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Foreign Firms Flee US Cloud Services
January 13, 2014
Further proof that the NSA surveillance scandal is impacting the United States IT industry came on Friday with the publication of a study conducted for Canadian Web hosting and cloud services provider Peer1 Hosting. Fully 64 percent of the 300 UK- and Canada-based respondents to the survey hoped to move data from U.S.-based cloud service providers to their own countries within the next five years.
Google Gives Gmail More Pluses
January 10, 2014
Google on Thursday started rolling out changes designed to further integrate its Gmail and Google+ platforms. The updates make it easier for Google+ users to contact other users without knowing their email addresses. Going forward, when users with both a Gmail and a Google+ account begin typing a contact's name into an email draft, a list of Google+ contacts will appear along with other contacts.
China Gets Its First Homegrown Game Console
January 10, 2014
Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications outfit best known for its mobile phones and its propensity to spook U.S. lawmakers, announced that it has created China's first videogame console. The timing of Huawei's announcement, coming at this week's CES extravaganza in Las Vegas, is interesting: Just this week, Beijing announced that it would for the first time allow foreign-made videogame consoles.
Snapchat Manages to Cough Up Brief Apology
January 09, 2014
Snapchat on Thursday finally apologized for last month's data breach. A website dubbed "SnapchatDB.info," which went live on New Year's Eve, published the user names and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat accounts. The company now allows users to opt out of the Find Friends functionality that harvested the leaked data. "We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you," it said.
France Finally Levies Teeny Fine Against Google
January 09, 2014
Privacy regulators in France have slapped Google with the maximum fine allowed by law, confirming both the nation's dissatisfaction with Google and Europe's need to overhaul its data-privacy penalties. France followed through on threats made in June and September to fine Google over its privacy policies, laying down a penalty of roughly $200,000 -- the max fine allowed under EU regulations.
New Year's Resolutions: Be More Secure in 2014
January 07, 2014
If you're inclined to make resolutions this time of year and you're concerned about your online and offline security, here are some suggestions that can keep you safer in the days ahead. At the top of the list: You should vow to change the passwords to your important accounts on a frequent basis. Using the same password for many websites is also something you should vow to avoid in 2014.
Computer Pioneer, Subjected to Homophobic Prosecution, Pardoned by Queen
December 27, 2013
Alan Turing, a British man whose code-breaking prowess helped thwart Nazi Germany in World War II, was pardoned this week by Queen Elizabeth for his decades-old "crime." Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for "gross indecency" for having a sexual relationship with another man, a ruling that resulted in the loss of his security clearance and compulsory hormone treatment. Two years later, he died from cyanide poisoning in what was ruled a suicide.
Was 2013 the Run-Up to Nineteen Eighty-Four?
December 23, 2013
It is time to look back on 2013 and consider what we've learned about technology and human nature. Both Apple and Dell were massively changed, and Google went from a company that wanted our private information to one that wanted our jobs. The U.S. government decided, through the NSA, that laws don't apply to it. Those who brought this to our attention got big punishments.
Verizon to Disclose Some of What It's Disclosing to the Government
December 20, 2013
Verizon on Thursday said it will release a semiannual report about the data requests it receives from the government. It is the first major telecom to make such a move. Verizon and other tech industry giants have come under fire for cooperating with government surveillance programs. Verizon and AT&T in particular were named in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Japanese Robot Shoots Breeze With Astronaut
December 20, 2013
A humanoid robot named "Kirobo" has had a chat with a Japanese astronaut on the ISS. The robot, also from Japan, is designed to process questions and construct answers from its vocabulary bank, as opposed to regurgitating preprogrammed responses. Asked if he could handle zero-gravity conditions, the robot replied, "I'm used to it now, no problem at all."
Surveillance Report Blasts NSA, Recommends Overhaul
December 19, 2013
A task force set up by President Obama to review the National Security Agency's surveillance activities has suggested a list of what it calls "significant" reforms, including restrictions on spying. Among the recommendations: changes in surveillance of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens to protect their privacy; and an overhaul of the NSA and the secretive FISA Court.
Chinese Man Heads to US Prison for Microchip Smuggling Attempt
December 19, 2013
A Chinese citizen was sentenced to three years in U.S. prison Wednesday for trying to smuggle American-made microchips from California to China. The man, Philip Chaohui He, was targeted in a 2011 sting at a Los Angeles-area port. He was nabbed while approaching a Chinese freighter, toting with him 200 radiation-hardened microchips tucked inside a tub of baby formula.
Google Glass Just Got Creepier
December 18, 2013
Google on Tuesday released XE 12, the latest update to its Google Glass product. One of its new features lets users take a photo with a wink, something that previously could be done by using a third-party app. "If I were Google, I'd keep quiet about ... how quickly people can take photos of unsuspecting targets," said Joshua Flood, an analyst at ABI Research.
NSA's Latest Threat: Constitutional Law
December 17, 2013
A federal judge has ruled that the NSA's collection of telephone metadata is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adding another point of debate to this volatile issue. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling has extra impact because he is a conservative appointed by George W. Bush. "That sets a serious precedent," said CREDO Mobile's Becky Bond.
Twitter's Block Backtrack Scores Points
December 13, 2013
Finding itself at the center of a social media firestorm, Twitter on Friday acted quickly to placate users who were concerned about changes it made to its blocking functionality Thursday afternoon. Twitter effectively turned the block button into a mute function, allowing a blocked user to follow, retweet, favorite, and publicly share tweets of the user who had imposed the block.
Instagram Hitches Wagon to Private Messaging
December 12, 2013
Instagram has dipped its toes into private-photo and video messaging waters. Instagram Direct allows the community's more than 150 million monthly active users to send photos and videos within a group. The process of sending a private message works just like posting a photo or video publicly: Take a new photo or upload an existing one, slap on a filter and effects, and add a caption and tags.
Australian State Outlaws Non-Consensual Sexting
December 12, 2013
The Australian state of Victoria has made it illegal to distribute explicit images without consent. The new law specifically outlaws "non-consensual sexting," which generally takes place when lovers split and there is post-breakup payback in the form of intimate photos of the former partners. The law does exempt children in order to ensure that they aren't charged with child pornography.
NSA Hackers Help Themselves to Google's Cookies
December 12, 2013
The United States National Security Agency reportedly is using at least one type of Google cookie -- PREF, which stores a user's preferences -- to home in on the PCs of targets it wants to hack. NSA's Special Source Operations division apparently is sharing information with Tailored Access Operations, the agency's cyberwarfare intelligence-gathering unit.
Chinese Supercomputer Gets a Job Forecasting Smog
December 10, 2013
Scientists in China will use the country's Tianhe-1A supercomputer to forecast and analyze smog in major cities. The Tianhe-1A will be used to create a simulation that will collate data from across more than 100 Chinese cities. Theoretically, this will enable scientists to predict the density of smog, how long it will linger, and where it might go next.
Cops' Cellphone Data Collection Challenged
December 10, 2013
Sen. Edward Markey plans to soon introduce legislation that will restrict the bulk collection of Americans' cellphone data by U.S. law enforcement agencies. "We need a 4th Amendment for the 21st century," he said. "Disclosure of personal information from wireless devices raises significant legal and privacy concerns, particularly for innocent consumers."

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