Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – October 7, 2015

Your Antivirus Knows All About You;  5 things you should know about VPNs;  Three easy ways to speed up Windows 10;  Android 6.0 Marshmallow, thoroughly reviewed;  When will your phone get Android Marshmallow?  Take 9 minutes to watch Microsoft’s best product unveiling in years;  A list of all the Google Now voice commands;  You can now draw on photos that you upload to Facebook;  How to create a Facebook profile video;  Google Lets You Translate Text In 90 Languages Within Android Apps;  Krebs: Most Firms Fail to Take Simple Cybersecurity Measures;  Twitter Moments debuts for curating tweets, topics, and events;  Russia gives Google an ultimatum to unbundle mobile apps;  9 Video Games You’ll Want to Buy in October;  PS4 price drop is coming;  Microsoft Promises Windows 10 For Xbox One This Holiday;  Roku 4 is now official: 4 is for 4K;  US data storage leaves users open to surveillance, court rules;  Snowden Says Government Has Not Responded To His Offer To Go To Jail.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Your Antivirus Knows All About You – Your antivirus knows a heck of a lot about you. It knows what programs you run, because it has to make sure they’re legit. It knows the websites you visit, and steers you away from frauds and dangers. In addition, the antivirus company may learn a lot about you as you interact with sales, support, and so on. But that’s fine, right? Well, a recent attempt by free antivirus giant AVG to clarify its privacy policy caused quite a fuss. Wired reported on the new policy using the headline “AVG can sell your browsing and search history to advertisers.” As it turns out, that inflammatory headline wasn’t accurate. A little digging convinced me that AVG’s policy isn’t much different from that of its competitors—it’s just spelled out more clearly. I checked the policy for several other free antivirus tools, and also for Wired’s website.

5 things you should know about VPNs – Privacy and anonymity are now paramount online — so what do you need to know about one tool available, VPNs, to stay safe?

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Three easy ways to speed up Windows 10 – Whatever your PC’s origin story, there are ways to make it faster. And I don’t mean faster at crunching complex spreadsheets or processing mammoth Photoshop edits; I’m talking about speedier startup, shutdown and Start-menu access. You know, the things that matter day-to-day. Give me five minutes, and I’ll save you precious seconds. (Wait, that sounds like a bad trade. But you’ll get those minutes back, and then some.)

How to enter Windows 10’s Safe Mode – Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you have to boot into Windows’ stripped-down Safe Mode. But with Windows 10, that gets complicated.

Microsoft by the numbers: 110M Windows 10 users, 1B visitors to the Windows 10 app store – Microsoft revealed a few key statistics about the state and future of Windows 10 — here’s a rundown.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow, thoroughly reviewed – While this is a review of the final build of “Android 6.0,” we’re going to cover many of Google’s apps along with some other bits that aren’t technically exclusive to Marshmallow. Indeed, big chunks of “Android” don’t actually live in the operating system anymore. Google offloads as much of Android as possible to Google Play Services and to the Play Store for easier updating and backporting to older versions, and this structure allows the company to retain control over its open source platform. As such, consider this a look at the shipping Google Android software package rather than just the base operating system. “Review: New Android stuff Google has released recently” would be a more accurate title, though not as catchy.

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How to install Android Marshmallow on your Nexus device – The big 6.0 release of Android, named Marshamllow, will bring a whole host of new features and enhancements. If you have a recent Nexus device, you can download an image from Google and flash your phone to run the OS right now. Or, if you’re patient, just wait for the over-the-air update (it should roll out to all Nexus devices within a few weeks of general availability—figure mid-October at the latest).

When will your phone get Android Marshmallow? Here’s what we know so far – Whether you have a Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC, or Nexus, we run down all the latest news and rumors about when Marshmallow is coming your way. Here’s what we know at this point about when your phone or tablet will get Android Marshmallow. We’ll update our list as the carriers or handset makers detail their plans.

Take 9 minutes to watch Microsoft’s best product unveiling in years – Earlier today, Microsoft pulled off its best tech event in literally years, exciting the group of Windows enthusiasts (and impressing the press) with a cavalcade of hardware announcements. We saw the return of Windows Phone with new Lumia devices that can double as mini-PCs when you hooks them up to a screen. We got a new version of the Microsoft Band fitness tracker (which, really, is looking more and more like a health-centric smartwatch). Of course, there was a new Surface Pro tablet with a greatly improved keyboard and trackpad attachment. And then the Surface Book. It’s that last one that has everybody talking — Microsoft finally made a laptop, and at first blush it seems like a really good one. And then: hit a button and remove the screen to turn it into a really thin tablet. Oh yeah, and we saw a new HoloLens demo that involved robots crashing through walls.

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Microsoft Display Dock turns Windows 10 phones into a desktop PC – Microsoft’s event focusing on new Windows 10 hardware rolls on this morning, and along with revealing the two new Lumia 950 smartphones, the company announced an accessory that will let users pair them with a large display, keyboard, and mouse. The Microsoft Display Dock features three standard USB ports, a USB Type-C connector, a DisplayPort, and HDMI, essentially turning the Windows 10 phones into a desktop PC.

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A list of all the Google Now voice commands – You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”… and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years. Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose.

How to edit YouTube videos on your iPhone before uploading – With the latest update to the YouTube iOS app, your iPhone has become a mini video-editing studio. Google has added in-app editing tools to its YouTube iOS app that let you trim a video’s start and end points, add filters to tweak the look of that video, and add music to the background for a more cinematic feel.

You can now draw on photos that you upload to Facebook – Facebook has let you edit, crop, and add filters to mobile photos for a while now, and now you’ll be able to draw on them, too. This is thanks to a new feature called “Doodle,” a simple pen tool that Facebook is rolling out to its mobile apps today. When you select a photo that you want to upload to Facebook, you’re presented with a dock of editing options. Doodle will slide right in to the right side of that dock, allowing you to pick a color and draw all over your upload. If you press and hold on a color and slide your finger to the left, you can adjust the size of the brush, too.

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How to create a Facebook profile video – If you feel your Facebook profile is too static, Facebook is giving you 7 seconds to work with. Facebook is rolling out a number of new features to its mobile apps, including one that just arrived on my iPhone: profile videos.  After taking or uploading a video, you can then select a thumbnail from the video as your profile picture. The picture will show up in Facebook’s news feed. Only when people visit your profile page will they see your video, which helps people add a some flare to their profiles without making Facebook’s newsfeed overly distracting.

Native Facebook, Instagram, Messenger apps coming to Windows 10 – Microsoft’s long-awaited Windows 10 event has finally begun this morning, and the company isn’t wasting any time in revealing how well the new operating system is doing after launching this past summer. To start off, Microsoft is boasting of the developers that have committed to make universal Windows 10 apps, which will run natively and provide users the same experience on PCs, tablets, and phones. One of those big names is Facebook.

Twitter Moments debuts for curating tweets, topics, and events – Previous known as Project Lightning, Twitter has just rolled out a new feature that curates and collects tweets about important events and trending topics. Now called Moments, the feature compiles media and information from tweets in a user’s timeline that they may have missed into a single slideshow-like presentation. Moments seems to be Twitter’s solution to its problem of giving new users a quick and easy to discover new content, as well as offering experienced users more control over their timeline.

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Google Lets You Translate Text In 90 Languages Within Android Apps Like LinkedIn And WhatsApp – With the release of Android’s latest operating system, Marshmallow, tons of new functionality is going to be introduced over the next few weeks. One of the more interesting new features rolling out now is the ability to translate text within popular Android apps like WhatsApp. That’s pretty huge if you only speak English and your friend only speaks Russian, for example.

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Security:

Krebs: Most Firms Fail to Take Simple Cybersecurity Measures – Well-known security researcher Brian Krebs gave a fascinating but scary talk about the current state of cybercrime, arguing that there is a big “PR gap” between the perception and reality of cybercrime.

How to find and clean malware infections with Emsisoft Emergency Kit – Emsisoft Emergency Kit is the only free, fully portable dual-engine cleaning toolkit that scans for and removes Malware and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) from your PC. It’s the tool of choice for a second opinion scan and works well in combination with any other antivirus- and anti-malware programs. Use it if you suspect your computer is infected, but other protection and cleaning software fails to get you out of your misery. It doesn’t take you a lot of time – a typical malware scan with Emsisoft Emergency Kit takes no more than a minute.

This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to scan and clean your computer.

    Download and run the Emsisoft Emergency Kit

Check for the latest online updates

Run a scan and clean your computer

What to do if malware is found

For geeks: Emsisoft Commandline Scanner

For malware removal professionals: Emsisoft Emergency Kit Pro

Google Denies Motor Trend’s Claim That Android Auto Collects Key Automotive Data – Android Auto does not phone key automotive data back home, Google says. This comes after Motor Trend stated Porsche opted to not include Android Auto in the new 991/2 as Google’s system collects and transmits back to Google information such as vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs.

Google’s official statement:

Steering this story straight – we take privacy very seriously and do not collect the data the Motor Trend article claims such as throttle position, oil temp and coolant temp. Users opt in to share information with Android Auto that improves their experience, so the system can be hands-free when in Drive, and provide more accurate navigation through the car’s GPS.

Google patches second round of Stagefright flaws in Android – Google has issued patches for two new Stagefright-related vulnerabilities, one of which affects Android versions going back to 2008 and puts millions of users at risk. In an advisory Monday, Google said it didn’t appear that attackers have started exploiting the vulnerabilities yet.

Why every Android user should take the Stagefright leak very seriously – A vulnerability in Android called Stagefright was exposed at the 2015 Black Hat conference in early August. The media frenzy that followed claimed that hundreds of millions of phones could be hacked with a single text – but is any of that true? The reality is, an attacker only needs your phone number to conduct a successful attack. It only takes one text to put your whole digital life at risk. And the worst part? There is currently no successful patch against all the potential exploits of the Stagefright vulnerability. The best you can do is stay informed about the situation and take advantage of your limited safety options.

Company News:

Samsung predicts first quarterly profit growth in two years – Samsung Electronics expects it made about 7.3 trillion won ($6.27 billion) in operating profit off sales of 51 trillion won ($43.8 billion) in its third quarter of 2015. If confirmed once the final figures are available later this month, that means the company is back to profit growth after seven straight quarters of year-on-year decline. Last year in Q3 the company made 47.4 trillion won in revenue, meaning it’s likely to be up around 7-8 percent this year. Operating profit a year ago was a disappointing 4.1 trillion won, so Samsung is expecting a year-on-year boost of around 78 percent.

HTC’s downhill financial trend continues in Q3 2015 – If there were any doubt whether HTC was in deep trouble, the numbers from the previous quarter would probably be proof enough. The Taiwanese company just posted its financials for the months ranging from July to September this year and things aren’t looking good. To be blunt, they are looking terrible and almost hopeless. It revealed a net loss amounting to $138 million, which doesn’t spark much confidence in the manufacturer’s ability to turn its business around and put a curb on its consistently slumping profits.

Adobe shares tumble on revised 2016 revenue forecast – Adobe Systems on Tuesday revised its revenue guidance for fiscal 2016 with numbers well below Wall Street expectations. The creative software giant expects revenue of $5.7 billion and earnings of $2.70 per share, below a consensus of $5.93 billion and $3.19 per share. On a GAAP basis, Adobe now expects earnings of $1.80 per share. Adobe shares tumbled as much as 11 percent in after market trading following the news.

Twitter Shares Pop 5.7% On News Of @Jack’s Return – Providing proof that markets are silly, shares of Twitter stock are up around 5 percent today following news that Jack Dorsey will again be its CEO. Dorsey will retain his role at Square, making him a rare double executive. Here’s the chart:

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Sony image sensor division spun off into new company – Sony has said that as part of a restructuring effort, the company’s image sensor division is being spun off into a separate company, now called Sony Semiconductor Solutions. The image sensor operations have been among Sony’s fastest growing and most successful businesses in recent years. The company’s announcement details that Sony Semiconductor Solutions will focus on image sensors, and be separate from groups that work on Sony devices.

Facebook And Eutelsat Partner To Deliver Internet To Africa From Space – As part of Internet.org, its initiative to bring billions of people around the world online, Facebook will partner with Eutelsat to launch a new satellite that will provide Internet access to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Internet.org’s network infrastructure already includes drones and a laser communication system that are now undergoing lab tests, but this is its first project to provide Internet access from space, said Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg in a post. The Facebook-Eutelsat satellite, called AMOS-6, is currently under construction and scheduled to launch in 2016. After it begins orbiting, the satellite will be able to connect “millions of people” in west, east, and south Africa.

Russia gives Google an ultimatum to unbundle mobile apps – It seems that Google has little recourse left in Russia, now that the government has put its foot down on the matter of the search giant’s bundling of its services, especially Search, on certified Android phones. The country’s anti-monopoly regulatory body is giving the Android maker until November 18 to comply with the instructions or face a fine that could cost Google millions of dollars. Google had hoped to appeal the matter, but it seems that Russia isn’t interested in a compromise, nor even some breathing space.

LinkedIn to Pay $13 Million in Spam Settlement – The professional networking site LinkedIn has agreed to a $13 million out of court settlement in a class action lawsuit that claims reputations may have been damaged by multiple emails the company sent on behalf of users. The suit originated in California in 2013, when LinkedIn users sued the company claiming its “Add Connections” feature hurt their professional reputation by relentlessly messaging their email contacts with requests to connect on LinkedIn, Fortune reports. In the complaint, users described being embarrassed by the emails and complained that it was very difficult to stop LinkedIn from sending more emails once the barrage had begun. The settlement affects users who signed up for LinkedIn’s “Add Connections” feature between September 2011 and October 2014.

Games and Entertainment:

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void’s three-mission prologue free for anyone, starting today – Blizzard’s prepping to roll out the final piece of the StarCraft II trilogy next month with Legacy of the Void, but you can get a small taste right now with Whispers of Oblivion. The three-mission mini-campaign deals with the Dark Templar Zeratul and bridges the gap between Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. The missions have been accessible by people who preordered Legacy of the Void for a few months now, but with today’s Patch 3.0 they’re open to anyone. Yes, anyone—even if you’ve never, in your entire life, played StarCraft II. You’ll need Battle.net, but after that you just go to the StarCraft II section and install the starter pack. Boom—free missions.

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Metal Gear Solid 5’s traditional multiplayer mode goes live – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain expands today with the release of its free multiplayer mode, Metal Gear Online. The squad-based component is available now for all console versions, while the PC edition “remains on course” for its previously scheduled arrival in January 2016.

9 Video Games You’ll Want to Buy in October – The biggest and most-promising video games of 2015 hit stores and digital shelves this fall. October, in particular, is loaded with excellent titles, with genres that include beat ’em up action, first-person shooting, and rhythm games. We’ve parsed through October’s massive catalog of video game releases and have organized a list of nine of the very best titles the month has in store. Yes, nine promising games won’t be easy on your wallet, but can you really afford to miss out?

Far Cry Primal coming to XB1/PS4 February 23, PC in March – Much like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, this spinoff entry in the series transports the series’ general gameplay formula to an entirely new, unrelated location and era—though this time, instead of a neon-soaked warp to a violent super-future full of robotic dinosaurs, Far Cry Primal will take players to a prehistoric era that, according to today’s new teaser trailer, will be inhabited by saber-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. Also, like Blood Dragon, Primal will be sold as a standalone game as opposed to an expansion—but unlike Blood Dragon, Primal will receive a retail, boxed release version for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 23, 2016. (A PC version will follow in “March.”)

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Microsoft Promises Windows 10 For Xbox One This Holiday – At the Microsoft event this morning, the company’s No. 2, Terry Myerson, announced that the company will be upgrading all of its Xbox One systems to Windows 10. That means the company’s fanboys will be able to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. The company is also introducing limited-edition consoles inspired by games. The Halo5 console, Myerson’s favorite, comes with 1 terabyte of storage and will retail for $499. Rumors have been that this will be dropping in November, but Myerson did not give a specific release date.

PS4 price drop is coming, according to retailer leak -With the second anniversary of the PlayStation 4’s launch quickly approaching and a recent unexpected price drop in Japan, the will they or won’t they speculation over a Western PS4 price drop has been rampant. Target may have spoiled all that guesswork, though, with a briefly leaked advertisement suggesting that a $350 PS4 is imminent. Yesterday afternoon, gaming deal hunter Wario64 was among the first to notice that the Video Games section of Target’s website was proclaiming a “$50 price drop on the PS4” in big letters next to box art for the upcoming Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection PS4 hardware bundle. “The best place to play. Now $349.99,” the ad continued, in case the price drop announcement wasn’t clear enough.

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Roku 4 is now official: 4 is for 4K – With Apple’s new Apple TV, the pressure is on long-time players in the set-top box market to start gearing up for tougher competition. One of the oldest in the field is Roku, who is now revealing its play with the new Roku 4 player. As leaked before, the box, which is now really more of a box than a palm-sized trinket, does support 4K video playback. However, that is not the only trick that this new dog knows, a set that includes an upgrade to the Roku OS software as well.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 adding franchise-first ‘realistic’ difficulty – The trophy list for Call of Duty: Black Ops III has emerged, revealing new details about the latest entry in Activision’s blockbuster shooter series. Starting off, a franchise-first “Realistic” difficulty setting is mentioned in the list, published by Exophase. This would appear to be the game’s new toughest difficulty setting, above the existing Hardened and Veteran. No further details about the Realistic setting were divulged. Past Call of Duty games have featured Recruit, Regular, Hardened and Veteran difficulty settings. The name “Realistic” would suggest that there may be no health regeneration, but developer Treyarch has yet to confirm any specific details. We’ll have that information for you when it becomes available.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Everything to Know About the Huge Fantasy Sports Scandal – If anyone in America still hadn’t heard of DraftKings and FanDuel by way of their aggressive advertising assault, they will now. The New York Times has broken a story—and deemed it worthy of a mobile news alert—on a DraftKings employee winning $350,000 on FanDuel this week. Sports and technology folks—not just those that already follow these companies—are going nuts.

Every Chinese citizen will soon have a score based on how they live and conform – In Western countries most people understand what a credit score is. It’s a score an individual is awarded based on their assets, income, and credit history. It is a summary of how creditworthy you are and what potential risk you pose when, for example, a bank is deciding whether or not to loan you money. In China, the government has decided to take credit scores to a whole new level, turning them more into a life score by tracking anything and everything you do. And by 2020, this score will be a mandatory part of every Chinese citizen’s life.

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Threatening to post sex tape on Facebook is not a crime, court rules – A man handed six years for threatening a local Georgia court clerk that he would post a sex tape of her on Facebook had his conviction overturned by the state’s Supreme Court. The justices ruled Monday that the Facebook postings did not constitute criminality or a “true threat” under the law, because the defendant did not express an “intent to commit an act of unlawful violence.” The case concerns a Georgia landlord named Lister Harrell who took to Facebook in 2013 and threatened a Dodge County court clerk that he would release a sex tape of her if, among other things, a bench warrant wasn’t lifted over his failure to appear in court regarding alleged landlord violations.

RunZoo game aims to foster Mideast peace through kids – A diverse team of developers wants Israeli and Palestinian kids — and children in other conflict zones — to find common ground through the shared experience of cooperative gaming.

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Study: Heavy Internet Use Linked To High Blood Pressure In Teens – Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have found a link between heavy Internet use in teens and high blood pressure. Teens who spent over 14 hours a week on the Internet had “elevated blood pressure.” Of the 134 teens studied and defined as heavy Internet users, “26 had elevated blood pressure.”

From the report:

This is believed to be the first study to show a link between time spent on the Internet and high blood pressure. The findings add to growing research that has shown an association between heavy Internet use and other health risks like addiction, anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation.Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, Ph.D., MPH, a researcher at Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences and the study’s lead author, says the take-home message for teens and parents is moderation.

“Using the Internet is part of our daily life but it shouldn’t consume us,” she says. “In our study, teens considered heavy Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week.

Cassidy-Bushrow recommends moderation in all things Internet, no matter how much the kids whine.

Lena Dunham says abuse on Twitter helped her appreciate Instagram – Lena Dunham revealed last week that she’s relinquished direct control of her Twitter account, but she still misses some aspects of what she considers one of the most toxic parts of the internet. “I love reporting people. It’s my main source of power. I used to love blocking people on Twitter,” Dunham said today at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. “There’s no reason I should spend so much time reporting people except that it’s just a fucking joy.”

Something to think about:

“Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.”

–    Italian Proverb

Downloads:

Rainmeter: What’s on your desktop? – Rainmeter is the best known and most popular desktop customization program for Windows. Enhance your Windows computer at home or work with skins; handy, compact applets that float freely on your desktop. Rainmeter skins provide you with useful information at a glance. It’s easy to keep an eye on your system resources, like memory and battery power, or your online data streams, including email, RSS feeds, and weather forecasts.

Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, control your media player – all in a clean, unobtrusive interface that you can rearrange and customize to your liking.

There are thousands and thousands of skins available, crafted by a large and ever-growing community of Rainmeter users.

Rainmeter is not just an application, it is a robust toolkit. Create and modify your own skins in a simple language that’s easy to learn, with the help of our extensive documentation, getting started guide and skin tutorials. Skins call upon measures, a set of powerful built-in modules that do all the heavy lifting, and create interactive meters to display that information however you decide. In this way, Rainmeter brings productive innovation together with creative artistry like no other platform of its kind.

Rainmeter is a community. People in our forums are always happy to help you get started or answer questions. Over the last few years, a thriving community has built up around Rainmeter, as average users freely contribute their own original skins, their generous knowledge and support, and their inspirational ideas to a project whose scope and capabilities are constantly expanding.

Rainmeter is designed for YOUR system. Rainmeter uses very little CPU and RAM resources, has a tiny space footprint, and will run perfectly well on any hardware using Windows XP through Windows 10.

Rainmeter is free and open source. Rainmeter is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU GPL v2 license. If you want to get involved, check the Rainmeter GitHub repository.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Facebook row: US data storage leaves users open to surveillance, court rules – The personal data of Europeans held in America by online tech corporations is not safe from US government snooping, the European court of justice has ruled, in a landmark verdict that hits Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others.

The Luxembourg-based court declared the EU-US “safe harbour” rules regulating firms’ retention of Europeans’ data in the US to be invalid, throwing a spoke into trade relations that will also impact on current negotiations on a far-reaching transatlantic trade pact between Washington and Brussels.

The ECJ, whose findings are binding on all EU member states, ruled on Tuesday that: “The United States … scheme enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons…”

The verdict came as a direct result of Edward Snowden’s revelations, published in the Guardian, of how the US National Security Agency was obtaining mass access to data held by the big internet servers and telecoms companies in the US. As a result, an Austrian lawyer, Maximilian Schrems, took Facebook to court in Ireland, arguing the social media site was violating his privacy by retaining his data in the US, including material he had himself deleted.

The ruling will force the companies involved to rethink their operations and to relocate some of their operations, and also creates great legal uncertainty among the 4,400 European companies that use the safe harbour rules to transfer customers’ data to the US.

No need to panic: European Commission upbeat about Safe Harbor ruling – “Aside from taking an ax to the undersea fiber optic cables connecting Europe to the United States, it is hard to imagine a more disruptive action to trans-Atlantic digital commerce.”

That was the measured reaction of the Washington think tank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation to the news that the Court of Justice of the European Union had torn up the Safe Harbor privacy protection agreement on the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S.

But the European Commission seemed unperturbed by the abrupt end of the agreement it struck with the U.S. government in July 2000 to ensure that the personal data of Europeans was granted the same legal protections in the U.S. as it was in the EU.

Global civil rights groups coalition wants changes to Facebook’s real-name policy – Facebook holds that its requirement that people use their authentic identities in their accounts helps keep the social networking site safe from terrorists, cyberbullies and other criminals from hiding behind their profiles.

But in a letter to the company on Monday, a large group of civil liberties organizations from across the world, have said that Facebook’s system “disregards the circumstances of users in non-western countries, exposes its users to danger, disrespects the identities of its users, and curtails free speech.”

Users are not required to submit a proof of identity to register an account, but if another user, well-intentioned or otherwise, reports the account holder for using a fake name, that is when problems begin, because then Facebook demands proof of identity, according to the groups.

“This is where things get difficult for many users who lack IDs or documentation featuring the name they’d prefer on the service,” wrote Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, in a blog post.

Snowden Says Government Has Not Responded To His Offer To Go To Jail – Edward Snowden said he wants to return to the United States — even if that means serving jail time.

The former government contractor fled the U.S. in 2013 after he leaked classified NSA documents to reporters. Snowden said in an interview with the BBC that aired Monday that Department of Justice officials had not responded to his offer.

“I’ve volunteered to go to prison with the government many times,” Snowden said. “What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.”

The U.S. charged Snowden with three felonies under the Espionage Act in 2013 that carry a jail sentence of up to three decades. Snowden told Wired Magazine in 2014 that he would volunteer for prison as long as his sentence “serves the right purpose.”

In the two years since Snowden’s revelations, his name has catalyzed politicized debates over whether he is a patriot or a traitor. Many in the patriot camp have been calling on President Obama to grant Snowden a full pardon. National security hawks often argue only a traitor would hide from the U.S. government in Russia. But in light of Snowden’s recent comments, these criticisms miss the mark.

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