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Facebook's shields are up over the NSA debacle, reveal requests for user data from the US authorities
Thank you NSA, for not being as secure as you wanted to be, because all of this news is showing the world that user data isn't as secure as we thought it was. Facebook have now come out stating they received between 9000 and 10,000 requests for user data from US authorities in the second half of last year alone.
These requests ranged from child disappearances to petty crimes, all the way to terror threats and saw between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts. Facebook didn't state how often they complied with the requests for users' data. The social network have said they "aggressively" protect their users' data, according to Facebook's general counsel, Ted Ullyot. He added:
We frequently reject such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested. And we respond only as required by law.
This is something that could be like pulling a thread from a very large ball of wool, but defense lawyers for Terrance Brown, who is a south Florida man currently facing bank robbery charges, have requested the NSA to provide them with Brown's mobile phone surveillance records to support his claim that he wasn't anywhere near the bank at the time of the robbery.
The reason this request has been done is that we now know that the NSA requires all American phone companies to hand over the complete records of all of their clients' calls, including the GPS location data of the calls themselves.
The prosecution had told defense attorneys that they were unable to obtain Brown's cellphone records from the period before September 2010 because his carrier, MetroPCS, had not held on to them.
Not so fast, Brown's attorney Marshall Dore Louis argued in court documents filed in Fort Lauderdale days after the National Security Agency surveillance program was revealed last week...
...Louis argued in court Wednesday that the government should be forced to turn over phone location records for two cellphones Brown may have used because it could prove he was not present for one of the attempted bank robberies, on July 26 on Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point.
And for weeks now it is that apparent that social mapping software company Waze would be acquired by one of the Silicon Valley giants. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft were all tossing their hats into the ring to acquire Waze, but only one can emerge victorious.
This morning Google has announced that it has acquired the Israeli company for a reported $1.3 billion. Google says that the Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for the time being and added "We'll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what's needed to grow and prosper."
For those unfamiliar with Waze, it is a social traffic and navigation app that is based on a large community of tens of millions of drivers around the world who share real-time road and traffic info with other Waze users. The app has just under 50 million users which is up over 10 million since February.
Google do countless things, but did you know that one of them is predicting just how much money a new blockbuster movie will make at the box office up to four weeks from its release? A new study from the Mountain View-based giant called "Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search" has found that by using data from Google's search engine, they can predict a film's opening weekend box office results with up to 94% accuracy.
Google puts them down to search volume for a movie's trailer a month before release, and as the release of the movie gets closer, the predictions become slightly less accurate. Just a week before a movie is released, Google uses search volume for a film's title rather than the trailer, combining this with theater availability to make predictions that are still around 92% accurace.
The company notes that if a movie receives 250,000 more searches than another movie that opens in the same week, it will make an average of $4.3 million more during its opening weekend.
If the current reports are true, it looks like Google could be gunning to acquire crowdsourced navigation app Waze for $1.3 billion. The deal isn't final yet, but according to reports, Google agreed to keep Waze workers at their Israel-based development center, and will allow the company to continue their development in Israel "for at least three years".
The deal will reportedly see Waze CEO Noam Bardin continue his top dog position, while Waze will also keep their brand and won't be integrated into Google. There was a bidding war between social network giants Facebook and Google, with Google reportedly getting the +1.
Sony has reportedly signed on with Apple for Apple's rumored iRadio service. Many believe that iRadio will launch at this year's WWDC, so it's important for Apple to have deals with all three major music labels in hand ahead of the announcement.
It's still possible that Apple has other issues barring it from a full launch, but they could still announce the upcoming product on Monday. It's quite likely that it would be announced during the keynote that takes place on Monday. We'll have coverage if iRadio does end up launching.
iRadio is believed to function much like Pandora, with the added abilities of instantly buying and downloading a song from iTunes should you discover you like it. Expect it to feature targeted ads to support a free version, with a possible premium version doing away with those ads.
Sky satellite TV customers could soon be able to pick up a subsidized Xbox One with new contract. Reports have surfaced that Sky and Microsoft are currently in talks to provide subsidized Xbox Ones with a Sky subscription package in the UK. These would likely come with a standard two-year contract.
The reports say that we could get confirmation of this as early as June 10 at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference. It's worth noting that the Xbox One isn't a cable or satellite box. Users would still need to connect in their old equipment into the Xbox One, or at least in the US this would be required.
A subsidy could help boost sales of the next-gen console. Even though the price is still unknown, Amazon has it listed for sale for over $900. Using a subsidy to bring the price down to something a bit more reasonable would aid adoption.
We'll be in attendance of the Microsoft Press Conference on Monday and will bring you the full details as they happen.
Apple will reportedly start an iPhone trade-in program in stores this month. Apple hopes that the trade-in program would result in an increase in sales of new models. According to people with knowledge of the plans, Apple has teamed up with Brightstar Corp. to run the trade-in program.
Brightstar is the company who handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile. Apple will offer money for older model iPhones, boosting sales of new models in the United States and producing a supply of older devices that can then be sold in emerging markets for a profit.
The full details of the program aren't public yet, but the program will reportedly launch this month. Prices paid for working iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices are unknown, but could be as high as $200.
Reports of Apple planning to sell ads for an upcoming iRadio music streaming service have surfaced. Some expect Apple to unveil what many are dubbing iRadio as soon as next week at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. These ads would likely be extremely targeted, making them valuable to advertisers and Apple.
Highly targeted advertising would fetch higher prices for Apple and would be in demand by marketers. if this is the case, it could be all doom and gloom for the already-struggling Pandora. According to a former Apple executive, the ads will be sold via Apple's existing iAd mobile ad network.
As Apple has access to more than just a user's listening tastes, ads could be even more targeted than those provided by Pandora. Pandora is only able to target ads based upon music listening preferences, gender, and zip code.
Of course, all of this is just speculation up until Apple actually unveils the service. If it makes an appearance at next week's WWDC, you'll be able to read about it here on TweakTown.
Relating to a story published earlier, Intel's push for perceptual computing has led the company to create a $100M investment fund through its Intel Capital subsidiary. The $100M will be used to fund perceptual computing projects, such as the 3D-depth camera we reported about earlier today.
Intel Capital typically invests in up-and-coming technologies, basically ensuring that Intel's PC chips will continue to be in demand. This announcement was made during Intel's keynote speech at Computex Taipei 2013:
Devices with human-like senses--the ability to see, hear and feel much like people do--has long been a subject of science fiction but is now within reach given recent innovations in compute power and camera technology. This new fund will invest in start-ups and companies enabling these experiences, helping them with the business development support, global business network and technology expertise needed to scale for worldwide use.
Intel has previously used Intel Capital to create a $300 million fund to push Ultrabook development. Intel Capital has been investing since 1991 and has spread $10.8 billion across 1,284 companies in 54 countries.