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Head of the NSA defends spying, says they've foiled 50 terrorist plots - but at the price of US citizens' privacy?
During a testimony before a congressional intelligence committee on Tuesday, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and over government officials strongly defended the government's not-so-secret surveillance program, noting that the NSA has "been able to connect the dots and prevent another terrorist attack."
Director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, told the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA's gigantic telecommunications surveillance program has helped to stop a "little over 10" plots with a "domestic nexus" and a total of 50 such plots in more than 20 countries over the last couple of years thanks to PRISM. The head of the NSA reiterated that under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the NSA has authority to access all telephony metadata.
This metadata is pretty much everything in regards to the call, the who, when and where of every call across the United States. John Chris Inglis, NSA's deputy director has said that there is a purge of data every five years - you know, because we can prove that and all.
Samsung will hold a launch event dubbed "Premiere" this Thursday to showcase new Galaxy and ATIV devices, and TweakTown will be there to cover it with hands on video as well as a complete Live Blog.
The event will take place at 7PM (1PM US EST) in London with the event lasting roughly two hours.
We are expecting to see Samsung debut a new Galaxy NX camera as well as a few new ATIV Windows based devices appear. We could also see the upcoming Galaxy S4 with LTE Advance, or even a new Galaxy Tab tablet.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden sat down with The Guardian for an intimate Q&A session, allowing their readers to do a live online question and answer session over the weekend. We find out why he chose his Hong Kong hideout, stating that he chose China because their government could hold off the US diplomatic pressure.
Snowden denied giving China any information about hacking Chinese research facilities, and laughed off accusations as a smear by the US, with US officials claiming that leaks help terrorists every time something like this happens - because, you know, the US government never funded Al Qaeda (look it up). Snowden wrote:
The US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.
This morning, Apple has released its first official statement on customer privacy in the wake of the PRISM scandal in Washington. Apple was one of the companies named as a willing participant in the NSA's spying program and was one of the first to deny its participation entirely. The statement released by Apple this morning clarifies how and when the Cupertino giant hands over customer information to the US Government.
To get started, Apple released some vague figures on the number of data requests received from US law officials during a 17-month period that ended on May 31, 2013. The company says that during that time frame it received between 4000 and 5000 request for customer data, most of which involved investigating robberies and "other crimes", aiding in the search for missing children or alzheimer's patients, or suicide prevention measures.
I don't mind Kanye West's work, but he has taken it a step too far this time stating in an interview with the New York Times that he is the successor to the late Steve Jobs, saying:
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it's like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
He was asked if his instinct ever led him astray, for you know, storming on the stage of the MTV Video awards to push Taylor Swift out of the way, where he adds:
It's only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It's only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That's all it is. I'm assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven't won one against a white person.
West's six solo album, Yeezus is released later today.
This is something conspiracy theorists (like myself) were laughed at about just last week, and for years now, but now we have an NSA whistleblower coming out and feeling compelled to talk about it. Edward Snowden thinks that the US public needs to know about the control all of the data that is being recorded about them on a day-to-day, heck a second-to-second scale.
All data is recorded, Facebook, Google, Apple, SMS, e-mail, everything digital, is being targeted and secured by the NSA. The NSA collect, store, analyze and keep that data to get data on every living person within the United States right now. They use the reason of 'they're targeting suspected terrorists' but it picks up data on everyone at the same time. We live in a post-9/11 world, and this is something the people of the world need to stand up and say "no" to, and this is what Snowden is here to do.
He is fully aware that coming out and stating these things puts a target on his back bigger than anything I personally think has happened before, and I really expect a big 'event' to go down to throw the media and the citizens off this trail. We're talking about some seriously bad things that the US has done, and this guy has proof of that fact. The question is, where do we go from here?
By now it's no secret that Google's Fiber initiative is scaring the pants off of every major ISP in the country. This is confirmed by the brass of several large ISPs speaking out against gigabit Internet speeds in separate interviews. This morning, David L. Cohen, Executive VP of Comcast, has tossed his two cents into the discussion as well.
Cohen, speaking in an editorial he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that gigabit Internet speeds at the moment are pointless because "most websites cannot deliver content as fast as current networks move, and most US homes have routers that can't support the speed already available to the home."
What Mr. Cohen is saying is that because most households currently own a DOCSIS 2 or DOCSIS 3 cable modem that we would not upgrade to a modem capable of handling gigabit speeds. What he fails to realize is that Americans in general like to upgrade to the latest and greatest technology. This is why companies like Apple and Samsung are the success they are today.
Furthermore, Cohen is neglecting the fact that most US households are no longer single connected device residences. With the incursion of smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, notebooks, and gaming PCs, many households now have more than five devices connected at one time.
Time for a Monday pick-me-up: The Los Angeles offices of game studio Robotoki received a visit from the Los Angeles Police Department last night after someone hit their newly installed panic button. The panic button was to be used in case of an armed threat and was installed because game teams often receive death threats.
Boys will be boys and one of the designers decided to try out the freshly installed button as everyone was leaving work for the day. The only person left was studio founder Robert Bowling. The LAPD saw the statue of Ghost standing with his gun at the ready, so they perceived there was a threat.
They entered into the building. "I was in my office when they arrived and saw them coming up our stairs, guns drawn," Bowling said. "They yelled for me to put my hands up and walk towards them slowly, then took me into custody and out of the studio until they cleared the rest of the rooms and floors."
They finally realized that the statue was just that: a statue. The night ended with a friendly chat and round of video games.
Northern Imagination, a California-based company, have a Kickstarter page setup to get a statue of the famous innovator Nikola Tesla built-in Silicon Valley. Northern Imagination need to raise $123,000 in order to get the statue erected, and at the time of writing they had $80,269 pledged with 35 hours to go.
If they meet their funding goal, they would built a statue in Palo Alto, California and would make the statue depicting Tesla holding a lightbulb, demonstrating a wireless electricity concept. Better yet, the statue will double as a Wi-Fi hotspot and house a time capsule with predictions from Kickstarter backers that won't be opened for 30 years, all the way in the year 2043.
The co-founder and developer of Oculus VR, Andrew Scott Reisse, has been killed in a police chase in California. Reisse was not part of the police chase, but was unfortunately hit by a car at a crosswalk when police stopped to investigate suspicious activity a couple of blocks away, which lead to his death.
After the police pulled three suspects over, including 21-year-old Victor Sanchez, who fired at police and then fled in a white Dodge Charger. Their car hit several other cars and went through multiple red lights, with one of the red lights being where Reisse was unfortunately crossing, and he was hit. All of the suspects were eventually apprehended and are currently in police custody with an investigation ongoing.