iFive: Warrantless Cell Tracking, Facebook Earns $2 Billion, Mobile Beats Mags, Dual-Core Smartphones, Stuxnet Screwed Iran

Traveling to work? Here’s the early news in easy-readable format for your commuting convenience:

Hot tip: When preparing an explanatory PDF publication, setting out the manifesto of a shadowy collective of hackers, remember to remove your author information from the PDF’s info fields. Greek designer Alex Tapanaris appears to be in a spot of legal bother on this matter, concerning Anonymous and its WikiLeaks pay-back hacks. Oops. On with the news:


1. A Federal Appeals Court just rejected an appeal by the Obama administration, which was contending that no warrant is needed to seek cell-site info on mobile phone users–a form of low-tech location tracking, in real time and for past events. It’s a positive strike for privacy advocates, which is surprising in the age of TSA-privacy invasions and CCTV.

2. Facebook’s sales in 2010 point to revenue of upwards of $2 billion, according to some insiders–beating estimates, and confirming the size of the beast since 2009 sales were less than half this amount. It may also grab about 10% of all web display ads, up from 7% last year. No threat to Google on that front, though…yet.

3. A study by eMarketer rebuffs the notion the Net now consumes as much time as TV for U.S. consumers, but did reveal something yet more significant: Folks now spend as much time on mobile Net as they do reading newspapers and magazines combined. Smartphones and tablets are the future, or perhaps the present…dead-tree publications are the past.

4. Speaking of smartphones, the first dual-core smartphone–an Android unit from LG–has hit the world. It brings full HD video-out powers, HD video recording, and enough potential graphics processing power to get gamers excited. Basically it’s as powerful as your old work PC from five years ago…in your pocket.

5. A German coding expert is suggesting that the Stuxnet PC virus, which was cleverly precision-targeted at infrastructure hardware in Iran’s nuclear program may have been so effective it set the research back two years. He’s also suggesting it was so sophisticated that it’s likely the U.S. and Israel were behind the attack. Forget WikiLeaks’ weak hacking battles–this is how real cyberwar is waged.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


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