Tag Archives: data recovery tools

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday Edition – August 19, 2015

Cloud security: 10 things you need to know;  Confide, The Self-Destructing Messenger, Goes Live On Desktop;  Five free encryption apps to help secure your Android device;  Cleaning vs. Protection – Why you shouldn’t rely on malware cleaning;  Five more data recovery tools that could save the day;  33 Gmail Tips That Will Help You Conquer Email;  11 cool back-to-school tech tools;  Who’s upgrading to Windows 10?  Activate GodMode in Windows 10;  Google announces OnHub, a $200 router;  Microsoft issues emergency patch for critical IE bug;  Why you need to turn down your TV’s sharpness control;  Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world;  Stephen Hawking’s speech software is now available for free;  Windows 10 won’t run some older CD-ROM games;  With Microsoft Sway, your next presentation doesn’t have to suck;  The 10 Best Gaming Monitors of 2015;  Your complete guide to the iOS 9 public beta;  Attackers increasingly abuse insecure routers;  The latest on Trump’s enemies list: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg;  UN demands NSA respect its privacy amid AT&T spying report.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Cleaning vs. Protection – Why you shouldn’t rely on malware cleaning – There’s a big difference between a protected PC and a PC that has been “cleaned”. If you rely on the latter, then you’re just waiting for disaster to strike. After all, you wouldn’t avoid wearing your seatbelt because a doctor can put you back together again, would you? Losing important data and shelling out for expensive consultations are real problems, but inconvenience is just the tip of the malware iceberg.

Cloud security: 10 things you need to know – It seems that every time the cloud is brought up in the enterprise, the conversation to follow is focused on how secure, or not secure, it really is. Some would have you believe the cloud is safer than on-premise, while others contend that it is the least safe place you could store your data. When thinking about cloud security, it’s ultimately up to each individual organization and its leadership to determine if a cloud deployment is the right strategy. However, cloud adoption is growing overall, and it is important to consider how it affects the organization. Here are 10 things you need to know about cloud security.

11 cool back-to-school tech tools – Equip yourself for a successful year with these campus tech tools, including an innovative note-taking pen, a laptop-friendly backpack and a clever space-saving power strip.

Survey highlights Mac vs. PC buying in back to school shopping trends – More than 4,000 shoppers surveyed give you their outlooks on Mac, PC, tablets, and more for Fall semester 2015.

Confide, The Self-Destructing Messenger, Goes Live On Desktop – Confide launched 18 months ago as a mobile app on iOS and Android, offering users the chance to send messages to each other that are only readable a few words at a time. When the user tapped on certain words in the message, they would appear and disappear again as the user’s finger moved across the entire message. Once the user chose to reply or exit out, the message disappeared forever. Now, that same functionality is coming over to the Desktop for both Mac and Windows as a native application.

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Five free encryption apps to help secure your Android device – Do your hats tend to fall into the tinfoil range? Are you afraid there is always somebody watching you? If so, rest assured that the Android ecosystem offers plenty of apps to soothe your paranoia. But which apps are the must-haves? Here are five apps you should immediately install and put to work. They’ll bring you peace in the knowledge that your mobile data is far more secure than those around you.

Five more data recovery tools that could save the day – Maybe it was hardware failure or user error or a malicious attack… but you don’t necessarily have to kiss that data goodbye. Here are some apps that just might get it back for you.

33 Gmail Tips That Will Help You Conquer Email – Gmail has come a long way in 11 years. It’s not perfect and occasionally sends ripples of outrage across its user base. But let’s be honest: with Gmail you get plenty for nothing. As a Web app, Gmail is a work in progress, with Google occasionally adding new functions. The amount of under-the-hood power in Gmail is pretty staggering. That’s what we’re here to delve into: all the tools that lay below the surface of the Gmail inbox.

Hack turns Amazon Dash Buttons into do anything switches – As seen previously, Amazon’s new Dash Buttons are physical equivalents of 1-click checkout options, allowing Amazon Prime members to order common household items with a single press of the WiFi-connected device. But one programmer has come with a fairly simple hack that turns the $5 buttons into something that can track just about any type of data point. In a detailed post on Medium, Edward Benson explains how he turned a Dash Button into a system that collects data on his baby.

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Activate GodMode in Windows 10 – If you’re sick of switching between the Settings menu and the Control Panel, searching for your lost settings, there is a way to access all settings and controls in one place: GodMode. GodMode is a dedicated folder that lets you see all control panels in one place — here, you’ll be able to do everything from adding clocks for different time zones to defragmenting your drives. And it’s a snap to set up.

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Screenshot: GodMode on a Windows 10 personal machine.

Who’s upgrading to Windows 10? – Windows 8.1 users have been half again as likely to upgrade to Windows 10 as their compatriots running Windows 7, data from a Web metrics vendor showed today, confirming expectations about who would upgrade first to Microsoft’s new operating system. The ascension of Windows 10’s usage share has largely come at the expense of Windows 8.1, according to measurements by Irish analytics company StatCounter. Of the combined usage share losses posted by Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 since the last full week before Windows 10’s July 29 launch, 57% has been attributed to Windows 8.1 deserters. Windows 7, meanwhile, contributed 37% of the losses by the last three editions, and Windows 8, 6%.

Microsoft Launches New Windows 10 Build, Vows To Keep Its Early Access Program Alive – Microsoft released a new Windows 10 build to its testing community today, noting in the process that the developers and fans in its ‘Insider’ program will continue to receive builds ahead of the general public. The gist is that after the formal launch of Windows 10 to the public — more on that here — Microsoft remains focused on placing new features and the like into its self-selected testing community. That choice fits with the company’s goal of updating Windows 10 on a chronic basis; if you are going to release consistently, you need testers. So, the Windows Insider program lives on.

With Microsoft Sway, your next presentation doesn’t have to suck – I’m not going to go through the mechanics of how to create a Sway story, but I can say the tool is fairly easy to use, even for an old guy like me. Sway combines features from PowerPoint, Movie Maker, and WordPress, among others, so that a person with limited multimedia skill can put together a storyboard in very little time. If you have an Office 365 subscription, then you already have Sway. If you don’t have Office 365, but you have Windows 10, you can get Sway for free from the Windows Store. Microsoft provides tutorials and examples to get you started, so Sway may be worth a try for your next presentation or report.

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Google announces OnHub, a $200 router focused on simplicity – OnHub’s key selling point really seems to be that it’s easy to set up and painless to troubleshoot. It connects to iOS and Android phones through what looks like a clean and stylish app, which tells owners how many devices are connected to OnHub and what kind of speeds they’re getting. Google says that the router’s circular design should allow it to have better penetration throughout a home (there are 13 antennas inside of it); the router will also automatically detect the best channel to broadcast on and includes support for 802.11ac and 5GHz Wi-Fi.

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Google Launches Standalone Hangouts Site – Need to chat with someone on Hangouts but don’t feel like keeping your Gmail open? Now there’s another way. Google this week launched a standalone Hangouts site where you can chat to your heart’s content right from your browser, without opening Gmail or Google+.

Why you need to turn down your TV’s sharpness control – The problem is that the sharpness control itself doesn’t really do anything to increase detail, and can often obscure that detail behind a mask of artificial-looking enhancement. You should almost always turn it all the way down, especially with high-quality sources like Blu-ray discs, HDTV broadcasts, video games, some HD streaming services, and so on. Here’s why.

Your complete guide to the iOS 9 public beta – The iOS 9 public beta is out, giving iPhone and iDevice users their first taste of Apple’s new operating system and a chance to locate and report bugs before it’s officially released later this year. After initiating a similar program in 2014 with Mac OS X Yosemite, this is the first year that Apple has made iOS betas available to people outside its paid Developer Program. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility and if you’re thinking of jumping in early, here’s what you need to know.

Yelp Wants You to Review the Government – Under a new agreement with Yelp, federal agencies can now claim their existing Yelp pages or launch new ones to respond officially to reviews, according to Luther Lowe, vice president of public policy at Yelp. “It’s exciting because it allows government agencies to take real-time feedback from citizens and act upon it in a way that helps our democracy operate better,” Lowe says.

Security:

Microsoft issues emergency patch for critical IE bug under active exploit – Microsoft has issued an emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser to patch a critical vulnerability attackers are actively exploiting to install malware on targeted computers. CVE-2015-2502, as the remote code-execution flaw is indexed, can be exploited when vulnerable computers visit booby-trapped websites or possibly when they open malicious HTML-based e-mails. The bug involves the way IE stores objects in memory and results in an error that corrupts memory contents. The vulnerability, which is present in all supported versions of IE, carries Microsoft’s top severity of critical for all desktop versions of Windows. The rating is one step lower for server OSes because IE on those versions runs in a restricted mode known as enhanced security configuration.

Another serious vulnerability found in Android’s media processing service – The latest vulnerability in Android’s mediaserver component was discovered by security researchers from antivirus firm Trend Micro and stems from a feature called AudioEffect. The implementation of this feature does not properly check some buffer sizes that are supplied by clients, like media player applications. Therefore it is possible to craft a rogue application without any special permissions that could exploit the flaw to trigger a heap overflow, the Trend Micro researchers said Monday in a blog post.

Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world – study – At least nine telcos around the world are using so-called super-cookies to secretly monitor citizens’ online behavior, according to a new study. This super-cookie allows ad networks and media publishers to follow people across the internet even if they clear their cookies. It allows the networks to build up profiles on users’ habits, and pitch them targeted advertising, while the telcos take a cut. Access set up a website called Amibeingtracked.com, and monitored visits from 180,000 netizens on their phones. The group found that 15.3 per cent of visitors had the tracking headers installed from cellphone owners in Canada, China, India, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, the US, and Venezuela.

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Attackers increasingly abuse insecure routers and other home devices for DDoS attacks – Attackers are taking advantage of home routers and other devices that respond to UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) requests over the Internet in order to amplify distributed denial-of-service attacks. A report released Tuesday by cloud services provider Akamai Technologies shows that the number of DDoS attacks is on the rise. During the second quarter of 2015 it increased by 7 percent compared to the previous three months and by 132 percent compared to the same period last year, the company’s data revealed. Overall, attackers launched less powerful attacks, but their duration was longer. Even so, the company saw 12 attacks that exceeded 100Gbps during the second quarter and five that peaked at more than 50 million packets per second.

Ashley Madison hackers appear to have followed through on threat to expose users – The information was first posted on the dark web, before the group behind the attacks — calling itself the Impact Team — announced its release on Reddit earlier this week. A searchable database has been constructed using the information, allowing interested parties to search for people by name or email address, and returning details including their sexual preference, contact details, body type, and fetishes. User passwords are encrypted with the bcrypt algorithm, suggesting that Ashley Madison at least took steps to secure that information while on file, but Robert Graham, CEO of Erratasec, told Wired that “hackers are still likely to be able to ‘crack’ many of these hashes in order to discover the account holder’s original password.”

IRS: Tax breach much worse than originally thought – The cyberattack on U.S. taxpayer data reported by the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year now appears to be much worse than originally thought, the agency announced Monday, with as many as 300,000 citizens now believed to be potential victims.

Company News:

Target pens settlement agreement with Visa over 2013 security breach – The $67 million Target will pay as part of the agreement will help cover the costs that banks were hit with as a result of the security breach. According to the Wall Street Journal, trade groups on behalf of credit unions and some community banks spent in excessive of $350 million having to reissues cards and patch up other troubles that surfaced as a result of the breach, and the Home Depot breach that followed.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Defends His Company After a Scathing New York Times Article – According to CNBC, Bezos said in the memo that the NYT article “doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.” The article, published over the weekend by NYT, depicts an exceedingly harsh environment for employees at Amazon, which recently surpassed Walmart to become the world’s most valuable retailer. The story describes Amazon as a “bruising workplace” where employees are routinely mistreated and pitted against one another, all while working long hours.

Google Pushes Android One To Africa – Google is ramping up its Android One affordable smartphone program with a push into Africa. The first Android One smartphone for the region is being made by OEM Infinix, and is launching in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Morocco today.

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Company pays FCC $750,000 for blocking Wi-Fi hotspots at conventions – A Wi-Fi service provider has agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission $750,000 for blocking personal mobile hotspots used by convention visitors and exhibitors so they could avoid paying the company’s $80-per-day fee. Smart City Holdings automatically blocked users from using their personal cell phone data plans to establish mobile Wi-Fi networks, according to a statement published Tuesday by FCC officials. After the FCC took action against Smart City Holdings, the company pledged to stop the practice and pay the $750,000 fee to settle the matter. Marriott remains defiant: “We believe that the Opryland’s actions were lawful.” It’s the second enforcement action by the FCC taking aim at the blocking of FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections.

Alibaba setting up cloud datacentre, international HQ in Singapore – Alibaba’s cloud business, Aliyun, has announced plans to set up its international headquarters in Singapore as part of efforts to drive its global expansion. It also confirmed a new datacentre will be established in the city-state slated to launch next month, the company said. With its opening, the site will be the seventh such facility worldwide and second outside of China, after it launched its Silicon Valley site in March. The Singapore facility will provide a range of cloud offerings including relational database, open storage, and security services.

BuzzFeed Confirms $200M Investment From NBCUniversal – If the news sounds a little familiar, that’s because Vox Media announced a similar deal with NBCUniversal last week. At the time, Re/code (now owned by Vox) reported that BuzzFeed had received an investment of the same size, at a valuation of $1.5 billion. As with the Vox deal, BuzzFeed and NBCUniversal say they’ll be looking at possibilities for strategic partnerships.

Stephen Hawking’s speech software is now available for free – Stephen Hawking’s speech system has been released by Intel as open-source code. The company is hoping that developers will tinker with it and expand its application to a wider range of disabilities. The Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) gives differently abled users the opportunity to use computers with very little movement, and was developed to help Hawking, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) communicate by translating his facial movements into text.

Games and Entertainment:

Windows 10 won’t run some older CD-ROM games, thanks to DRM – At the turn of the century, it was hard to find gamers—or gaming journalists, for that matter—who didn’t despise SecuRom and SafeDisc digital rights management copy protection on some of the top titles of that age. The DRM was accused of causing harware problems and were incredibly invasive on a user’s system. Those DRM mechanisms are gone now, but people still love to pop in their old Grand Theft Auto IV or Spore DRM-laden discs and play a little of these classics. In Windows 10, however, that’s no longer possible: Windows 10 does not allow the SecuRom and SafeDisc DRM schemes to run, which means the games will fail to start.

Microsoft remakes famous Gears of War trailer for upcoming Ultimate Edition – Gears of War was one of the first big exclusive hits for the Xbox 360 when it came out way back in 2006. The game has spawned several sequels, but now Microsoft is going back to pretty up the original. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is headed to the Xbox One later this month, and Microsoft has refreshed that famous 2006 Gears trailer to get people hyped for the remake.

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Wonky Pigeon lets gamers ‘destroy city with poo’ – Getting tired of playing games as a goat, but don’t find ordinary human characters interesting enough? Late last week a new game launched on Steam called Wonky Pigeon, and in it you play as a pigeon who, apparently, is able to channel his dark side (as if pigeons possess anything more). The gamer is tasked with flying above a city and, it appears, a farm of some sort and identifying targets — that is, people who are going about their own business until, out of nowhere, the pigeon unleashes its most foul weapon.

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How Ubuntu’s making it easier for Linux gamers to get the latest graphics drivers – Gaming’s not all about rocking the biggest, beefiest graphics card. Serious PC gamers know it’s important to have the latest graphics drivers from Nvidia or AMD , which can dramatically improve performance with newer games. That holds true on Linux, too—but it hasn’t been as easy to install the latest graphics drivers on Linux as it is on Windows-based systems. Ubuntu is fixing the problem.

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Borderlands 2 running on Ubuntu Linux.

This week’s new Xbox One and Xbox 360 Deals With Gold revealed – Microsoft has announced this week’s lineup of Deals With Gold offers for Xbox One and Xbox 360, with games like Batman: Arkham Knight, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, and more on sale. Take a look at the full lineup below. All deals are good through August 24. Those marked with an asterisk do not require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Grand Ages: Medieval preview: Economics, warfare, and economic warfare – Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Buy. Sell. Upgrade your town. Repeat. Grand Ages: Medieval is hardly going to win our entirely-fictional “Most Visceral Game” award. More than Europa Universalis, more than Total War, more than Civilization, Grand Ages: Medieval is like peering into the guts of an empire instead of sitting above it. Why is an emperor concerned with trade routes? I don’t know. But in this game, that’s life. Grand Ages: Medieval is about slowly building a massive machine out of piecemeal parts, and then tuning those pieces towards perpetual motion—towards self-correction and permanence.

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The 10 Best Gaming Monitors of 2015 – Whether you’re a serious PC gamer or a casual after-hours warrior, your hardware can mean the difference between victory and defeat. To get the most out of the latest first-person shooter (FPS), sports, racing, and other fast-action games, you’ll not only need a gaming PC with a powerful graphics solution, you’ll need a monitor that can display the action without subjecting you to blurred images, flicker, tearing, and other motion artifacts. In this guide we’ll help you choose a display that will give you an edge over your opponents while delivering a smooth, immersive gaming experience. We highlight the factor to consider when choosing a gaming monitor, and give our current favorites.

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Ubisoft: Rainbow Six Siege delayed until December – Ubisoft has announced that, due to gamer feedback, it has delayed the release of Rainbow Six: Siege until December 1 of this year, about a month and a half later than the originally planned release date of October 13. Ubisoft announced the news today in a statement, saying the delayed launch covers all planned regions, and that while it “wasn’t an easy decision”, it is one that is necessary based on the feedback Ubisoft has gotten thus far from gamers.

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High-quality 1080p Xbox One-to-PC streaming now live for all – The hack that unlocked high-quality streaming from the Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC is a hack no longer—Microsoft has pushed it to the world at large as part of its August update. You can now stream games from your Xbox One to Windows 10 devices in HD quality at 1080p and 60 frames per second, Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb said in a blog post on Tuesday. All you’ll need to do is go into the Xbox app in Windows 10, go to Settings > Game Streaming and set the video encoding level to Very High. Enabling this, however, requires both an update to the Xbox One console itself as well as the Windows 10 PC’s Xbox app.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Snowden Graphic Novel is a Dark, Funny Portrait of a Whistleblower – Laura Poitras’s Academy Award-winning documentary Citizenfour showed history being made as Snowden walked reporter Glenn Greenwald through the data. Later this year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, a dramatization of the whistleblower’s life. And in a few weeks, you’ll be able to read Snowden, an upcoming illustrated biography by author and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall. Here’s what I thought of this darkly funny look at our ongoing surveillance nightmare.

The latest on Trump’s enemies list: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – If you’re not for Donald Trump, you’re against him. You’re also likely either a slob, a moron, an idiot or a loser. Please, these are not my epithets. You know where they come from. The Donald, as the Republican presidential hopeful is currently known, has a new enemy to go along with the likes of journalist Megyn Kelly, Sen. John McCain and, oh, all the others. This time it’s Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Behold! The Laptop Butler That Holds Your Drink To Your Laptop – As we approach the New Age, a thousand portents churn on the horizon. Dogs and cats begin living together. A man has found something he mislaid months before in a place he has already looked. And, as was written in days of old, the Laptop Butler would rise to hold our drinks to our laptops. But what is the Laptop Butler? It is a drink holder that attaches to your laptop. Why? So you can put your drink near your laptop and not use up your table space. The creators, Jeffrey A. Taylor and William H. Merritt, envision a world in which the Laptop Butler saves you from unwanted spills.

10 of the weirdest wheeled ways to get around (pictures) – Wheeled personal transportation options, from transforming roller-skate shoes to half-bikes, have never been wackier or more diverse than they are now.

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Post Modern Skateboard has no board.

New earbuds give you super-hearing – Instead of earbuds, which typically deliver music and voice sounds through a wire, and hearing aids, which boost certain frequencies (lost to the elderly who listened to loud music through earbuds in their misspent youths), the new hearables — wearable devices that live in your ears — enable the customization of environmental sound. You can cherry-pick which noises you want to hear better, and which you want silenced. Here’s what you’ll hear.

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Drinkable book has pages that filter water and kill bacteria – We in the developed world take for granted the infrastructure that delivers clean, safe water directly to our homes, something that was an unthinkable luxury until quite recently in human history. In many areas of the world, sources of water are much less regulated, and can contain dangerous levels of bacteria. A researcher from Carnegie Mellon University is working on book to help people make drinking water safer. The book doesn’t just deliver information, though. It also filters water. This project is the brainchild of Dr. Teri Dankovich, currently at Carnegie Mellon, but much of the work for this technology was done at McGill University and the University of Virginia.

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Will Solar Panels Save You Money? Ask Google’s Project Sunroof – Dubbed “Project Sunroof,” Elkin’s program uses high-resolution aerial mapping to help calculate the solar energy potential of local residents’ roofs. Currently being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, and Boston, Project Sunroof utilizes the same technology in use by Google Earth. Folks living in the initial test areas can visit the Project Sunroof website: Enter your address, and the service will estimate how much you might save by adding solar panels to your house.

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Something to think about:

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

–     Aldous Huxley

Downloads:

Tor – Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.

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Why Anonymity Matters – Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

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PaperScan Scanner Software – PaperScan Scanner Software is a powerful TWAIN & WIA scanning application centered on one idea: making document acquisition an unparalleled easy task for anyone.

But it also provides advanced features like OCR, annotations or color detection.

Universal Scanning Application

Automatic Color Detection

Import Images and PDF documents

Annotations

Image Adjustments and Enhancements

Various File Formats Saving

Batch Scanning With Separator Sheets Support

Quick-Scan Mode

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UN demands NSA respect its privacy amid AT&T spying report – The United Nations has asked member states to “respect” its privacy amid reports it had been extensively spied on by the US government.

Almost exactly two years after it emerged that the National Security Agency was conducting surveillance on the United Nations, a report published in tandem by The New York Times and ProPublica added new details.

Documents provided by Edward Snowden showed the US government was getting help from AT&T, which supplied the United Nations’ headquarters in New York with internet and phone services.

The report said AT&T’s alleged relationship with the NSA under the “Fairview” program helped the intelligence agency tap into phones, emails, and infiltrate the video-conferencing systems. Earlier reports said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s talking points to President Barack Obama were were also seen through the Blarney email-grabbing program.

The United Nations, the global governing body for the world’s governments, is examining “how best to respond,” UN spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci told reporters on Monday.

White House Recruits Tech Troops to Serve Government ‘Tour of Duty’ – The American government finally has its own tech army—and it’s looking to recruit.

President Obama signed an executive order on Monday to officialize the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs) program, a growing national service initiative that recruits technologically-minded Americans as troops to work alongside federal employees to create products and services for a dozen government agencies.

The executive order, which formally establishes the three-year-old fellowship within the General Services Administration, is the culmination of Obama’s efforts to improve upon the federal government’s outdated IT and web services. So far, the roughly 100 fellows who’ve participated in the competitive service program have tackled issues like the Healthcare.gov meltdown, the Veterans Affairs scandal and police reform.

“Almost every job or career comes to the government, except technology. And when they do come, they’re buried in the IT team,” says U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Megan Smith, who left her job as a Google exec last fall to spearhead the nation’s technology policy.

Smith, the third person and first woman to hold the post, said the idea of tech service “hadn’t occurred to [her]” until she began emailing with former U.S. CTO Todd Park, the fellowship’s founder. “The tech folks haven’t always had a welcome seat at the table,” says Smith, who, like Park, maintains that the federal government can be as good an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley—with the right people. The program does its own recruiting, but also has an application available on its website.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 11, 2014

10 cheap or free ways to make your old PC run faster;  9 Super Simple Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying;  Five data recovery tools that could save the day;  Google publishes free Android Lollipop how-to guide;  When your Ethernet won’t connect;  You can finally fix Instagram caption goofs;  How to Curb an Online Porn Addiction;  Acer is giving away one month of free international Skype calls;  5 quick tips – Google Calendar app;  All US Postal Service employees’ personal data exposed by hackers;  The Top Four Android Threats;  Dragon Age Inquisition Review: This Is the One You’ve Been Waiting For;  Target Tips Black Friday Deals;  President Obama Calls For A Free And Open Internet;  Germany tops table of Facebook data requests.

10 cheap or free ways to make your old PC run faster – Fortunately, there are a slew of ways to breathe new life into an older PC that’s starting to feel a little pokey. Even better: Most are outright free, a couple of (still low-cost) hardware upgrades aside. Sure, these tweaks and tips aren’t as thrilling as booting up a brand new PC for the first time—but they’ll let you continue to get the job done with the gear you already have.

Five data recovery tools that could save the day – There are a lot of ways to lose critical data — like hardware failure, an OS crash, a user error, or a malicious attack. If it happens to you, one of these tools may help you get that data back.

9 Super Simple Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying – Facebook is giving users more control over what kind of posts show up in the News Feed, which is controlled by a secret Facebook algorithm and shows a small fraction of all available posts each day. Spending just a few minutes navigating the social network’s settings menus can make Facebook a less chaotic experience and ensure that your data remains more private. After trawling through Facebook’s hundreds of settings options, TIME compiled this list of tips to help you get the most out of your time on the world’s largest social network:

When your Ethernet won’t connect – A wired connection should be simple plug-and-play, but all too often that’s not the case. Here’s what to do if your ethernet connection seems dead.

Google publishes free Android Lollipop how-to guide in Play Store – The Android Quick Start Guide is a free download on Google Play Books that outlines basic Android Lollipop features, such as connecting your Google account, setting up a security screen, and how to track down a missing device with Android Device Manager. It also details the new Messenger app that now handles SMS and MMS (which still work with Hangouts if that’s your preference). The book also gives cursory mention of Android Auto and Android TV.

Microsoft’s Black Friday deals start today, $99 HP Stream 7 with Windows 8.1 – Microsoft has released their Black Friday deals and the savings start today with an HP Stream 7 that is on-sale for only $99; it’s also a ‘Signature Edition’ too, which means no bloatware.

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Target Tips Black Friday Deals on iPad, Xbox One, GoPro – This Black Friday, Target is running deals on some of the hottest gadgets of the season, including the Apple iPad, Microsoft Xbox One, Sony PlayStation 4, and GoPro Hero 3+. The deals will be available on Target.com on Thanksgiving morning for those who want to shop early. Target will officially open its doors to Black Friday shoppers on Thanksgiving Day at 6 p.m.

‘Snail Mail My Email’ converts your digital message into a letter and mails it for free – For one week only, ‘Snail Mail My Email’ is converting your digital message into a handwritten letter and send it out anywhere in the world for free; the project will end on November 16, 2014.

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You can finally fix Instagram caption goofs – Instagram has always been about sharing the moment, but the inability to edit captions once posted has also made it a frustrating way to share typos, too. Happily an update today is addressing that, with caption editing now supported on both iOS and Android so that any goofs, last-minute hashtag addition, or other essential tweaks can be made without having to delete the whole photo and post it again from scratch. Meanwhile, Instagram is also making it easier to find new people, by building out the Explore page.

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Acer is giving away one month of free international Skype calls – Have friends living across the border? Have family that are currently traveling? Read this to learn how to get your voucher for one month’s free unlimited international Skype calls, courtesy of Acer.

Facebook racks up 500 million Messenger users after making people use Messenger – Facebook’s move to spin off messages into a separate app was an unpopular one, but a success nonetheless. Facebook Messenger now has 500 million monthly active users, more than doubling the size of its base in the last six months. During that time, Facebook cut off access to in-app chat and began requiring users to install Messenger to send, receive, and read messages, which explains the sudden spike.

Microsoft’s $199 Work & Play Bundle combines many subscriptions into one – For anyone that wishes to buy into Microsoft’s ecosystem and save a little money, there’s good news for you. Microsoft announced the “Work & Play Bundle”, a Microsoft subscription-based services consolidation that includes yearly memberships to Xbox Live, Office, Skype and Xbox Music for $199. The bundle is available through January 4, 2015 through physical Microsoft Store locations, which currently only exist in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Developer edition and privacy are Firefox’s 10th birthday present for the world – The main feature of the new Firefox release, 33.1, is a “Forget” button on the toolbar that can instantly wipe the last five minutes, two hours, or one day of browsing history, cookies, and tabs. This isn’t a new capability itself—the Privacy panel of the options dialog has long offered this ability—but in Firefox 33.1, it’s now instantly accessible.

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Mooltipass Is A PIN-Locked USB Box That Stores All Your Passwords Offline – Meet Mooltipass, a device taking aim at the password problem — the problem being we desperately need better passwords to secure our digital stuff but our feeble human minds have trouble remembering enough complex strings to maintain robust security across a range of services. Mooltipass’ makers reckon the solution to this problem is to AES-256 encrypt and store all your passwords in an offline device, taking the strain out of remembering multiple complex passwords while also promising better security than using password manager software (they claim) — being as the USB hardware device sandboxes your encrypted credentials offline. Ergo they are harder for a hacker to nab.

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$20 “Model A+” is the cheapest Raspberry Pi ever – After releasing a revised version of the Raspberry Pi Model B (dubbed “B+”) in July 2014, the low-cost computer project has produced its cheapest model yet, which will retail for just $20—$5 less than the previous Model A. On Monday, Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton announced the Model A+, “which uses the BCM2835 application processor and has 256MB RAM, but it is significantly smaller (65mm in length, versus 86mm for the Model A) [and] consumes less power.”

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Boop Lets You Send Self-Destructing Animated Messages – Today sees the launch of Boop, a fun take on the self-destructing messaging idea. Namely, messages received via the iOS and Android app are displayed in animation form, one word at a time, plus emoji — a feature that emphasises their ephemeral nature but also makes messages harder to screen capture.

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5 quick tips for getting started with the new Google Calendar app for Android – The newly designed Google Calendar is live in the Google Play Store. Here’s a few tips for getting started.

Six clicks: Time-saving iOS, Android apps for business users – Summary: What Android and iOS apps are out there to save business executives time when on the road?

Security:

All US Postal Service employees’ personal data exposed by hackers – All United States Postal Service (USPS) employees’ personal data—including names, addresses, social security numbers—has been exposed as the result of a hack believed to have originated from China. According to its own tally, USPS employs over 600,000 people. The USPS does not believe that in-store customer data was exposed, but customers who contacted the agency via e-mail or phone between January 1 and August 16, 2014 may have been.

Website spies on thousands of people to shed light on security flaw – Insecam, which says it wants “to show the importance of the security settings,” is broadcasting live feeds of thousands of people who didn’t reset their security camera’s pre-programmed password.

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Verizon ‘supercookies’ could be a boon to advertisers, hackers – It’s bad enough that Verizon and AT&T have unleashed a new breed of “supercookie” that can track your every online move, even as you switch between your smartphone, tablet and TV. Far worse is the possibility of abuse by advertisers, governments and hackers, privacy experts warn.

The Top Four Android Threats – In this weekly feature, we like to examine a single Android threat and try to figure out what it means for regular users like you (dear reader). But this week, we’re going to look at the four categories of apps security company Lookout recently named as the most “relentless.” What does relentless mean? According to the folks at Lookout, it’s a mix of ubiquity and danger.

New ‘Masque Attack’ iOS phishing vulnerability sideloads apps – On the heels of WireLurker, a new iOS threat has been discovered. This one, called Masque attack, could be a lot more problematic, too. While the previously discovered WireLurker vulnerability required users to be tethered to a Mac before anything nefarious could happen, Masque Attack is one that occurs in-app. Discovered by security research firm FireEye, Masque Attack could pose a much bigger risk to anyone using apps that didn’t come pre-loaded on their iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Law enforcement seized Tor nodes and may have run some of its own – In a blog post written on November 9, Tor Project director Andrew Lewman went over the possible ways that over 400 hidden services on dozens of servers were located by law enforcement during Operation Onymous. While some of the servers were related to criminal activity (such as Silk Road 2.0), at least some of the servers were not—including several that were acting as infrastructure for Tor’s anonymizing network. And the only answer Lewman could currently offer as to how the sites were exposed was “We don’t know.”

Cyberespionage group targets traveling execs through hotel networks – For the past four years a group of sophisticated hackers has compromised the networks of luxury hotels to launch malware attacks against corporate executives and entrepreneurs traveling on business in the Asia-Pacific region. The cyberespionage group, which researchers from Kaspersky Lab dubbed Darkhotel, operates by injecting malicious code into the Web portals used by hotel guests to log in to the local network and access the Internet, typically by inputting their last name and room number.

Company News:

eBay accused of perpetuating counterfeit product sales, silencing industry whistle blower – It looks like eBay is under fire for perpetuating the sale of known counterfeit goods. A new investigative report shows that eBay assists merchants selling counterfeit goods by manipulating feedback.

BlackBerry CEO: ‘We will survive as a company’ – The company made it through the toughest phase of its turnaround plan and now hopes to actually grow again, says John Chen, who is marking his one-year anniversary at the helm.

AT&T backs out of in-flight wireless game – Challenging GoGo in-flight wireless was going to be no small feat, but AT&T was poised to offer LTE service while we coasted above the clouds. A new report suggests AT&T is no longer interested in air travel and LTE service, and will be re-focussing tier efforts on the terrestrial front. Their recent purchase of Mexican carrier lusacell is evidence of that, according to a statement provided by AT&T. Seems the promise of AT&T flying the friendly skies is no more.

Google to Match Donations Made to Fight Ebola – The Web giant on Monday announced that for every dollar you give to the fight against Ebola, it will donate two. Google is also donating $10 million right away to support nonprofits such as InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Head over to Google’s donation page to make a contribution ranging from $10 to $1,000.

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Samsung eyes $3B for Vietnam smartphone factory, report says – After investing $2 billion in a smartphone factory in Vietnam earlier this year, Samsung looks to open another facility.

Games and Entertainment:

Dragon Age Inquisition Review: This Is the One You’ve Been Waiting For – BioWare’s latest RPG is a grand romp through a breath-taking fantasy setting. And it features some of the most interesting characters we’ve yet seen in a Dragon Age title.

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How Call of Duty beat Titanfall, Destiny, and Wolfenstein combined – As what may very well be a sign of things to come for Activision’s latest Call of Duty title, Advanced Warfare has out-sold Ghosts in its first week of sales in the UK. Additionally, according to GfK Chart Track numbers, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare also beat out the three biggest week-1 titles of the year: Titanfall, Destiny, and Wolfenstein. Not only did Call of Duty beat all three of these titles in the UK in week 1 of sales, it beat all three combined “by almost 14%.”

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Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Review – Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is an expensive LED Backlit keyboard with so many options for colours. Its well built, great at customisability and comes with an optional palm rest.

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‘Iron Sky 2’: Nazis, lizard people and Hitler on a T.rex – The sequel to the instant cult classic about Nazis on the moon returns is the only logical way possible: With conspiracy theories and a whole passel o’ dinos.

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‘Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’ Coming Spring 2015 – The 3D remake will be more than just a graphically modified port, according to series producer Eiji Aonuma. The new title will hit shelves next spring. It’s available to pre-order now, and while the Amazon page says Dec. 15, that is probably not the release date. “Those are placeholder dates and don’t represent that actual release dates, which Nintendo hasn’t pinned down yet,” PCMag’s sister site, IGN, pointed out. A special edition will also be available in Europe.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

President Obama Calls For A Free And Open Internet, Wants It Reclassified As A Utility – President Barack Obama has come out in favor of net neutrality in a special website and video announcement wherein he lays out his plan for protecting the freedom and openness of the Internet. In a video and letter, he lays out in no uncertain terms that he believes no cable company or access provider should be able to put limits on access to the Internet. He says that he’s suggesting that the FCC recognizes access to the Internet as a basic utility, and something that Americans have a basic right to. This means no blocking, no throttling, more transparency and no paid prioritization, Obama writes in his letter, which is quoted in full below.

The FCC Fires Back At the President’s Net Neutrality Plan – This morning President Barack Obama presented a net neutrality plan, advocating for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify broadband under Title II of the  Telecommunications Act. That solution has long been the favorite of the most ardent net neutrality advocates. The FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler quickly replied, noting just how far along the comment, and fact-finding work for deciding how to approach net neutrality is at the current date.

An open letter to students of the present and future – Summary: Advice from teacher to student on technology, privacy, and why turning off that smartphone is a good idea.

Pointing up    Good advice for all of us.

Chinese Programmer Sticks Windows 95 On An iPhone 6 Plus – Today in “putting stuff onto things on which they don’t belong,” we present a user, xyq058775, and his exciting admission that he installed Windows 95 on a brand new iPhone. He used a tool called iDos, an open source DOSBox-like app to install the OS. He found that most of it worked fine but he was unable to upgrade to Windows XP. And we can assume he was also able to play Doom.

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Parklife! Russell Brand releases parody after being mocked on the internet – The inevitable has happened: after it emerged people on social media were shouting ‘Parklife’ at Russell Brand, the man himself has made a parody video.

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Stunning video of Earth from space made from 80GB of images – Considering we live on it, and haven’t traveled too far from it in the scheme of the universe, we have a lot of imagery of Earth as a planet floating in the void of space. Some of the best footage the world has seen is captured from the International Space Station, and depicts Earth throughout its orbital routine — days, nights, manmade and Northern lights. Though we’ve seen the Earth from the ISS before, it rarely becomes less exciting or beautiful.

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Watch man trounce a Ferrari on his 207 mph rocket bike – That’s right. Swiss François Gissy put a rocket on his bicycle, got up to an insane speed and left a Ferrari in the dust. And you can watch.

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Kids react to old cameras: “Such hard work” – It’s time for another adorable “Kids React” video in which the younger generation reacts to now-obsolete gadgets and other old tech, simultaneously making us laugh and reminding us that we’re getting old. In this newest video, kids are reacting to an average point-and-shoot film camera, trying to figure out how to operate it and, their most troublesome issue, how to put the film in place. They all prove successful in the end, but not before pleas for help and comments like “There’s no photo fluid in this thing!” are made.

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How to Curb an Online Porn Addiction ..or stop yourself from online gambling, excessive Internet shopping, and other distracting, unwanted behavior – Here, I’ll explain some options. The first few are heavyweight ways for those with a serious problem. The second batch of options are of midrange strength, enough to curb your behavior, but not iron-clad by any stretch. Finally, I’ll point to a few lightweight options that give you some restrictions, but more importantly cause you to think twice before doing something you wish you’ll hadn’t.

Something to think about:

“I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians that took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.”

–       Harry Patch  –  Last surviving soldier of World War One

Today’s Free Downloads:

SpaceSniffer – SpaceSniffer is a freeWare (or, better, donationWare) and portable tool application that gives you an idea of how folders and files are structured on your disks. By using a Treemap visualization layout, you have immediate perception of where big folders and files are situated on your devices. Treemap concept was invented by Prof. Ben Shneiderman, who kindly permitted the use of his concept into this tool.

Features:

Fast and easy to use

Supports drag and drop

Export module lets you produce customizable textual reports

Intuitive structure layout, multiple views for different media

Zoomable elements, navigate like a web browser

The Windows folders and file popup menu is accessible by right mouse click

It’s possible to restrict the view content by typing simple yet powerful filtering criteria

Lets you temporary tag files with four different colors and perform filtering on them

Different views of the same media can show differently filtered elements

Customizable in geometry, colors, behaviors

You can navigate even during the scan

Smart cached scanning engine, multiple views, single scan

You can refine a zoomed area by a secondary scan process, even with main scan active

Reacts to file system events, keeps always in synch, warns you by blinking elements

Can scan NTFS Alternate Data Streams

It doesn’t clutter your registry, only a plain XML configuration file

It’s portable, no installation required, just put the executable somewhere and let’s go

It’s freeWare (donations are welcome)

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Game Fire – Game Fire is a FREE open source PC games accelerator utility that enables you to enjoy your favorite modern PC games by transforming your personal computer into a powerful gaming machine with a touch of button.

Game Fire is suitable for beginners as it does not require any technical knowledge at all, as it provides easy to understand options like A,B,C.

Touch & Play:

Transform your computer into a powerful gaming machine with a touch of button, thanks to Gaming Profile that customizes the way Game Fire optimizes your system without getting involved in Windows functions details.

Initiative user interface:

Game Fire is an easy to use utility, thanks to it’s initiative interface that makes it suitable for beginners. You can customize how Game Fire optimizes your system with easy to understand options.

FREE As In Freedom:

This means that you are FREE to get the source code, FREE to modify it and FREE to share it with the world, and this also means the Game Fire is FREE of spyware and other malware.

System Safety:

Game Fire is a very safe utility, as all changes made to your system by Game Fire is temporary, you can restore the previous system state by simply turning off Gaming Mode.

CPU and RAM at your service:

Game Fire puts your CPU and system memory at your service, by reducing stresses on CPU through closing unneeded processes and functions and by defraging RAM to free up unneeded consumed resources. This is done in a smart way without affecting system performance.

Extra functions for Extra speed:

Game Fire has extra features that you can use to make your computer a flying PC, You can speed up loading and running of your games and programs by defraging game files and folders. Game Fire also could turn off unneeded scheduled tasks to squeeze out extra performance.

Limitations: This program is advertising supported and may offer to install third party programs that are not required for the program to run. These may include a toolbar, changing your homepage, default search engine or other third party programs. Please watch the installation carefully to opt out.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

German spy agency seeks millions to monitor social networks outside Germany – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency reportedly wants to spend €300 million (about US$375 million) in the next five years on technology that would let it spy in real time on social networks outside of Germany, and decrypt and monitor encrypted Internet traffic.

The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) wants the funds for a program called “Strategische Initiative Technik” (SIT, Strategic Technology Initiative), according to a report by German daily the Süddeutsche Zeitung and television stations NDR and WDR.

The report is based on a confidential document in which the BND asked the Confidential Committee of the Bundestag’s Budget Committee to approve a sum of €28 million for the program in 2015.

A German government spokesman confirmed the existence of the SIT program on Monday and said that its main goal is to build an early warning system for cyber attacks. He declined however to give further details about either the program or its budget.

It is a remarkable move given the German uproar over the NSA affair and the alleged U.S. spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, which led the German government to demand a “no-spy” agreement from the U.S. Such a deal is unlikely to be made by U.S. president Barack Obama.

Spyware exports will need a licence under new EU rules – Companies which make spyware will have to apply for permission to export the software once new EU regulations come into effect in late December.

Officially referred to as “intrusion software”, the software will now be included on the EU’s list of “dual use” items, defined as “goods, software and technology normally used for civilian purposes but which might have military applications or contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The restriction means that companies will have to apply for a licence to export spyware, although it doesn’t affect the sale of the software within the UK. Inclusion on the dual-use list places the technology alongside nuclear reactors, ultra-high-resolution cameras, and rocket fuel.

While the regulation is implemented by the European commission, the British government supports the restriction of spyware. “The UK has made it clear over the last two years that we believe that while these kind of technologies do have legitimate uses, they also pose threats to national security and to human rights and should be subject to export controls,” said a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Germany tops table of Facebook data requests – New figures from Facebook show that the German government makes more requests for user data, relative to the size of its Facebook userbase, than any other.

Despite the nation’s reputation for protecting internet freedom, bolstered in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations and the German government’s response, Facebook’s latest transparency report reveals that Germany made 2,537 requests for user data in the first half of 2014.

With the country’s Facebook population estimated at 22 million by eMarketer, that means the government made 115 requests for data for every million users. Those requests referenced 3,078 user accounts, but just a third of them led to some data being produced.

Italy, America and France are the next three biggest sources of government requests, each producing around 100 requests per million users. Britain comes fifth of the 20 countries the Guardian studied, with 70 requests for data per million users.

But requests from Britain and America are significantly more likely to be granted than those from mainland Europe; 71% and 80% of requests are granted, a success rate twice as high as that of Germany or France (where just 30% of requests lead to data being handed over).

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