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How to Encrypt Your Email
December 05, 2013
Some years ago, an antinuclear activist named Phil Zimmermann created a data encryption program for computers. He designed a key-generation and encryption-and-decryption system called "PGP," or Pretty Good Privacy, for the bulletin board systems that were the precursors to forums, email and the Web. This algorithmic scrambling of information has played an important part in the growth of the Internet.
Here's Looking at Me, iPhone
December 05, 2013
USPTO just granted Apple a patent for a facial recognition feature that could unlock a mobile device as well as control how it works. That's right, Apple just got a patent so our iPhones can look at us all the time. I just got used to the idea of using my fingerprint to unlock an iPhone 5s, but now my face? I'm vaguely uneasy about the potential for dark uses this sort of technology opens up.
Guardian Blasts US, UK 'Intimidation' Over Snowden Leaks
December 04, 2013
Alan Rusbridger, the top editor for The Guardian, told British parliament that government agencies in Britain and the U.S. have tried to "intimidate" the newspaper since it obtained and leaked loads of secret documents from Edward Snowden. American and British government made it clear that the outlet is damaging national security and aiding hostile governments, Rusbridger said.
China Flies Jade Rabbit Rover to the Moon
December 02, 2013
China has launched a rover that is en route to the surface of the moon, marking the first time the Middle Kingdom has embarked on a moon-bound rover mission. The rover, called "Jade Rabbit," is affixed to a rocket that launched at 1:30 a.m. Monday morning local time. If all goes to plan, it is expected to land on the moon in mid-December. China has had two lunar orbit missions.
A Collective Bah! for Redmond's Humbug
December 02, 2013
Well Black Friday has come and gone for another year here in the land of stars and stripes, and so has that small obstacle known as Thanksgiving. Now it's Cyber Monday at last, and we can all sit back and shop to our hearts' content, unimpeded by inconvenient social gatherings or worker-welfare concerns. Down at the Broken Windows Lounge, there was a steady stream of patrons seeking refuge over the weekend.
China Targets Qualcomm With Antitrust Probe
November 26, 2013
Perhaps to celebrate the anniversary of last year's U.S.-China telecoms showdown, Beijing has launched an antitrust probe into U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm. The announcement comes on the heels of comments from Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs that the company was "definitely seeing increased pressure" in China, in part because of ongoing NSA revelations.
Internet of Things Will Burn Privacy for a While, Cerf Warns
November 21, 2013
"Privacy may actually be an anomaly," Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, told participants in an FTC workshop on privacy and security in the Internet of Things. Privacy doesn't really exist in small towns, for instance. Further, consumers' social behavior is "quite damaging to privacy," Cerf said. "The technology we use today has far outraced our social intuition headlights."
Aussie Police Investigate Facebook Pot Peddler
November 21, 2013
Australian police are investigating an Aussie who is openly advertising and, presumably, selling marijuana on Facebook. The dealer, who operates under the pseudonym "Rick Kush Dispenser," has posted advertisements for multiple strains of marijuana on a "swap and sell" Facebook page that is generally used for clothes, children's toys and electronics.
Yahoo to Tie Up Data With Neat Encryption Bow
November 19, 2013
Yahoo said it will extend 2048-bit encryption planned for Yahoo Mail across its entire network. CEO Marissa Mayer reiterated that the company "has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency." However, documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate the NSA reimbursed Yahoo for costs incurred to meet the demands of its Prism surveillance program.
Google Reveals Skyrocketing US Data Requests
November 15, 2013
The U.S. government once again heads the list of those requesting data from Google, and lately it's been asking for a lot more. Google's Transparency Report, a twice-a-year reminder of how often governments ask for information, says that the U.S. submitted 10,918 requests for 21,683 user accounts during the first half of 2013. U.S. requests had the highest rate of compliance.
Italy Investigates Apple's Hidden Billion
November 14, 2013
Italian authorities are investigating Apple for allegedly hiding 1 billion euros -- about $1.34 billion -- from the taxman. Prosecutors in Milan claim that Apple didn't declare more than $250 million in 2010 and more than $1 billion in 2011. Apple's Italian subsidiary booked some profits with an Irish subsidiary, thereby lowering its taxable income in Italy, according to Italian sources.
Activists Press UN to Ban Killer Robots
November 13, 2013
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots -- this is a real thing -- has implored the United Nations to use this week's talks in Geneva to ban the development of fully autonomous weapons -- aka, killer robots. Hearkening to the plot of Terminator 2, the group said that such weapons would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention.
Brit Spies Spoof LinkedIn Pages to Track Targets
November 11, 2013
British intelligence agency GCHQ reportedly has spoofed LinkedIn profiles of employees at mobile communications companies and mobile billing firms to gain access to their corporate networks. The first known attack was on Belgacom, a telecom firm partly owned by the Belgian government, according to a top secret GCHQ presentation revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Space Agency: Pay No Attention to That Plummeting Satellite
November 11, 2013
The European Space Agency has predicted that when its fuel-less, Earth-bound, 2,000-pound research satellite crashes, it will likely crash into the ocean or polar regions. The satellite was expected to crash down some time on Sunday or Monday, according to the agency, which added, "with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded." Good news for Europeans, bad news for polar bears.
North Korea Gets Its Hands on Electromagnetic Pulse Weaponry
November 08, 2013
North Korea is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons designed to disable enemy electronics, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service. North Korea reportedly purchased EMP technology from Russia and is now in the process of replicating it. Some American politicians, including Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rep. Trent Franks, have issued dire warnings about EMP technology.
French Ruling Puts Google Between a Rock and an Orgy
November 07, 2013
A French court has ruled that Google must automatically block links to nine images of Max Mosley participating in an orgy. Mosley is the former president of the International Automobile Federation. The company must find a way to prevent all links to the images from appearing in its image search results for a period of five years. The order takes effect two months after the ruling.
NSA-Bashing Brazil Claims It Spied Better
November 06, 2013
Few if any countries have been more outspoken, incredulous and chest-thumping over U.S. spying revelations than Brazil. Last summer, after Edward Snowden's leaks had made the rounds, Brazilian lawmakers proposed a law that would require e-businesses to store data in Brazil -- and only Brazil. Then, after it was revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Rousseff canceled a state visit to the U.S.
Tesco Goes TSA on Shoppers to Grab Marketing Data
November 05, 2013
Tesco, a UK-based supermarket giant, is installing hundreds of screens that will scan shoppers' faces while they wait in line at its gas stations. The information gathered from the shoppers will then be dished to advertisers. Tesco struck a deal with Amscreen, which makes OptimEyes, a system that works by using a camera and TV-style screen.
Discharged Female Cadet Sues Aussie Gov't for Sexual Harassment
November 04, 2013
An Australian woman formerly in the Australian Defense Force said that she plans to sue the nation's federal government for grievances stemming from a sordid saga in which a fellow cadet filmed the two of them having sex and then streamed it via Skype. The woman, known in the media as "Kate," said she will file suit against the defense department in the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Steer Clear of Google, Yahoo, German Journalists Advised
November 01, 2013
The German Federation of Journalists advised members to quit using Google and Yahoo because those providers are vulnerable to U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Citing "scandalous" reports, the warning implored journalists to look elsewhere for both "research and digital communication." The announcement was likely prompted by news that the NSA had tapped into communications links used by Google and Yahoo.

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