The Circuit: Stuxnet; Google-Oracle; ANA criticizes Windows 8

Stuxnet: U.S. officials confirmed that Stuxnet was the work of U.S. and Israeli experts acting under secret orders from President Obama. The officials, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the long-held suspicion that the two countries were behind the worm after a report in The New York Times.

“Effectively the United States has gone to war with Iran and has chosen to do so in this manner because the effects can justify this means,” said Rafal Rohozinski, a cybersecurity expert and principal of the SecDev Group, told The Washington Post.

“This officially signals the beginning of the cyber arms race in practice, and not in theory,” he said.

Google, Oracle: Google has come out on top again in its case with Oracle, after a California judge ruled that copyright protections do not apply to application programming interfaces.

A jury had previously deadlocked on whether Google’s use of elements of Java for its Android smartphone system fell under the umbrella of “fair use.” The same jury found Google had not infringed on Oracle copyrights.

“The court’s decision upholds the principle that open and interoperable computer languages form an essential basis for software development. It’s a good day for collaboration and innovation,” Google said in a statement.

Oracle plans to appeal the decision, Bloomberg reported.

ANA criticizes Microsoft’s Do Not Track: The Association of National Advertisers criticized Microsoft’s decision to put Do Not Track in the browser of its Windows 8 operating system by default.

 “Microsoft, which had been an active participant in the DAA’s finely tuned Self-Regulatory Program regarding data collection and interest-based advertising, acted irresponsibly through its unilateral action to embed ‘Do Not Track’ functionality into Internet Explorer 10 with a default setting in the ‘on’ position,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA.

On Thursday, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz praised Microsoft for the decision.

“Microsoft’s Do Not Track option in its upcoming version of Internet Explorer is yet another step forward in giving consumers choice about their browsing data,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. “Despite this positive development, industry should honor consumer choice not just for receiving targeted ads, but for all tracking other than for expected purposes like security. I remain hopeful that industry will provide an effective Do Not Track solution by the end of the year.”

AT&T CEO predicts more mergers: AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said Friday that the wireless industry is likely to experience more consolidation, with firms buying up each other’s spectrum assets to deal with skyrocketing demand by smartphone users, The Washington Post reported.

Stephenson said he still feels burned after regulators rebuffed the company’s last attempt at a major merger, and that it would be “difficult” for AT&T to attempt another bid on par with its attempted takeover of T-Mobile USA last year. But he said smaller mergers by all wireless companies are inevitable.

Facebook taking votes on data use policy: Facebook announced Friday that its users will have one week to vote on changes to the network’s data use policy, which governs privacy and user rights.

“Voting starts today on the proposed updates to our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy and will end on June 8 at 9:00 am (PDT),” the company said in a post on the Facebook Site Governance Page.

If more than 30 percent of all active registered Facebook users vote, than the results will be binding; if fewer users vote, they will be advisory, according to a blog post from Elliot Schrage, the network’s vice president for communications, public policy and marketing.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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