Breakfast Briefing: Piracy raid nabs Winnie the Pooh, Linux's Secure Boot stand-off, Facebook's new ToS

Today's tech round-up includes details of piracy raid on a nine year old, and much more

23 Nov 2012

It's Friday. Yay. To round off the week, we have news of an over-zealous raid by anti-piracy police, the fight to get Linux distros past Windows 8 security, the details of new Facebook and Instagram privacy terms, and an imaginary island on Google Maps.

Copyright police confiscate child's Disney laptop

Police investigating a request from an anti-piracy group in Finland have hit a new low in the fight against copyright infringement, confiscating the Winnie the Pooh laptop of a nine-year-old girl. Torrent Freak reports that Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC sent the web account holder a letter requesting €600 and a non-disclosure signature to make the problem go away.

Convinced he had done nothing wrong, he declined and thought no more about it until the early morning raid. Describing the case as "the pinnacle of absurdity", the girl's father explained he had bought her a CD after his daughter had been innocently led to Pirate Bay from a Google search for her favourite band, but the download had failed. "How can you assume that children know what they are doing at any given time online?" he asked before submitting his application for Parent of the Year.

Linux on hold as distros wait for Windows 8 key

Windows 8 computer owners wanting to boot to Linux are still awaiting a way round the Secure Boot feature of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface that prevents other operating systems from loading unless they have a key signed by Microsoft.

The Register reports that The Linux Foundation's workaround is still stuck in Microsoft's accreditation process, and most Linux varieties have either refused to buy a key or can't afford one.

Linux users can, of course, just switch Secure Boot off in the UEFI settings...

What Facebook’s new ToS really mean: Instagram ads

Quartz has a view on the new Terms of Service released by Facebook - and the outlook isn’t that great for Instagram users. Put simply, the walls between the user data of Facebook and Instagram have been smashed down, meaning the geolocation data on your retro photos will locate you for more Facebook ads - and your Facebook data will probably be used to bring targeted ads to your Instagram feed.

The final point is an interesting one: "Instagram’s ads might just be the first of a generation of mobile advertising that actually works." Instagram feeds are a "clean slate" for advertisers to start from scratch at targeting users. "If Facebook can demonstrate real engagement with Instagram ads, it wouldn’t just be a sop to its investors, it could be the first step on the road to advertising models for apps and the mobile web that actually work."

Life (sentence) on Mars

Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp hopes to fulfil a sci-fi dream by setting up a human outpost on Mars. Once living pods for a self-sustaining reality TV colony are installed, the entrepreneur will be looking for four people to set up the colony, Vice reports. The downside is the ticket is one way, with planetary pioneers destined to remain on Mars for the rest of their lives.

Of course, if you were planning a trip of such magnitude, you might think the chief architect and engineer would be there with you, shoulder-to-shoulder should something go wrong. Well he won't. He'll be watching events unfold from the comfort of his lab.

"I wanted to. I talked to our medical director, Norbert Craft, though, and he said I don't have the patience or the calmness to cope. I'm the architect and the entrepreneur, not the right person to actually go on the mission, but I will be extremely, extremely jealous when the first four people leave." We're all in it together, eh?

Scientists discover fake island in Google Earth

Google might drive its cars around millions of roads to draw its maps, but it clearly hasn’t taken a ship off the coast of Australia. Scientists there have uncovered Sandy Island - which is marked on Google Maps, Google Earth, and other maps - doesn’t actually exist.

"We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area - very deep," said Dr Maria Seton, from the University of Sydney, according to the BBC.

"It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre. How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out."

A Google spokeswoman said the company consults other sources when making its maps, adding: "The world is a constantly changing place, and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour”. For the time being, the island that never was is still on Google Maps - in satellite mode, it looks as though it’s been drawn on with a felt tip pen:

View Larger Map

Read more about: