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Sexting and Supercookies: Two things that begin with the letter S

October 22nd, 2010 | Small Business | 5 Comments »

Did you hear about Apple’s new patent? No? Well, go here. Apparently Apple has created a device that would monitor the content of text messages.  This means that parents could set controls to stop their kids from sending sexually explicit text messages (referred to as sexting). But according to the post, it could be used to help kids with their vocabulary and other educational uses. What about the other implications of this? Apple could partner with the government to help them monitor employee text messages, which would help prevent employees from spilling State secrets and sending other text messages that could potentially harm the government. Or Apple could provide the intelligence agencies with access to customer data which may or may not help keep people safe.  (Remember wiretapping) Apple may have a patent on the device, but not on the idea, which means that someone out there could make software which would do the same thing as the device.

Speaking of coding (because you have to do coding to make software), did you hear about the guy who created a supercookie? No, this is not a joke, Samy Kamkar, you may remember him from the Samy worm-the thing that took down MySpace (who uses that anymore?), has created a cookie that’s very hard to delete. He calls it an Evercookie, but some other people and I are calling it a Supercookie (it sounds better) because it stores information in more places than a traditional cookie (wow, that makes them sound old). Kamkar, according to the NyTimes, has the blueprints (the code) available to anyone who wants to look at it. Beware of more supercookies in the future!  How did he create the supercookie? I have no idea, but I do know that he used HTML 5, which should be integrated into everything on the web soon, to do it.

This does not look that cool. They need a cooler logo.

What is HTML 5?  The latest version of hypertext markup language or HTML for short. Who remembered that HTML stood for that before reading this post or the NYTimes article? *Sees hands* Ok, a couple of people. Now you know. What does it do? It’s supposed to make it easier to view multimedia content without downloading all the plug-ins, add-ons, widgets…..etc. It’ll also make it easier to check email offline(how does that work anyway?), and find stuff on your smartphone. It’ll also make it easier to track data, which depending on how it’s done and what it’s done for may be a bad thing. Anyone, besides me, feeling paranoid or slightly nervous yet? The data is supposed to be collected in large amounts and stored on your hard drive while online. Wait a minute! If the data’s stored on your hard drive, won’t it take up space?…..I have no idea how that works and this PowerPoint doesn’t really help, but it’s great for explaining the basics of HTML 5.

The big 5 (Chrome, Explorer, Opera, Safari, Firefox) all support parts of HTML 5, but only Chrome supports most of it. (At the time the PowerPoint was created.) However, according to Google’s own JavaScript conformance test thing (called Sputnik, which is still in testing); Opera and Safari perform better than Chrome or Firefox. But, the test is performed for a computer running XP, so that might skew the results.

So what do you think? Please, only comments relevant to this post or the last post’s character contest (which is still open by the way).

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5 Responses

  1. Terry Ebaugh says:

    I had not heard about the “Supercookie” I wonder if this will make people use the private browsing features of the browsers so they will not be tracked.

    • mitalib says:

      Possibly, but advertisers and sites may find some way around that. And then browsers will have to find some way around them and it’ll become a race.

  2. Great post Mitali. You combined 3 topics in one post which i think saves time.

  3. GiridharB says:

    Wow. Very interesting, about sexting monitoring and its vast implications. Security agencies could monitor somehow all texts sent in the country and look for key words that give a clue to terror plans and nip them in the bud! Great info. Well researched.

  4. Laav says:

    Wow, Apple sure does get its patent files quick. Technologically, this doesn’t wow me, but, it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

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