Our favourite web(ish) stories from the week…
Adam: “This week the world found out about the hilarity that is CarrierIQ. The ‘usage pattern analysis’ software that should be capturing data on how users use their phone to help device makers improve future models, is in fact doing a little bit more, from Daring Fireball:
‘On HTC Android phones, the Carrier IQ daemon logs the following: every number you press in the phone dialer, every key you type on the keyboard, every SMS message you receive, every URL you open in the web browser, every app you open, all media playback, and your location. There is no visible sign that this is running, the process is hidden from the process viewer, and there is no way to turn it off.’
Lovely. Heads must roll surely? Perhaps we should take the carrier bosses out and shoot them in front of their families :-)”
Liam: “…reports suggests that 150 million devices have been shipped with software by Carrier IQ, with no one really sure what exactly the software does – but on HTC devices it’s been found to log every single key press, including your passwords, and then transmit data to Carrier IQ. The US government is now getting involved trying to figure out what is being logged by which manufacturers and devices, but I suspect this is going to become a much bigger story once that information is known”
“An interesting bit of news from the folks over at YouTube – A rather large update to their video analytics services. According to Youtube the reports are now even more detailed, allowing you to ‘have a more precise understanding of your content and audiences.’ There are also some new features in the form for Audience Builders and Audience Retention stats. For anybody looking for an overview, there is a lovely infographic over here, or for a full run down, head over to this article.”
“55 seconds, apparently, is the time the average man spends standing at a urinal – a total of nine months over the course of their lifetimes. Makes perfect sense, therefore, that someone has invented a urinal-mounted, urine-controlled game. Right….? Right…?”
“My favourite news story of the week has to be the UK intelligence agency GCHQs unique recruitment drive for new spies- by inviting would be code crackers the chance of an interview by breaking a cryptic code online.
The single page website began popping up on social networks earlier this week, the site depicting a series of seemingly random numbers and letters, along with a submission area for the hidden word.
The site follows a government statement in the 2011 Intelligence and Security Committee’s annual report, in which there was expressed a concern about GCHQ’s inability to “retain a suitable cadre of internet specialists to respond to threats.”
A friend of mine, who holds a position within a government intelligence agency, offered an interesting perspective of the story, telling me that the limited numbers of specialists within GCHQ may have something to do with the fact that such positions offer salaries of £21,000, while similar positions in private companies can fetch over £60,000. He commented that in his opinion, if the UK wants to keep up with the big boys it will have to pump a little more money into the intelligence sector than is currently being allocated.“