Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 2, 2014

PayPal freezes out ProtonMail, asks if startup has ‘government permission’ to encrypt email;  New Snowden docs: NSA spies on pretty much everyone abroad;  The Internet of Things at home: 14 smart products that could change your life;  Facebook: Unethical, untrustworthy, and now downright harmful;  Watch the World Cup streaming here now free;  Faster Speeds With Tri-Band Wi-Fi Routers? Not Exactly;  Apple Offers Gift Cards in Back-to-School Deal;  Americans Are Lost Without Their Smartphones;  10 videoconferencing tools for small groups;  Extend the power of your native calendar with these apps; Print photos, docs, and more from your Android to any printer;  ‘Happiness blanket’ monitors airline passengers’ moods;  Facebook Mood Study: The Facts;  Top Android phones (July 2014 edition);  EFF sues NSA over snoops ‘hoarding’ zero-day security bugs.

New Snowden docs: NSA spies on pretty much everyone abroad – The National Security Agency is authorized to conduct spying operations on nearly every country and major political organization and intercept communications that talk about those countries, according to a set of newly published documents provided to The Washington Post by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The only countries absent from the list of targets are the other four members of the “Five Eyes” group of English-speaking countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The Five Eyes routinely share high-level intelligence and are believed to have agreed not to spy on one another. (Although the US seems to have direct access to British metadata.)

Facebook: Unethical, untrustworthy, and now downright harmful – News of Facebook experimenting on its users’ emotional states has rattled everyone. Worse, the tool used to perform the experiments is so flawed there’s no way of knowing if users were harmed.

The Internet of Things at home: 14 smart products that could change your life – The Internet of Things may be coming to the office — but it’s already in the home. These 14 products let you monitor and control everything from the thermostat on your wall to the crockpot on the kitchen counter — right from your smartphone.

Watch the World Cup streaming here now free – This week we’re keeping up with the World Cup as Belgium takes on the United States. This match can be streamed on the internet in several ways, only one of which is entirely free – and legal. If you speak Spanish, all the better – if you speak English and refuse to watch the match in anything but English, you’ll need to get your wallet out.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Top Android phones (July 2014 edition) – Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android phones currently available on the market (July 2014). Here are a handful of the best Android-powered handsets currently on offer, some new, some old, so whether you’re after a handset for personal use, of one suited to BYOD, there bound to be one here for you.

Print photos, docs, and more from your Android to any printer – If sending an email to your desktop is still your method of printing from your Android, now’s the time that changes. Using Google Cloud Print, you can print just about anything from your Android phone or tablet to any printer, even if it’s an older model. Cloud Print — which is technically in beta, like many Google things — works by processing the print jobs over the Web. So, if you like, you can send items to your printer at home, even when you’re at a friend’s house.

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How to search Twitter like a pro – With an average of 6,000 tweets per second, or 500 million tweets a day, Twitter can be an overwhelming source of information. Even if you have crafted a finely tuned list of people to follow that’s not too big and not too small but just right, your feed can often obscure useful or interesting tweets and tidbits with a seemingly unyielding stream of jibber jabber. Thankfully, Twitter has a powerful search tool, and you don’t need a Twitter account to use it. Just head to Twitter’s search page and do one of two things.

Windows XP still alive and kicking – Though no longer supported by Microsoft, XP commanded a quarter of all desktop OS traffic seen by Net Applications last month. To be sure, XP’s presence among desktop users has dwindled over time. A year ago, it held more than 37 percent of all desktop OS traffic recorded by Net Applications. The 13-year-old OS is proving more resilient than Microsoft may have anticipated when it announced its impending end of support almost seven years ago.

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Faster Speeds With Tri-Band Wi-Fi Routers? Not Exactly – You are going to hear a lot in the next few months about tri-band Wi-Fi routers. Netgear just announced its Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router (R8000), which starts shipping on July 11, and other vendors are sure to follow. What’s likely to jump out most for consumers about these routers are the advertised speeds: 3 Gbps and higher. Yes, that is crazy fast throughput, far exceeding the 1Gbps wired speed of most consumer networking devices. But don’t get too excited.

Oculus Rift DK2 pre-orders set to ship July 14 – The Oculus Rift DK2 pre-orders will begin shipping the week of July 14th, it has been announced. The information was revealed on the Oculus developers’ forum yesterday evening, with the company saying it has exceeded 45,000 pre-orders for the device.

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Get tough on stubborn programs with Revo uninstaller – Sometimes you just can’t get the job done with an app’s built-in tools. That’s when you may have to turn to a third-party uninstaller.

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Were you unable to update to Windows 8.1? Microsoft finally has a fix for you – For some users of Windows RT and 8.1, they were unable to update to the lastest version of Microsoft’s OS but that is water under the bridge thanks to a new pilot program for the affected users.

Apple Offers Gift Cards in Back-to-School Deal – Though many schools have only just recessed for the summer, Apple is already gearing up for the back-to-school season with a new offer for those who pick up a Mac, iPhone, or iPad for the fall. Those who purchase a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or Mac Pro are eligible to receive a $100 gift card via email. Those who purchase an iPhone or iPad can get a $50 gift card.

10 videoconferencing tools for small groups – Whether your platform of choice is a PC, the web, or a mobile device, there’s a solution out there for you. Here are ten of the most noteworthy video chat and conferencing systems currently available.

Smarty Pins from Google brings trivia to Maps – Think you’re smart, do ya? Well, Google might have you beat (no, they do, don’t even try to argue that). Geography, with it’s ever-changing place in this world, can be a tough subject. Even tougher is finding areas on a world map, even when you know the answer. If you dare, give Google’s latest experiment Smarty Pins a shot.

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How to set up Parallels Access on your PC – Parallels Access allows users to control their PC or Mac remotely with their mobile devices. While the service only supported iOS after its initial launch a year ago, Android support was added with the release of Parallels Access 2.0 in mid-June. Getting set up with Parallels Access is pretty foolproof: Just head over to the Parallels website to set up an account and download the Windows client. You don’t have to enter any payment information for a free 14-day trial of the software (it’s $20 per year after that).

Play With Google’s Psychedelic New Interactive Music Video Cube – It’s called The Cube, and it’s a trip. Built by Google Creative Labs as “an experimental platform for interactive storytelling”, The Cube is an in-browser manipulateable 3-D box with a different video and audio track on each face. It debuted online today with indie dance band The Presets’ new single “No Fun”. You decide what to watch and hear by clicking and dragging The Cube to show a single side or a combination.

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Net neutrality supporters stage ‘tug-of-war’ protest outside FCC – Pulling on a rope labeled ‘The Internet,’ protesters representing telecom companies and regular users vied for domination, bringing the net neutrality controversy to life.

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Dropbox for Business folders can now be shared in read-only mode – Users of Dropbox for Business will now be able to share folders with colleagues without necessarily giving them rights to edit their content. Giving users read-only access to folders hasn’t been possible until now: Dropbox for Business users by default granted edit rights to the people they shared the folders with. Dropbox makes this move as it faces heightening pressure both in the consumer and enterprise cloud storage and file share markets from rivals like Microsoft and Google.

Calendar companions: Extend the power of your native calendar with these apps – Sure, your phone and tablet have their own calendar apps that can help you manage your schedule. But there are other options, too. A variety of third-party calendar apps—many of them free—are available, offering smart features, such as social network support, integrated tasks, and customization that your standard calendar lacks.

Security:

iCloak Stik Aims To Put Robust Online Privacy In The Hands Of The Many, Not The Few – Meet iCloak Stik: a plug and play device that’s being designed to make robust online privacy accessible to the many not the few – by enabling an average computer user to route their browsing via the Tor or I2P anonymizing networks so it can’t be tracked. The device will also let users select a particular country where they want to appear to be coming from, which can defeat regional content locks. Every time you connect to the Internet with iCloak it will also generate a new random MAC address — meaning the hardware itself can’t be traced either.

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Security consultant condemns hotel booking site for “appalling” data leak – A hotel booking site allowed anyone to view its customers’ data by simply changing a booking reference number in the address bar, and ignored repeated warnings from a security expert about the issue.

WordPress plugin with 1.7 million downloads puts sites at risk of takeover – Websites that run WordPress and MailPoet, a plugin with more than 1.7 million downloads, are susceptible to hacks that give attackers almost complete control, researchers have warned. “If you have this plugin activated on your website, the odds are not in your favor,” Daniel Cid, CTO of security firm Sucuri, warned in a blog post published Tuesday. “An attacker can exploit this vulnerability without having any privileges/accounts on the target site. This is a major threat, it means every single website using it is vulnerable.”

Microsoft targets 18,000 malicious websites, takes 4 million offline in the process – Microsoft has gotten pretty good at using the legal system to combat the spread of malware and online fraud. It appears, however, that they need to work on their finesse game a little. In their latest assault, the collateral damage knocked around 4 million sites offline.

Company News:

T-Mobile US took ‘100s of millions of dollars’ in bogus txt charges – Feds – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit against the carrier, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened an investigation. The agencies alleged the company allowed users to be charged for premium text messages without their knowledge or against their will. According to the FTC complaint, T-Mobile US bagged huge revenues from marketing firms who signed users up to receive premium SMSes and proceeded to charge fees even after users had opted out of the services. (Just once – just once – I’d like to see a robber/thief CEO serve prison time. If the U.S can sentence a chocolate bar thief to life imprisonment, that shouldn’t be too hard – should it? Well, should it?) 

Google Buys Songza – Google has acquired music streaming service Songza after weeks of speculation around a potential buyout. Songza uses information about the user and context to determine the best playlists for you at any given time, all of which are curated by music experts (DJs, Rolling Stone writers, etc.). According to Google, Songza will remain intact for users and nothing will change about the service for now, though Songza’s expertise will be applied to other products like Google Play Music and YouTube. However, Google is not commenting on the employment situation with regards to all current Songza employees.

Oracle selling $10 billion in bonds, giving hint to buying spree – Oracle is selling US$10 billion in bonds, in a move that could signal the vendor is planning to ramp up its already steady pace of acquisitions. The proceeds of the bond sale will be used for stock repurchases, payment of cash dividends, debt repayment and future acquisitions, including the pending $5.3 billion deal for Micros Systems, Oracle said in a statement Tuesday. It’s the second-largest dollar-denominated bond sale this year, after Apple’s $12 billion bond sale in April, according to Bloomberg.

HP reaches agreement in shareholder suits over Autonomy acquisition – Hewlett-Packard has reached agreement in three shareholder lawsuits arising from its over US$10 billion acquisition of Autonomy. Under the terms of the agreement, the shareholders and their lawyers will assist HP in bringing claims against Michael Lynch, Autonomy’s former chief executive officer, Shushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, and potentially others, HP said late Monday.

Amazon sues former worker for jumping ship to Google – In the Seattle King County Superior Court late last week, Amazon filed a lawsuit against former employee Zoltan Szabadi. The reason? He jumped shipped to take roost over at Google, violating a non-compete he signed when taking up his original position with Amazon. This isn’t the first time Amazon has gone after former workers.

Aereo calls for #ProtectMyAntenna protest – Aereo may have faced a huge set-back in the US Supreme Court and been forced to shut down services over the weekend, but the TV-challenging upstart isn’t taking it lying down, turning to users to form a citizen campaign to try to rescue the technology. In a message to customers today, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia laid out the next stage of his plan to save cloud-based antennas, though it won’t be an easy journey.

Tinder’s co-founder is suspended after sexual harassment lawsuit – Justin Mateen, co-founder of the popular dating app, is removed from his job after allegations he condoned sexual harassment by other top brass. (Just the latest in a series of sexual harassment lawsuits launched against high profile tech leaders. Seeems as if these “men” can’t get it up without degrading and humiliating female co-workers and employees.)

Games and Entertainment:

iOS Hit 99 Bricks Wizard Academy Comes to Android as a Completely Free Game – With a name like 99 Bricks Wizard Academy, you know you’re in for something at least a little interesting. This game has just made its way to Android after a successful run on iOS. It’s the same basic game (with wizards and everything) except for one notable change–the Android version is completely free with no in-app purchases.

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Advanced Warfare making-of video shows top-dollar development – Behind the scenes videos with the folks creating the Call of Duty series are always interesting to behold, even if you’re not a player of the games themselves. This is because Activision, and now SledgeHammer Games, are all about showing as much as they possibly can before a game release. In this case, this means seeing actors being captured in as much detail as possible – body and face included.

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Disney Launches Hit Japanese Puzzle App Globally – Disney on Tuesday announced it has teamed up with Japanese messaging app publisher Line to bring the mobile sensation Line: Disney Tsum Tsum to iPhone and Android devices in the U.S. and 39 other regions worldwide. The free game, which translates to “Disney Stack Stack,” has already surpassed 14 million downloads in Japan alone, catapulting it to the No. 1 free app spot on both iOS and Android in the country.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Facebook Mood Study: The Facts – Earlier this month it was made apparent that a study was conducted on Facebook users by the Facebook, Inc. Core Data Science Team. A total of 689,003 Facebook users were “exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed” according to the study, testing whether “emotional contagion” is able to occur without direct interaction between people. Turns out it is, indeed possible to change people’s emotions without nonverbal cues.

‘Happiness blanket’ monitors airline passengers’ moods – First-class flyers on British Airways test out a mood blanket that tells everyone around them if they’re feeling chilled-out or horribly anxious.

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Clever Oculus Project Lets You Live Your Life In Third Person – Ever wished you could tap the “Change Camera View” button in real life to switch to a third-person view? These guys made it happen. Sure, it requires the user to wear an Oculus Rift and a big ol’ dual camera rig built into a backpack — and sure, it’s probably only fun (and not nauseating) for about a minute. But it works!

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How Surface Pro + Xbox One helped a paralysed man to do more – Some of us take it for granted, but technology can genuinely help to improve quality of life. For one man, paralysed from the neck down, a Surface Pro and Xbox One have given him the freedom to more.

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Irish Bar Only Accepting Applications Via Snapchat – Anyone looking for work can tell you that the application process at some companies can be tedious, to say the least. But a new bar in Ireland is making the process a lot more fun and easy, thanks to Snapchat. It might seem unorthodox, but the plan is actually working. Cantillon has already received more than 2,000 applications via Snapchat — a huge increase from the 50 to 100 paper applications he typically receives for open positions, according to the report.

Moving Abroad: Tips for a Painless Tech Transition – Nothing gives you a swifter kick in the arse to grow up than moving abroad. Life at home was cozy. I was no more than three hours’ time difference from loved ones, mobile service providers offered unlimited data plans, and using the word “pants” didn’t lead to embarrassment. But I gave all that up when I decided to move to Scotland just four months ago. With the generous support of PCMag behind me, I packed four suitcases and jetted off on three airplanes, to finally land two days later—3,250 miles away—in Edinburgh.

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Americans Are Lost Without Their Smartphones – You probably check your smartphone numerous times a day, right? Between Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and email, there’s so much to keep up with. Heck, chances are you’re beloved phone is somewhere within eyeshot at this very moment. But just how dependent are Americans on their phones?

Something to think about:

“While I’m on my soapbox, we should be really mad at Google and Facebook and Microsoft, because they’re doing a very interesting, and I think, very dangerous thing. They’ve decided to come out and say “we oppose this new FISA bill, because it doesn’t go far enough.” And when you peel that onion back a bit and say “Why are you doing this? This is a good bill, it’s safe, it’s bi-partisan, it’s rational. It meets all the requirements for 4th Amendment protections and privacy protection and allowing the system to work.”

And they say, “Well, we have to do this because we’re trying to make sure we don’t lose our European business.” I don’t know about the rest of you but that offends me from the words “European business.” Think about what they’re doing. They’re willing to, in their mind, justify the importance of their next quarter’s earnings in Europe versus the national security of the United States. Everybody on those boards should be embarrassed and their CEOs should be embarrassed and their stockholders should be embarrassed. That one quarter cannot be worth the national security of the United States for the next ten generations.”

–   U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers

Today’s Free Downloads:

MediaPortal – Media Portal turns your PC in a very advanced Multi MediaCenter – It allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch your video’s and DVD’s, view, schedule and record live TV and much more. You get Media Portal for free/nothing/nada/noppes and best of all it is opensource. This means anyone can help developing Media Portal or tweak it for their own needs!

Features:

Record, watch, and timeshift Live TV

Support for multiple tuners

Timeshifting, Watch, Pause, Rewind,FF,RW Live TV

Video Recording

Advanced TV Guide based on XMLTV

Scheduler to manage all your recording schedules

Listen to your favorite radio stations (local radio stations using the FM tuner of your capture card)

All music gets stored in Media Portals music database

View your music by artists, albums, genres, top100 or plain songs

Watch your pictures/photos

Play any movie your PC has a codec for (divx, mpeg, matroska,…)

All your movies will be stored in Media Portals video database

Show the latest weather information (Temperature and 3-day forecast)

And a LOT more….

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Shotcut – Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor.

Features:

supports oodles of audio and video formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

supports many image formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, SVG, TGA, TIFF as well as image sequences

no import required – native editing

frame-accurate seeking for many formats

multi-format timeline: mix and match resolutions and frame rates within a project

screen capture (Linux only) including background capture to capture a Shotcut session

webcam capture (Linux only)

audio capture (Linux only; PulseAudio, JACK, or ALSA)

network stream playback (HTTP, HLS, RTMP, RTSP, MMS, UDP)

frei0r video generator plugins (e.g. color bars and plasma)

Blackmagic Design SDI and HDMI for input and preview monitoring

JACK transport sync

deinterlacing

detailed media properties panel

recent files panel

drag-n-drop files from file manager

save and load trimmed clip as MLT XML file

load and play complex MLT XML file as a clip

audio signal level meter

volume control

scrubbing and transport control

flexible UI through dock-able panels

encode/transcode to a variety of formats and codecs thanks to FFmpeg (or libav as-built)

capture (record) SDI, HDMI, webcam (V4L2), JACK, PulseAudio, IP streams, X11 screen

stream (encode to IP) files and any capture source

batch encoding with job control

create, play, edit, save, load, encode, and stream MLT XML playlists

unlimited undo and redo for playlist edits including a history view

connect to Melted servers over MVCP TCP protocol

control the transport playback of Melted units

edit Melted playlists including suport for undo/redo

OpenGL GPU-based image processing

multi-core parallel image processing when not using GPU (and frame-dropping is disabled)

video filters: Blur, Color Grading, Crop, Glow, Mirror, Saturation, Sharpen

3-way (shadows, mids, highlights) color wheels for color correction and grading

eye dropper tool to pick neutral color for white balancing

translated to Spanish, French, Czech, and German

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Win Toolkit – Win Toolkit is a lightweight and easy to use application that was created in order to help you customize your Windows installation!

With this tool you can integrate Addons, Drivers, Gadgets, Language packs, Modified Files, Theme Packs, Tweaks, Silent Installers, Updates. You can also remove features such as Windows Media Player and customize Windows default services state. Win Toolkit also comes with extra tools which helps you convert files, make ISOs, download the latest updates (thanks to SoLoR and McRip), and completely customize your images to tailor your Windows installation disk to your exact needs.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Microsoft Bolsters Encryption For OneDrive And Outlook.com – Microsoft announced this morning that it has bolstered the security of several of its digital products, bringing stronger encryption tools to its OneDrive and Outlook.com services.

In the wake of revelations that the United States government was tapping the core fiber cables of the Internet, snooping on traffic between the data centers of large technology companies, and working to weaken encryption, a loose, industry wide effort has been undertaken to build digital dikes to keep prying eyes out of customer data.

As we’ve noted, this is an interesting moment when user well-being and the profit motive of corporations find common cause: Less government, more privacy. (The cause-effect pull here is mildly tautological, but let’s move on.)

According to a blog post that it released this morning, Microsoft has added Transport Layer Security encryption to Outlook.com, allowing email sent by users of the service to remain encrypted while in transit. Microsoft cited several email providers, including Yandex and Mail.Ru as partners in the effort — the receiving email service must support Transport Layer Security encryption or it doesn’t work.

Outlook.com, along with OneDrive also now both sport Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption.

Google, Yahoo, and others have also made strides to tighten their security. Yahoo encrypted information moving between its data centers, and promised an encrypted version of its messaging product. Google has made similar efforts.

Legal loopholes could allow wider NSA surveillance, researchers say – Secret loopholes exist that could allow the National Security Agency to bypass Fourth Amendment protections to conduct massive domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens, according to leading academics.

The research paper released Monday by researchers at Harvard and Boston University details how the U.S. government could “conduct largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans by collecting their network traffic abroad,” despite constitutional protections against warrantless searches.

One of the paper’s authors, Axel Arnbak of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, told CBS News that U.S. surveillance laws presume Internet traffic is non-American when it is collected from overseas.

“The loopholes in current surveillance laws and today’s Internet technology may leave American communications as vulnerable to surveillance, and as unprotected as the internet traffic of foreigners,” Arnbak said.

Although Americans are afforded constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of their emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data while it’s stored or in-transit on U.S. soil, the researchers note these same protections do not exist when American data leaves the country.

Furthermore, they suggest that Internet traffic can be “deliberately manipulated” to push American data outside of the country. Although the researchers say they “do not intend to speculate” about whether any U.S. intelligence agencies are actually doing this, they say it could provide a loophole for vacuuming up vast amounts of U.S. citizen data for intelligence purposes, thus “circumventing constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans,” they warned.

PayPal freezes out ProtonMail, asks if startup has ‘government permission’ to encrypt email – PayPal has frozen the account of security startup ProtonMail, and has questioned whether the firm is legal — and has “government approval” to encrypt emailed communication.

ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service that offers full end-to-end encryption for emails. Developed by MIT, Harvard and CERN researchers, the startup is in the midst of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to get the service off the ground, and has so far managed to secure over $285,000 in funding.

The campaign’s ethos is below:

We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right that must be protected at any cost. The advent of the internet has now made all of us more vulnerable to mass surveillance than at any other point in human history. The disappearance of online privacy is a very dangerous trend as in many ways privacy and freedom go hand in hand.

ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption, which means your data is already encrypted by the time it reaches the company’s servers — and so even the creators of the email service cannot read the contents. As the company has no access to these messages, they cannot decrypt them so such data cannot be passed on to third parties. ProtonMail uses servers based in Switzerland that are outside the jurisdiction of the US and EU, and no metadata is saved — in theory, keeping email content safe and users anonymous.

Senators Call On Obama For More Transparency In The Intelligence Community – Senators Al Franken and Dean Heller asked President Barack Obama “to support stronger transparency provisions” in a letter Tuesday. The bipartisan pair urged Obama to endorse their proposed additions to the USA FREEDOM Act that would require the intelligence community to disclose estimates of how many people had their information collected, and how many of those people were Americans.

Currently the FREEDOM Act, which has passed through the House but not the Senate, only requires the government to disclose the number of “targets” implicated in surveillance orders. The government’s definition of target is very vague, as noted in our original coverage of the Director of National Intelligence’s first transparency report.

In short, a “target” can be anything from an individual person to an organization composed of millions of individuals. Therefore we have no idea how many people that actually is. Franken said yesterday the report is a “far cry from the kind of transparency that the American people demand and deserve.”

The letter calls the president to commit to more aggressive reforms to the intelligence community’s programs. The Obama administration in the past has vocally supported an end to the bulk telephony metadata collection program under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, but has been less specific about its transparency goals. Obama called on the intelligence community to be more transparent in his January speech on reforms to the NSA, but he hasn’t come close to support for disclosing transparency reports that would provide specific information about the numbers of individuals affected by intelligence agency sweeps.

Time to trade privacy for safety, says NSW Police Commissioner – NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says Australians will have to sacrifice some of their privacy expectations in order to stay safe from terrorist attacks and criminal activity.

Mr Scipione made the comments at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event in Sydney. He was responding to a Fairfax Media question about how data retention laws championed by Australian authorities would affect goodwill towards police in the community.

Data retention laws would require internet service providers and telcos to collect and store information about their customers’ internet habits in order to help identify potential security risks.

Mr Scipione said it was perplexing that, as consumers, people were prepared to sacrifice their privacy in order to receive discounts and better deals but not for the sake of their safety.

”At what stage does the community say, ‘we’re prepared to give up some of our privacy in order to remain secure’?,” he said.

Mr Scipione has been one of the most vocal of Australia’s police commissioners pursuing the laws, which would also require carriers to collect information to identify who is involved in communications on their networks, including their location and the time they make them, but not the content of those communications.

They would be required to keep the information to be made available for interception warrants for at least two years. (recommended by Mal C.)

EFF sues NSA over snoops ‘hoarding’ zero-day security bugs – Intelligence agencies are among the most prolific buyers of zero-day computer security flaws that can be used to spy on enemies foreign and domestic, or so it’s claimed – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit to find out what exactly they are doing with them.

“Since these vulnerabilities potentially affect the security of users all over the world, the public has a strong interest in knowing how these agencies are weighing the risks and benefits of using zero days instead of disclosing them to vendors,” said EFF global policy analyst Eva Galperin.

The foundation’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit names the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and was inspired by the discovery of the Heartbleed flaw in OpenSSL – which the NSA has denied it knew about beforehand, even though reports suggest otherwise.

After the password-leaking Heartbleed bug emerged, the White House cyber-security coordinator Michael Daniel wrote that the US government wasn’t hoarding vast amounts of zero-day security flaws – so-called because there are no software patches to fix them at present time – to use for espionage purposes.

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2 Comments

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 2, 2014

  1. delenn13

    Hey Bill,

    “Media Portal turns your PC in a very advanced Multi MediaCenter.” This looks interesting and from what I can see, it has plugins for my Roku Box and Netflix. When I get time, I will play with this. Thanks for this.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      I picked up a couple of tuner cards last year at a garage sale – haven’t played with them yet. This looks like a perfect opportunity to play around a bit. We should compare notes later in the year. 🙂

      BTW, John Bent has a comment for you, coming up.

      Best,

      Bill