iFive: LulzSec Hacks CIA, Facebook’s Anti-iOS Plans, Location Privacy Bill, U.K. Shuns PlayBook, Bloomberg Immigration Plea

Today’s the day that Adam Smith was born, IBM was incorporated, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, and rocket pioneer Werner von Braun died. But that’s the past…here’s today’s news:

Chile volcano


Those thin gray streaks in the image are the high-altitude plumes of ash spreading across the Pacific Ocean from the erupting Chilean volcano Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, as imaged by NASA. The ash continues to disrupt flights in parts of the region, with Australia and New Zealand (on the left of the image) particularly affected.

1. The CIA’s website was hacked late yesterday in the latest spree of disruption by hacktivists LulzSec. The intelligence agency’s site was apparently crashed for a couple of hours by a DDoS attack–suggesting numerous computers were involved in tackling such a high-profile government asset, and one supposedly connected to high security.

2. More evidence has emerged about Facebook’s plan to take on apps like Instagram with its own photo sharing app, but now there’s a rumor the site is targeting Apple with Project Spartan–an HTML5-architecture app and an app front-end for its social networking site. Though the rumor may be overstated, and an HTML5 Facebook would work on most modern browsers, there is intrigue that Facebook may be attempting to counter the Apple-Twitter tie-up.

3. Senators Al Franken and Richard Blumenthal have concluded investigations into perceived issues with digital user privacy, motivated by the highly misunderstood “locationgate” affair, and have proposed a new bill that would require companies like Apple and Google (and their teams of app developers) to obtain explicit consent before gathering or sharing location data. Franken quoted concerns from an anti-domestic violence group, among others, about location data issues.

4. RIM’s attempt to steal some of the tablet market has been dealt a big blow in the U.K.: One of the nation’s biggest networks, O2, has refused to carry the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet after test consumer groups found there were big issues in the “end to end” customer experience. This could be a reference to the missing features in the first release, including an email client.

5. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has made a loud, bold request, one of the biggest yet, for reform of U.S. immigration laws. In Bloomberg’s mind it’s all about future technology, highly educated foreigners, and entrepreneurs with a pile of startup cash. Reform is long overdue he thinks, noting in a statement that “today, we may have turned away the next Albert Einstein or Sergey Brin. Tomorrow, we may turn away the next Levi Strauss or Jerry Yang.”


Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise.