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While the launch of Google's Chrome web browser took up many of the headlines this week in the world of technology (and I had to include one story on the launch here), there was other interesting news.

Security Exploits to Google Chrome Browser Emerge

I've already weighed in on Google's new overhyped browser, Chrome, and will say little more about its future than this - the product will succeed or fail based on the judgments of mainstream consumers, not techies, bloggers and analysts.

But for techies, bloggers and analysts, there is still a worthwhile discussion - security.

Less than one week into Chrome's life, Google is learning that for all of the hard work it put in to making Chrome a secure browser, delivering on the promise of a secure browser is mighty difficult - especially when the spotlight is shining on you.

A number of Chrome security flaws have already been found. Both crash the browser and one may enable hackers to "trick users into launching executables directly from the new browser."

Some security experts are not impressed and Google's lack of a real response to these vulnerabilities is not promising.

But Chrome does give Google an opportunity to impress.

As I see it, Chrome may pose the biggest challenge Google has ever faced. While Chrome is not Google's first product and it's not its first piece of downloadable software, I believe it is Google's first real attempt at competing in a mainstream market outside of search (no, Google's suite of web-based office applications is not a legitimate effort to dethrone Microsoft Office).

Will Google maintain its commitment to Chrome? Will it address enterprise concerns? Will it provide the level of support that individuals and companies outside of the small world of techies demand?

When the dust settles and the hype has evaporated, Google's real test as "software company" will begin. In success or failure, it just might gain a little bit of respect for its rival in Redmond.

Comcast sues FCC over net neutrality ruling

Comcast has sued the Federal Communications Commission over its recent ruling that it can not throttle certain kinds of internet traffic.

Comcast, of course, had been found to have implemented such throttling to control traffic related to BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing.

That FCC ruling was hailed by net neutrality supporters as a victory but Comcast's lawsuit in response to the ruling is not entirely unexpected.

The dispute does bring up a key issue for consumers and businesses in the United States - do companies that provide access to the internet have an obligation to provide that access without restriction or should they have the right to determine how best to manage the networks they've built?

While I, not surprisingly, support the right of companies to make their own decisions and let the market respond in kind, Comcast's lawsuit should be welcomed by supporters on both sides of the network neutrality debate because it will hopefully serve as a first step in establishing a legal foundation for the debate that may have an impact on the future of internet infrastructure in the United States.

A different angle on SPAM and malware

Ars Technica discusses two reports that look at the topics of spam and malware from a different perspective - they address the companies that actually support the "infrastructure" of cybercrime, and attempt to connect the dots between the various organizations that are crucial to the cybercrime ecosystem.

Who's at the top of the food chain? According to these reports, a US-based company called Atrivo and an Indian-based firm called Directi.

Perhaps most interestingly, as in the real world of crime, both are "legitimate" companies.

One even has a relationship with ICANN, the non-profit that governs the internet's domain name system and Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation.

Directi has disputed some of the allegations made against it and the publisher of these allegations has responded.

Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, all this is well worth the read for those interested in a closer look at the intricate web that is the cyberunderground.

Facebook Tests Icon to Identify Predators, Porn

Facebook, as part of its agreement with state attorney generals to protect children from online predators and threats, is testing a "Report Abuse" icon that enables Facebook users to report questionable content.

While Facebook already offers links to report such content, the new initiative will replace those links with a link that sends reports to the authorities themselves.

According to PCWorld:

"At the end of the test, Facebook will work with the AG's office to assess the comparison data and develop the next steps in fulfilling the agreement, which could include expanding the use of the icon or discontinuing or revising the test."

Other social networks are implementing the same system.

While I'm all for protecting children online, there's something a bit Orwellian about this experiment.

I simply don't see how this type of initiative is going to be effective in protecting children. It's also worth pointing out that there is plenty of room for abuse and false reports.

At the end of the day, I can't help but think that parenting "best practices" offer the strongest solution to keeping children safe if they use social networks.

World Bank data now available through APIs

The World Bank is enabling developers to access some of its data through an API.

While this in and of itself isn't incredibly newsworthy, I point it out because there are actually practical, useful applications that could be built on this.

In a day and age where the APIs (and "platforms") that get the most attention often promote the creation of useless applications, it's nice to see that useful APIs are still out there and being noticed by at least one person in the blogosphere.

Drama 2.0

Published 5 September, 2008 by Drama 2.0

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