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Yahoo faces up to $250,000 in daily fines for not giving in to NSA

If Yahoo refuses to turn over user data to the U.S. government, the company faces a fine up to $250,000 per day. The National Security Agency (NSA) wants Yahoo and other companies to adhere to new surveillance rules they've created, but Yahoo officials said the agency's efforts are unconstitutional.

 

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A federal judge recently unsealed wording relating to the case, which Yahoo hailed as a minor victory for transparency - an ongoing fight that the NSA will continue, likely at the daily expense of Yahoo. For more than half a year, Yahoo said the government's demand to turn over user information regarding non-U.S. citizens living overseas was unconstitutional - breaching the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure.

 

The ongoing battle between invasive federal monitoring began years before former NSA analyst Edward Snowden outlined widespread and systematic spying operations. Yahoo had to fight every step of the way to challenge the US government's surveillance efforts," according to Ron Bell, Yahoo general counsel.

Oculus VR CEO donates $31 million to a University for a VR lab

Oculus VR is pushing for the future of VR to be awesome, so what better way than donating millions of dollars to a University to build a new VR lab? That's exactly what Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus VR has done, donating $31 million to the University of Maryland.

 

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The money will be used to build a new computer science building that will feature a VR lab. Iribe had the idea of donating the funds after the acquisition made by Facebook in March of this year for $2 billion, after he met with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, where he walked around the University and noticed that not much had changed around the place.

 

Iribe met Michael Antonov at the time, who is now the Chief Software Architect of Oculus VR, who will be donating $4 million the university to help with the construction of the building, and establish a scholarship. Iribe spoke with Business Insider, where he said: "It will have a big focus on robotics and computer vision, computer graphics, and human computer interaction. In the past, computers have been used regularly as a tool, so you don't need to bring in psychologists or the biotech side of things to understand how the computer affects the brain in order to make a great operating system. But in VR, you actually do".

Bank of England worried about bitcoin fraud risk, threat of deflation

The Bank of England is worried bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies could suffer long-term fraud potentially hurting the British economy. There also is a higher level of deflation using the currency, as it's not supported by a banking system - and with more than 1 million bitcoin users across the world - businesses are willing to gamble with the digital currency.

 

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Although volatility and additional fees for transactions are likely with bitcoin, the Bank of England is more concerned about the fixed supply of bitcoins for customers.

 

"The inability of the money supply to vary in response to demand would likely cause greater volatility in prices and real activity," according to the Bank of England. "A significant risk to digital currencies' sustained use (is) that they will not be able to compete on cost without degenerating... to a monopoly miner, thereby... exposing them to risk of system-wide fraud."

Continue reading 'Bank of England worried about bitcoin fraud risk, threat of deflation' (full post)

Microsoft rumored to be buying Minecraft developer for $2 billion

An interesting rumor is emerging, that Microsoft will acquire Mojang, the developer behind the super-successful Minecraft. The Wall Street Journal is behind the report, which gives it some weight, which says that a "person familiar with the matter" has noted that the deal is worth over $2 billion.

 

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Other than that, there's not much to report on now, but you can be sure we'll have more to say if and when this happens.

PayPal's Braintree opens up bitcoin payments, shaking things up more

Ebay announced that Braintree, a former competitor of PayPal and current subsidiary, will begin accepting bitcoins sometime in the next few months. There won't be direct bitcoin integration via PayPal or the Ebay marketplace, as Ebay reportedly was able to answer regulatory questions and other issues that had to be addressed.

 

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"We're announcing PayPal's first foray into bitcoin," said Bill Ready, EBay Braintree unit chief, during a recent conference. "Over the coming months we'll allow our merchants to accept bitcoin. On the consumer side it will be a sleek experience."

 

Braintree customers include Uber and Airbnb, and will be able to accept bitcoins if they choose to opt in. It's a curious move that could lead to bitcoin integration within PayPal and eBay in the future, depending how things with Braintree go.

Continue reading 'PayPal's Braintree opens up bitcoin payments, shaking things up more' (full post)

Bitcoin ATMs popping up in the U.S., across Europe as interest grows

The lure of bitcoins has led to greater interest from consumers and businesses, as bitcoin ATMs begin to pop up for converting bitcoins to cash or cash to bitcoin savings. If ATMs continue to grow in popularity, bitcoin supporters hope to see a major milestone as cryptocurrencies become mainstream.

 

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"Having these machines in stores, especially quality stores that sell quality items, is really going to raise the profile of bitcoin," said Matt Russell, CMO of PYC, a bitcoin ATM operator in New York. "We'd be fools to not think that marketing is a part of this."

 

Bitcoin ATMs are being launched in metropolitan areas such as, Seattle, Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas - and companies want to drive adoption into hotels and other tourist locations. Along with U.S. cities, the ATMs are finding their way to Spain, France, England, and other EU nations - but the ATM industry is hoping to see more industry insight for the blossoming market.

Continue reading 'Bitcoin ATMs popping up in the U.S., across Europe as interest grows' (full post)

NVIDIA files patent infringements against Samsung and Qualcomm

Things just got messy between NVIDIA and Samsung, with NVIDIA suing the South Korean giant over alleged patent infringements. NVIDIA has included Qualcomm in its lawsuit, which has been filed with the US District Court in Delaware, as well as with the International Trade Commission.

 

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Bright Side of News' Anshel Sag reports: "NVIDIA is alleging that Samsung's devices that use Qualcomm's chips are infringing upon NVIDIA's own technologies that have been patented. Not just that, but by filing a complaint with the ITC, NVIDIA is seeking that such devices that infringe upon these patents be banned from importation and sale within the United States." What is worse, is that NVIDIA is claiming that Samsung is infringing on their patents on some of hte most popular handset on the market, and some of which were just announced by Samsung a couple of days ago.

 

These include the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy S4 as well as the Galaxy Tab S and Galaxy Note Pro... that's a lot of Galaxies. NVIDIA continues, claiming that Samsung's Exynos processors violated seven different patents, as well as Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. The Snapdragon processors in question are include the Snapdragon S4 (using the Adreno 225), Snapdragon 400 (using the Adreno 305), Snapdragon 600 (using the Adreno 320), Snapdragon 800 and 801 (using the Adreno 330), and Snapdragon 805 (using the Adreno 420).

Continue reading 'NVIDIA files patent infringements against Samsung and Qualcomm' (full post)

CheapAir allows customers to pay with Dogecoin, Litecoin

Online travel agency CheapAir became the first in its industry to accept bitcoin, and now has opened up Dogecoin and Litecoin payment options. Since embracing bitcoin in November 2013, CheapAir has generated $1.5 million in cryptocurrency sales, which is why the company has decided to support Dogecoin and Litecoin.

 

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When consumers typically think of cryptocurrencies, bitcoin is the first that comes to mind - but Litecoin, Dogecoin, and scores of others are gaining a strong following from consumers and businesses. Customers purchasing via cryptocurrencies can still mix-and-match flights from multiple airlines, and is still supported by the CheapAir Price Drop Payback offering.

 

"We try to make travel as easy as possible for customers, and letting people pay the way they want to pay is a big part of that," said Jeff Klee, CheapAir CEO, in a statement. "Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin represent promising technologies that can make transacting online faster, easier, less expensive, and more secure. We admire cryptocurrency early adopters and we're thrilled to support them."

Apple supplier in China accused of workplace labor violations

Catcher Technology, a company based in Taiwan that operates factories in China for Apple, has been accused of labor rights and workplace violations. Catcher Technology manufactures metal casings for the Apple iPad, and employees worked a large amount of overtime and were forced to handle toxic chemicals without proper safety procedures or training.

 

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Apple pointed out worrisome problems in the factory in April 2013, but the problems have only worsened since then, according to a China Labor Watch report. Apple is planning to send inspectors to the facility, located in the eastern city of Suqian, to ensure workplace laws are enforced.

 

Companies that use manufacturing facilities based in China used to turn a blind-eye to workplace violations - but increased pressure has called for Apple, Samsung, and other corporations to ensure their partners are operating more fairly. However, reports of illegal workplace behavior continue to surface, sometimes at a startling pace.

Isis Wallet renamed Softcard to avoid links to Islamic terrorist group

The Isis Wallet mobile payment system has changed its name to Softcard as the company doesn't want to share the same name with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. Company officials noted that it was thinking of a name change over the summer, saying it doesn't want any confusion related to the group that has ramped up its use of brutal tactics to scare rivals and attract new recruits.

 

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Softcard is currently backed by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, and hopes to move forward and continue operating normally. The company said the Isis Wallet will work the same following the name change, and mobile users will see the app update without any major feature changes.

 

"Our search for a new name has been rooted in our founding vision: to use the power of the mobile phone to help consumers find a safer and better way to shop, pay and save," said Michael Abbott, Softcard CEO, in a statement. "But we also wanted a name and visual identity that had the power, flexibility and simplicity to define our category."

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