Wires Crossed #76 – March 23

Russian Get Top Hacker Prize
Russian Roman Andreev has one the third annual Hackers Cup competition held in Silicon Valley, which is sponsored by Facebook. With more than 8,000 entries, 25 people from nine different countries were chosen to contest the cup and were flown in by Facebook to do so at their headquarters in California. But before moralists get all het up about such a contest, it should be noted that no known hackers are there. The title of the cup is a misnomer as contestants are set three hours of programming challenges, with the most successful participant announced as the winner. Sounds like nerd heaven.

Google’s 15-Minute Returns Policy Starts Lawsuit
Google is on the end of class action lawsuit started by Californian’s Dodd Harris and Stephen Sabatino who believe the company’s return policy is a joke. Back when the app store (now called Google Play) was opened, the return policy allowed users to get their money back within 24 hours if they were unhappy with it. In late 2010 the policy was changed to a paltry 15 minutes. Both Dodd and Sabatino had instances where they tried and app, didn’t like it, or it didn’t work, within one hour of buying it, but couldn’t return it. We think they might have a case.

Terrorists Chat Via Gaming Consoles
A report from the British tabloid The Sun claims that would-be terrorists are using gaming consoles and their online delivery services, such as PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, to communicate. Terrorists know that police monitor landlines, mobile phones and emails, but currently there is no way to monitor chatter on these gaming services. The Sun also claims that there is evidence that these terrorists use first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor to practice their shooting skills, which is unsurprising considering how close the games try to mimic reality.

Drunken Twitter Rant Over Muamba Could See Jail Time
Yet again another example of your digital footprint being left behind even when you try and erase it. As any football fan would know, Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba almost died of cardiac arrest during an FA Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday. Thankfully some quick thinking by medical staff has saved his life. However, Liam Stacy from Wales decided it was a good time to make some very offensive tweets about Muamba’s predicament, which ended up being reported to police as being racist. He was promptly arrested and might face jail time. Neither  first excuse of “my account was hacked”, or his second “I was drunk” held much sway with the magistrate. Nor did his attempts to delete the account work. He will be sentenced next week.

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