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Google seeks to disclose FISA requests separately, invokes first amendment rights as part of argument
Google is one of the first companies to release transparency reports that disclose the number of requests for personal data they receive from various governments. Unfortunately for Google, FISA and NSL requests often come with gag orders to prevent them from disclosing the fact they even received a request.
We have long pushed for transparency so users can better understand the extent to which governments request their data-and Google was the first company to release numbers for National Security Letters. However, greater transparency is needed, so today we have petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow us to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately. Lumping national security requests together with criminal requests-as some companies have been permitted to do-would be a backward step for our users.
In a world where we see startups and dev houses being snatched up left and right, it is no surprise that someone is looking to purchase the automated video maker app Qwiki. With Vine growing every day in popularity and Instagram looking to add video to its service later this week, Yahoo is looking to get in on the video app craze that is so popular at the moment.
According to All Things D, sources close to the company are disclosing that Yahoo is looking to purchase Qwiki for somewhere close to $50 million. Things could still go south in the deal, but word on the street is that both companies are in the advanced stages of the acquisition, and transfer of ownership looks to be imminent.
For those not familiar, Qwiki is an app that lets iPhone users quickly combine photos and videos into a single stylized video for sharing with friends on the web. This is yet another purchase in a long line of acquisitions since CEO Marissa Mayer took the head seat at the company.
If there's one technology that has me positively tingling with excitement over, it's Oculus' Rift. The company announced yesterday that they have just closed a deal that will see them with a cash injection of $16 million.
The funding comes from Spark Capital and Matrix Partners with Santo Politi, Spark founder and general partner and Antonio Rodriguez, entrepreneur and general partner of Matrix, joining Oculus' board of directors. The injection of cash will help speed up the development of virtual reality hardware, software and services, which will hopefully see Oculus' Rift as a great, commercially available VR platform.
Considering Oculus raised $2.4 million from their Kickstarter campaign, which was close to 10 times the amount they originally needed, this $16 million should do some wonderful things for the company.
Yahoo have quite a number of government requests for data over the last six months, beating Apple, Microsoft and Facebook - a surprising statistic. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Generan Counsel Ron Bell noted on Tumblr that Yahoo have received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, "inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests" between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.
According to the Yahoo CEO and Bell, most of the requests relate to "fraud, homicides, kidnappings, and other criminal investigations." Yahoo aren't stating just how many FISA requests are in that figure due to their classified nature, but they "strongly urge(s) the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue."
Music streaming and subscription service Spotify have just added something that should appeal to a huge fan base, the complete works of Pink Floyd. Spotify is the first service to have all of Pink Floyd's works, which is a great position to be in.
Google Play Music All Access have some of the band's works, but not the complete set. The 'unlocking' of the content came after Spotify asked their listeners to stream classis track "Wish You Were Here" to show their interest in Pink Floyd, where they racked up a huge one million listens just this weekend alone. All of Pink Floyd's music comes for free using the desktop Spotify app, or the web app if that's how you roll.
Premium customers can download every single track, and have it all ready to go on their smart devices, which is just another way of enjoying Spotify's goodness.
We all know what "tweet" means, and for the uninitiated, it's when posting a "tweet" from Twitter, the second largest social network in the world. Well, now, it is considered an actual words thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary.
OED chief editor, John Simpson, announced the word being official as both a noun and a verb, in his June update. Tweet has been a word previously, for birds obviously, but now the definition has been expanded to include Twitter, the explanation: "To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter. Also: to use Twitter regularly or habitually."
Google and Apple are far out and just legging it in terms of application development, with app developers embracing the platform - but what about Microsoft? Well, it looks like they're having to shell out nearly $100,000 to some developers to build Windows Phone apps.
This $100,000 isn't just for anyone, with Microsoft most likely handing the cash over to developers for specific, high-profile content. Microsoft are also running a separate program that offers every single developer $100 per app submitted to either the Windows Phone and Windows 8 stores.
Apple are still adding piles of new users to iTunes, but just how many are they adding on a daily basis? According to Horace Dediu of Asymco, the Cupertino-based giant are adding around 500,000 new iTunes accounts each and every day.
If they keep this pace, they'll have added another 100 million iTunes accounts before the end of the year. There may be more users on iTunes, but revenue per account has actually dropped over the last couple of years. Dediu noted that each of the 575 million accounts generates half as much revenue, or $3.20 per month compared to Apple's 100 million iTunes accounts did in 2009.
Ah, Kim Dotcom. Thanks for the laugh this morning with your latest tweet, which reads "NSA WARNING: Do NOT retweet this #Megaupload raid video. We know where you live." Check it out below:
You can see that Dotcom, and everyone on his land, had no chance but to surrender to the police. We all know this story, but Dotcom is using this time where the NSA is under the Internet's microscope to spread his story. I still can't believe this happened, but at least Dotcom is a free man. I'm sure the NSA have been watching his every move for quite some time now.
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.