GAO to CIA: Re-bid Cloud Contract

GAO to CIA: Re-bid Cloud Contract

According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruling, it seems the CIA has given Amazon a biased advantage after consenting to lessen requirements regarding security after awarding the company a $150 million contract for a giant intelligence community computer cloud, as reported by Mashable. CIA-logo GAO

An auditor confirmed that Amazon requested the CIA weaken a security requirement after they had been awarded the contract, which stated any software in the cloud must be meticulously checked to be free of computer viruses. This was to avoid prying, unauthorized eyes from viewing sensitive intelligence data.

The Problem

Amazon asked the CIA to alter the requirement, making Amazon responsible solely for Amazon-built software rather than the open source and third party software to be included in the cloud system. The GAO said that the CIA agreed to this provision, and IBM, who had also bid on the contract, challenged this change.

According to the auditor, IBM could have provided a more reasonable, competitive bid if they had known beforehand that this requirement was open to negotiations. “It is a fundamental principle of government procurement that competition must be conducted on an equal basis,” said the GAO. “Offerors must be treated equally and provided with a common basis for the preparation of their proposals.”

GAO Recommendation

The GAO suggested the CIA reimburse IBM for the costs associated with challenging the award, and re-bid the contract. Although following the GAO rulings regarding bid protests aren't required, most agencies typically go along with their suggestions.

The Project

The CIA was looking for a computer cloud environment built totally on government property, and highly secure. It would be a hybrid, combining infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, allowing agencies to either store their current operating systems in the cloud or use the operating systems provided in the cloud to run their applications and access their data.

The CIA will save money by turning from the traditional government data center to the cloud, while also giving them the ability to store massive amounts of data in order to perform computing operations that are highly complex.

Down With The Data Center

Moving away from the data center is a good thing, especially for the US government. A spokeswoman of the Office of Management and Budget recently stated the number of data centers managed by the federal government is upwards of 6,000, which is over 3,000 more than the number from a few months ago.

Why the sudden upswing? This is likely due to a policy change in 2011 that expanded what the government considers a data center to be, along with more agency inventories. It isn't an increase at all, according to the spokeswoman, Ari Isaacman Astles.

The 3,000 extra data centers were originally disclosed by David Powner, IT specialist for the Government Accountability Office, in testimony given to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “We are three years into the data center consolidation effort and the government still does not know how many centers it has,” Powner said. “Just last week we learned that about an additional 3,000 data centers are now being reported, bringing the government's total north of 6,000 data centers.”

IBM's Other Issues

The GAO sided with IBM on another aspect of their complaint. IBM said the CIA made another unfair move when they adjusted prices of the proposed cloud deal based on contradictory standards.

There were other items included in the complaint, but the GAO auditor threw them out.

Warner Brothers Sued For Patent Infringement

Warner Brothers Sued For Patent Infringement

You see a meme circulating on the Internet, and find the same meme on an adult hosting or share hosting website. You like the meme so much that you snag it, share it, and decide to create a video game from it. That's what happened in the case of Warner Brothers vs. the creators of Mayan Cat and Keyboard Cat.

You've probably seen either Mayan Cat or Keyboard Cat on the Internet somewhere, right? These cartoon cats tend to make the rounds relatively well. But, Warner Brothers and a gaming company based in California (5th Cell) took it one step further. They created a video game that includes the popular memes — without permission from the meme creators. That's a big no-no.

brands flood Warner BrothersWhy You Can't Steal Memes From Shared Hosting (Or Other) Sites

First of all, you have to realize that everything you see online has an original creator. That photo you shared or that popular meme you sent to hundreds of people were created by someone. So, if you're going to steal that photo or meme, you have to give that person credit — just to protect yourself.

You might not have know this. But, a company as massive as Warner Brothers has no excuse. Especially since Warner Brothers is known for finding anything that infringes on their own patents, and suing people who don't give them props. Warner Brothers is also a strong SOPA supporter, so the whole thing is terribly contradictory.

Warner Brothers: How to Legally Use Content

What if you see something that you really love on an adult hosting site or other site? What if you see something you love on Facebook or Instagram? Try to find out who the creator behind the original piece of artwork is. If you can't (and this can be hard because of sites like Pinterest), consider whether or not you really want to repost that meme.

Most people can get away with reposting something or sharing something on Facebook. What you can't get away with is creating a video game that generates thousands of dollars without giving the original artists of the game's characters a slice of the pie. Shame on you, Warner Brothers, shame on you.

Warner Brothers: Protecting Your Images

What if you want to protect your own images? I recommend using a program like PhotoShop to stamp a large watermark on the front of photos. This way, anyone who tries to repost your photo will have to deal with your watermark. But, this isn't always so easy to do with sites like Instagram. The sad truth is: if you put it on the Internet, it might be taken.

It's only when a billion dollar company like Warner Brothers turns your work into a video game without giving you credit that you can actually do something. Right now, the company is facing a lawsuit. I'll keep you posted with more details!

The Internet Is 20 Today!

Internet Is 20 Today

It was 20-years ago today that the World Wide Web was born. Can you believe that? The Internet is just 20-years old. The World Wide Web was first put into action on April 30th, 1993. Concepts like adult hosting and specialty hosting didn't come into play until much later.

Internet Is 20 TodayWho created the web? Well, a man by the name of Tim Berners-Lee had a lot to do with it. Lee created those codes we know today at HTML, URL, and HTTP. Where would we be without Tim Berners-Lee? Probably still writing letters instead of emails, and, you know, actually meeting people face-to-face. Imagine!

Internet Is 20 Today: How Far the Web Has Come

Berners-Lee began toying with the idea of the Internet back in the early '90's. When the World Wide Web (www) finally arrived, it really wasn't taken seriously at all (about as seriously as adult hosting companies!). Many people laughed off the concept of the Internet, and told Lee that it would never work.

Obviously, those early naysayers weren't right. The web did take off – no, exploded – and it's still with us today. In fact, we're far more addicted to the Internet today than we ever were before. Can you imagine living without the Internet? Wouldn't that be crazy? Almost as crazy as living with dial-up!

Internet Is 20 Today: An Even Crazier Idea

To really grasp the concept of the Internet, Berner-Lee's plans, and things like cheap hosting, you have to (have to!) check out Lee's original website. This site will completely blow your mind. Here's the link.

I'm betting Berners-Lee didn't have phishing and other hack attacks in mind when he built the web, but that's just how things go when something like the Internet gets so big so fast! The next time that you head to that cheap hosting site or look for information on the Internet, think of Berners-Lee.

Internet Is 20 Today: Marking the Occasion

Amazingly, the birth of the Internet has not been celebrated across the web today. Even Google hasn't created a Doodle – how the heck did that happen? Regardless, we, at Ananova, know just how amazing the Internet is. So, let this article mark the forming of the World Wide Web as we know it. Because, well, we couldn't live without it.

Want to say ‘Happy Birthday' to the Internet? Sound off below!

The Copyright Whip Is About to be Cracked!

The Copyright Whip Is About to be Cracked!

Have you just set up a cheap web hosting website using a cheaper web host? Want to run a ton of movie clips and music from that site? Hoping that the world sees just how cool you are based on your musical or movie taste? Not so fast! You could be facing some major copyright legalities soon.

The five major ISPs on the web are starting to crack down on copyright thieves. Whether you are using a cheap web hosting site or a more expensive one, ISP system will start tracking and tracing anyone who tries to post copyrighted content on a site. If you don't have permission to post, you could soon be in trouble. Here are the nitty gritty details.

Copyright Whip: The Cheap Web Hosting Factor

Registered-Symbol Copyright WhipYou probably aren't a thief. You probably wouldn't walk into a store and steal an object. You probably don't even know that you are doing anything illegal when you share a video clip or music file, right? Well, you may not be doing it directly, but you will still be infringing on copyright law if you do it at all.

So, will you get in trouble if you post something that you don't have legal permission to post? Absolutely. You will get a warning first, though. After the first four warnings, your site will be automatically slowed. Then, you will be fined and your site might be shut down. If you want to appeal that decision, it will cost you $35 and some time in court.

Copyright Whip: How To Avoid Legal Problems

When it comes to movies and music, there's a basic rule that you can follow: don't post it if you don't have permission to post it. It's a simple rule, but it's also one that's confusing given the nature of the Internet. How do you know if you have permission, or how do you get permission to begin with?

The best way to get permission is to contact the owner of content. Or, in the case of movies or video, contact a production company. I know, this is hard to do, but it will save you from the inevitable crack down. For those wondering about adult hosting content, there are rules that apply to that type of content too.

Copyright Whip: The Same Goes for Adult Hosting and Content

First and foremost, you must, must, must, have permission to post any kind of adult content. This means having the permission of a production company. No production company? Get the permission of the actors. Really. Otherwise, you will be facing some legal time.

If you do find yourself facing a fine, and you think you are not guilty, pay that $35 to fix the problem. It is possible to be accused without actually doing anything wrong. Just make sure to point it out. Got questions? Not sure if you are about to be fined? Let me know, and I'll look into the matter for you.

Adult Websites And Hosting Issues

Adult Websites Hosting

Remember when the internet was new? The sky was the limit when it came to content available. Now, the government and numerous groups with the help of lawyers can be found regulating it all, prompting web hosting companies to watch what content they're hosting.

Adult websitesMany companies won't touch adult content with a ten-foot pole due to the issues that can arise, whether it's legal problems or issues with clients dropping their service to avoid being associated with questionable content. Let's discuss what criteria lead up to labeling a site “adult,” and which adult hosting sites will accept your content without a problem.

Adult Websites Hosting: What Makes A Site “Adult?”

It's all in the content. If your site is strictly softcore porn, you are likely ok. These could be images of women in lingerie, topless, or participating in simulated sex. When you introduce images of actual sex and pictures of naked women and/or men with their nether region on display for all to see, it crosses over to hardcore.

Best Adult Websites Hosting Providers

Company Price Price Server Location Visit Now
arvixe $4.00 /mo $4.00 /mo Dallas, TX, USA Visit Now
nakedhosting $4.95 /mo $4.95 /mo LAS VEGAS, NV, US Visit Now
uk2net $3.96 /mo $3.96 /mo London, UK Visit Now
certified $4.95 /mo $4.95 /mo Las Vegas, NV, US Visit Now
sitevalley $3.96 /mo $3.96 /mo NASHUA, NH, US Visit Now

Adult Websites Hosting: Why Do Certain Hosting Companies Shy Away From Adult Content?

When it comes to the overall world view of porn, you just never know when your site is breaking laws in another country. Igor Shoemaker, the owner of Voyeurweb, states: “some countries have no law at all. But I would go to prison for what I do in Germany — they don't even accept our type of age validation. They want a notarized copy of your driver's license.” How does Shoemaker deal with this? “Voyeurweb is owned by corporations around the world, and they are liable for it.”

This is the main reason for a hosting company shying away from adult content. You never know when you are violating the laws in another country, in which case you are penalized in some way, whether through a shutdown of the site or fines.

Another reason sites choose not to host adult websites: you can get in serious trouble if someone underage is caught perusing your website.

Adult Websites Hosting: Content

An adult websites hosting company should diligently monitor the content of any site they host for their own protection. Those sites featuring bestiality, rape, incest, or child pornography are strictly prohibited, and could be a ticket to court. Because of all the legwork and hassle required to check up on all adult websites they host, some opt out of hosting this type of content altogether.

Adult Websites Hosting: How To Keep Your Site Out Of Trouble

So, you've found an adult websites hosting site that will gladly help you out. It's up to you to take some important steps to assure that you and your hosting provider don't end up in hot water.

  • Start by hiring a lawyer experienced in the unique issues that arise in the adult website world. They can be a wealth of information as to what you should and shouldn't offer for content, saving you from legal woes.
  • Create a page to warn users about the type of content offered on your site, and assure it is the first thing they see prior to reaching your actual homepage. It should warn people your site is for adults only, that they will see pornographic content, and that they must be 21 or older to enter. It might not save you from being sued in the future, but could help in getting the case dropped.
  • Install a form of Adult Verification System on the site. This forces users to provide their age, or click a button verifying they are 21 or older. While it's true that a user can falsify their true age, it shows that you are trying to be a responsible site owner.

If you follow these steps, adult websites hosting sites will be more apt to work with you. Note: the above steps are simply suggestions, and cannot be used in a court of law as a viable form of defence.