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The Winter Olympics of Russia's Discontent
October 12, 2013
Earlier this week, a team of investigative journalists in Russia compiled a dossier suggesting that the Russian government will be embarking on an ambitious surveillance regimen for the upcoming Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia, next February. In this podcast, Andrei Soldatov, one of the journalists who helped break this story, joins us from Moscow.
You Can Run but You Can't Hide on Facebook
October 11, 2013
Facebook announced Thursday that it will finish killing off the privacy setting that previously let users opt out of searches. Members of the social network used to have a privacy setting called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" that allowed their profile to be hidden from searches within the site, even if another user typed in their name exactly.
Google Maps Learns to Multitask
October 10, 2013
Google Maps has become the default source of directions for many users, but one feature it has notoriously lacked is the ability to provide directions to multiple destinations. On Wednesday, however, the company announced that it is now rolling out the feature at last. "One of your most requested features -- directions for multiple destinations -- will begin rolling out today," said Google's Florian Goerisch.
Comcast Recruits Twitter to Connect Viewers With Shows
October 10, 2013
Comcast is teaming up with Twitter to launch a new feature that will allow Twitter users to tune into live TV shows via the social network, making the site a go-to spot for television conversations and viewing. Dubbed "See It," the feature unveiled Wednesday allows Twitter users to control their set-top viewing with the click of a button marked "See It" that will be displayed on the tweet about the show.
Instagram Takes Cautious Step Into the Ad World
October 05, 2013
Over the next couple of months Instagram will begin incorporating the "occasional ad" in U.S. users' feeds, the company announced on Thursday. The ads will include high-quality photos and videos from a few brands that are part of the Instagram community, the company explained. Users will have control over the ads, including hiding the ones they don't like and providing feedback as to why.
Twitter Filing Spikes IPO Fever
October 04, 2013
Twitter filed documents with the SEC for its initial public offering, giving investors a first glimpse of its financials on Thursday. Trading under the ticker symbol "TWTR," it aims to raise $1 billion in its IPO. Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has grown from a microblogging novelty to a social network with 215 million monthly active users, 100 million of whom are daily active users.
NSA Succumbs to Government Shutdown
October 03, 2013
Employees at the National Security Agency received a memo telling them that they, too, would not work because of the government shutdown taking place as Congress does whatever it is Congress is doing (or not doing) right now. In the memo, employees are told that despite exceptions made for "activities required for national security," they would be furloughed.
Facebook Offers New Ways to Plumb Its Depths
October 02, 2013
Facebook announced Monday it was expanding its Graph Search to give users a more complete experience, allowing searches of status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. Graph Search rolled out to a limited number of customers earlier this year. At first, it limited searches to individual or brand profiles. The new functionality gives users quicker access to a wider range of information.
Apple, Google Stomp Coke in Global Brand Ratings
September 30, 2013
Apple has displaced Coca-Cola as the leading global brand in Interbrand's 14th annual Best Global Brands report, ending the soda maker's 13-year rule. Google pushed Coke into third. Overall, tech companies grabbed five of the top 10 slots. "We may drink one or two Cokes a day, but we use our Gmail account or cellphone several times daily," noted Pace University prof Larry Chiagouris.
UK Parliament Blasts Google Over Piracy
September 26, 2013
Departing from the normal routine of chiding Google over taxes, British parliament is trying its hand at chiding Google over piracy. A select committee accused Google of apathetically failing to curb piracy. The chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, said that MPs were "unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop" displaying search results for illegal content.
SpoilerFoiler Protects Breaking Bad Fans From Telling Tweets
September 24, 2013
Netflix unveiled its SpoilerFoiler app Monday, a tool designed for Breaking Bad fans who want to scan their Twitter feeds without encountering any show spoilers. Twitter users who log in via SpoilerFoiler get a normal view of their Twitter news feed, except that any tweet containing words about the Breaking Bad series finale will be blacked out.
Facebook's Truly, Madly Deeply Learning the Story of Your Life
September 24, 2013
Facebook reportedly has set up an eight-person team to look into how AI can help it further analyze data it gathers on its members. The team will work with an emerging technique called "deep learning." Deep learning can let software work out emotions or events not explicitly referenced in people's writing and make sophisticated predictions about people's likely future behavior.
LinkedIn Plays Defense in Email Hacking Class Action
September 24, 2013
LinkedIn has responded to claims in a class action lawsuit filed against it, maintaining that it does not break into users' email accounts and insisting that it asks for permission before using information from anyone's email accounts. Four LinkedIn users filed the suit, claiming it had appropriated their identities to send promotional emails to non-users.
China Un-Bans Facebook, Twitter in Shanghai
September 24, 2013
China is lifting its ban on a handful of heretofore banned websites within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Included among those now considered acceptable are Facebook and Twitter. The Shanghai Free Trade Zone, announced in July, has more free market-friendly policies than China at large. To that end, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone will entertain bids from foreign telecommunications companies to provide Internet services.
German Hackers Claim They Cracked iPhone Fingerprint Scanner
September 23, 2013
The Chaos Computing Club, a group of German hackers, claimed to have cracked Apple's new iPhone fingerprint scanner. The scanner is one of the distinguishing features of Apple's new iPhone 5S, which is otherwise quite similar to the iPhone 5. It was not immediately clear whether CCC's claims were true, but two prominent iPhone security experts reportedly verified them.
Pinterest Tests the Ad Waters With New Promoted Pins
September 21, 2013
Pinterest on Thursday announced that it would begin experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses. The announcement came via a blog post from CEO Ben Silbermann, who hastened to assure the site's users that this move would not be a descent into ad madness. "I know some of you may be thinking, 'Oh great ... here come the banner ads,'" he wrote.
Have Anger, Will Travel Social Networks
September 20, 2013
Angry posts spread faster on social networks than those indicative of any other emotion, according to a recent study. Researchers at Beihang University set out to test whether homophily -- the tendency of people to bond with those who are similar -- occurs in social media interactions. The team analyzed 70 million posts collected from Sina Weibo.
China's Web Crackdown Gives Mobile Chat a Boost
September 20, 2013
Tencent Holdings' WeChat mobile messaging service stands to gain more users as China makes it more and more risky to vent opinions online. Long a hotbed for censorship, China has been turning up the heat even further on netizens believed to be spreading "rumors." China's Supreme Court recently ruled that jail was in the cards for anyone who posts a rumor that is viewed 5,000 times or re-posted 500 times.
South Korean Skyscraper Will Disappear Daily
September 19, 2013
In a loud declaration of, "Because we can!" plans have been hatched to build a skyscraper in South Korea that will be able to turn invisible. The skyscraper's invisibility function will work by having cameras on the tower take pictures of the sky behind it. Those images will then be transmitted to the front of the building, thereby fooling the eyes of people standing in a designated area.
Syrian Rebels Use iPads to Target Weapons
September 18, 2013
Syrian rebels have taken to using an iPad app to help guide mortar fire. Rebels were photographed using an iPad reportedly equipped with the iHandy Level Free app, deployed as a method for ensuring that the mortar tube is level. Novel though this may be, reporter Paul Szoldra, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years, is dubious of the iPad's effect.

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