the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), a gaming trade association which includes all the above companies and aims to reduce piracy. With ESA still listed as a supporter, the stance of these separate companies is still unknown.

The supporters list still contains big companies such as L’Oreal, News Corporation, Pfizer, Time Warner and VISA. Pfizer and L’Oreal are mostly concerned about websites selling counterfeit product.

Anonymous has recently threatened to hack Sony networks if they continued to support SOPA. A message from the group said “yet again, we have decided to destroy your network. We will dismantle your phantom from the internet”.

Hackers Readying Publication of 2.7 Million Emails from Stratfor

The Anonymous group is readying the publication of Stratfor emails by sorting through the millions of email, believed to be 2.7 million. Messages from Wikileaks distributed via Twitter and Facebook said “milions of emails between some of the most powerful men in the world are about to be released”.

Barrett Brown, a journalist organizing the project, said  in a Pastebin post the original purpose of the hack was to get access to the “2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm’s servers” not for the credit card information. Brown hopes to “bring to light other instances of corruption, crime, and deception on the part of certain powerful actors based in the U.S. and elsewhere”.

Brown accused “various agents” of the U.S. government of obtaining information using violent methods. Whilst hackers, he said, did not have to “break down the doors of the target, point guns at children, and shoot down any dogs that might have been present”.

A post by Brown on Reddit said “please prepare to help search through them [the emails]“. The group organizing data is called Project PM, which has taken to investigating intelligence companies.

Stratfor says CSID will provide “identify protection” for affected parties of the Anonymous exploit. Stratfor have also delayed the launch of their website to allow for security testing.

Anonymous and LulzSec Hack Stratfor in ‘LulzXmas’

A hacking co-operative formed between LulzSec and Anonymous hackers, ‘AntiSec’, have hacked Stratfor, an American intelligence think-tank. The group stole private client information including credit card details, passwords and phone numbers. The group allegedly collected as much as 200 GB of data.

The breach occurred on December 24 as part of a ‘LulzXmas’ campaign, the company has since taken down the website for maintenance. A statement released by Anonymous said that Stratfor had hired “two outside consultants to try to bail their sorry asses out of the hellhole of a grave we dug them”.

The two main reasons outlined in the statement were  to “bring pain to greedy whitehats willing to flip for a dime on government payrolls. And don’t worry—there’s plenty more havoc in store for the rest of the week”, whilst the group also hinted at giving ” Bradley Manning his holiday feast” to avert further releases.

The group has so far released 25,000 support tickets publicly and lists of credit card details, reportedly being used to make donations to the American Red Cross and CARE.

Due to a lack of website, Stratfor CEO,  George Friedman, published a post on Facebook saying that the release from Anonymous “was merely a list of some of the members that have purchased our publications and does not comprise a list of individuals or entities that have a relationship with Stratfor beyond their purchase of our subscription-based publications”.

Freidman said “we are on top of the situation and will continue to be vigilant in our implementation of the latest, and most comprehensive, data security measures”.

Anonymous Gain Credit Card Information from SpecialForces.Com

Anonymous and LulzSec have continued their ‘LulzXmas’ today, breaking into standard Blowfish encryption used on after encryption keys were stolen, according to an Anonymous press release.

The password list of was allegedly leaked earlier than expected by an inside Anonymous member, Anonymous said they had the  password lists for “the past few months” and that they have around 14,000 passwords and 8000 credit card numbers including expiration dates from those who purchased from

Anonymous said “we had to contain our laughter when we saw these two ‘hacker proof logos plastered on the website”, referring to the GoDaddy and McAfee security seals. GoDaddy explains, on their website, that the Site Scanner Site “looks for malware links on your site and crawls the code for security gaps that a hacker could use to steal customer information”.

The press release said “we’ll continue to have ourselves a merry LulzXmas at the expense of capitalist pigs, corrupt public officials and all those third parties who cater to the continued oligarchic elite worldwide” and ended  “we are here to stay, and by now, you had better damn well expect us, cause the time for simple ‘lulz’ is long past”. sells gear based on equipment used by the Special Forces and Anonymous say that the company mainly sells to “military and law enforcement affiliated individuals”. The has yet respond to leaks of customer details.

Cryptocat Provides Privacy-Aware Chat Alternative with Security

Cryptocat is an open-source web app that uses encryption to secure online chat. If you’re looking for an option with even more security the  Cryptocat Chrome app, stores all code locally reducing the need to contact the server.

The website actually securely deletes all logs of conversations after an hour of inactivity. Cryptocat developer, Nadim Kobeissi, explained that “big data such as Google and Facebook continue to amass gigantic amounts of personal information without providing any guarantee of privacy, while encryption software remains largely inaccessible” in the about page of the web app.

Cryptocat allows the use of TOR and supports major phones operating systems including the iOS, Andriod and BlackBerry systems. Users can be verified using a “fingerprint” assigned to each user. All the code is available on Github and the website has also been translated to French, Italian, Basque and Catalan.