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Current Affairs Posts - Page 14

Iran launches national email service for all Iranian citizens

Iran has followed through with its plans to launch its own national email service which requires all citizens to sign up for it as a "safe" way to communicate with government officials. Each citizen was given an email address but before they can use it, account holders will have to provide their local post office with a full name, their national identification number, and their postal code.


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Mohammad Hasan Nami, Iran's minister for information and communication technology, said: "For mutual interaction and communication between the government and the people, from now on every Iranian will receive a special email address along with their postcode." He added that "With the assignment of an email address to every Iranian, government interactions with the people will take place electronically."


Independent experts doubt the plan, however, and say that the plan will most likely not materialize across the country as the newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, who has taken a softer line on Internet and web censorship, is due to be sworn-in in August.

Google experiences outages earlier this morning, internet panics

Some Google users were shocked to find the service not available this morning, which caused a small bout of mass hysteria on social networking sites such as Facebook. The outages began around 9:30 AM ET and reports began to surface on Facebook and Twitter shortly thereafter.


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An hour later, around 10:30 AM ET, all of Google services had appeared to be restored and back to their full functionality. Among the services affected were Google+, Google Drive, YouTube, and Gmail. The outages appear to have only affected those living in the southeast region of the United States, however, this reporter experienced no interruptions at all.

Continue reading 'Google experiences outages earlier this morning, internet panics' (full post)

Google rolls out public alert and crisis map for Taiwan as a Typhoon barrels down on the island

As typhoon season approaches, Google has expanded its Public Alerts system to include Taiwan and has launched a dedicated crisis map for the country in preparation for the rainy season. These new additions come just in time as weather agencies are currently monitoring a typhoon that can hit the island any day now.


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In a blog post this morning, Google said that starting today, the Google Public Alerts page (Source #2) will feature severe weather alerts for typhoons and flood-related events in Taiwan. Additionally, these alerts will also appear on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Now. For example, if a typhoon alert is issued, the alert will be displayed once you search for relevant information on Google Search and Google Maps. Google Now on Android or iOS will also display a card with information about any typhoon alert if the warning has been issued near your location.


Google has also launched a dedicated Google Crisis Map for Taiwan (Source #3) that provides details in the event of a crisis such as shelter locations, evacuation routes, and much more. Google has teamed up with Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau, Water Resource Agency, Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, Directorate General of Highways, and the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction to get such a project up and running.

Continue reading 'Google rolls out public alert and crisis map for Taiwan as a Typhoon barrels down on the island' (full post)

Samsung breaks ground on massive new Silicon Valley campus

The time has finally come for Samsung to begin constructing its new campus in Silicon Valley. The company will break ground this week on its brand-new headquarters for research and development. The building was designed by renowned architectural firm NBBJ.


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The 1.1 million square foot campus will consist of a 10-story central building with two completely open-air floors. The glass covered exterior will be contrasted by a white metal, while a parking garage with a folding green wall will also be present. Following in other Silicon Valley giants footsteps, the facility will house caf├ęs, a gym, and even gardens for employees to rest and relax in. Samsung says that the campus will be built to LEED Gold standards meaning the entire footprint will be greener than its gardens.


n a statement on the matter, Samsung said "there is little surprise that most of their employees are based in South Korea where the company is headquartered. But the company also realizes that innovation is by no means geographically limited and as such, they are continuing to expand the extent of their operations elsewhere."

Continue reading 'Samsung breaks ground on massive new Silicon Valley campus' (full post)

Barnes & Noble CEO calls it quits, unexpectedly resigns this afternoon

Barnes & Noble has been facing a tough market for the past several years now. With dwindling physical book sales as well as a failed attempt at the digital market, the once heavyweight book retailer is facing yet another major setback today. William Lynch, the company's CEO, has just resigned effective immediately.


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The resignation came quite unexpected and the company has not yet disclosed any reason for Lynch leaving, but industry analyst are speculating that the deal between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft to buy its Nook properties has fallen through. This would be a major blow to the company as it would lose a possible $1 billion bolster to its coffers and would ditch a division of its company that has never seen a profit.

Continue reading 'Barnes & Noble CEO calls it quits, unexpectedly resigns this afternoon' (full post)

Venezuela offers NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum

Edward Snowden has been enjoyed the cold Russian landscape for a few days now, with WikiLeaks' legal advisor, Sarah Harrison, submitting asylum applications and requests for asylum assistance to a bunch of different countries.


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The NSA whistleblower has found asylum in Venezuela, with President Nicolas Maduro stating during a parade that they've rejected US requests for extradition and will offer Snowden political and humanitarian asylum. Yet, no one has seen Snowden since Hong Kong. I don't know why he wouldn't have a video out by now - and I'm sure he knows how to cover his tracks, anyway.

German security chief says you shouldn't use Google or Facebook if you want privacy

NSA's PRISM system is still capturing all of our data, and I'm surprised I haven't been arrested yet for the amount of content I've written and edited for some of our guys here at TweakTown.


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Well, now we have German Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, saying that any users on the Internet that are scared that their private information might be scooped up by the NSA should use one simple method to stop this: stop using US services such as Google and Facebook. He continues: "Whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don't go through American servers."

France have been busted with their own PRISM-like surveillance system

Once you step down the rabbit hole, you'll discover there is no end - and this is what Edward Snowden has done to the world by telling us about the NSA PRISM surveillance system. But now France have been caught with their pants down, too.


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A report from French newspaper, Le Monde, says that the French program is operated by the country's intelligence agency Directorate General for External Security (DGSE). This system collects phone metadata and Internet communications all across the country. The French program also extends to monitoring traffic from popular sites like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo - the same companies that have denied giving the US government access to their servers under PRISM - yeah, right.


Le Monde reports that French politicians are aware of the program, but have been sworn to secrecy over it. Will the French people revolt over this? As July 4 is celebrated in the US (hangovers now, I guess) and their "freedom", the world has never been further away from freedom than it has now.

European Parliament get serious, they've voted in favor of investigating the US surveillance of EU residents

The NSA's PRISM system continues to bury itself into the mind of the people that are awake in this world, and now the European Parliament have voted that they're set to investigate the US surveillance in Europe, and report on their impact before the end of the year.


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The vote was 483-98, so it was strongly in favor of starting this investigation and will see EU officials considering a limit being put on data they voluntarily provide to US authorities, such as shutting down programs that forward air passenger and bank records. Right now, there's nothing bad between the EU and US, but once this investigation goes into full swing, there's no telling what could happen.


This was only going to be a matter of time, but I still feel like governments should have known about this. If some foreign country (even an ally) was spying on me, I'd be pissed. It's the equivalent of your neighbor tapping every device in your house, knowing every movement and word you utter - you wouldn't be happy neighbors anymore, would you?

Douglas Engelbart, the man who invented the computer mouse, has died

Something we all use in our day-to-day lives and you wouldn't think twice about it, but the computer mouse changed everything. The man who invented it, Douglas Engelbart, has passed away.


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SRI International, the research institute where he once worked said in a statement that he died on Tuesday night in his home in Atherton, California. SRI's President and CEO, Curtis R. Carlson said: "Doug's legacy is immense - anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him."


Engelbart was 88, and will be forever remembered for his contribution to the world - the computer mouse.

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