Last week we asked if you had any idea how many millions of underage users are on Facebook.

If you guessed 7.5 million, you were right, despite the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which prevents those under age 13 from signing on to websites that collect information about its users.

Yet Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, wants younger children to have access to the worldwide social network as well as other social sites. Why? He sees social networks as enhancers to traditional classrooms. And even though COPPA stands in his way, Zuckerberg says he’ll duke it out.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports’ publisher Consumers Unionis calling on Facebook to step up its efforts to keep underage users off the site.

One of Facebook’s executives underwent tough questioning at a congressional hearing last week where lawmakers and regulators are considering new online privacy regulations, particularly for children.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Facebook’s 100 employees charged with monitoring 600 million users was “indefensible.”

Facebook chief tech officer Bret Taylor fought back, warning senators that placing tougher limits on the use of consumer data could inhibit Facebook’s network and other social sites: “Facebook is fundamentally about sharing, and adopting overly restrictive policies will prevent our social features from functioning in the way that individuals expect and demand.”

And in Europe …

Despite lack of evidence, an effort underway in the European Union would ban all Wi-Fi and cellular technology in schools to “protect” the children.

Apparently the EU brains believe “electromagnetic” fields caused by Wi-Fi and cell phones can be harmful to the children. No proof of that, but just in case.

One wit left this comment: “We should have law-free zones for people to inhabit, until we can determine beyond a shadow of a doubt that laws have no harmful affect on people. For the children.”

More government control of the Internet? In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing his vision of “civilized Internet.” According to a report in the New York Times, Sarkozy has placed the Internet “firmly on the agenda of the Group of 8 countries, who meet next week in France. But an alternate view is that the president wants to push his often-invoked vision of a ‘civilized Internet’ – one that is safer for children, more favorable to copyright owners and more lucrative for the French treasury.”

RadiumOne: Your behavior is their target

Advertising is getting to the level of being right on the edge of creepy. It’s like somebody comes to your house and by the time they leave, they know everything about you.

Advertisers are having to think smarter in a depressed economy. How can they get max bang for their buck?

The smart ones are using targeted Internet advertising, availing themselves of social networking and other data sources to reach YOU with pinpoint accuracy. Using something called “behavioral targeting,” advertisers are pulling info about your Internet surfing habits from a variety of sources to develop a profile of who you are, who influences you, who your friends and family are, your interests and your online buying habits. These info cues tell them what ad to show to you and when to show it.

A published report explained how RadiumOne builds your profile: “Via data deals with all those sharing widgets you see on websites from companies like ShareThis, AddThis and AddToAny. Users of those services spread links on social networks. Through a combination of unique URL shorteners and cookies, they are able to create a profile for people clicking on the links, as well as the implied social connection.”

“Behavioral targeting in advertising led to double-digit increases in effectiveness,” said RadiumOne’s CEO Gurbaksh Chahal.

IPO puts LinkedIn’s value beyond that of JC Penney

It is reportedly the biggest Internet IPO since Google. LinkedIn’s opening day explosion of 109 percent set a new watermark for the Internet. LinkedIn’s (LNKD) $94 closing price last Thursday, trading at 36 times its last year revenue, is expected to have venture capitalists eager to take their Internet investments public.

At breakfast on the morning of the IPO, Linkedin’s founder sat down to breakfast as just another well-heeled CEO. By noon he was a billionaire.

Yet this isn’t the first time LinkedIn’s shares have doubled. Comparing LinkedIn’s IPO success to the ’90s dotcom madness doesn’t even come close!

The other “big four” buzziest private companies – Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga – are keeping watch as they prepare their own public debuts.

One expert says a Facebook IPO is inevitable.

Still, it’s not all good news for one social networking site. Blippy’s experiment has come to an end.

Trends in today’s “geosocial universe”

Want to see what the geosocial universe looks like?

Jess3 maps out the galaxy. You will be amazed at the numbers. They’re out of this world! And constantly changing.

After recently being hacked, Sony’s problems continue to mount

Another security headache for Japanese tech giant Sony with one more security breach on one of its servers, though this one appears to be unrelated to past attacks that took down Qriocity and PlayStation and exposed personal info from millions of accounts. This time the hacking allowed a phishing scam website to be hosted on the server, one that targeted an Italian credit card company and its users.

Do hackers always win? Cnet posed the question to a former criminal hacker who served prison time in the 1990s for hacking into cell phone companies to get copies of their handset source code. The answer is in this informative and fascinating video interview.

Looks like Sony’s not the only one with security problems. The social security numbers and payroll info of an estimated 4,000 employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission were exposed when the data was accidentally included in an unencrypted email.

Your medical billings simplified

You’re going to like this. A new program named Simplee makes reading, interpreting and understanding your medical expenses a snap. Simplee presents your medical, dental, and pharmacy bills in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

“Simplee tells your total medical costs, how much you’ve paid out-of-pocket, your deductible and how many doctor’s visits you and your family have had,” according to Erick Shonfeld at TechCrunch. “Simplee does a good job of breaking it all down and showing you what you’ve spent, how much your insurance has paid, what you’ve paid, and how far along you are towards your deductible. It does this for every member of your family under the same insurance plans.”

Pretty simplee … er, simple.

And while we’re simplifying some aspects of our lives, how about this? Google is getting into the act on the financial side with Google Advisor. Google has merged its mortgage, credit card and bank account comparison tools into one product, an all-in-one tool lets you compare offer options for your credit cards, checking and savings accounts, CDs or mortgage. A video shows you how it’s done.

Does leaning on technology so much cost us our memories?

Bill Keller of the New York Times observes that instant communication has its downside.

“Many of us have discovered that navigating by G.P.S. has undermined our mastery of city streets and perhaps even impaired our innate sense of direction,” Keller writes. “Typing pretty much killed penmanship. Twitter and YouTube are nibbling away at our attention spans. And what little memory we had not already surrendered to Gutenberg we have relinquished to Google. Why remember what you can look up in seconds?”

His point? As the calculator replaced the slide rule, resulting in impaired math skills for many, outsourcing our brains to the cloud is costing us context in exchange for information.

Soap Opera alert! Twitter sued in U.K. “super injunction” suit

The legal beagles in Great Britain have their knickers in a twist over Twitter’s full-body clash with their super injunction.

What’s a super injunction? It’s a legal device that allows the rich and famous to take out an injunction that prevents the press from reporting something and from reporting on the injunction itself. But now, Tweeters have broken down that barrier, and the U.K. courts don’t know whether to box or go blind. It’s a laughable turn of events, something right out of a Shakespeare play.

To sue, or not to sue? That is the question.

WebP vs. JPEG – it’s all about image

Google is making downloading image files much quicker using a new image format named WebP, a process that compresses the file without sacrificing the image’s sharpness or clarity.

WebP is supported in Chrome and Opera browsers as well as Google products Gmail, Picassa Web albums, and Google Instant Previews. If successful, expect other browsers to follow. View images in this gallery comparing JPEG to WebP.

Mobile devices in bed? In front of TV? – Nielsen knows

Assuming you own an iPad or other tablet or device, where do you use it most?

According to a survey, 70 percent of tablet owners and 68 percent of smart phone owners use their devices while watching television. Where else?

Is it just me or is this entrepreneurial social engineering?

Financial affirmative action? We report. You decide.

Bits and bytes

FCC commish signed with Comcast/NBC – Congress probing

A conflict of interest? Would you be inclined to investigate a government worker who, after voting to allow a mega corporation to buy a majority stake in another corporation, then went to work for the bigger of the two?

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chair on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has opened an investigation of FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker’s move from the FCC to a top government affairs job at Comcast/NBC Universal. Seems a bit cozy, doesn’t it?

So cozy, Comcast tweeted the good news about the Baker story:

OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!?

Answers to several questions about the move are due May 31.

Beachside: live-streaming EarthCam at Palm Beach, Florida

Now that you’ve digested this week’s Surfin’ Safari news, relax with this livecam view of the Palm Beach Breakers Hotel bath house and swimming pools where you might catch a glimpse of the “rich and famous” padding about at the tiny resort on south Florida’s east coast.

The time capsule

1844 – First formal telegraph message: “What hath God wrought?”

1945 – Heinrich Himmler commits suicide

1961 – Kennedy calls for man on moon by end of decade

1964 – India’s PM Nehru dies at 74

1967 – Egypt and Jordan want destruction of Israel, join forces

1981 – President of Bangladesh assassinated

1998 – Pakistan explodes underground nuclear devices

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WND readers Alan Johnson, of Yulee, Fla., and Rick Kreutzer, Hidden Valley Lake, Calif., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Sammy Davis Jr. as Josh Howard in the 1960 movie “Ocean’s Eleven.” The film also starred Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The film told the story of 11 friends who knew each other from their service during World War II who hatched a plan to rob five of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas in one night.

The quote was: “Look, Vince, the brave ones don’t come home. You stay scared.”

This week’s quote: “My father was fond of saying you need three things in life – a good doctor, a forgiving priest and a clever accountant. The first two, I’ve never had much use for.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

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