Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was disgusted by NSA and GCHQ mass surveillance activities, and disclosed the questionable actions of both agencies. However, multiple lawmakers and politicians have spoken out against his actions, saying he has put military personnel and intelligence agents at risk.
British lawmakers hope to push the Communications Data Bill, which would force ISPs and mobile service carriers to keep Internet browsing activity, social media, email correspondence, voice calls, Internet gaming activity, texting, and other records on file for a minimum of 12 months. Phone and email contact data is already retained due to the Data Retention Regulations 2014 bill.
"Consequently there are people dying who actually would now be alive," said Lord West, a former UK security minister and Navy admiral. "It is now critical that we move forward the Communications Data Bill that was paused so unreasonably because there is a very real danger that unless we do this, I think it is not exaggerating to say that people will die in this country who would have been safe if that had been in place."
Book retailer Barnes & Noble will have the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK device available to in-store customers on Black Friday for $129.99 while supplies last. The 10-inch model will be available for $249 both in-store and online, the company said in a press statement.
In addition, NOOK will offer e-books and e-magazines on sale up to 50 percent off for customers.
"We are excited to offer customers our fantastic lineup of NOOK devices at all excellent values, right on time for their holiday shopping," said Doug Carlson, Chief Marketing Officer, in a press statement. "In particular, customers will love our amazing one-day, in-store offer on the 7-inch device. Our customers and their families can enjoy a NOOK device together as they read books or watch movies, enhancing their shared holiday experience."
Microsoft Windows is struggling to compete against Google Android and Apple iOS in the tablet market, but the company is steadily growing a following. For consumers operating on a budget - and seeking a Windows-powered tablet device - there are a few different models available for $100 or less.
The Toshiba Encore Mini, Hewlett-Packard Stream 7, and E-FUN 8-inch Nextbook currently are Windows 8.1-powered tablets available for less than $100, with functionality that includes being able to open and use Word documents and play Xbox games. These devices also have one year of Office 365 for free, along with 1TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage space.
Despite a low price tag, the tablets have just 32GB of storage and typically don't have high-resolutions - and typically have limited connectivity.
Action camera maker GoPro plans to jump into the consumer drone market sporting high-definition cameras, which will launch in 2015, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal. The drones should be available late next year and costs will range from $500 up to $1,000 per drone, but design styles are still unknown.
GoPro camera models already are compatible with some consumer drones currently available, and transitioning into drone manufacturing could be a lucrative effort. However, with companies such as DJI Innovations and other consumer drone manufacturers in a suddenly booming market, competition will be intense.
A GoPro spokesman told the WSJ that "jaw-dropping GoPro footage recorded from quadcopters," is already available - and producing impressive content. "Earlier this year, to study the policy implications and to protect the rights of our users, GoPro joined the Washington-based Small UAV coalition," the spokesman mentioned.
Sigurdur Thordarson, a computer hacker and former Wikileaks associate, has pleaded guilty for embezzling at least $240,000 from the group. Operating under the name of "Siggi the Hacker," the Icelandic man claims he also became an FBI informant in 2011, though rejected accusations he stole any funds from the group.
"After going over the charges thoroughly and speaking with my client, he has decided to plead guilty to all charges," said Vilhjalmur Vilhjalmsson, the hacker's attorney, noted. It was a surprising announcement, but Thordarson changed his mind - and his reasoning remains unknown - but he will face sentencing in Iceland sometime in the future.
"He was a volunteer who abused his position through fraud to obtain money from T-shirts and coffee mugs just after we were imposed with the banking blockade," said Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks representative. "We lodged a complaint in Denmark pertaining to a meeting that took place between him and FBI agents in 2011. We want that to be probed on the basis that it was an illegal operation according to Danish law."
Data storage affects every aspect of modern life, but it turns out the technology developed for Blu-ray data storage can also have other uses. Solar cells work by trapping light, and it turns out that the same patterns used on the surface of Blu-Ray disks can absorb 21.8% more light than other textures. Solar cell efficiency is measured by how many photons they can absorb, and current designs utilize quasi-random nanostructures to boost efficiency. The pits and grooves present on a Blu-ray are between 150 and 525 nanometers, which is coincidentally the perfect size for trapping photons.
Researchers at Northwestern University began by testing with the patterns from a blank Blu-ray, but interestingly enough they found that greater efficiency is achieved when data is present. Researchers tested with different types of video on the Blu-ray, such as Jackie Chan's "Supercop", episodes of "Family Guy", and black and white movies. The efficiency of the solar cells increased no matter what type of video was present. The 21.8% increase in efficiency equates to a 12% improvement in conversion efficiency, which will result in more efficient solar panels and other applications.
The British government requested data on one journalist as part of Operation Elveden, focused on alleged bribes made to public officials for information, and "accidentally" received data on 1,000 News UK staff. Vodafone said there was some type of human error that led to the extra data being supplied, while police officials said they returned the information.
Police wanted information focused on one journalists that worked for News UK from 2005 to 2007, and used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to receive the data - and the information was returned back to Vodafone after about four months.
"Unfortunately, there was a human error during the processing of this information - which was drawn manually from a legacy system - as a consequence of which the Met Police were supplied with a corrupted dataset containing a significantly higher volume of metadata than had been the focus of the warrant received by Vodafone. The metadata in question relates to call logs and other information, such as pricing data, not the content or location of any communications."
Peripheral gaming company Razer today announced that it will screen the "Team Razer: Great Games" documentary during DreamHack Winter in Sweden on November 29. The documentary follows professional gamers playing StarCraft II, Dota 2 and League of Legends - and aims to show gamers an inside view of the current state of professional gaming.
"eSports is a phenomenon that so many people are still unaware of, and I want to change that," said Travis "Samox" Beauchamp, film director. "Athletes from different cultures pursue their passion with these games, with millions of people watching, each player driven by a desire to be the best of the best. Illuminating the lives of these StarCraft, Dota 2 and League of Legends champions will help eSports novice to understand that ambitious gaming is not only a hobby, but a serious sport."
One-third of consumers are careless when making online transactions, opening them up to potential security problems, according to the Kaspersky Lab Consumer Security Risks Survey. Only 58 percent of Google Android smartphone users utilize a security solution on their mobile device, and 30 percent of consumers are storing financial data on their phones and tablets.
Kaspersky offers the following advice: Don't use public Wi-Fi while shopping online, and ensure there is a mobile security solution installed if using a smartphone or tablet. Always turn off Bluetooth and switch to cellular when using a mobile device.
"When people ignore safety measures they can fall victim to cybercriminals," said Ross Hogan, Kaspersky Lab Global Head of the Fraud Protection Division. "However, the banks often end up having to pay for that negligence. With so many careless users, banks and e-payment systems operators must ensure themselves against financial and reputational risks by using specialized security solutions that can prevent cybercrime."
Starting on Black Friday, and only available while supplies last, Samsung is offering a free Far Cry 4 download with any purchase of an 840 EVO SSD. The offer is only available from participating retailers, most notably Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, Microcenter, Fry's, and Tiger Direct. Users will be able to download the game at a Samsung-hosted web address (Samsung.com/fc4) until September 1.
The 840 EVO is a value SSD that delivers tremendous performance. Our resident SSD expert, Chris Ramseyer, recently took a look at the 840 EVO in his Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD Review - An SSD with a Good Price and Performance article. Chris found the 840 EVO to offer a great mixture of price and performance, and the EVO won the TweakTown Editor's Choice award. The 840 EVO is currently selling at roughly 45 cents per gigabyte, and adding in the free Far Cry 4 game is the cherry on top.