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NSA paid millions to US tech companies for their cooperation

Can it get any worse? When will the people of the United States realize the Constitution is, and has been worthless for years? This latest news should help boil that kettle a little hotter...

 

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The Guardian, who also broke the NSA PRISM news thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is now reporting that US-based tech giants such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook all received funds from the NSA so they could meet new certification demands after a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court.

 

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This was declassified by the Obama administration during the week, but happened back in October of 2011. The document states something that Edward Snowden himself talked about, the Special Source Operations division which he called the "crown jewel" of NSA's PRISM system, and that they relied on "corporate partnerships" with telecommunications companies and ISPs in order to access communications data. Mad yet?

Continue reading 'NSA paid millions to US tech companies for their cooperation' (full post)

US Feds seize $2.1 million more from Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox

The hits just keep coming for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Security had seized $2.9 million from Mt. Gox's Dwolla account, and now reports are coming in that say an additional $2.1 million was seized from the company's Wells Fargo accounts.

 

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That brings the total of the seizures up to $5 million and explains why recent withdrawal attempts from Bitcoin traders failed to process. On June 19, the $2.1 million held in Wells Fargo accounts was seized, which was one day before Mt. Gox suspended all US withdrawals.

 

The legal issues arose when Mt. Gox opened a Wells Fargo business account for Mutum Sigillum LLC (Mt. Gox's American subsidiary) but declared it as a business not engaged in money services. This was a falsification and the US government does not like it when you falsify financial documents. Head over to Source #2 to read the full seizure warrants.

US DoJ investigating Microsoft for alleged bribes in Russia, Pakistan

The US Department of Justice has its hands busy with paperwork regarding Microsoft and its possible involvement with bribing foreign government officials into accepting software contracts in both Russia and Pakistan.

 

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the story, and according to the Journal's sources, "in Pakistana a tipster alleged that Microsoft authorized a consulting firm to pay for a five-day trip to Egypt for a government official and his wife in order to win a tender."

 

Moving onto Russia, the tipster said that "resellers of its software allegedly funneled kickbacks to executives of a state-owned company to win a deal." Microsoft is cooperating with the investigation, but why? Just give the DoJ some Windows-based PCs filled with security holes so that the NSA can send the e-mails back and forth.

NASDAQ goes offline for three hours due to 'technological problem'

I've just woken up this morning (it's 7am here in my part of Australia) to the news of a three-hour shutdown of NASDAQ. Yes, a three-hour shutdown to trading in NASDAQ securities, which is massive news.

 

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NASDAQ pegged the issue on an 'unexplained technological problem' and resumed trading at 3:25pm EDT, after a 3-hour, 11-minute shutdown of trading in US companies' stocks. The shutdown is the largest in recent history. Sal Arnuk, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatnam, New Jersey said: "Any brokerage firm gets paid by executing orders. So yes, we are frustrated, and this hurts us, it hurts the market and it hurts public confidence."

 

The exchange blamed the issue with distributing stock price quotes for the shutdown, with a source close to the matter describing the problem as a "data feed issue" reports Reuters. Ok, now let's talk serious for a little bit, because a "technical issue", in my opinion, doesn't just happen to NASDAQ.

Continue reading 'NASDAQ goes offline for three hours due to 'technological problem'' (full post)

HTC's biggest problem? Its CEO, according to insiders

We all know HTC is going through troubled times, but at the same time they've seen some decent success with some of its latest smartphones. The Taiwanese company has even enlisted the help of Robert Downey Jr, or Iron Man, in its latest advertising campaign.

 

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But, the company still has issues. Reuters has an interesting interview lineup, where they've interviewed over a dozen of former, and current HTC executives, who talked about HTC's CEO, Peter Chou. They said they Chou was a quick decision maker with an attention to detail, which stop HTC from climbing higher up the smartphone success ladder.

 

Chou's traits have, however, helped the company over the last few years, as Chou could quickly make a decision on a product, or quickly snap together a concept for a new device. Reuters did talk of an offsite meeting two years ago where the HTC CEO sketched his plans for the design, price and launch date of the Sensation XL a mere three months before its launch.

 

In the beginning, this was a strength for HTC, but the competition is heating up, and fast. One unnamed HTC source said: "It used to be a strength, and now is becoming a weak point as they don't have a clear direction going forward."

Copyright Troll gets caught seeding torrents on The Pirate Bay

It's no secret that copyright and patent trolls are not the most ethical of creatures. In fact, many regard them as little more than the scum of the earth. Today, website Torrentfreak has released a report that shows just how immoral and unethical copyright trolls can be.

 

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The report says that Comcast has confirmed that a Pirate Bay user going by the name "Sharkmp4" has been directly linked to the notorious copyright troll Prenda Law. In a weird turn of events, The Pirate Bay actually helped Comcast expose the copyright troll who is running a honeypot on the popular torrent listing service.

 

The exposure came after a June report released by Delvan Neville, who works for a company that monitors BitTorrent users, that accused Prenda of running the so-called honeypot. The report says that the law firm was the major seeder of the very files they claim to be protecting. The Pirate Bay jumped in and exposed the IP address that Sharkmp4 was using, which matched up with Prenda's IP address.

Coinbase begins allowing users to send, buy, or sell Bitcoins via SMS

Earlier this week, the one-year-old Bitcoin startup Coinbase announced that it has made buying, selling, or trading Bitcoins easier than ever. The company now allows its users to interact with the virtual currency using SMS-based actions. This new feature allows anyone with a mobile device the ability to use Bitcoins for all sorts of things.

 

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To get started, users must simply verify their phone number and then set up a PIN that will be used to verify the transaction during a voice call that is received after the SMS messages are received. Using the virtual currency via SMS is quite easy as users can send a text message using one of the predetermined short codes the company has set up.

Apple is looking for engineers for a new iPhone R&D center in Taiwan

It is being reported that Apple is looking for a bunch of engineers to fill a new iPhone R&D center that will be based in Taiwan. The Cupertino-based company has posted up job listings for engineers who will work at a facility based in Taipei.

 

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Taiwan-based DigiTimes are behind the report, who claim they have heard from sources that Apple might also set up a maintenance center in Taiwan that would provide after-sales services. The engineers that Apple is looking for are being recruited for the Taiwan-based facility will reportedly work on next-gen iPhones.

 

Apple are also reportedly looking for a senior packaging engineers, senior software instrumentation engineer and senior AC-DC design engineer. This will be an interesting step for both Apple, and the entire of Taiwan.

Microsoft scoops up ex-Valve employee to help its PC division

Microsoft might be trying to improve its PC division with the hiring of an ex-Valve employee. Jason Holtman is now an employee of the Redmond-based giant, leaving his post at Valve in February.

 

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Holtman spoke with GamesIndustry about his move to Microsoft, where he said: "Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment. I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I'm excited to be here."

 

Holtman is working within the PC Gaming and Entertainment Strategy division of Microsoft, which should hopefully see Microsoft starting to take the PC gaming industry seriously once again.

Brazilian government sues Samsung over poor working conditions

The Brazilian government isn't happy with Samsung, with Brazil's Ministry of Labor filing a lawsuit against Samsung over its poor working conditions in a smartphone assembly plant in Zona Franca de Manaus.

 

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The South Korean giant is being accused of excessive work hours without rest, few chairs to sit on and a bunch of health problems ranging from bad backs to tenonitis. 2,018 requests for withdrawal have been filed, which is quite a lot considering the factory hires 5,600 people.

 

The Brazilian government is seeking around $110 million in compensation for its workers. Samsung has said in a statement to Reporter Brasil, a Brazilian publication, that they will cooperate fully with authorities, and have pledged to ensure "the highest industry standards regarding safety, health and well-being." Too little, too late, I don't understand why they wouldn't just do this from the beginning. Oh, wait, profits.

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