G8 leaders have signed a new Open Data Charter designed to improve transparency of government information. It establishes five strategic principles that all G8 members will have to act on. The first principle is that all government data will now be published openly by default. The group said that free access to and use of open data have a significant value to society and the economy. It was recognised, however, that there is existing legislation regarding intellectual property and sensitive information, which would not be shared. The second principle is to increase the quality and quantity of data that is released from governments, with attention to fully describing things in plain and clear language. Among the areas where data will be released are education, transport, health, and crime and justice. The third principle is that open data should be available to use by all, with no charges applicable and no limits to the re-use of such data by citizens. This also includes a commitment to release data in multiple formats, to allow wider dissemination. Follow the link above for principles four and five.
Microsoft has announced a new bug bounty programme, where it will pay out substantial sums of money for anyone who can find exploits in the latest version of Windows 8.1 Preview or help make it stronger than ever. The software giant is offering a $100,000 (£65,000) prize if someone can bypass the security mitigations of the new Windows Blue build. It is also offering $50,000 (£32,000) if coders can come up with new defences in addition to a mitigation bypass entry. A further $11,000 (£7,000) is on offer if critical vulnerabilities in the preview version of Internet Explorer 11 are identified. Hackers will have an unlimited amount of time to cash in on the first two bounties, but there is a 30-day time limit on the Internet Explorer one, which marks the first beta phase for the revamped web browser. Microsoft will provide feedback and payment within two weeks of a successful bounty submission. It will share submissions on it Security Research and Defence blog and will also tweet updates. The bounties go live on 26 June.
It has emerged that Microsoft seriously considered buying Nokia's handset business, before negotiations fell through. Sources claim that the two companies held "advanced talks" about an acquisition as recently as this month, revealing that Microsoft is interested in fully controlling the hardware side of its mobile business in addition to its Windows Phone software. The talks appear to have collapsed over disagreements on the value of Nokia's mobile division, but Nokia's weak market position was also a likely factor. Microsoft may have used Nokia's under-performance as an argument for a lower price. Rumours that Huawei is also interested in buying Nokia might have given the Finnish firm additional confidence at the negotiation table. However, Huawei has said it has "no plans" to buy Nokia, despite Richard Yu, head of consumer electronics, stating that the company is "open-minded" about such acquisitions.
Finally, the ITProPortal team is currently on its way to Earls Court, where we will be bringing blow-by-blow live coverage of Samsung's Premiere 2013 event, which kicks off a 7pm. We are expecting the Galaxy S4 Mini to dominate proceedings but the South Korean company has also promised some Ativ action - keep your eyes peeled for a few surprises too.