The Washington Post

The Circuit: Anonymous and Syria, Verizon workers strike, AT&T makes voicemail passwords the default

LEADING THE DAY: Anonymous accessed the Web site of the Syrian ministry of defense and released a statement Monday decrying the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. The message came as violence escalates in the country and the government cracks down on protesters. The hacktivist group has previously said it would target Syria. The site was inaccessible as of time of writing.

The Associated Press reported that the group has also hit rural police departments in the United States, with Anonymous saying it had stolen 10 GB of data from the police departments in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi.

Verizon workers on strike: Approximately 45,000 workers from Verizon continued their strike over contract negotiations. The company asked for worker concessions in the form of reduced benefits and work rules, a statement from the Communications Workers of America said. The workers, who work mainly in the company’s declining wireline business, are represented by the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. It is the first strike at the company in 11 years.

“We’re asking our union-represented employees to help us on a variety of issues that could streamline our processes and further reduce our Wireline cost structure,” CEO Lowell McAdam wrote in an open letter to Verizon management Sunday.

AT&T aims to secure voicemail: AT&T, spurred by the phone hacking scandal in the U.K., has made changes to its voicemail systems, setting a password on voicemail by default. In a blog post Friday, company chief privacy officer Robert Quinn said that all new and upgrading subscribers will see the defaults put into place.

Quinn said that the company was not willing to go so far as to require that all users make use of a password, as has been suggested by privacy advocates, but did recommend the option to all its subscribers. Verizon requires a password at all times, while Sprint and T-Mobile also give their users the option to turn off passcodes.

Facebook says it’s found new proof in Ceglia case: Facebook said that it has found encouraging proof in its case against Paul Ceglia, who claims that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg granted him a large stake in the company in a contract during the project’s early days.

Wired reported that the company says it has found the original contract and argues that the contract Ceglia provided is not valid. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled in the Western District of New York for Aug. 17.

Mark Cuban suggests eliminating software patents: After the patent war between Google and Microsoft heated up last week, entrepreneur Mark Cuban suggested on his blog that the country do away with patents for software and process altogether. Such changes, he said, would reduce patent costs, improve the efficiency of the patent office, end the “ridiculousness of the current Patent Arms Race” and free up money to create more jobs. Cuban said that the new patent reform bill, The America Invents Act, does not adequately address the problem of patent litigation.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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