French Gov’t Fears Blackberry Snooping By U.S.

(AP) PARIS – BlackBerry handhelds have been called addictive, invasive, wonderful – and now, a threat to French state secrets.

That, at least, is the fear of French government defense experts, who have advised against their use by officials in France’s corridors of power, reportedly to avoid snooping by U.S. intelligence agencies.

“It’s not a question of trust,” French lawmaker Pierre Lasbordes told The Associated Press. “We are friends with the Americans, the Anglo-Saxons, but it’s economic war.”

Le Monde newspaper, which broke the story, described BlackBerry withdrawal among those who have given them up. “We feel that we are wasting huge amounts of time, having to relearn how to work in the old way,” the daily quoted a ministry office director as saying.

E-mails sent from “Le BlackBerry” pass through servers in the United States and Britain, and France fears that makes the system vulnerable to snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency, Le Monde reported. The company that makes BlackBerrys, however, denies such spying is possible.

Lasbordes, who was commissioned in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to look into such issues, said he alerted the government to this “weakness” months ago. He said he met with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. to discuss the problem in the course of preparing his report on the security of French information systems.

The Canadian company “admitted that there was a certain fragility in the protection of information when you use the e-mail system” and promised it would be resolved, said Lasbordes, adding: “That was more than a year ago.”

BlackBerrys pose “a problem with the protection of information” and “the risks of interception are real,” Alain Juillet, in charge of economic intelligence for the government, told Le Monde.

Research In Motion insisted that BlackBerry e-mails cannot be read by the NSA or other organizations. The e-mails are more heavily encrypted than online banking Web sites, Research In Motion said in a statement.

Link to full article on DefenseTech

Gadgets / Devices

Opera Unleashes Updated Mini Browser for Mobile Phones

Opera

I’m installing this tonight, I will use Opera 4 beta on my WM5 smartphone exclusively (instead of the default IE) for the next week and report back the good and bad.

Opera has released the public beta of its new Opera Mini 4 mobile Web browser for download recently. This is likely the best browser available to surfing the web.

A few of the benefits to using this browser:

  • This browser uses a remote server to pre-process web pages before sending them to your phone so web content is compressed, creating fast browsing at low cost.
  • It dynamically changes text size and images to make it convenient to read without a lot of scrolling.
  • It has a virtual mouse to scroll in any direction, also has power scrolling. Mini works on most Java-enabled phones.

dl-1g Quick download of Opera Mini 4 beta

dl-2g Point your phone browser to mini.opera.com/beta

dl-3g Click “Download Opera Mini

Follow the simple setup steps on your phone.

Optionally, you may download the Opera Mini 4 beta for Palm or Blackberry devices for a manual installation.

Opera Mini 4 beta installs beside your current Opera Mini version without overwriting any of your existing files or settings.

[Found via phonescoop]

Gadgets / Devices, Software

LiquidMetal Demo

Excellent demonstration of how an exotic alloy can store energy and return it in a much more efficient manner than steel or titanium. Enjoy the demo!

[google -939151540119819530&hl=en]

Science

Velcro Being Pulled Apart

From geekpress I found this brilliant macro photo of velcro in the state of tearing the two pieces apart from each other.

Just geeky

DIY: A Tin Can Waveguide WiFi Antenna

From Turnpoint.net, a dummies guide to building your own tin can antenna.

Got no dough for a commercial WiFi antenna? Looking for an inexpensive way to increase the range of your wireless network? A tin can waveguide antenna, or ‘Cantenna’, may be just the ticket. This design can be built for under $5 U.S. and reuses a food, juice, or other tin can.

Go from this:

nalleyscan

To this:

insidepringles nalleyscantennabig

Hacks n Tweaks