Apple Now Has More Cash Than The US Government

Apple Now Has More Cash Than The U.S. Government (Business Insider, July 28, 2011):

Here’s something to keep in mind as you follow this evening’s congressional debate over the debt ceiling.

According to the latest daily statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance of $73.8 billion at the end of the day yesterday.

Apple’s last earnings report (PDF here) showed that the company had $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of June.

In other words, the world’s largest tech company has more cash than the world’s largest sovereign government.

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Neuroscientists: Apple Causes ‘Religious’ Reaction In Brains Of Fans

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In a recently screened BBC documentary, UK neuroscientists suggested that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.

People have often talked about “the cult of Apple”, and if a recent BBC TV documentary is to be believed, there could be something in it.

The program, Secrets of the Superbrands, looks at why technology megabrands such as Apple, Facebook and Twitter have become so popular and such a big part of many people’s lives.

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iPhones And Android ‘Tracking’ Phones Building Vast Databases For Google And Apple – How to See the Secret Tracking Data in Your iPhone

iPhones and Android ‘tracking’ phones building vast databases for Google and Apple (Guardian):

Apple and Google are using smartphones running their software to build gigantic databases for location-based services, according to new research following the Guardian’s revelations that iPhones and devices running Android collect location data about owners’ movements.

Samy Kamkar, a hacker and researcher, has shown that Android phones, which run on software written by Google, collect the location data every few seconds and store it in a local file, but also transmit it to Google several times an hour.

How to See the Secret Tracking Data in Your iPhone (PC Mag):

Coverage of the iPhone tracking “feature” has ranged from concern to outrage. “I don’t know about you, but the fact that this feature exists on an iPhone is a deal-killer,” wrote PCMag Columnist John Dvorak, shortly after news broke. PCMag Executive Editor Dan Costa drew a softer line, writing, “Apple may not be actively tracking you, but it did turn your phone into a tracking device without telling you.”

Apple, Google Collect User Data (Wall Street Journal):

Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.’s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.

Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people’s locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

In the case of Google, according to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. It also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier.

Google declined to comment on the findings.

Read moreiPhones And Android ‘Tracking’ Phones Building Vast Databases For Google And Apple – How to See the Secret Tracking Data in Your iPhone

How Your Smartphone is Keeping Track of You: Apps Secretly Monitor Users

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Drawback? Most programmes for smartphones, such as this iPhone, send data back to companies that sold them

Dozens of popular iPhone apps are secretly monitoring users and sending information back to companies – who then use it to target them with adverts.

More than half of the programmes and games for smartphones sent data back to the private companies once they had been downloaded, a study found.

The apps include the wildly popular Angry Birds game and music identifying software Shazam, which comes pre-installed on every iPhone.

Armed with this information firms including Google track the individuals’ movements and sell personalised adverts for which they can make more money than regular ones.

The study found that of 101 apps tested, 56 transmitted the phone’s individual number to a private company in some way, known as the Unique Device Identifier or UDID.

Some 47 sent the phone’s location and five sent age, gender and other personal information.

More data was sent back about a user’s location on the Apple’s iPhone than Google’s Android smartphone, the research discovered, even though both companies have promised not to let such practices take place.

The research was carried out in the U.S. but it would apply to users downloading apps from anywhere in the world.

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How your Apple iPhone spies on you

Criminals using the Apple iPhone may be unwittingly providing police with a wealth of information that could be used against them, according to new research.

apple-iphone
Apple’s new iPhone Photo: APPLE

As the communications device grows in popularity, technology experts and US law enforcement agencies are devoting increasing efforts to understanding their potential for forensics investigators.

While police have tracked criminals by locating their position via conventional mobile phone towers, iPhones offer far more information, say experts.

“There are a lot of security issues in the design of the iPhone that lend themselves to retaining more personal information than any other device,” said Jonathan Zdziarski, a former computer hacker who now teaches US law enforcers how to retrieve data from mobile phones.

“These devices organise people’s lives and, if you’re doing something criminal, something about it is going to go through that phone.” Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since the product was launched in 2007.

Mr Zdziarski told The Daily Telegraph he suspected that security had been neglected on the iPhone as it had been intended as a consumer product rather than a business one like rivals such as the Blackberry.

An example was the iPhone’s keyboard logging cache, which was designed to correct spelling but meant that an expert could retrieve anything typed on the keyboard over the past three to 12 months, he said.

In addition, every time an iPhone’s internal mapping system is closed down, the device snaps a screenshot of the phone’s last position and stores it.

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Meltup (Documentary): The Beginning Of A US Currency Crisis And Hyperinflation.


Added: 13. Mai 2010

NSA Helping Microsoft to Improve Windows 7 Security

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A little help on security from the NSA. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Security Agency has been working with Microsoft Corp. to help improve security measures for its new Windows 7 operating system, a senior NSA official said on Tuesday.

The confirmation of the NSA’s role, which began during the development of the software, is a sign of the agency’s deepening involvement with the private sector when it comes to building defenses against cyberattacks.

“Working in partnership with Microsoft and (the Department of Defense), NSA leveraged our unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft’s operating system security guide without constraining the user’s ability to perform their everyday tasks,” Richard Schaeffer, the NSA’s Information Assurance Director, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a statement prepared for a hearing held this morning in Washington. “All this was done in coordination with the product release, not months or years later in the product cycle.”

The partnership between the NSA and Microsoft is not new.

In 2007, NSA officials acknowledged working with Microsoft during the development of Windows Vista to help boost its defenses against computer viruses, worms and other attacks. In fact, the cooperation dates back to at least 2005, when the NSA and other government agencies worked with Microsoft on its Windows XP system and other programs.

The NSA, which is best known for its electronic eavesdropping operations, is charged with protecting the nation’s national security computing infrastructure from online assaults.

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