Wires Crossed #15 – November 15

Google Catches Alleged Thief

Google Catches Alleged Thief
While there are privacy issues that have surrounded Google’s Street View  – especially in European countries –there is also an upside the service. Call it a fluke, but when a suspected thief decided to steal the Soane’s family caravan from their home, he wouldn’t have known that right at that moment a Street View camera car was driving past taking shots. Eleven-year old Reuben Soanes was cruising the net, when he found the pic of the guy outside his house. Police are not 100 percent sure the guy in the shot is the thief, but they would certainly like to talk to the gentleman.  

Cop Candidates Sign Away Privacy Rights
Looks like some US police recruiters are going the extra step to make sure they get the right candidates for law enforcement duties. Police chiefs in Maryland, Massachusetts and Florida are just a few police forces that are asking potential candidates to sign waivers so their Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts can be looked into. So far, there have been several potential candidates who have not made the cut due to the content of their social networking accounts. As you would expect, privacy advocates are less than happy about the process, but none of the agencies involved show any sign of stopping the practice any time soon.

Flash Stops Apple in Its Tracks
Apple and Adobe don’t have the easiest of relationships. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has never rated Adobe’s Flash software insofar as he doesn’t allow it to be pre-loaded onto Apple products and as the iPhone or iPad, and in fact is trying to get their own version of the software up and running. There is an up and and downside here. The upside is that a recent test by a technician claims that Flash drains a Macbook Air’s battery by up to a third quicker. Although this is not exactly a scientific process, it would give Jobs a case of the “I told you so’s” with regard to Flash a product. The downside is, that whether Jobs likes it or not, Flash is by far the most popular way people like to watch online videos. Here’s hoping – for its sake – that Apple  comes up with something that is just as viable.

Bomb Threat Reaction Ridiculous
A seemingly innocuous tweet has seen a British man fined and convicted of sending a menacing electronic communication after an airport was threatened with closure due to the weather. Trainee accountant Paul Chambers sent the tweet “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your s**t together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!” It was picked up by an airport employee five weeks later, the end result being a day in court. However, the incident has caused outrage in Britain, with actor/presenter Stephen Fry offering to pay the fine, and more than 5000 other Twitters also sending out fake bomb scares in sympathy. Is there some irony that the airport in question was called Robin Hood Airport – I wonder what the legendary outlaw – famous for taking from the rich and giving to the poor – would make of the $6,000 in legal fees and fines Chambers has to cough up?