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Showing posts from January, 2014
Google sells Motorola unit to Lenovo for $2.9B
PC maker Lenovo, which has struggled for smartphone success outside China, gets an established global brand, while Google unloads a burden on its balance sheet and a source of tension.
Roger Cheng by Roger Cheng  January 29, 2014 1:22 PM PST
Google is unloading Motorola Mobility onto Chinese PC maker Lenovo.
Google confirmed on its site that it has sold Motorola for $2.91 billion, consisting of $660 million in cash and $750 million in Lenovo shares, with the remaining $1.5 billion paid in the form of a three-year promissory note. Reuters earlier reported on the deal.
Lenovo gets the Motorola brand, as well as its portfolio of devices, including the Moto X and Moto G. In addition, it will also receive more than 2,000 patent assets, while Google will retain control of a majority of the patents it originally obtained when it acquired Motorola several years ago.
A deal instantly gives Lenovo, which has a thriving smartphone business in China…

Why Is Facebook's App Asking To Read Your Text Messages?

Why Is Facebook's App Asking To Read Your Text Messages?
Hint: It might not be to see what you're sexting. By Chris Gayomali
Over the last month or so, a few keen-eyed Android users may have been startled by some peculiar permission requests when they tried to update their Facebook app. One request asks to "read your text messages (SMS or MMS)."
That's not exactly the kind of language users are likely to find reassuring, especially after recent allegations that Facebook has been scanning private messages within the social network. So, Facebook is currently on a PR offensive to calm user fears. "We realize that some of these permissions sound scary," writes Facebook. "So we’d like to provide more info about how we use them ... If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message."
Make of those assurances what you will, and you can re…

US looks at ways to prevent spying on its spying

US looks at ways to prevent spying on its spying Associated Press By STEPHEN BRAUN 4 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is looking at ways to prevent anyone from spying on its own surveillance of Americans' phone records.
As the Obama administration considers shifting the collection of those records from the National Security Agency to requiring that they be stored at phone companies or elsewhere, it's quietly funding research to prevent phone company employees or eavesdroppers from seeing whom the U.S. is spying on, The Associated Press has learned.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has paid at least five research teams across the country to develop a system for high-volume, encrypted searches of electronic records kept outside the government's possession. The project is among several ideas that would allow the government to discontinue storing Americans' phone records, but still search them as needed.
Under the research, U.S. data mini…

Gov't, Internet companies reach deal on disclosure

Jan 27, 6:48 PM EST
Gov't, Internet companies reach deal on disclosure
By JESSE J. HOLLAND Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government and leading Internet companies on Monday announced a compromise that will allow those companies to reveal more information about how often they are ordered to turn over customer information to the government in national security investigations.
The Justice Department reached agreements with Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. that would resolve those companies' legal challenges before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The companies had asked judges to allow them to disclose data on national security orders the companies have received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The delivery of customer information to the government from Internet companies has been under examination in the United States following leaks about National Security Agency surveillance by former NSA system…

Google to offer FREE taxis to restaurants, casinos and more (so long as you promise to spend money when you arrive)

Google to offer FREE taxis to restaurants, casinos and more (so long as you promise to spend money when you arrive)
According to the patent, journeys would be paid for by advertisers Google would use location data to show ads on phones, or bus stops Business would consider whether potential profits outweighs the costs In the future, journeys could be carried out by Google's self-driving cars
By VICTORIA WOOLLASTON PUBLISHED: 06:50 EST, 24 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:41 EST, 24 January 2014
Next time you fancy a romantic meal for two, or a trip to the cinema, you could be taken there in a free taxi, courtesy of Google.
According to a recently-awarded patent, the journeys would be paid for by advertisers hoping to encourage more people to use their businesses.
The system would run on Google’s existing AdWords software, and in the future, these journeys could even be carried out by Google's self-driving cars.
The ad-powered taxi service was detailed in a patent originally filed…

NSA also serves economic interests: Snowden interview - not returning to the United States

NSA also serves economic interests: Snowden interview AFP – 21 hrs ago
Berlin (AFP) - The US National Security Agency (NSA) sometimes uses data it collects for economic purposes, intelligence leaker Edward Snowden reveals in an extract of an interview with a German television chain to be broadcast Sunday.
"If there is information, for example on Siemens, which is in the national interest, but has nothing to do with national security, they will still use this information," said Snowden, according to the German translation of the interview on public television ARD.
The interview was carried out by a journalist for NDR, a regional chain belonging to the broadcaster that has analysed secret documents that Snowden leaked to journalists.
Under top secrecy, the chain this week in Moscow filmed the first interview with Snowden since he left Hong Kong in 2013 to seek refuge in Russia.
The 30-minute interview will be broadcast Sunday at 2200 GMT, with initial extracts to be released …

Blimplike surveillance craft set to deploy over Maryland heighten privacy concerns

Blimplike surveillance craft set to deploy over Maryland heighten privacy concerns
By Craig Timberg, Published: January 22
They will look like two giant white blimps floating high above I-95 in Maryland, perhaps en route to a football game somewhere along the bustling Eastern Seaboard. But their mission will have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with war.
The aerostats — that is the term for lighter-than-air craft that are tethered to the ground — are to be set aloft on Army-owned land about 45 miles northeast of Washington, near Aberdeen Proving Ground, for a three-year test slated to start in October. From a vantage of 10,000 feet, they will cast a vast radar net from Raleigh, N.C., to Boston and out to Lake Erie, with the goal of detecting cruise missiles or enemy aircraft so they could be intercepted before reaching the capital.
Aerostats deployed by the military at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan typically carried powerful surveillance cameras as well, to track …

Bill Gates Says Government Spying Isn’t Always Bad

Bill Gates Says Government Spying Isn’t Always Bad
BY AMERICA WITH JORGE RAMOS - 01/21/2014, 12:00PM / Updated 01/21/2014, 04:31PM
Bill Gates has strong opinions when it comes to world poverty, but the tech titan-turned-philanthropist takes the middle ground on government spying.
Speaking with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos in an interview set to air on Tuesday, Gates said the U.S. needs to strike a balance between protecting citizens’ privacy and identifying national security threats.
“At the end of the day...we want to stop terrorism, we want to see if someone’s talking about nuclear weapons, or bioterrorism or various bad things,” Gates said. “So it’s not as though government surveillance is absolutely bad in all cases…I think it’s a valuable debate and I do think we can balance the two goals.”
Gates spoke to Fusion in conjunction with the release of the annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the letter, Gates pronounced that by 2035, no nation would be as poor as th…
Sen. Leahy on NSA spying: We need to stop government from controlling American people [VIDEO] 10:30 AM 01/19/2014
Sen. Patrick Leahy says the American people are at risk of being controlled by their government due to the expansive surveillance powers of the National Security Agency.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told host Chris Wallace that the nation’s lawmakers must act to return control of the government to the people.
“I think that we are going to maintain our ability to protect the United States,” Leahy began. “That’s extremely important.”
“The concern everybody has is allowing our government to have such a reach into your private life, my private life, and everybody else’s, that we are, we have the government controlling us instead of us controlling the government.”
“And that’s what both Republicans and Democrats are joined together on the Hill to try to change,” Leahy concluded.
Earlier in the program, Leahy …

FACEBOOK to copy TWITTER 'trends' as teens depart in droves...

Why Facebook wants to be more like Twitter Hint: Twitter spreads news a lot faster By Chris Gayomali | January 16, 2014 The big news in the tech world today is that Facebook is rolling out a newly redesigned "Trending" feature. Pretty soon, users will see a ticker on the right side of their News Feed that will spotlight what chatty Facebookers are yapping about.
If the feature looks familiar, it should be. It's basically Twitter's trending topics painted Facebook blue, plus a few minor differences.
"The list is personalized, including topics based on things you're interested in and what is trending across Facebook overall," explains engineering manager Chris Struhar in a blog post.
"Each topic is accompanied by a headline that briefly explains why it is trending. You can click on any headline to see the most interesting posts from your friends or pages that are talking about that particular topic."
Click on the word "Golden Globes"…

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep
• NSA extracts location, contacts and financial transactions • 'Dishfire' program sweeps up 'pretty much everything it can' • GCHQ using database to search metadata from UK numbers • Dishfire presentation on text message collection – key extracts
James Ball in New York theguardian.com, Thursday 16 January 2014 13.55 EST
The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.
The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of “untarg…

Apple to Refund App Store Purchases Made Without Parental Consent

Apple to Refund App Store Purchases Made Without Parental Consent By EDWARD WYATT and BRIAN X. CHEN JAN. 15, 2014
An agreement between federal regulators and Apple may make parents wince a little less at the sight of their children staring at an iPhone.
The Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday that Apple had agreed to better ensure parental approval of purchases from the company’s App Store. In addition, Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to customers whose children made purchases without adequate parental consent.
Apple settled a class-action lawsuit last year over unauthorized purchases within apps — transactions that could be made within 15 minutes of buying an app from Apple without having to provide an additional password or authorization. As part of the settlement, Apple offered refunds to consumers who were affected. The company said in an email to employees on Wednesday that it had received 37,000 claims.
But the F.T.C. said that similar activity had conti…

Meet Blackphone, A Highly Secure Device Perfect For Paranoid Sext Fiends

Meet Blackphone, A Highly Secure Device Perfect For Paranoid Sext Fiends Bonus: It doesn't support Path. By Jordan Valinsky 1/15 10:41am
It’s no Lumia, but this sounds impressive: A Madrid-based communications firm said it has created the first fully secure and encrypted smartphone that lets users send and receive calls (and texts) without being vulnerable to hackers or snoopers.
Dubbed the Blackphone, its sleek all-black case and touchscreen makes it look like it fell out of the pocket of James Bond’s blazer. The Android-based device uses an operating system named PrivatOS that promises highly secure privacy protection that would make the NSA wince. The yet-to-be-priced phone can transfer encrypted files and features a video chat option.
The phone is carrier independent so we’re holding out for that T-Mobile upgrade. Of course, just because the company proclaims its immune to hacking, doesn’t mean some programmer isn’t figuring out a way to break into it. Also, it’s unclear if t…

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers
By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKERJAN. 14, 2014
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.
While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.
The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.
The…