Hide and protect data with LockDisk

If you like the idea of storing sensitive data safely, securely, and away from prying eyes, you need to create an encrypted virtual disk on your hard drive. That's easier than it sounds, thanks to Klonsoft's LockDisk. This tool creates encrypted, password-protected, hidden volumes in your system. You can specify the size of your volume to make sure you have enough space for your stuff without wasting disk space. LockDisk works in 32-bit Windows editions. Some users may need to right-click the program's Start menu entry or executable file and select Run as Administrator to use LockDisk. … Read more

Australia won't start new Google Street View probe

Despite earlier reports saying that it might do so, Australia won't take aim at Google's Street View service over the collection of Wi-Fi data.

The country's service reported today that Australia Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim was planning to evaluate a recently released U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report on Street View data collection to determine if his office should call on the Australian Federal Police to launch an investigation into the search giant's practices. However, in a subsequent media statement, the commissioner's office made it clear no such investigation would be … Read more

The 404 1,060: Where we break through the clusterzuck (podcast)

Now that the Internet isn't flooded with Facebook IPO news, we can move on to more breaking news, like Hollywood finally answering our prayers for a Hook prequel that tells the Rufio origin story.

That's right, the original actor who played Rufio, Dante Basco, recently announced in an interview that a Rufio prequel film is in the works under the directing eye of Rpin Suwannath. Maybe we'll finally get to the bottom of how he got those fabulous red tights.… Read more

What's behind the NY bills to ban anonymous online comments

In New York state, legislators in both chambers have proposed bills that would force Web sites to police the identities of anonymous commenters

Under the proposed Internet Protection Act (S06779), when anyone complains about an anonymous (or pseudonymous) comment, the Web site must make the commenter attach their "real name" to the comment or the anonymous comment would by law have to be removed. 

That's right: if someone doesn't like your comment the Web site will be legally bound to make you reveal your identity. The accused commenter will also be required to verify … Read more

Democrats to employers: Stop asking for Facebook passwords

Democrats in Washington are aiming to protect employees being asked to hand over the keys to their Facebook accounts.

A new bill introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate would seek to stop employers from requesting passwords or access to an employee's account on Facebook and other social networks.

Known as the Password Protection Act Of 2012 (PDF), the bill is the latest response from politicians over the growing trend of employers eager to snoop around their workers' online accounts.

In some cases, current employees are being pressured to allow access to their Facebook accounts. A teacher's aide … Read more

Google spends record $5 million on lobbying

Google continues to up the ante on the money it spends each quarter on Washington lobbying.

The search giant spent a record $5.03 million (PDF) last quarter, according to the company's lobbying report. That figure compares with $3.76 million spent in the fourth quarter and just $1.48 million in 2011's first quarter.

Among the lobbying issues grabbing Google's attention were the regulation of online advertising, privacy and competition issues in online advertising, openness and competition in online services, and International tax reform.

The search giant devoted lobby dollars to HR 1389 - Global Online Freedom Act of 2011, … Read more

MPAA's former tech policy chief turns SOPA foe

A senior executive that Hollywood hired last year to be its chief technology policy officer has undergone a remarkable about-face: he now opposes the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Paul Brigner, who was until last month a senior vice president at the Motion Picture Association of America, has emerged as SOPA's latest critic. "I firmly believe that we should not be legislating technological mandates to protect copyright -- including SOPA and Protect IP," he says.

In a statement posted on, Brigner says that his time at the MPAA -- which, more than any other advocacy group, … Read more

MPAA chief: SOPA and Protect IP back from the grave?

The Motion Picture Association of America believes there's still hope for the controversy-plagued Stop Online Piracy Act.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that was published online today, MPAA chief Christopher Dodd said he was "confident" that President Obama was using his "good relationships in both communities" -- that is, Silicon Valley and Hollywood -- to advance SOPA.

When asked whether there are negotiations going on now, Dodd replied: "I'm confident that's the case, but I'm not going to go into more detail because obviously if I do, it becomes … Read more

White House calls for new law targeting 'offshore' Web sites

Only weeks after protests over two digital copyright bills demonstrated the political muscle of Internet users, the White House is publicly endorsing new copyright legislation that also would target suspected pirate Web sites.

After the unprecedented outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act -- designed to target offshore copyright-infringing Web sites -- supporters of the bills on Capitol Hill backed down and moved on to other topics.

But the White House today reignited the congressional debate by throwing its weight behind legislation targeting offshore Web sites. "We believe that new legislative and non-legislative tools … Read more

Misplaced data leave 800,000 Californians exposed

Electronic files containing the names, Social Security numbers, and other private data about 800,000 California adults and children were there one minute. And the next, they were gone.

Four computer storage devices containing data from California's Department of Child Services were lost during transport between Boulder, Colo., and Sacramento, Calif., earlier this month, the Associated Press reported earlier today. The data was brought to an offsite location to test the department's ability to cope with a disaster and included a test of whether the data could be managed remotely.

The test itself was apparently successful, with IBM … Read more