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Google Denies Killing Donkey on Street View Expedition

Google Denies Killing Donkey on Street View Expedition

Today in international tech news: Google denies that a Street View expedition killed a donkey, despite its own images that appear incriminating. Also, a one-man outsourcing scheme is busted, the EC might force companies that lose data to report it publicly and Australian authorities investigate the nation's online fake ID market.

By David Vranicar
01/17/13 9:04 AM PT

Google seems to have had a dustup with a donkey -- literally.

Images plucked from Google Street View have raised questions about whether a Google Street View car ran over a donkey in the African nation of Botswana.

Images culled from Street View show a donkey lying in the road. One of the images also shows dust hovering over the donkey, possibly suggestive of a recent tumble.

News.com.au reports that "the company allege that the Google Street View car approached the donkey which was already lying down," at which point the donkey got up and walked away. However, based on the images it received from Google the donkey then have had to walk backwards, news.com.au said.

Google denies that the donkey was injured.

One-Man Outsourcing Scheme Busted

A software developer for Verizon has been busted for paying someone in China to log in to his work computer and do his work for him, according to PCMag.com.

As the story goes, the man physically shipped his RSA token, a security authentication mechanism, to China, where a contractor used it to log in under the man's credentials during U.S. working hours.

The worker's scheme was reported in a since-removed (but cached) blog post by J. Andrew Valentine, who was part of a forensic and investigative response team within Verizon. The employee in question was not named, but was described in the post as a programmer who was "inoffensive and quiet."

Valentine's post says that the man, who made six figures with Verizon, is thought to have had "the same scam going across multiple companies," according to Valentine's post.

EC Considering Mandatory Data Reports

The European Commission is considering a plan that would force companies that store data on the Web to disclose the loss or theft of personal information, according to The New York Times.

Details of the plan, which would affect companies such as Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft, are expected to be presented Friday. The proposal, which would supplant the EU's current array of national laws, would impose the first-ever "EU-wide reporting requirements" for companies operating large databases used for Internet searches, social networks, cloud services and e-commerce, according to The Times.

The plan is designed to thwart cybercrime, which is a growing problem in the EU. Numerous "high-profile attacks" have hit businesses and governments, including 821 in Britain in 2011 alone.

Aussie Police Investigate Fake ID Sites

I wish it were this easy to get fake IDs when I was in high school.

Australian police and government authorities are investigation Web-based "fake ID stores," according to Australian outlet The Age.

The IDs are reportedly used to buy booze and get into bars and clubs (duh).

One popular site, fakies.com.au, has promoted itself on Facebook to the tune of nearly 12,000 "likes." The IDs cost about US$60 a pop. The company's notice that its products are "strictly for novelty use" is likely lost on buyers.

Surprise Phone Bills Irk Brits

A spike in consumer complaints to British regulator PhonepayPlus suggests that enormous -- and unexpected -- phone bills are becoming more of a problem for the UK.

PhoneplayPlus reported a 300 percent surge in complaints, according to the BBC. The main culprits, according to the regulator, are apps that are downloaded for free but that then start pestering users to buy things, as well as apps that contain malware and trick people into running up bills.

The regulator is reportedly working with Facebook to curb "rogue offers and promotions."


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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