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US Senator introduces new bill to control the amount of spying power the NSA has

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 4:29 am

NSA's PRISM system is reading everything you do, say, or whisper by yourself in a lonely corner - but those powers could soon be dealt a little kryptonite if US Senator Patrick Leahy's new bill is enacted upon.

 

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Leahy's new bill has been called the "FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013" that aims to "strengthen privacy protections, accountability and oversight related to domestic surveillance." The bill aims to calm down the PATRIOT Act so that the government is forced to show evidence that a citizen is linked with a foreign group or power before surveillance on the citizen even begins.

 

I doubt we'll see that, and even if we do and it is enacted upon, how would you know if this is the way they do it? They could continue snooping and you would be none the wiser about it - just like most of the world was until Edward Snowden came onto the scene.

Over one million Americans have downloaded adware-infected Android apps in the last year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 4:08 am

Security firm Lookout have a new report which is pretty damning for US-based Android users, where they report that over one million Americans have download adware-infected Android applications, most of them without even knowing so.

 

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Worse than that, is that 6.5% of free applications on the Google Play Store are infected with adware in some form. Lookout have noted that the most prevalent app-based mobile threat in the world today is adware, as it can take user privacy away and take things like personal information such as e-mail, location data and address lists, all without proper notification and modifying phone settings without users' consent.

 

Adware is a grey area of the market to explain, as there's no defined set of rules of what adware is exactly. What Lookout did instead, was provide some guidelines that they use to differentiate an innocent ad from an adware one. Lookout classify an app that is infected with adware if it displays advertising that's outside of the normal experience, if it contains unusual indentifiable information, or if it performs unexpected actions as a response to ad clicks.

Windows 8.1 Preview is now available, want to try it out?

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 3:31 am

Microsoft unveiled Windows 8.1 Preview at their BUILD 2013 conference on Wednesday, where it's free and some people can get their hands on it right now. Microsoft have promised an ISO image of the OS, but for now it's only available through the Windows Store.

 

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This means the Preview of Windows 8.1 is currently locked down to those running Windows 8 and Windows RT - so not me then. Remember, that this is just a beta - so don't replace your full OS when using it. Maybe partition your hard drive, or use a spare one (if you have one). The Windows 8.1 Preview should be unleashed to all of us in the coming days, and we'll write up a guide on how you can install it in our Tweakipedia section once it goes live in ISO format.

The NSA has been intercepting SSL traffic too, no one is safe from their technological grip

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 3:02 am

NSA's PRISM system is quite the beast indeed, but now it is being revealed that the US security agency have been intercepting SSL traffic too - which is meant to be a secure link - after all, it stands for secure sockets layer.

 

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Obviously not, as the US security agency have been using their PRISM system to gather and store huge quantities (see: all) of SSL encrypted data for later cryptanalysis. Netcraft also reports that this huge volume of data is logged so that if an SSL private key later becomes available, they can be decrypted.

 

There are 'legal' methods of getting these private keys: a court order, social engineering, an attack against the website, or through cryptanalysis. But, it's the NSA - do you really expect them to use legal means to break your encrypted data that they weren't meant to take in the first place? Yeah, I thought so.

RumorTT: Verizon to acquire Canadian provider Wind Mobile for $800 million

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 2:30 am

Verizon is wanting to extend their control of the wireless market, with the new rumor circling around that they will acquire Canadian wireless provider Wind Mobile.

 

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Verizon have reportedly offered Wind Mobile a tentative offer of between $600 million and $800 million with the final price being decided once the company completes its due diligence. Verizon aren't stopping there, where they might be whipping out their credit card to acquire rival wireless startup Moilicity.

 

The Canadian government previously flexed their muscle, denying Teleus's bid to license Mobilicity spectrum. Government officials should okay this deal though, as it will increase competition in the Canadian wireless market.

Windows Phone sees more than 200 million app downloads per month

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 2:03 am

Microsoft has announced a discount to its Windows Phone developer program. Microsoft is offering developers a discount on the fee normally paid to join the developer program. Instead of the yearly $99 fee, Microsoft is currently offering it for just $19. In the blog post detailing the discount, Microsoft also provided some interesting statistics regarding the Windows Phone platform.

 

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These numbers are, of course, the good numbers as Microsoft would be unlikely to report the bad numbers. One of the most interesting and often tracked numbers is how many apps the platform has. In the blog post, Microsoft reported that the total number of apps on the Windows Platform is 160,000. Furthermore, Microsoft said that those apps drive 200 million app downloads each month.

 

For comparison, iOS has surpassed the 50 billion download mark. Windows 8 has around 100,000 apps available in its app store. Windows Phone also experienced the greatest year-over-year increase in marketshare, doubling its market penetration. To read the whole blog post, head over to Microsoft's site.

Google removes all clouds from Earth imagery

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 1:33 am

Google has processed hundreds of terabytes of Earth imagery to construct a cloud-free version of its satellite imagery used in its Maps and Earth products. The data is also now higher resolution, providing the ability to see the Earth in greater detail. The new imagery comes from NASA's and USGS' Landsat 7 satellite. Due to a hardware failure early in life, this was no easy feat.

 

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Landsat 7's imagery has black stripes in the normal images due to said hardware failure. Google had to combine multiple images in order to remove those black stripes. This same process is essentially how they managed to get a cloudless version of their imagery, even in tropical zones that almost always have some cloud cover.

 

Google has also focused on bringing the new imagery to zones that hadn't been updated in a while. This means the new imagery focuses on Russia, Indonesia, and central Africa. Google notes that the new image is over 800,000 megapixels. In other words, it would take a piece of paper the size of a city block to print it out at the standard 300dpi.

Continue reading 'Google removes all clouds from Earth imagery' (full post)

Sony removed PS4 camera to beat Microsoft on price

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 1:02 am

According to sources close to Sony, the entertainment giant decided to not bundle the PlayStation 4 camera with every console so they could beat Microsoft's $499 price point. But not only did Sony do this to beat Microsoft on price, they didn't let retail partners know that the price changed. The only information they provided to retail partners was that the PS4 camera would no longer be included with the console.

 

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This might have been a great move. Not only was Sony able to beat Microsoft on price, but it turns out that people don't like an always-connected camera in their living room. Sony has been able to avoid accusations that the device might be spying on its users.

 

On the other hand, it will likely cause the PlayStation camera accessory to see less uptake in the market. By not requiring every user to have it, game developers will have to deal with a fragmented landscape where only some gamers have the camera. This means developers are unlikely to make as much use of the camera, which in turn provides less incentive for users to buy a camera. It's the classic chicken and egg scenario.

NVIDIA delays Shield shipping until next month after discovering mechanical issue

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 12:27 am

NVIDIA has announced that they have delayed the shipping of their upcoming handheld gaming console. Project Shield was originally slated to go on sale tomorrow, but NVIDIA has decided to push that date back to sometime in July due to a mechanical issue. The issue stems from a third-party component supplier who's part isn't quite up to NVIDIA's "exacting standards."

 

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NVIDIA doesn't have a confirmed shipping date beyond sometime in July, so we'll let you know as soon as NVIDIA releases a firm ship date. NVIDIA has also extended apologies to those who preordered Shield and those who were looking forward to buying the console. NVIDIA believes that the console will be well worth the wait.

 

It's probably better for the company to wait and perfect the device than release a product that wouldn't garner the reviews and experience that they want.

Instagram CEO: Windows Phone and BlackBerry app not coming 'anytime soon', Google Glass app sometime after that

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 12:04 am

It looks as though it could still be a long time before Instagram finds its way onto the Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms. This fact comes courtesy of Instagram's CEO, who noted during an interview that Google Glass is towards the bottom of their list for new platforms. This is because Instagram considers where its users are and where the growth is.

 

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Shortly after explaining that a Glass app is towards the bottom of their list, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom warned that BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps may not be coming anytime soon. "I'm just saying that in order of priority, the way we evaluate where to expand to is really simply where our users are, and where the growth is," the executive explained. "It took us a very long time to get to Android."

 

We're actually quite surprised that Instagram hasn't brought an app to the other mobile platforms as of yet. Instagram is owned by Facebook, a massive company that could easily afford to port the application to the other platforms. If you're planning on using Instagram on Google Glass just be warned that it could be a very long time until an app is released for the platform.

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