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Current Affairs Posts - Page 14

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.

RumorTT: Microsoft poised to shut down Technet August 31

Since 1998, Microsoft has offered the highly praised TechNet subscription service to IT professionals and developers. For a nominal fee, professionals were given access to the entire catalog of Microsoft software which greatly aided in development and system administration. Today, Microsoft announced in a letter to its subscribers that it will retire its TechNet subscription service effective August 31, 2013, the date in which all current subscribers' contracts end.

 

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The service was also used by PC enthusiasts worldwide as it offered a cheap way to get access to Microsoft software that otherwise cost thousands of dollars. This led to enthusiasts activating enterprise-level software and consumer-level operating systems and software that were normally meant for "evaluation use only." Unfortunately, this also led to a rise in piracy of Windows software. Pirates figured out that they could subscribe to TechNet and sell the keys along with ISO files downloaded from the site at prices that were always too good to be true.

 

Microsoft has repeatedly tried to tighten the clamp on piracy by cutting the available keys to TechNet subscribers back in 2010 and then doing the same thing two years later. Fortunately, Microsoft is not leaving its subscribers out in the rain as it will offer current subscribers the option to renew their subscription for one additional year after the shutdown in August. Check out source #2 below for the full announcement from Microsoft.

Continue reading 'RumorTT: Microsoft poised to shut down Technet August 31' (full post)

Google unveils elevation artwork for new London headquarters

Google has just unveiled the plans for its new London headquarters which is poised to become the longest building in the city. The company says that if approved for construction the new headquarters will be 330 meters in length and 11 stories in height. While this is nowhere near the height of London's Shard, it will be Google's second largest complex with its Mountain View offices being first.

 

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The glassy, modern building was designed by architectural firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and carries an overall price tag of just a mere $998 million. Estimates value the headquarters at $1.52 billion once completed. The building will be constructed from a steel frame and cross laminated wood panels while the exterior will be skinned in glass.

 

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In true Google fashion, there will be climbing walls between floors as well as other employee friendly features such as a gym, and personal relaxation areas. The building will be located near the city's King's Cross railway station, in an effort to continue the massive regeneration push that has been ongoing there for several years now. The new headquarters is expected to be completed in 2016 if approved.

The Washington Post adds a pile of new information on the NSA's PRISM program

If you haven't heard about the NSA's PRISM program yet, you really are behind in current events - and I suggest you check out the countless pieces we've all written on it here at TweakTown. Now we have The Washington Post unveiling a heap of new slides about the NSA's PRISM program, as shown below, or here.

 

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The new slides give us a much better look into just how much, and how far this data collection goes. It also includes information on how an NSA analyst requests information from a particular company, the number of current surveillance targets in PRISM's database, as well as the dates the big players on the Internet began participating.

 

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As you can see above, there are some serious companies involved, and they're taking everything. This includes e-mail, video, VoiP, file transfers, social networking details and more. Pretty much anything that is done electronically by any human being on Earth, is recorded by this program. Every company that matters is on there - Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, and more.

Continue reading 'The Washington Post adds a pile of new information on the NSA's PRISM program' (full post)

Guardian journalist who broke the NSA whistleblower story says the NSA can store one billion cell phone calls each day

It continues to get worse for the NSA, with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald saying he has another big scoop about the National Security Agency (NSA) and their PRISM program.

 

 

Greenwald, when speaking over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, claimed that the NSA has the ability to record, and store one billion phone calls each day. Greenwald was the one to write about NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and the crazy but very real PRISM program. He says: "It talks about a brand new technology that enables the national security agency to redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phone calls every single day. One billion cell phone calls every single day."

 

He continued with:

 

But what we're really talking about here is a localized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency. It doesn't mean that they're listening to every call, it means they're storing every call and have the capability to listen to them at any time, and it does mean that they're collecting millions upon millions upon millions of our phone and email records.

Continue reading 'Guardian journalist who broke the NSA whistleblower story says the NSA can store one billion cell phone calls each day' (full post)

Petition urging Congressional intervention on NSA is up to 500,000 names

If you've been following TweakTown over the past couple of weeks, you'll know about the Prism surveillance program that is being conducted by the NSA. Shortly after the revelations regarding the NSA and its spying programs, a petition popped up online. This petition, titled "Stop Watching Us," urges Congress to stop the NSA.

 

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This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens' right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.

 

A similar petition is taking place on The White House's We the People. This petition has reached the 100,000 signature threshold that forces the White House to make a response. The petition asks the government to pardon Edward Snowden.

 

If you want to sign the petition, you can find it here.

FDA and US officials seize more than 9,600 domains and confiscate $41 million from illegal online pharmacies

During what can only be described as a massive crackdown on illegal online pharmacies, the US FDA has taken down more than 9,600 websites that illegally sold "dangerous and unapproved" prescription drugs. The FDA says that it issued regulatory warnings to the site owners and proceeded to seize any websites along with $41 million of illegal medicine.

 

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Dubbed "Operation Pangea," the operation took place from June 18-25 and involved not only the FDA, but many partners worldwide. The FDA says that many of these illegal sites operated as part of a large organized criminal network and most falsely claimed to be Canadian pharmacies.

 

Many of the sites displayed fake license and certification documents as well as falsely used drug brand names and the wording "FDA Approved" to put potential customers at ease. Furthermore, to manipulate potential victims, the sites would use names that look convincing to non-savvy browsers. Two examples given were Walgreens-store.com and c-v-s-pharmacy.com.

 

The crackdown was a small part of a larger week of international takedowns that was called the International Week of Internet Action which is formed by a coalition made up by the FDA, INTERPOL, and the Worlds Customs Organization. National health and law enforcement agencies from 99 countries also took part in the massive online raid.

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