Top 10 Technology Stories of the Week – March 12th to March 18th 2012

US e-voting system cracked…, Transfer of Wikipedia sites…, TED Talk on Thorium…, Google is globally switching…,  copyright cops…, Paypal does it again…, Mozilla CEO…, fossil fuels – ExtremeTech…, US Gov’t’s Interests More…, ‘Anonymous-OS’ is fake…

1. US e-voting system cracked in less than 48 hours: “We successfully changed every vote and revealed almost every secret ballot.”

Researchers at the University of Michigan have reported that it took them only a short time to break through the security functions of a pilot project for online voting in Washington, D.C. “Within 48 hours of the system going live, we had gained near complete control of the election server”, the researchers wrote in a paper that has now been released.

2. Transfer of Wikipedia sites from GoDaddy complete — Wikimedia blog 

After months of deliberation and a complicated transfer, the Wikimedia Foundation domain portfolio has been successfully transferred from GoDaddy to MarkMonitor. The portfolio transfer was formally completed on Friday, March 9th, 2012. The transfers were done seamlessly and our sites did not experience any interruption of service or other issues during the procedure.

3. TED Talk on Thorium – You have to hope this kind of work attracts attention/funding

American Energy Independence: Retake the lead in Thorium and Molten Salts, let High-Tech Manufacturing thrive in USA. End Energy Imports with THORIUM
China’s “Advanced Nuclear Cooperation” with the US excludes ALL Thorium related R&D. China’s expressed intent is to capture all Molten Salt related IP, working from Oak Ridge’s now public R&D paid for by US taxpayers.

4. Google is globally switching its search to HTTPS by default

Google has announced on its Inside Searchblog that it is enabling SSL encryption by default on its global search pages. The US site has been switching users to the secured HTTPS protocol since last year and now, to improve security and privacy for all its users, the company is rolling the behaviour out to its international properties such as

Google Logo

5. With US ISPs intending to become copyright cops, its time to consider using a VPN.

Last month it became apparent that not all VPN providers live up to their marketing after an alleged member of Lulzsec was tracked down after using a supposedly anonymous service from HideMyAss. We wanted to know which VPN providers take privacy extremely seriously so we asked many of the leading providers two very straightforward questions. Their responses will be of interest to anyone concerned with anonymity issues

6. Paypal does it again. 

After collecting almost $20,000 to buy Christmas toys for needy children, PayPal forced me to manually refund every contribution, while keeping the fees of these transactions. When I balked, they attempted to freeze this money for 180 days, with no recourse, effectively ruining the holiday for 200 families.

7. Mozilla CEO: Don’t Understand The Internet? Get Out Of Government

AUSTIN, Texas – The Internet is a way of life for billions of people but some in Washington still don’t seem to get it, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs said on Saturday. ”If you don’t understand the Internet, you don’t have any place in government,” he told an audience at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin.

8. Solar panel made with ion cannon is cheap enough to challenge fossil fuels – ExtremeTech

Twin Creeks, a solar power startup that emerged from hiding today, has developed a way of creating photovoltaic cells that are half the price of today’s cheapest cells, and thus within reach of challenging the fossil fuel hegemony. The best bit: Twin Creeks’ photovoltaic cells are created using a hydrogen ion particle accelerator.

Twin Creeks' Hyperion particle accelerator wafer machine thing

9. UK Decides Hollywood, US Gov’t’s Interests More Important Than Own Citizens; Extradites Student For Linking

In January, a judge said that the UK could extradite student Richard O’Dwyer to the US to face criminal copyright infringement charges for the “crime” of linking to streaming videos hosted elsewhere — something that had already been found legal in the UK multiple times. This is pretty important, because for it to be criminal infringement, it has to be willful, and if sites that were nearly identical to O’Dwyer’s were found legal in his home country, where he lived and where he operated the site, it’s difficult to see how there’s anything willful at all.

10. ‘Anonymous-OS’ is fake and packed with malware, Anonymous says 

Hacker group “Anonymous Operations” has confirmed that the custom Linux-based operating system released under its name earlier this week is not a platform it developed. “The Anon OS is fake,” the group posted on Twitter Wednesday evening. “It is wrapped in trojans.” The desktop operating system was released earlier this week by individuals claiming ties with Anonymous. It is based on popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, and it ships with a number of hacking tools pre-installed.