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March 15, 2013

Technology News Briefs — March 15, 2013

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Google Pulls Ad-Blocking Apps from Google Play

Google has yanked all ad-blocking apps from its Google Play, claiming they impede other services.

Developers for apps such as AdBlock, AdAway, and AdFree have received notices from Google to inform them their apps had been removed from its online store, Phandroid is reporting.

The notice reads:

After a regular review we have determined that your app interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner. This violates the provision of your agreement with Google referred to above. All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts.

The notice also says the apps were in violation of section 4.4 of Google Play’s Developer Distribution Agreement.

The section reads:

You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.

Google’s action appears to be a move to protect its advertisers, the company’s main source of revenue.

 Reuters Editor Accused of Conspiring With Anonymous

A Reuters social media editor has been indicted for allegedly conspiring with infamous hacker group Anonymous to breach a Tribune website after being fired.

Matthew Keys, 26, of Secaucus, N.J., faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if found guilty.

He has been charged with one count each of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer.

Keys was employed by Sacramento-based television station KTXL FOX 40, as its web producer, but was fired in October 2010.

It is alleged he handed over Tribune passwords to members of Anonymous. The hackers, in turn, tampered with an article posted on the Los Angeles Times’ website.

“Keys identified himself on an Internet chat forum as a former Tribune Company employee and provided members of Anonymous with a login and password to the Tribune Company server,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “After providing log-in credentials, Keys allegedly encouraged the Anonymous members to disrupt the website.”

Despite the Department of Justice’s statement, Keys involvement in the hacking has yet to be proved.

U.S. Drivers Continue to Drive Distracted

Nearly 70 percent of American adult drivers chat on their mobile phones at least part of the time while behind the wheel, a new study has found.

Thirty-one percent of drivers drive and text, the study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found.

The news comes despite many states cracking down on distracted driving. Only 10 states and the capital, however, have enacted full bans on driving and using a Smartphone or tablet.

The study found a significantly larger percentage of both men and women aged 25 to 44 years reported talking on a cellphone while driving compared with those aged 55 to 64 years, and a significantly larger percentage of men and women aged 18 to 34 years reported that they had read or sent text or e-mail messages while driving compared with those aged 45 to 64 years.

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