Yesterday, as well as the run up to it, proved a hectic day for tech fans and news sites alike- it was Apple’s annual Press Conference. What with the rumours and the (eventual) release of the Apple iPad, it meant that many of you may have missed out on other interesting news that day. So here is a briefing of the best that you might not of picked up on:

virgin media 300x257 Sick of iPad news? Heres what else has been happening1.  Virgin Media want to monitor music piracy
Virgin Media have been debating cutting user’s internet connections if they believed copyright infringement was happening on the account. However, these plans have already been under fire by Privacy International, a human rights watchdog. The group noted that Virgin were using Cview, software to monitor the online activity of their customers- including illegal peer-to-peer file sharing. 40% of online activity would be analysed as part of a trial.

Alexander Hanff of Privacy International told the BBC in a statement: “Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) intercepting communications is a criminal offence regardless of what you do with the data.” He also added the European Commission have since been informed.

Of course Virgin Media have since responded to Privacy International’s claims, stating that software will not violate their customers, and will not identify individuals.

Twitter hacked by iranian cyber army 300x225 Sick of iPad news? Heres what else has been happening

2. Twitter planning something to stop censorship?
Social networking website Twitter are working on a technology
to stop Chinese and Iranian government censoring its users. This comes straight after the conflict between Google and government in China, and Twitter founder Ev Williams praised Google for its moves. Not forgetting the hack of the website by the Iranian Cyber Army

Speaking at the World Economic Forums (in Davos), he said: “We are partially blocked in China and other places and we were in Iran as well. The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about. I am hopeful there are technological ways around these barriers.”

Williams also added that Twitter have various ways of evading government censors anyway, with the use of various applications, desktop clients and mobile access.

The details of the ‘new technology’ Twitter will put in place is still unknown, mainly to try and avoid governments finding out and creating a work around.

3.  Fake anti-virus will block users from their favourite websites
Windows users be warned! New malware is out there, in the disguise of an anti-virus software, which will cause your PC to be unable to access popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Microsoft’s Bing.

Andrew Bandit of security software Webroot said: “The payload modifies the Layered Service Provider (LSP) so that calls to those Web sites pass through the malicious file, which displays a warning message in the browser instead of the blocked Web site. The message says ‘This web site is restricted based on your security preferences and your system is infected. Please activate your antivirus software.'”

Sound familiar? If this is what could be happening to your computer, fear not. There are tutorials (from sites you can access), such as this one, to guide you through removing the malware.

Screen shot 2010 01 27 at 23.16.56 300x192 Sick of iPad news? Heres what else has been happening4. eHarmony to settle gay discrimination dispute
Dating website eHarmony has agreed to settle a discrimination dispute in California against homosexuals. As part of the agreement, the company will make its website more welcoming to all sexualities as well as pay out over half a million dollars (not including court fees) to members affected.

Last year, eHarmony launched Compatible Partners, however the fact it was part of the company was hidden away, even to their bisexual and homosexual users – making it difficult to find a match if you were not looking for “man seeking woman” or “woman seeking man”. The main site linked to Christian, Hispanic, Jewish, black, senior and local dating. Due to the lawsuit, eHarmony will now have to clearly brand Compatible Partners with its own name, as well as link from the main site index.

eHarmony did not admit any wrongdoing or liability.

“We’re delighted that EHarmony has chosen to make its remarkable technology available to the gay and lesbian community in a way that is more welcoming and inclusive,” said plantiff attorney Todd Schneider to the LA Times.

5. Google Chrome wins speed test
Lifehacker’s Kevin Purdy tested the speed of various internet browsers, and newbie Google Chrome came up fastest. Purdy tested various versions of Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox on the likes of load times, JavaScript, DOM/CSS and memory use to measure their speeds.

The winners were:

  • Google Chrome 4.0.302.3
  • Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha
  • Google Chrome 4.0.249.78
  • Firefox 3.5.4
  • Firefox 3.6
  • Safari 4.0.4
  • Opera 10.01

You can check the detailed results, and lots of graphs, here.