Weekend news roundup

7 Aug 2012

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In our trawl through some of the technology news from the weekend, we find Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak doesn’t think highly of cloud computing, a data breach has cost an NHS trust £175,000, Baidu workers have been arrested, Wikipedia goes dark for awhile, and Unbaby.me, if you wish, can replace all those photos of babies on Facebook with something more to your liking.

Apple co-founder warns of ‘horrendous’ cloud computing risks

The risks of cloud computing will be “horrendous”, The Register reported Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as having said.

Wozniak’s statement is bound to raise a few eyebrows, seeing as how Apple introduced iCloud last year, its online backup storage product that plays a prominent role in the company’s iOS and Mac OS X operating systems.

“I really worry about everything going to the cloud,” Wozniak said. “I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years.”

Wozniak also worried about ownership in a world of floating cloud-based content:

“With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away. I want to feel that I own things […] A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer,’ but I say: the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”

NHS trust fined £175,000 for ‘troubling’ data security breach

Torbay Care Trust (TCT) published personal details of more than 1,000 NHS staff online, leaving them open to identity theft, The Guardian reported.

A health body received a £175,000 penalty yesterday after publishing sensitive personal details of more than 1,000 NHS staff on the internet, and following an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO), which branded the data breach as “serious” and “extremely troubling”.

Employees of TCT in Devon, England, found details of their sexual orientation and religious beliefs were published online, alongside their name, date of birth, pay scale and national insurance number. It did not contain any patient or clinical data, the trust said.

The ICO said the trust published the information in a spreadsheet on its website in April 2011, and only spotted the mistake when a member of the public reported it 19 weeks later.

Baidu workers arrested for ‘deleting posts for money’

Three employees of China’s main search engine, Baidu, have been arrested on suspicion of having accepted bribes to delete posts from its forum service, BBC News Online reported.

The web giant fired the three workers, along with a fourth person who was not arrested.

Baidu’s spokeswoman, Betty Tian, said the sums involved amounted to “tens of thousands of yuan” (thousands of pounds).

It is not known what posts were deleted.

Technical glitch blacks out Wikipedia

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia attributed an outage that left millions of users unable to access the site yesterday morning to “networking issues”, CNET reported.

During the technical problem, Wikipedia’s pages were only partially loading. Others were able to access pages, albeit slowly, and others reported they were unable to access the site’s homepage.

A Wikimedia spokesperson had told CNET the outage was down to “networking issues with servers in Tampa, Florida”.

The Wikipedia site is now back up and running.

Unbaby.me can help those sick of looking at babies on Facebook

A new service called Unbaby.me is designed to automatically replace all the baby photos on your Facebook feed with pictures of something more palatable, like cats or album covers, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

Unbaby.me launched last week, and its website has already received 41,000 Facebook ‘Likes’.

Three New Yorkers, Yvonne Cheng, Chris Baker and Pete Marquis, are the brains behind the photo-replacing plug-in.

“We were having drinks one night after work and were joking around about how Facebook is just lousy with babies, and wouldn’t it be funny if you could replace all those photos with cats,” Cheng said.

The friends, who all work in interactive advertising, contacted a developer to help them turn their joke into reality. Cheng said it took about one month from the initial conversation to the launch of Unbaby.me.

The plug-in can be downloaded from the Chrome Web store.

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