Tag Archives: Google Search

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – July 20, 2015

Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK;  UK government releases plan to jail online pirates for up to 10 years;   Stop pesky HTML5 videos from auto-playing;  These 4 Gadgets Will Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly;  Photos: 9 apps that can help people with disabilities;  Virtual reality for beginners: Everything you need to know to wrap your head around VR;  Pocket for iOS updated with text-to-speech feature;  Save the world using your PC or phone;  Microsoft will support Windows 10 till 2025;  Hacking Attacks on Ashley Madison Could Mean Trouble for Millions of Would-Be Cheaters;  Windows 10 to be sold on USB sticks;  Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW;  Google might soon help you find anyone from a plumber to a painter;  Amazon Looks to Turn India into Firm’s Biggest Market Outside the U.S.  10 Games Every Xbox One Player Needs;  Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs is now available for everyone;  GoPro captures road rage as alleged victim fights back (and wins);  The Pocket Guide to Fighting with Idiots on the Internet;  Are the Ten Commandments really the basis for our laws?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK – Today’s ruling quashes the 2014 regulation that made it legal to make personal copies of performances for private use as long as the person doing so has lawfully acquired the content and doesn’t distribute it to anyone else. That regulation allowed people to make backups or play songs or movies in different formats but didn’t allow selling copies or sharing them with family and friends. But the High Court ruled last month that the regulation hadn’t been enacted properly. The personal use exception wasn’t immediately thrown out because other remedies could have been considered, but today’s ruling takes it off the books.

These 4 Gadgets Will Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly – Long promised to be the next big thing, smart home gear hasn’t just arrived, some of it has already departed for the clearance racks and the deal-a-day websites. The problem with a lot of these products? They’re technology for the sake of gadgetry — meaning they do something kind of cool, but that’s about it. For smart home devices to be truly innovative, they must solve a problem facing consumers. One of those problems ripe for solving: Utility bills. Here are four ways smart home devices can give you a better handle on how your home uses energy and water, saving not only money, but also precious resources.

Inbox by Gmail adds some extra smarts to the snooze button – Google’s email app now looks at message content to predict just the right time to pop messages back into your inbox

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Stop pesky HTML5 videos from auto-playing with this helpful Firefox add-on – This nifty add-on helps you silence pesky auto-playing audio and video that you come across on the web–as long it’s not Flash-based.

Intel’s Skylake chips: What you need to know about the next big CPU change – Move over, Broadwell: the sixth generation of Intel Core i-series CPUs are almost here. Here’s how it will — and won’t — affect your PC and Mac buying choices.

Sideclick is back to make streamer remote controls more useful – The $21 attachment adds volume and other television controls to Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Nexus Player remotes.

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Meet Voat, the website that wants to be the anti-Reddit – With all the drama surrounding Reddit, from debates over free speech to its messy game of musical chairs among executives, it’s understandable some users might want to leave. Now they’ve found a place to go. It’s called Voat (rhymes with goat), and it says it’s fixed all those things people don’t like about Reddit.

Photos: 9 apps that can help people with disabilities – It’s easy to how powerful a simple technology can be. Here are nine apps to help make day-to-day tasks much easier for people with disabilities.

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HearYouNow is a personal sound amplifier for people trying to listen in specific types of environments, like in a loud restaurant or during a meeting. You can choose to focus on conversations happening near you, or those further away, and it’s easy to replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation. Available for free for iOS.

Pocket for iOS updated with text-to-speech feature – Pocket, the wonderful app that lets users save articles and other content for reading later on, has updated its iOS app with a text to speed feature. With this feature, busy users can have their saved articles read to them while they do other things the same as an audio book. It’s a handy feature, one that makes it easier to work through one’s saved articles while driving to or from work or while doing other things that require your attention to be (mostly) elsewhere.

Virtual reality for beginners: Everything you need to know to wrap your head around VR – Virtual reality has the potential to change the world, but you’ll need to understand the radical new technology before you embrace it.

Save the world using your PC or phone – Volunteer computing is a way for people to get their computers or phones to link up to solve complicated modeling and calculations to aid in research projects. What’s being volunteered is your machine’s spare processing power. When multiple computers are a part of the same project, these separate machines act in concert to serve as a supercomputer.

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SETI@home in action on a Mac. Ariel Nunez/CNET

Microsoft starts the countdown to Windows 10 release with ’10 reasons to upgrade’ – Microsoft has released a new video series to promote Windows 10 that highlights 10 features of the OS and why you should upgrade when it arrives later this month.

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Windows 10 to be sold on … wait for it … USB sticks – Microsoft has confirmed scuttlebutt that had been flying around for a number of weeks now: Windows 10 will be sold on USB Flash drives. Over on Amazon.com, pre-order pages show that the operating system will be available on media other than DVDs. A release date has now been tagged for 30 August with the drive retailing in the US at $119.99 for the Windows 10 Home version and $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 — download full version, before release date (RTM build 10240) – Yes, you can get the Windows 10 “RTM” build, right now, for download, even before the release date. Build 10240 is the final, full version. It’s available for update, but you can also get hold of the ISOs (even though Microsoft doesn’t want you to). As before, this is an Insider Program thing only. You did sign up for the program, like I told you, right?

Microsoft will support Windows 10 till 2025 – With the move to Windows a a Service, Microsoft had left some questions unanswered about the support and lifecycle of the OS. The company has now updated its product page to indicate 10 years.

Save your money and download Microsoft’s free eBooks on Windows 10 – Not only is Microsoft giving away it new Windows 10 operating system for Free, the company is also giving away 100’s of Free eBooks covering a wide range of Microsoft technologies-including Windows 10.Let’s take a closer look.

Microsoft Will Release Cortana For Android In “Next Few Weeks” – Following an apparent leak of Cortana for the Android platform, Microsoft released comment indicating that it is in fact testing its digital assistant for the Google platform, and will cut it live in short order. So all that cross-platform talk wasn’t a charade. Expect Cortana to land on Android and, later, iOS.

Security:

0-day attacks exploiting Flash just got harder thanks to new defenses – A string of weaponized attacks targeting Adobe’s Flash media player—including three in the past 10 days—has kept software engineers scrambling to fix the underlying vulnerabilities that make the exploits so dangerous. Fortunately, they have also been busy making structural changes to the way the program interacts with computer operating systems to significantly reduce the damage that can result not only from those specific attacks but entire classes of similar ones. At the moment, the defenses are fully implemented only in the Flash version included in Google Chrome, having made their debut earlier this week. One of the two mitigations is available in other versions of Flash, and the remaining one is expected to be added to other browsers in August.

UCLA’s Health System Was Hacked and Now 4.5 Million People May Have Had Their Personal Data Stolen – The University of California, Los Angeles, announced today that their health system had been hacked sometime in the past ten months, potentially compromising the personal data of 4.5 million people. UCLA Health first noticed the security breach in September 2014, when the system detected “suspicious activity” and the FBI was called in to investigate. At that time, it didn’t appear that hackers posed a threat. Then, in May 2015, the healthcare provider realized hackers had accessed their internal system, which contained privileged information like names, addresses, social security numbers, and medical records that may have been stolen.

Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW – An unknown number of frustrated Skype customers have been pestered by spoof messages on the Microsoft service for weeks, but the company is yet to close what appears to be a gaping hole in its software. Instead, Redmond has advised Skype users to change their account passwords. But complaints are building up about the lack of communication coming out of the Microsoft camp regarding what seems to be a Skype security flaw. The problem first appeared late last month. One Skype user, posting in a thread that now runs to 22 pages long, said:

Hacking Attacks on Ashley Madison Could Mean Trouble for Millions of Would-Be Cheaters – KrebsOnSecurity — the Internet security blog run by former Washington Post cybercrime reporter Brian Krebs — says the hackers, calling themselves the Impact Team, are demanding that Avid Life Media (ALM), a Canadian company that owns Ashley Madison as well as Established Men (which promises to set successful men up with “young, beautiful women”) to take the two sites down permanently. If ALM doesn’t comply, the hackers say they will continue releasing “all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” Krebs reports.

Email Spam Rates Dip Below 50 Percent – Despite what your email inbox might be telling you, overall spam rates have dropped below 50 percent for the first time in 12 years. In June, the rate of unwanted emails reached 49.7 percent—1.8 percent less than the month before, which fell 0.6 percent from the month before that. According to the latest Symantec Intelligence Report, the last time the security firm recorded a similarly low spam rate was in September 2003.

Company News:

Amazon Looks to Turn India into Firm’s Biggest Market Outside the U.S. – Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is planning to invest as much as $5 billion to turn India into its biggest market outside the U.S., the Economic Times newspaper reports. Last year, the online behemoth, which entered India in 2013 with a website that offers a platform for local retailers to sell their goods online, committed itself to investing $2 billion in its Indian operations as it sought to capitalise on the country’s expanding middle class, a significant section of which is going online at a rapid rate.

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Google might soon help you find anyone from a plumber to a painter – It appears Google is about to enter the growing home services market. The search giant has snatched up roughly 20 employees from Homejoy, a startup that focused on pairing house cleaners with apartment-dwellers and homeowners. Google confirmed the hires to our sister site, Recode, just hours after Homejoy announced yesterday that it was closing shop for good at the end of the month. Google has yet to announce any foray into home services, but Buzzfeed reported earlier this year that the company was working on a service that would connect local plumbers, cleaners, painters, and other workers with homeowners.

Apple files patent for targeted ad system that checks what you can afford to buy – I am seeing a lot of praise on social networks recently for the introduction of Apple Pay across Apple’s mobile devices because it’s so convenient not having to take your wallet out to pay, especially if you own the Apple Watch. But Apple having access to your bank account and spending habits has opened up a new way to advertise to individual users: targeted adverts based on what you can afford. Apple has filed a patent that would allow it to enable such a system. Rather than having adverts appear based on your browsing and buying habits, Apple can now track how much cash you have in your bank account, on your credit card, or in pre-paid credit. It can then better select the ad to show you based on whether you can afford what the ad is attempting to sell.

Yahoo Files To Spin Off Its Alibaba Stake As “Aabaco Holdings” – Yahoo is moving forward with plans to spin off its Alibaba assets, as outlined in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Basically, Yahoo is tossing its Alibaba stock and a minor part of its operations into a new corporate entity. The spinoff will be a public company called Aabaco Holdings, and it will own 384 million shares of Alibaba, which is about 15 percent of the total.

Microsoft is reportedly signing up Foxconn to build Lumia phones in India – After huge cuts to its phone division last week, it seems Microsoft may be planning to outsource at least part of its handset manufacturing, and is said to be close to a deal with Foxconn in India.

T-Mobile reaches settlement with FCC over 911 outages – Back in mid-March, Verizon settled with the FCC over 911 service outages that happened in April of last year. Verizon wasn’t the only wireless carrier that was swept up into some 911 outages, however, and now T-Mobile has followed in the carrier’s footsteps with its own FCC settlement. The big difference, though, is how much it will pay to settle the matter. While Verizon settled for $3.4 million, T-Mobile will be paying $17.5 million to settle the legal matter.

Huawei sales rise 30 percent in H1 2015 – Chinese technology giant Huawei has revealed a 30 percent rise in sales for the half year, with smartphones in the mid- and high-end markets contributing to its continuing high rate of growth.

Games and Entertainment:

10 Games Every Xbox One Player Needs – If you’re ready to discover what the PCMag staff considers the best Xbox One games, click through the slideshow. You can watch video clips of the games in action, and read our pithy words regarding what makes each title one that’s worth owning.

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Sunset Overdrive puts you in the role of a downtrodden garbage collector who works for Fizzco, a corporation that launches an energy drink that ultimately turns its customers into mutants.

Xbox One game streaming to Windows 10 PCs is now available for everyone – The impending arrival of Windows 10 is bringing a bunch of welcome new features for Xbox One players. Xbox’s Larry Hryb said in a blog post today that an update rolling out over the next few days will bring players the ability to play Xbox One games on their Windows 10 PCs and tablets by streaming them over their home networks. The feature, which was announced in January, lets players bring games to other rooms of their house without having to move their console. It was previously made available to about 5 million testers of Windows 10.

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Stardock releases Sorcerer King, its new strategy fantasy game – Stardock today announced that Sorcerer King is available now and ready to challenge strategy gamers across the globe. In Sorcerer King players must build a kingdom and raise a force powerful enough to challenge the Sorcerer King who’s all but destroyed their world. Gamers are able to purchase Sorcerer King for $39.99 at http://www.sorcererking.com.

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Judge Approves $60M Settlement in Student-Athlete Video Game Lawsuit – It’s not going to make any student-athletes (or former student-athletes) rich, but a federal judge’s approval of a $60 million settlement as part of a class-action lawsuit filed against the NCAA and Electronic Arts is still fairly monumental. As part of the settlement, any student-athlete on the roster of a Division 1 men’s football or men’s basketball team—whose team was included on any Electronic Arts video game released between May 4, 2003 and September 3, 2014—may file for a claim as part of the settlement. More than 20,000 student-athletes filed for a claim based on the original July 2 deadline. That deadline has since been extended to July 31 for interested parties. The maximum amount that any individual player will be able to earn is $7,200, and they might receive it as early as September (depending how appeals to the settlement go).

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This week in games: Duke Nukem lives, Doom runs inside Doom, and more – Plus: Just Cause 3 turns into a Choose Your Own Adventure and someone’s making a new Warhammer 40,000 action-RPG.

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Android TV, like Google TV, still too ahead of its time – Name five devices that run on Google’s Android TV operating system. If you managed to do that without hurriedly running to a Google search, you are a rare breed. Ask the average user, even someone who is a longtime Android user, and you will probably get a blank stare.

Off Topic (Sort of):

CNN, Fox, other news networks still think we’re all technology idiots – While the endless filler and sometimes mind-numbing commentary that comes with 24-hour news networks provide plenty of subject matter worthy of eye-rolling criticism, it’s hard to find any subject that is approached with a deeper level of maddening condescension and downright idiocy than when a breaking technology-related story unfolds. Watching CNN and others last Wednesday was just the latest example in this continuously absurd area of mainstream journalism.

After Washington Post rolls out HTTPS, its editorial board bemoans encryption debate – Opinion: The national daily displays staggering naivety and hypocrisy in just 530 words.

The Pocket Guide to Fighting with Idiots on the Internet – The rules of the flame war are always changing. The spats of today aren’t at all similar to those our forefathers fought before modems; a changed arena requires a different tact. You can’t approach a fight on Twitter like you would one on the street, though ultimately it pays to be a total prick in both situations. But that shouldn’t be too hard should it, prick face? Let’s begin:

Which of the 11 American nations do you live in? – Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald and author of several books, says North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government. Woodard lays out his map in the new book “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” Here’s how he breaks down the continent:

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Cyber-security’s dirty little secret: It’s not as bad as you think – New research from the Global Commission on Internet Governance has reached a surprising conclusion: cyberspace is actually getting safer. The report [PDF] starts from a simple enough premise: while we are constantly told that incidents of cyberattacks and online security threats are increasing, are they growing relative to the expanding size of the internet? In other words, while 10 homicides in a small town of 1,000 is terrifying, 100 in a city of 10 million would be considered low. The second is still 10 times the first. Having pulled data on the number of domain names from dot-com operator Verisign, volume of online activity from Cisco, and search activity from Google, author Eric Jardine, then mapped a wide variety of cybersecurity issues onto the expanding internet and found that things are actually getting better.

Spotify’s new map shows musical tastes of a thousand cities – Have you ever wondered what other people in your city are listening to? If so, Spotify’s newly created Musical Map will be of particular interest. The map uses Spotify’s glut of data to create playlists based on the listening habits of users across 1,000 cities around the globe. The map presently includes cities in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. Clicking on a city will pull up a link to a playlist on Spotify that was created to show what kind of music is popular in the region.

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GoPro captures road rage as alleged victim fights back (and wins) – Technically Incorrect: A video of a motorist getting angry at a motorcyclist depicts an instance of a man getting more than he bargained for. Almost 9 million YouTube viewers have checked it out.

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Are the Ten Commandments really the basis for our laws? – I was thinking about this recently. People seem to accept that our laws are based on the morals of the Old Testament laid out in the Commandments, but as a proper skeptic, I decided to take a look myself. Why not go over the Commandments, said I to myself, and compare them to our actual laws, as well as the Constitution, the legal document framed by the Founding Fathers, and upon which our laws are actually based? So I did.

Something to think about:

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”

–      Julius Caesar

Today’s Free Downloads:

Yawcam – Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is 😉 More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.

Features:

Video streaming

Image snapshots

Built-in webserver

Motion detection

Ftp-upload

Text and image overlays

Password protection

Online announcements for communities

Scheduler for online time

Time lapse movies

Run as a Windows service

Multi languages

Yawcam is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Yawcam and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

Limitations: Requires Sun Java Runtime Environment installed.

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WhoCrashed Free Home Edition – WhoCrashed reveals the drivers responsible for crashing your computer.

Whenever a computer running Windows suddenly reboots without displaying any notice or blue screen of death, the first thing that is often thought about is a hardware failure. In reality, most crashes are caused by malfunctioning device drivers and kernel modules. In case of a kernel error, most computers running Windows do not show a blue screen unless they are configured to do so. Instead these systems suddenly reboot without any notice.

WhoCrashed shows the drivers which have been crashing your computer with a single click. In most cases it can pinpoint the offending drivers which have been causing misery on your computer system in the past. It does post-mortem crashdump analysis and presents all gathered information in a comprehensible way.

Normally, debugging skills and a set of debugging tools are required to do post-mortem crash dump analysis. By using this utility you do not need any debugging skills to be able to find out what drivers are causing trouble to your computer.

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Lastpass  – The Last Password You’ll Have To Remember.

Lastpass is a freeware password manager that will surely make your browsing a lot easier and much more secure.

Generate strong passwords, knowing you’ll only have to remember one.

Log into your favorite websites with just one click

Access and manage your important data from multiple workstations seamlessly

Share logins with your friends and let others share logins with you

The Universal Windows installer installs browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It also allows you to easily create a LastPass account and import your existing passwords. It’s the best way to install LastPass on Windows. The 64 bit installer includes 32 bit IE installer.

Supports Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox 2.0+, Chrome 18+, Safari 5+, Opera 11+.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Hacking Team apparently violated EU rules in sale of spyware to Russian agency – Newly released e-mails from Hacking Team, the now-embattled Italian spyware firm that sold what it claims is lawful intercept software to companies and governments, definitively show that it sold its Remote Control System surveillance software to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the successor agency to the KGB.

Officially, Hacking Team sold its wares to a company called “Advanced Monitoring,” whose corporate parent has a license to work with the FSB, as recently as August 28, 2014. That would put the Italian firm in violation of the July 31, 2014 European Union regulation that forbids selling such technology, whether directly or indirectly, to the Russian military.

It also seems odd that Hacking Team would sell on one side of the Atlantic to Western agencies like the US Army while also selling to the FSB. In its most recent human rights report, the United States Department of State refers to Russia as a “highly centralized, increasingly authoritarian political system.”

The report also notes, “There were allegations government officials and others engaged in electronic surveillance without appropriate authorization and entered residences and other premises without warrants.”

Hacking Team still refuses to say exactly when or why its relationship with its Russian customers stopped.

UK.gov will appeal against DRIPA-busting verdict, says minister – The government has announced it will appeal a High Court judgment which has ruled its DRIPA surveillance legislation unlawful.

The High Court judgment, which was delivered this morning, ruled that the “emergency” DRIPA surveillance legislation rushed through Parliament last year is unlawful.

Responding to the High Court verdict, security minister John Hayes declared: “We disagree absolutely with this judgment and will seek an appeal.”

This may be only the second time in history that the High Court has disapplied primary legislation, a fact which Financial Times legal blogger David Allen Green considers of “huge historical significance.”

Hayes stated that metadata, also known as communications data, “is not just crucial in the investigation of serious crime. It is also a fundamental part of investigating other crimes which still have a severe impact, such as stalking and harassment, as well as locating missing people.”

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Home Secretary Theresa May: Every free citizen’s nightmare

UK government releases plan to jail online pirates for up to 10 years – The UK government has launched a consultation paper on plans to increase the maximum sentence for online pirates from two to 10 years of imprisonment.

The proposed changes to the penalty have been outlined in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Intellectual Property Office’s ‘Changes to penalties for online copyright infringement’ paper (PDF). Under the proposal, this could could mean the penalty for infringing on the rights of copyright holders online will be equivalent to offences relating to the copyright infringement of physical goods.

Currently under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, online pirates only can receive a maximum of two years imprisonment whereas the maximum sentence for the infringement of physical goods of 10 years.

The consultation follows recommendations made in the independent review released in March, the ‘Penalty Fair?’ report (PDF), which saw calls from the creative industries to harmonise online and offline copyright infringement offences, as they suggested online offences should be not seen as less serious than its physical counterparts.

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

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday Edition – July 13, 2015

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook;  Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy;  20 Google Tips for Search Gurus;  Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds;  How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google;  Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS;  Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using;  Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV;  Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion;  Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix;  Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness;  New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places;  11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos;  Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law;  How to delete your Amazon browsing history.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

This Woman Changed Her Name Just So She Could Log In to Facebook – You might change your name as a spy. Or adopt a new moniker to elude the law. But would you change your name for Facebook? Jemma Rogers did. The holistic therapist from Lewisham, southeast London, changed her name to match her Facebook pseudonym, Jemmaroid Von Laalaa, after she was locked out of her account, according to the Telegraph.

Ethiopian LGBT Activist Banned by Facebook Under Real Name Policy – Facebook does not allow the use of fake names, even when pseudonyms are necessary to shield their owners from violence. The activist, who goes by the pseudonym HappyAddis, used the social network to create and administrate some of the most popular groups for gay Ethiopians, including Zega Matters, which has more than 1,000 members. The East African country considers homosexuality a crime and those convicted of same-sex relations can face 15 years in prison. For that reason, many LGBT citizens use an alias to interact with others online in order to avoid punishment from the authorities and anti-gay violence.

20 Google Tips for Search Gurus – While Google has grown to include numerous other pursuits, search remains the company’s core product (and its most profitable, as well). With a decade-and-a-half of refinement behind it, Google search has evolved into a complex and beautifully versatile technology. (And one that always works. Have you seen Google.com go down? That’s no easy accomplishment for the world’s most popular website.) While you probably use it just about every day, there may still be a lot you still don’t know about the old dependable Google search. Click through our slideshow and see how much more you can get from a simple search.

How to manage your voice and audio activity on Google – When you ask Google Now a question, or use text-to-speech to respond to someone, these recordings are being saved to your Google account. The recordings are only accessible by you, but may include some information you don’t feel comfortable having in the cloud — like a private conversation. On the other hand, you may just want to reference your recordings for a piece of information that you used your voice to look up or send to someone else. Whatever your preference, PhoneArena recently shared how you can play and delete your recordings, and how to disable them from being saved in the future:

Pluto.TV is the best cord-cutting app you’re not using – No disrespect to streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but sometimes finding the perfect video feels like too much effort. That’s why as a cord cutter I’ve been enjoying Pluto.TV, a free service that tries to mimic the cable box experience, only with Internet channels instead of traditional ones. Pluto’s website and apps offer dozens of channels, ranging from mainstream news to stand-up comedy to extreme sports, all strung together from web sources such as YouTube and Vimeo. There’s even an entire channel dedicated to cat videos (and another one for dogs). It has a desktop website and dedicated apps for Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, and PC, and it also supports Chromecast.

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How to delete your Amazon browsing history – Whether you’re just price-checking on gifts for friends and family, or searching for items that you might be embarrassed to look at in public, you can do it all from your computer. Unfortunately, looking up these items will add them to your browsing history, and they can also appear on your related purchase suggestions. These could reveal a bit too much information if you share a computer or check Amazon on a lunch break from your desk at work. Here’s how to delete select items, or all of them, from your browsing history on Amazon:

Amazon tool aims to help you ‘fling’ shows onto Fire TV – Taking on competitors like Chromecast and Apple TV, Amazon releases “Fling,” a toolkit that lets developers build into their apps the ability to share media content with Amazon’s set-top box.

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Amazon’s Fling icon tosses content up to a Fire TV.

How to add virtual desktops to your PC without upgrading to Windows 10 – For years, both Mac and Linux users have taken advantage of virtual desktops that let you create multiple desktop work spaces on your PC. Finally, Microsoft is getting into the game by adding this feature into Windows 10. But the truth is, Windows has supported this capability for some time—Microsoft just never enabled it by default. So how do you get multiple desktops? All it takes is a small download from a Microsoft site.

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New Twitch for Android lets you watch all the streams from all the places – It’s an all-too-common dilemma in today’s modern world: What do you do when you’re watching a livestream on your phone but need to switch to a different app? Twitch thinks it has a solution by borrowing an idea from TV—picture-in-picture. The latest update to Twitch for Android features a new “Pop-Out Player” that lets you keep tabs on your livestreams while browsing the web, checking email, texting your friends, or otherwise go about your business on your phone. As you work, your Twitch livestream will continue to play in a small window in the corner of your phone’s screen.

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The Pop-Out Player in Twitch for Android.

No, Microsoft won’t cut off support for Windows 10 in four years – There’s a story currently going around that claims Windows 10 will ‘expire’ after four, or even two years and that users might have to pay for updates after that. That story is bogus and here’s why.

Lenovo releases a user guide for Windows 10 – With Windows 10 just around the corner, excitement is running high among fans. To help new users, Chinese multi-national computer technology company Lenovo has released a Windows 10 user guide named “Starting to use Windows 10” which discusses various topics relating to Microsoft’s new OS. This may sound trivial to Windows Insiders but are essential for beginners. You can download or view the Windows 10 starter guide by hitting up the source link below.

Microsoft’s Power BI visualization service will be generally available July 24 – The launch will bring a smorgasbord of new features, including new chart types, a refreshed desktop application and support for collaborating in groups on shared sets of data. Power BI was first released to the public as a beta earlier this year, and is designed to provide ordinary business users with powerful tools to visualize information from diverse data sets in live-updating dashboards. Power BI is built around three core components: datasets, which contain all of the raw information a user brings into Power BI; reports, which organize that data into a set of charts and graphs and dashboards, which are single live-updating pages that provide an at-a-glance look at specific visualizations based on those reports.

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Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS – As good as they are at loading web pages quickly and precisely on smaller screens, both Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android are terrible when it comes to loading a massive page-turner of an article—you know, that one you want to curl up with on a lazy Sunday. The solution: a dedicated reader app, and here’s five reasons why iPhone- and Android-toting bookworms shouldn’t be without one.

Rare breed: Linux Mint 17.2 offers desktop familiarity and responds to user wants – These days, the desktop OSes grabbing headlines have, for the most part, left the traditional desktop behind in favor of what’s often referred to as a “shell.” Typically, such an arrangement offers a search-based interface. In the Linux world, the GNOME project and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop interfaces both take this approach. Whether it’s driven by, in Ubuntu’s case, a vision of “convergence” between desktop and mobile or perhaps just the need for something new (which seems to be the case for GNOME 3.x), developers would have you believe that these mobile-friendly, search-based desktops are the future of, well, everything.

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The default Cinnamon desktop in Linux Mint 17.2.

Trying the iOS 9 public beta is easier than you think – Apple isn’t releasing iOS 9 until this fall, but if you can’t wait for a taste of the new iPhone and iPad software, the public beta holds an easy sneak-preview. Announced back at WWDC 2015, and launched this past week, the iOS 9 public beta software may not be quite final but it’s certainly ready for a broader audience to try out, not to mention an opportunity for iPhone users to flag up any final bugs to Apple. Trying the public beta needn’t be a headache, though, as long as you take a few precautions.

Wix Launches WixEd, A Free Online School For Website Design – DIY website creator Wix wants to make starting a career in web design as easy as it’s made building your own site. Today, the company is launching WixEd, a free online education program that teaches Wix users everything they need to know to launch their own website design business.

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Pro tip: Use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive to install (almost) any OS – After last week’s article, “Pro tip: How to create a bootable USB drive to install Windows on OS X,” I received feedback asking why anyone would install Windows on a Mac? This week’s entry deals with creating UFDs that allow you to install many other operating systems with the help of a utility called Rufus. But before diving into that, I have a question of my own. Why would you install any OS—besides OS X—on an Apple computer?

Ear Trumpet: A Windows 10 audio utility worth checking out – The utility breaks out the volume control for each app that is open, and does it all from a clean pop-up from the system tray. In my short time using it, I have had no major issues. One minor item that did occur on the first run was that it did not include apps that were opened before I installed Ear Trumpet, but after a quick restart of Spotify and Skype, they did show up in the list. Also, make sure you right click on the app and select ‘Show desktop apps’.

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Microsoft killing Photosynth and MSN apps, including Health & Fitness, Food & Drink – If Microsoft is killing MSN Health & Fitness, it’s not quite clear what this means for fitness tracking on Windows Phones.

Security:

Hacking Team’s Flash 0-day: Potent enough to infect actual Chrome user – The Adobe Flash zero-day exploit that spyware developer Hacking Team made available to customers worked successfully against even the advanced defenses found in Google’s Chrome browser, researchers said Friday. They also noted that it was used to infect computer users multiple times before it was leaked. The leak of the previously unknown exploit resulting from the devastating hack of Hacking Team last weekend and exploit kits available on the black market quickly added attack code to use the flaw. It allows attackers to surreptitiously install malware on targets’ computers, and there’s evidence that before last weekend’s breach, Hacking Team customers used the Flash zero-day against live targets.

After security disaster, OPM director resigns in disgrace – After it was revealed last month that more than four million federal personnel records had been stolen, members of Congress quickly demanded that the agency’s director Katherine Archuleta should be fired. In an e-mail, Archuleta wrote: “Today I informed the OPM workforce that I am stepping down as the leader of this remarkable agency and the remarkable people who work for it. This morning, I offered, and the President accepted, my resignation as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.”

How Google tries to keep ‘sneaky’ spam from your inbox – Determining which messages are spam and which are not is a neverending battle, especially since a message considered spam to one person could be legitimate to another. Messages from banks, airlines and other companies fall into this category. How does Google tell if a certain email is a sales promotion or an important notice informing you of information on your bank account or an upcoming flight? Spammers have also gotten smarter, using more tricks to better disguise junk mail so that automated spam filters have a tougher time figuring out how to tag it. So what new tools and techniques is Google using in the fight against spam?

Security researchers warn over 1 million users downloaded malicious Android games – Researchers at ESET have discovered that the Cowboy Adventure title, which until recently was up on the Google Play store, was stealing Facebook credentials and used them to spread itself to other users. The app did this by popping up a fake Facebook login screen in the middle of the game. If users were fooled, their credentials were sent via an HTTPS connection to a remote server. Another title, Jump Chess, was similarly infected by malicious code and used to gather social media credential from unsuspecting users.

Company News:

BlackBerry nabs two Android domain names – Following leaks and rumors, BlackBerry made its Android ambitions public yesterday, saying it has teamed up with Google to bring a more secure version of Android to the market. We’ve seen at least one device leak already reportedly showing a BlackBerry handset running Android. Whether that is legit is yet to be seen, but two more pieces of BlackBerry’s Android puzzle have surfaced. The company has nabbed two domain names, both of which revolve around the Android operating system.

Cisco will invest $1 billion to spur digital economic growth in UK – The investment will include a combination of job creation and education programs, startup and venture capital investments, and accelerated investing in cybersecurity solutions.

FTC exploring whether Apple’s 30% cut from music streaming apps is legal – Reuters reported on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into whether it’s legal for Apple to continue taking a 30 percent cut from sales within rival music streaming apps now that the company has its own music streaming service. No formal investigation has been launched, but one anonymous source speaking to Reuters said that the FTC “has had meetings with multiple concerned parties” to discuss the issue. Two other anonymous sources said that the FTC is exploring antitrust concerns related to restrictions that Apple places on its rivals, including “a prohibition on advertising in the app that the company is on other platforms, a ban on marketing in the app that consumers can also buy directly from the company’s website, and a ban on linking to a company’s website from within the app.”

Reddit Co-Founder Steve Huffman In For Reddit CEO Job, Pao Out – We’d been hearing that Steve Huffman, a co-founder of Reddit who also co-founded flight and hotel search startup Hipmunk, was being considered for the CEO job at Reddit. Now that move is confirmed. Huffman’s appointment follows turmoil at Reddit following the firing of Victoria Taylor, a community manager that the Reddit community relied on, last week. Y Combinator’s Sam Altman also confirmed the move on Reddit.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata dies at 55 – Iwata passed away Saturday at age 55 after working 13 years as president, a period that saw the gaming industry transition from dedicated consoles and PCs to mobile devices, a move that Nintendo was slow to embrace. Nintendo said board members Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will continue to act as representative directors, a position required by Japanese corporate regulations. A new president has not been appointed.

Apple claims that 99 percent of iPhone users love their iPhone – Technically Incorrect: In one of two new ads, Apple celebrates the notion that almost every iPhone user loves that gadget. Is there actual evidence for this?

Games and Entertainment:

Nine of the best movies of all time, now streaming on Netflix and other services – In this, the last of our Now Streaming columns, our resident film critic names his all-time favorite movies.

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Stand by Me (Netflix)

Playing violent video games makes women feel sexy, study finds – The researchers found there was a correlation between violent video game play and a desire for sex, and this interest was across the board for male and female gamers. But here’s were the genders diverge. You see, there was no boost in “mate value” among men who played violent video games, but there was among the female participants. The results showed that women who play violent video games consider themselves a better catch, reporting that they enjoyed playing these kinds of games, because it made them feel more attractive, more sexy. So there you have it folks, violent video games give women a self-esteem boost. Now excuse me while I go play some Call of Duty.

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Baldur’s Gate is getting a full-sized expansion, 15 years later – Following a tease earlier this year, developer Beamdog has finally revealed the first details and footage of its upcoming Baldur’s Gate expansion-slash-sequel titled Siege of Dragonspear. Yes, an expansion for a game that originally released in 1998. PC gaming is a wonderful thing. From the announcement page: “Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear adds a new chapter to the Bhaalspawn saga. The events occurring between Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II are at last revealed in this 25-hour expansion pack for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.”

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Everything You Need to Know About the Revamped Destiny 2.0 – Destiny‘s next expansion, dubbed The Taken King, is launching on September 15. The popular shooter’s developer Bungie announced July 10 that the game will also be updated to version 2.0, bringing with it significant changes to many of the title’s core mechanics. In a blog post, Bungie creative director Luke Smith revealed that those changes will affect the game’s balance, progression, enemies, guns, quests and destinations.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

The big deal about IBM’s tiny chips – IBM is making a big deal of celebrating a tiny achievement, successfully producing a 7nm chip that could mean huge efficiency improvements in phones, laptops and more. Squeezing more than 20 billion transistors into a chip the size of a fingernail took figuring out new manufacturing processes and chewed through part of a $3bn investment IBM earmarked back in 2014, but it’s shaping up to be worth every cent. Big Blue predicts a power/performance increase of more than 50-percent from the smaller processors.

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Virtual Reality Porn And The Future Of Loneliness – Welcome to the very-near future of porn. A few weeks back, a sex toy company called Lovense and a virtual reality porn company called VirtualRealPorn announced their collaboration. Soon, VirtualRealPorn’s growing library of VR porn videos will coordinate with Lovense’s digitally-endowed vibrator and Fleshlight-esque Max toy to stimulate your sensitive bits in sync with virtual sex.

This woman’s epic meltdown shows how attached we are to our phones – There is nothing funny about this video. You might be tempted to think it’s hilarious. We’re all tempted to think we’re holier than other people at times. But here is a woman who cannot cope with the fact that her phone has died. She cannot cope to a degree that she screams in frustration. A lot. It was uploaded to Facebook by Akira Chan, who shared it publicly on Tuesday. It has already been viewed on Facebook more than 1 million times. And I defy anyone whose phone has suddenly died to claim that they haven’t felt like this woman, if not expressed themselves exactly as she did.

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The vanishing: What happened to Google Street View’s missing streets – As Google expands Street View into ever more exotic places, it appears to have a problem in many of the towns and cities where the service has been available for years. Look closely at any major city, especially the residential areas, and Street View is littered with hundreds, even thousands, of little gaps. And although it’s hard to be sure, the problem may be getting worse.

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This moving video claims gadgets are separating kids from nature – Technically Incorrect: An ad from General Mills examines the different things that kids do now, compared to what their parents and grandparents did. It just might make you weep. Or perhaps not.

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11 Hilarious Old-School Instructional Videos – Video is a much more efficient way to demonstrate the use of a modern interface. So it’s only natural that companies like Microsoft, Apple, and others would turn to the medium in order to get their point across. And, like many other things from the 80s and 90s, they look hilariously bad today. In this feature, we’ll fire up the old VCR and give you our picks for the goofiest old-school instructional videos.

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Hillary Clinton Plans To Campaign Against Uber’s Contractor Economy – Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will blast contractor-fueled companies for repressing middle-class wage growth in a speech tomorrow laying out her economic policies, according to an outline of the talk attained by Politico’s Michael Grunwald. Clinton plans to make raising middle class incomes a focus of her campaign, and will lay out her strategy at The New School in Manhattan on Monday. Along with globalization and automation, Clinton will peg the sharing economy as “conspiring against sustainable wage growth”, according to Politico. The report says “she will argue that policy choices have contributed to the problem, and that she can fix it.”

Something to think about:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

–       Steve Jobs

Today’s Free Downloads:

Wappalyzer for Chrome – Wappalyzer is a browser extension that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects content management systems, eCommerce platforms, web servers, JavaScript frameworks, analytic tools and many more.

Available for Firefox.

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Dashlane – Log in instantly, fill out any form, manage your passwords, and check out anywhere online without ever touching the keyboard, no matter where you are.

Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity in other words, letting you get to the good stuff faster.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Instant messaging apps could be monitored in the UK under new ‘Snoop’ law – The UK government is in the process of finalizing the Snooper’s Charter that will bring all online communication of its citizens under the government’s scanner, and apps that do not adhere to it will likely face bans.

It was reported recently that the UK government has granted contracts to five companies to monitor the social media activity of its citizens, but things might become even worse in the near future if the proposed Communications Data Bill is passed as law.

In order to track terrorist activity and prevent threats, the UK government has proposed the Communications Data Bill – aka the Snooper’s Charter – that will make it mandatory for internet service providers to monitor the online activity of their users and keep logs of such data for 12 months. The law also recommends the monitoring of communication apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat among many others.

US government’s reported number of wiretaps don’t add up – The government published its latest Wiretap Report on July 1. The headline finding was that encryption wasn’t foiling federal and state law enforcement officials, despite a growing chorus of people suggesting that we’re all gonna die unless the tech sector builds backdoor access into their products to enable government access.

In all, the federal agency that oversees the courts reported to Congress that there were 3,554 wiretaps in 2014, about 1 percent less than the year prior. Of the total, only four were thwarted via encryption.

But the reported number of wiretaps by the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) simply doesn’t add up. That’s according to Albert Gidari, one of the nation’s top privacy lawyers. He says “there is a bigger story” that calls into question the AO’s accounting:

Since the Snowden revelations, more and more companies have started publishing “transparency reports” about the number and nature of government demands to access their users’ data. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint published data for 2014 earlier this year and T-Mobile published its first transparency report on the same day the AO released the Wiretap Report. In aggregate, the four companies state that they implemented 10,712 wiretaps, a threefold difference over the total number reported by the AO. Note that the 10,712 number is only for the four companies listed above and does not reflect wiretap orders received by other telephone carriers or online providers, so the discrepancy actually is larger.

How can that be? Even taking into account some accounting complexities, Gidari says, “the numbers are still off by more than twofold” in one scenario.

Here are EFF’s most influential cases from its first 25 years – On Friday, July 10, the Electronic Frontier Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary. The San Francisco-based group has been a stalwart of tech and legal advocacy since its founding and has played a key role in a number of seminal cases.

To celebrate, Ars interviewed Executive Director Cindy Cohn, who mentioned that, within the list of cases that the organization has worked on, she had a number of favorites.

Here’s a quick summary of those cases, in chronological order.

Case name: Bernstein v. Department of Justice

Filed: February 21, 1995

Highest court reached: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Decided: May 6, 1999

Result: Court ruled that computer code is speech, and is protected by the Constitution.

This was EFF’s first significant case, and it won big.

Back in 1995, Daniel Bernstein, then a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, wanted to be able to publish “Snuffle.” This program converted a one-way hash into a private-key encryption system. He wanted to publish not only the algorithm involved, but a mathematical paper explaining it, and the relevant source code. However, federal arms regulations forbade him from doing so. He and the EFF challenged this interpretation of the law on First Amendment grounds.

Does Abbott have the cyber-patience Australia needs? – Prime Minister Tony Abbott met with “business leaders” to discuss the cyber threat on Wednesday last week. “We’re working to protect Australians online, to provide confidence, as well as peace of mind, for households and business,” he reportedly said.

The meeting was hosted by the Business Council of Australia, and from the outside it had a usual-suspects feel about it — representatives of banks, the Australian Securities Exchange, Telstra, and Foxtel, those sorts of business leader. As the government develops its new cyber-security strategy, expected to be completed later this year, this is a routine consultation.

The Australian government already sees the internet as a threat — full of terrorists and criminals whose communications data must be retained, copyright infringers who must be stopped, and so on. The last thing we need is for the cybers to be turned up to 11 and made part of the inflated national security rhetoric.

China makes internet shut-downs official with new security law – China is able to shut off internet access during major ‘social security incidents’ and has granted its Cyberspace Administration agency wider decision making powers under a draft law published this month.

The draft also appears to require critical infrastructure organisations including foreign entities to store “important” data on Chinese soil without specific permission to host offshore.

The Cyberspace Administration, headed by director Lu Wei, has a leading role in planning and coordinating information security policy efforts, analysts say .

The details of the new security approach are revealed in an English translation of the draft posted online.

Arizona makes deal with ACLU, won’t enforce bad law on “revenge porn” – A lawsuit filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union, along with a group of booksellers and publishers, has put a stop to Arizona’s “revenge porn” law.

The lawsuit argued that the Arizona “revenge porn” law went too far, and violated the First Amendment. The statute widely banned the posting of nude images without consent, but had no requirement that the person distributing the images be intending to harm the person portrayed. The ACLU and the Media Coalition, argued that could have led to criminal charges against artistic photographers, or newsworthy or historic photographs.

In their complaint, ACLU lawyers said the law could get newspapers or academics in trouble for showing images with political and historical significance, like images of Abu Ghraib prisoners, or a photo like the iconic 1972 “Napalm Girl” photo.

The Arizona Attorney General (AG) agreed to a temporary stay of the case in November. In January, the 2015 legislative session began, and lawmakers considered a possible fix to the law’s language. However, the legislature adjourned in April without passing the change.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 27, 2015

Enable or Disable what Google tracks;  Send notes, directions, more to Android phones from a Google search;  Sick of Netflix’s available shows? Use a VPN;  Camio turns your spare phone or tablet into Dropcam;  9 Apple Watch Tips You’ll Need to Know;  Twitter launches ‘Highlights,’ to help users cut through the chaff;  Turn your iPhone or Android smartphone into a satellite phone;  Hackers Hit Tesla Twitter Account, Website;  How gaming can improve our cognitive abilities;  Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ is out and even Microsoft is celebrating;  Americans Get Their Revenge on Comcast;  Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called gross hypocrisy;  Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation;  Twitter launches Highlights;  LinuxLive USB Creator (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google Person Finder and Facebook Safety Check provide relief in Nepal Quake – Tragedy struck Nepal as a 7.8-magnitude earthquake caused damage throughout the capital, Kathmandu. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, endangering climbers. Sadly, Google executive Dan Fredinburg lost his life in the avalanche. To help with the recovery and relief efforts, Google and Facebook are stepping up to the plate, reminding the public of their respective Person Finder and Safety Check features which can be used to check on friends and family from half way around the globe.

Enable or Disable what Google tracks about your online presence – Browser preferences for privacy are all well and good, but Google takes it a step further by saving your online presence online, to enable or disable certain tracking options requires a few steps.

Send notes, directions, more to Android phones from a Google search – Last week, we showed you how to find your Android phone with a simple Google search. Now Google is introducing new features that allow you to push data to your phone through your desktop browser. You can send directions from the web to your phone; just type “send directions” into Google and a drop-down menu should pop up allowing you to “send directions to [your] phone.” Then, Google Maps will automatically open on your phone, and you’ll be ready to navigate away from your desktop.

Sick of Netflix’s available shows? Use a VPN to change your country and see more – There may be some risk, but if you’re interested you can check out the Netflix movie selection in countries around the world.

Camio turns your spare phone or tablet into Dropcam – What if you could get your webcam or a spare iOS or Android device to work like Dropcam? You can do just that with Camio, a cloud-based service that transforms smartphones, tablets and PCs into smart monitoring devices, complete with live streaming, motion detection, alerts, and more. Where it truly shines, however, is in the cloud recording department and the various ways in which it allows you to access your recordings.

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9 Apple Watch Tips You’ll Need to Know – After unboxing the new smartwatch, we linked it up to an iPhone 6, and started exploring. Apple products are usually quite intuitive, and the Apple Watch is no exception, but there is a bit of a learning curve since everything has to be displayed on a tiny screen. Our slideshow features several videos that walk you through the basics of your Apple Watch—from changing the watch face to customizing notifications and setting an alarm. Check them out, and let us know in the comments if there are any other features you’d like to see in action.

Microsoft adds Apple Watch support to Skype for iPhone – The Apple Watch seems to be the next big thing, and a whole slew of apps are falling in line to provide support for the device – this time, another one from Microsoft: Skype for iPhone.

Twitter launches ‘Highlights,’ to help users cut through the chaff – Twitter seems to be taking a cue from Facebook. The company announced on Thursday a feature called Highlights that — like Facebook’s News Feed — is designed to draw on a user’s information to deliver relevant content and keep people from becoming overwhelmed.

Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ is out and even Microsoft is celebrating – The wait is over. Debian 8.0—“Jessie”—will be released on April 25, after a nearly two-year development cycle for the next release of this long-standing Linux distribution. Microsoft is even throwing Debian a birthday party, complete with cake. Sure, it’s basically just an advertisement for Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform, but it’s still amusing.

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New version of Google Glass coming soon, says Luxottica CEO – The search giant is going forward with its connected-eyewear project, and it has partnered with the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley for the next version.

GeniCan smart garbage can builds your next shopping list – A new smart home appliance has just cropped up, and it aims to make throwing out your kitchen waste a convenience. It’s called GeniCan, and it is a smart device that attaches to the top of your existing kitchen trash can. When an item is thrown away, the GeniCan scans the product and adds it to a growing shopping list for the next time you go shopping. It eliminates the need to write things down on a shopping list, and is joined by a few convenient features like finding coupons for the product (if available), and more.

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Five ways to bump up your Google mobile search ranking – This week Google altered the way it orders search results on phones to give preference to what it terms mobile-friendly websites. The change to Google’s algorithm means sites that haven’t been optimised to be easy to use and view on mobile devices could find themselves bumped down the mobile search rankings. Google offers a tool to allow sites to see if they pass its mobile-friendly test. Sites that fail appear to be falling foul of common gotchas – many of which are fairly simple to rectify. Here’s the approach you should take if you want to pass the test.

Turn your iPhone or Android smartphone into a satellite phone – The modern smartphone is a wonder of modern technology, and in combination with the carrier network can allow you to make calls from the densest urban jungle to Mount Everest. But despite the amazing global coverage of the carrier networks, sometimes it just isn’t enough. This is when you need to rely on satellite coverage. And believe it or not, you can add satellite capability to your existing iPhone or Android smartphone. Yes, that’s right, you no longer need a dedicated satellite phone. What you need is a Thuraya SatSleeve. Just slide on the sleeve, and BINGO! You have a satellite phone. Yes, calls and data are going to cost you an arm and a leg (don’t be surprised if it adds up to several dollars a minute depending on where you want to use your handset).

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Google officially discontinues Nexus 7 tablet – If you’re in the market for an affordable, highly-rated, not-too-big-not-too-small tablet, your chances to buy the Nexus 7 are quickly running out. If you were planning to purchase one from Google directly, then your ship has already sailed. That’s because the company officially discontinued the 7-inch tablet on Friday, and is no longer selling it on the Google Store’s website. You can still find one from other places, but you better act fast.

Security:

Critical HTTPS bug may open 25,000 iOS apps to eavesdropping attacks – At least 25,000 iOS apps available in Apple’s App Store contain a critical vulnerability that may completely cripple HTTPS protections designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that steal or modify sensitive data, security researchers warned. As was the case with a separate HTTPS vulnerability reported earlier this week that affected 1,500 iOS apps, the bug resides in AFNetworking, an open-source code library that allows developers to drop networking capabilities into their iOS and OS X apps. Any app that uses a version of AFNetworking prior to the just-released 2.5.3 may expose data that’s trivial for hackers to monitor or modify, even when it’s protected by the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol.

Google says Chinese Great Cannon shows need to encrypt web – The large DDoS attack on GitHub and Greatfire that occurred over March and April would not have been possible with encrypted web traffic, Google has said.

With ransomware on the rise, cryptographers take it personally – Some of the world’s leading cryptographers are concerned about the increasing number of malicious programs that hold computers and mobile phones to ransom, in many cases by abusing the encryption algorithms they designedd. The security industry is not doing enough and it’s going to get worse, they said

Hackers Hit Tesla Twitter Account, Website – According to numerous reports yesterday, an unknown individual (or individuals) managed to get into the Tesla Twitter account, as well as the Twitter account belonging to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The hijackers claiming responsibility indicated they were known as “ripprgang” and, yes, they even posted a link to their own Twitter account—which isn’t filled with anything interesting, unfortunately, seeing as it has already been suspended as of this article’s writing.

Company News:

Hello?! Nokia Releases Official Statement Denying Reports It Will Return To Mobile – In a (short and somewhat terse) official statement today, Nokia noted “recent news reports claiming the company communicated an intention to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China.” It went on: “These reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive. Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

Americans Get Their Revenge on Comcast – First AT&T/T-Mobile, then Sprint/T-Mobile, and now Comcast/Time Warner have collapsed. This might also put AT&T/DirecTV in jeopardy. What all of these have in common is that they involved a service that’s essential for participating in the modern economy, and they totally failed to make the case that their mergers would make consumers’ lives better.

BitTorrent confirms layoffs: 40 workers rumored gone – BitTorrent has been putting a lot of work into growing, and it has seemingly been progressing well with its BitTorrent Originals entertainment effort and BitTorrent Sync, among other things. Sources have cropped up to reveal that things may not be going so well behind closed doors, however, and they claim that yesterday the company laid off “dozens” of employees. The move was said to be in an effort to focus on a smaller bunch of products, and to “streamline business operations”.

Microsoft CEO says Office has been downloaded 100 million times on iOS and Android – Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, revealed that Office has been downloaded more than 100 million times on iOS and Android, and reiterated plans to ensure that its products reach “every mobile device.”

Infosys buying digital commerce provider Kallidus in $120 million deal – Also doing business under the moniker Skada, Kallidus comes with a cloud-based digital commerce platform designed to link all of the e-commerce endpoints from the couch to the counter.

Games and Entertainment:

Solitaire Is Coming Back on Windows – The much-loved card game will once again be just a few clicks away when Microsoft’s next OS launches this summer. This means you’ll no longer have to go through the trouble of separately downloading it like you need to do on Windows 8. Microsoft previously admitted that Solitaire, along with Minesweeper and Hearts, have a “devoted following,” but decided not to pre-install them on Windows 8.

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Dungeons 2 review: Almost the Dungeon Keeper 3 you’ve been waiting for – Suffice it to say, Dungeons 2 is better than that pseudo-Dungeon Keeper racket. But that bar couldn’t be lower if the person holding the bar got stabbed in the gut by EA, fell down a conveniently placed flight of stairs into a basement, and then carried the bar six feet further down into a freshly-dug grave. Is Dungeons 2 any good not just in comparison, but on its own? Ah, now that’s the real question.

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Valve’s Launch Of Paid Mods Faces Backlash From Community – PC gaming giant Valve is facing vocal backlash from its community a day after giving developers of game modifications the ability to charge for their work on the Steam platform. Whereas digital stores typically take a fraction of the sales they process — say, Apple’s 30% on app sales an in-app puchases — Valve has decided to take 75% from each sale of paid mods. That amount is then split between Valve and the publisher or developer behind the original game. That split is one of the sticking points emerging as an issue in Reddit threads and posts on the Steam Community, but it’s certainly not the only one, as many understand it’s a prerequisite to get studios interested in letting others profit from the games they make.

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How gaming can improve our cognitive abilities – Adam Gazzaley is building a repertoire of games that could one day help us reduce or even reverse the impact on our cognitive faculties of disorders such as Alzheimer’s, or deficits caused by brain trauma. Gazzaley emphasised that although he is not against using medication for these types of deficits, 50 years of drug research later “and not one case has resulted in a high-level success story.” On top of this, high drug doses needed to target the underlying neural network inevitably have side effects, and treatment is not personalized—doses are often based on anecdotal evidence provided by the patient. It’s clear we need to look elsewhere for answers, at least until drug research finds a better solution or a complementary one.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation – The truth is, people will never achieve true privacy and anonymity online. Tracking is not only here to stay, it’s getting more pervasive and sophisticated. The technology now exists to track your movement across the web without even needing cookies. “Canvas fingerprinting” for example, is one of a number of cookie-less browser techniques that allow sites to uniquely identify and track visitors. In addition, Facebook and Google are becoming more savvy about correlating individuals’ activities on multiple devices, getting a single view of a person’s online behavior across their smartphone, laptop and any other devices. Furthermore, as emotional a topic as tracking can be, few people change their online behavior because of it or even bother to read the legalistic-to-the-point-of-unfathomable privacy policies that sites post

The hottest gadgets of 1985 – Summary: It seems like only yesterday for the Gen-X crowd, but it was 30 years ago that some of the most influential innovations in consumer technology were introduced.

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so – Not that it asked me and not that it needs me and not that I expect it to do anything but mock me for my efforts, but I’m going to defend the Internet. Lately, humanity has been flattering itself that it was better and kinder before the Internet – as though we never slipped anonymous notes through locker doors in high-school hallways that were echo chambers in themselves, as if we never wrote on actual walls. To hear us now, you’d think no one ever ever crank-called late at night, dialled up even before dial-up to offer abuse, stared into other people’s windows through our own twitching curtains.

14 Animals Who Wore Cameras for Your Amusement (and Science) – If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like for a sea turtle swimming gracefully through the blue expanses, an eagle soaring through the mountains, or where your cat travels at night, technology makes it possible. Take a look through our slideshow to learn what it’s like to be a Hawaiin monk seal, a giant squid, and a menagerie of other critters. It will get you in touch with your wild side! Or something.

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Android mascot urinates on Apple in Google Maps Easter Egg – It’s a well-documented fact that Google loves Easter Eggs. However, this one hiding out in Google Maps is a spiteful little jab at Apple. It’s not exactly stealthily hidden for an Easter Egg. While a specific set of coordinates will take you right to the graffiti, you can also just punch up the New Islamabad Airport and head due East. You’ll stumble across it in no time.

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Mom allegedly attacks school official after daughter not allowed cell phone – In April, a Philadelphia school principal stumbled into a filmed contretemps with a parent who demanded that the school give him his daughter’s cell phone back. The school had confiscated it and said it would keep it for some weeks. Now footage from India has emerged, in which a mom is allegedly so upset that her daughter wasn’t allowed to have her cell phone at school that she attacks school director Jyoti Nagrani.

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Feds: 6 died as a result of overdosing from Silk Road-purchased drugs – The head attorney for Silk Road founder and convicted felon Ross Ulbricht has asked the judge that his upcoming sentencing hearing be postponed, according to a Friday court filing. Why does this lawyer, Joshua Dratel, want the date to be pushed back? Because, he argues, the defense needs adequate time to review the government’s latest revelation that six people died as a result of overdosing on drugs they purchased on Silk Road.

Pointing up   FYI – Acetaminophen Deaths: Data compiled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has linked as many as 980 deaths in a year to drugs containing acetaminophen. In addition, FDA reports of death associated with acetaminophen have been increasing faster than those for aspirin, ibuprofen and many other common over-the-counter pain medicines. Data obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 300 people die annually as a result of acetaminophen poisoning.

Something to think about:

“For all of life’s discontents, according to the pharmaceutical industry, there is a drug and you should take it. Then for the side effects of that drug, then there’s another drug, and so on. So we’re all taking more drugs, and more expensive drugs.”

–      Marcia Angell

Today’s Free Downloads:

LinuxLive USB Creator – LiLi USB Creator is a handy, easy to use application designed to enable you to create a bootable Live USB key with a Linux on it.

This software also offers an exclusive option of automatic virtualization to directly run Linux in Windows without any configuration nor installation.

Features:

Free and Open-source

LiLi is a completely free and open-source software for Windows only. It has been built with simplicity in mind and it can be used by anybody. All you have to do is to pick up a Linux in the list and give it a try.

No reboot needed

Are you sick of having to reboot your PC to try Linux ? No need with LiLi. It has a built-in virtualization feature that lets you run your Linux in Windows just out of the box !

Supports many Linux distributions

Wow ! Did you see that never-ending list ? They are almost all there : Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, Slax, CentOS, ArchLinux, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon, BackTrack, Puppy Linux …

Persistence

Having a Live USB is better than just using a Live CD because you can even save your datas and install softwares. This feature is called persistence (available only on selected Linux).

SmartClean & SmartDownload

SmartClean uninstalls properly any previous Live USB installs and SmartDownload lets you download any supported Linux in 2 clicks automatically selecting the best mirror to download it.SmartClean also lets you clean your USB key in one click.

And a lot more!

Intelligent processing : LiLi works with many Linux, even if they are not officially supported

Hidden install : LiLi hides the Linux install, your key stays clean

File integrity : tells you if your ISO is corrupted

Keeps your data on your USB device (format only if needed)

Intelligent format : can format disks bigger than 32 GB

Auto-Update : automatic updates when new Linux distributions are available

Also works with .IMG files (experimental)

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater – Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater is a a software updater for Adobe’s Flash Player. Flash is one of the key technologies of Web 2.0 – you can find it nearly everywhere. Commonly used technologies are always a main target for malware authors – Flash Player is not different. Adobe frequently releases security updates to fix the latest security vulnerabilities.

However, Flash Player’s out-of-box updater uses long time intervals between update checks. Most endusers do not bother to configure the internal updater – they run outdated Flash Player versions. That is an extremely underestimated security risk!

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater was developed to offer an easy to use application for inexperienced endusers who do not want to bother with updates. It can install updates with no user interaction required and thus keep your system secure without bothering you.

Alternative Flash Player Auto-Updater offers many features for single- and corporate users like automatical update checks with a custom time interval. Also, it allows corporate users to use a remote configuration and thereby avoid configuring every single client.

Features:

Even works if no Flash Player is installed on the system (offers download)

Works on Windows x86 and x64 (32-bit, 64-bit)

German, English and Spanish (automatically detects the system language)

Can work completely hidden (except notifications when updates are available)

Users can choose to let it start with Windows

Works behind a proxy server and with different administrator credentials (these are encrypted in the configuration file)

an use a global configuration file for network environments

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called “gross hypocrisy” – Yesterday, former CIA Director David Petraeus was handed two years of probation and a $100,000 fine after agreeing to a plea deal that ends in no jail time for leaking classified information to Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover.

“I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life and continuing to serve our great nation as a private citizen,” Petraeus said outside the federal courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

Lower-level government leakers have not, however, been as likely to walk out of a courthouse applauding the US as Petraeus did. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, called the Petraeus plea deal a “gross hypocrisy.”

“At the same time as Petraeus got off virtually scot-free, the Justice Department has been bringing the hammer down upon other leakers who talk to journalists—sometimes for disclosing information much less sensitive than Petraeus did,” he said.

The Petraeus sentencing came days after the Justice Department demanded (PDF) up to a 24-year-term for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who leaked information to a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about a botched mission to sell nuclear plans to Iran in order to hinder its nuclear-weapons progress.

NSA spied on EU politicians and companies with help from German intelligence – Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.

The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism “Memorandum of Agreement” on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA’s requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed.

According to Der Spiegel, investigators found that the BND had provided information on around 2,000 selectors that were clearly against European and German interests. Not only were European businesses such as the giant aerospace and defense company EADS, best-known as the manufacturer of the Airbus planes, targeted, so were European politicians—including German ones.

The NSA made a coloring book for kids – Last week we met Dunk, the NSA’s captivatingly weird Earth Day mascot, and now it looks like he’s not the only anthropomorphic creature in the NSA family. Dan Raile at Pando Daily went to the RSA security conference last week, and returned with a prize: an NSA-themed coloring book.

The book, America’s CryptoKids: Future Codemakers and Cokebreakers, tells the story of a team of talking animals, who, when they’re not spying on you, spend their time shredding on the guitar and playing friendly games of lacrosse. While also spying on you, of course.

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Austraalia: ACCC warns site-blocking Bill may be used to ‘intimidate’ VPN users – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has warned against rights holders ‘inappropriately’ threatening to block services that grant Australians access to geoblocked services like Hulu and HBO Now.

CIA couldn’t fully use NSA spy program as most analysts didn’t know about it – A newly-released document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) own internal watchdog found that the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program was so secretive that the agency was unable to make “full use” of its capabilities even several years after the September 11 attacks. Initially, only top-level CIA officials were cleared on its use, rather than rank-and-file “CIA analysts and targeting officers.”

The document, a June 2009 report from the CIA Inspector General (IG) was released as part of a trove of 747 pages entitled the “Report on the President’s Surveillance Program” and was published on Friday by The New York Times as the result of victory in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice.

The CIA IG report, like the others, is redacted in many places, but provides some new material as to the specific history, play-by-play and internal evaluations of the program. In 2009, the government had previously published a far shorter unclassified version.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2015

Senate leader introduces bill to extend Patriot Act surveillance;  Pin web apps to your taskbar;  How to Turn Your Phone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot;  These Are the Best Flight Search Tools;  10 apps to turn your Mac into a productivity champ;  Five process monitors that go beyond Task Manager;  Unboxing the Intel Compute Stick;  Now you can stream videos from your OneDrive account on Android;  Where is Your Antivirus Made?  10 apps to help you keep your garden alive;  The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week;  Comcast’s Time Warner Cable merger in danger;  11 most overrated games of all time;  Compromised govt data could affect millions in China;  The Password Reset Dilemma;  Microsoft is building in tech support directly into Windows 10;  Fedora 22 goes beta;  Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC;  The 10 Most-Pirated Movies Last Week.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Senate leader introduces bill to extend Patriot Act surveillance – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill that would extend the surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act until 2020, instead of expiring on June 1. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is reportedly pushing for the bill to be fast-tracked straight to the Senate floor, without any hearings or votes in Senate committees. The bill, if passed, would kill efforts in Congress to rein in the NSA’s telephone records collection program. In addition to phone records, Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the NSA or FBI to collect business records and “any tangible things” when the agencies have “reasonable grounds” to believe those records are relevant to an antiterrorism investigation.

How to Turn Your Phone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot – Almost any modern smartphone can also work as a Wi-Fi hotspot, sharing its 4G LTE connection to anywhere from five to 10 devices, whether they be laptops, tablets, or other phones. You just have to have the right service plan and tap a few buttons. The most complex part of using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, nowadays, is making sure you’re on the right service plan. Not all plans allow “tethering,” which is what the carriers call hotspot use. If you try to set up a hotspot and get bounced out, you may need to upgrade your service plan.

Pin web apps to your taskbar to make them behave like desktop software – If you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can make web apps feel more desktop-like by pinning them to your taskbar. You may not necessarily get features like offline functionality or local file system access—that’s up to your browser—but when it’s on the taskbar, your web app is always one click away. Pinned web apps also open in their own window, just like traditional desktop software. Right now, you can use either Internet Explorer or Google’s Chrome to pin websites to your taskbar. Both browsers aren’t created equally, however, and there are some differences in functionality depending on which browser you choose.

These Are the Best Flight Search Tools – Last year, 40 percent of Americans booked flights, hotels, cruises and other holidays on their phones and tablets, a statistic based on 300 million bookings worth $150 billion, while the Economist reckons that online bookings account for 43% of total travel sales. We picked six of the top-rated flight aggregator services and compared prices for 10 flights over a week in June, from domestic flights including New York to Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas and Austin, and international flights from New York to Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong.

10 apps to turn your Mac into a productivity champ – As more companies are using Macs in the workplace, it’s important for you to have the proper toolset. The “App Store” for Macs gives users easy access to a variety of tools and services. Here are 10 applications to will help turn your Mac into the business machine you need it to be.

Chrome users roast Google on spit of hate over revamped bookmarks manager – Google’s redesign of the Chrome bookmarks manager has begun rolling out to the browser’s users running the most polished version. And those users are very, very unhappy. They’re more than that, actually. They hate the change, tossing off words like “disastrous,” “hideous” and “horror” to describe their impressions. “I don’t care how smart or sleek or cool you think the new interface is, you just made it much HARDER to use,” groused Bill Wiltsch on a long Chrome support discussion forum thread. “If this does not get easier quickly, I will be switching browsers.”

Unboxing the Intel Compute Stick – The Intel Compute Stick is a complete desktop PC in a USB memory stick. What you get in the box is just as simple. The Compute Stick’s street price of $150 is a direct response to the oh-so-cheap Chrome OS desktops. You won’t get a display, keyboard, or mouse, but the Compute Stick will let you carry a Windows PC in your shirt pocket, ready to plug in at home or in the office.

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Switching operating systems is almost never the answer to problems – Summary: One of the worst pieces of advice given to people looking for help and advice with computer problems is that they should switch to a different operating system. Here’s why, along with some tips for anyone who still wants to change operating systems.

Fedora 22 goes beta – As it has since Fedora 21 came out last December, Fedora isn’t coming out in a single edition. Instead, it’s following the Fedora.next initiative of delivering three distinct Fedora editions: Fedora 22 Cloud, Fedora 22 Server, and Fedora 22 Workstation. Each version is meant to meet a specific use case. However, they all share a common base set of packages, which includes the brand new Linux 4.0 kernel, RPM, systemd, and the Anaconda installer. According to Red Hat, “This small, stable set of components allows for a solid foundation upon which to base Fedora.”

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Five process monitors that go beyond Task Manager – When a Windows system becomes unresponsive, the Task Manager is often the go-to tool for figuring out the problem. But as helpful as the Task Manager can be for tracking down the offending process, a number of other tools are available that can provide even more insight into what’s going on. This article lists five tools for monitoring your system processes.

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Example: Process Hacker includes all the functionality you would expect, plus some nice extras. For example, it can verify file signatures and send a message to a user who is running a particular process.

Microsoft is building in tech support directly into Windows 10 – If you have ever had an issue with your PC, odds are you likely went to your favorite search engine and started looking for a solution or you called up that tech savvy friend of yours. Microsoft is looking to change this behavior in Windows 10 and we can start to see their new solution coming together. Earlier today, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10 and with it comes an app called ‘Contact Support’. As the name implies, this is a new channel for searching how to fix your PC or to resolve billing issues. There are three options to choose from after you open the app: My device, Microsoft account and billing, and Microsoft online services.

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Facebook Messenger Makes 10% Of Global VOIP Calls – Facebook Messenger wants to replace the telephone, not just SMS, and it’s on its way. Messenger now makes up 10% of global Voice Over IP calls, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during today’s Q1 2015 earnings call. And Zuckerberg said that because VOIP can actually provide higher audio quality for calls than traditional phone calls, he expects that growth “is going to continue very quickly.” Considering Facebook only fully rolled out free VOIP calling to Messenger last April, it’s impressive that it’s already becoming a legitimate competitor to apps like Skype. And just yesterday it began rolling out free VOIP calls to WhatsApp on iOS after bringing the feature to Android last month.

Now you can stream videos from your OneDrive account on Android – The latest OneDrive for Android update has enabled in-app video playback capabilities, allowing users to stream the videos directly from their account. The latest update being rolled out on the Google Play Store for OneDrive lets the users stream videos stored on their account without leaving the app. In addition to this, the app now supports improved photo organization with albums. File sharing is also enabled with the latest version of OneDrive for Android, making it easier to send links to stored files from within the app.

Periscope, Meerkat get NHL banhammer – The NHL isn’t happy about people live-streaming its events, and so it has given both Meerkat and Periscope the banhammer, at least to the extent it is able to. This includes any live-streaming that starts 30 minutes before the beginning of an event or less, the event itself, and the end of the event. It’s not surprising that the NHL has its own Periscope account, and that it doesn’t like attendees eating into its revenue by doing their own illicit streaming.

Making software to block annoying ads is legal, German court rules – AdBlock Plus users in Germany can breathe easily: A court there has ruled that the browser extension for filtering annoying ads is legal to make and distribute. The Hamburg court dismissed the complaint on Tuesday, although as is usual for German courts it will be another couple of weeks before publication of the written verdict containing the reasoning behind the ruling.

10 apps to help you keep your garden alive – Tech is as pervasive as an unchecked case of English Ivy. Since it’s spring, why not bring your smartphone into the garden too?

How Google’s Project Fi pricing stacks up to the competition – Google just announced Project Fi, its new MVNO wireless service for the Nexus 6. Google hopes to shake up the industry with its control of the hardware, software, and network. It’s sort of the Google Fiber approach: move into a market with a new pricing scheme and new technology and hope the pressure of competition makes the internet better for everyone.

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The 3 big drawbacks to using Google Project Fi – Google’s wireless carrier is out in the open, and along with a number of fairly solid positive points, there are – as with any industry-moving plan – some drawbacks. This Google wireless carrier business has been a long time coming, after all, and it’s no perfect first swipe. Today we’re having a peek at what you need to know about Google Project Fi if you plan on subscribing in the near future in both the positive and the negative. The article you’re about to dive into right here and now is aimed at showing you what you might consider drawbacks.

Google Chrome Live: What you need to know – On Wednesday, April 22, Google hosted its first ever Chrome Live event, focused on Chrome for Work. Here’s what you need to know.

How to download your entire Google search history – Want a copy of your personal Google search history for your very own? Now you can export and download it, though it’s in a funky file format.

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week – Google Calendar, VOX Player and more are our favorite iPhone apps of the week.

Security:

You’re More Likely to be Struck by Lightning Than Infected With Mobile Malware – The scope of Damballa’s study is enormous, focusing on some 151 million devices per day, up from 25 million when the company carried out the study in 2012. The company said that this amounted to 50 percent of mobile data traffic in the U.S. But of of these, the company only saw some 9,688 devices reaching out to URLs associated with mobile malware. That works out to .0064 percent of the traffic being malicious. In the company’s press release, Damballa said that the National Weather Services’ official odds on being struck by lightning were significantly higher at 1.3 percent.

Pointing up   The likelihood of a terrorist attack affecting any individual western citizen is substantially less – yet, I don’t see any “Lightening Avoidance Classes” – shocking though that may be – or, a color coded weather alert system (technically achievable), warning of imminent lightening strikes in a given area. But then, I don’t suppose that either one of the foregoing makes good “security theatre”  or, offers an opportunity to exercise unrestrained government control.    (facetious /font)

Where is Your Antivirus Made? – Recently, I ran across a new free antivirus program that scored well on Virus Bulletin’s detection tests. I was about to download it for a thorough review when I discovered it’s made in China. That got me thinking: does it really matter where antivirus software is made? Are the good guys who defend us against bad guys all completely good? Can we trust them implicitly just because they make antivirus software and get it tested by independent labs? Well, it seems we do. But should we? Read on… (recommended by FormalDaHyde)

Microsoft unveils Device Guard, another security feature in Windows 10 – One of the new security features coming to Windows 10 is called Device Guard. Alongside Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport it aims to offer enterprise customers top-notch security on their devices.

Wi-Fi software security bug could leave Android, Windows, Linux open to attack – In an e-mail today to the Open Source Software Security (oss-security) mailing list, the maintainer of wireless network client code used by Android, the Linux and BSD Unix operating systems, and Windows Wi-Fi device drivers sent an urgent fix to a flaw that could allow attackers to crash devices or even potentially inject malicious software into their memory. The flaw could allow these sorts of attacks via a malicious wireless peer-to-peer network name. The vulnerability was discovered by the security team at Alibaba and reported to wpa_supplicant maintainer Jouni Malinen by the Google security team.

Compromised govt data could affect millions in China – More than 52 million pieces of personal information such as ID numbers, social security details, financial status, and property ownership have reportedly been compromised in various government-run systems across China, local media said on April 22. According to data provided by loudong.360.cn, a security watchdog, high-risk loopholes have been found in systems such as social security, household administration, disease control, and hospitals in more than 30 cities across China — and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

The Password Reset Dilemma – On a number of services out there, in this case Dropbox, there are password reset or recovery mechanisms that are not just annoying, they simply do not work. I know I cannot be the only one with this problem. I don’t want to single out Dropbox, because this happens with a lot of systems. But it has happened to me with Dropbox every time I use the product. Unless I can guess one of the dozens of passwords I have used there, I have to create yet another new account. I sometimes wonder if this mechanism is to make you create additional accounts to inflate the number supposedly supported by the system.

2 more wireless baby monitors hacked: Hackers remotely spied on babies and parents – Two more wireless baby monitors were hacked. One family heard voices as the camera followed them about the room; the second mom was freaked out and scared as a hacker remotely controlled the camera to follow her movements.

These Guys Will Hack Your Phone to Reveal Who It’s Secretly Sending Information To – Most of us don’t think twice when we connect to a WiFi network or download a new app. I didn’t. I trusted, to some extent, that the relationship between me and my phone was exclusive. Turns out my phone was lying to me. My data, my network, my searches—they weren’t just between the phone and me but instead between me and several thousand companies I’ve never heard of in countries I’ve never been to. To help people understand what’s really going on with their smartphones, tech journalist Geoff White and ethical hacker Glenn Wilkinson have teamed up to create The Secret Life of Your Mobile Phone —a one-hour performance on interception technologies. I met up with Geoff and Glenn to find out what my phone has been playing at.

Crypto gurus: The government’s key escrow plan won’t work – Cryptography experts at the RSA security conference on Tuesday picked holes in U.S. plans to require that law enforcers be given a way to break encryption to exercise lawful intercept rights. U.S. government officials have been increasingly hostile over the past year to the widespread use of encryption on mobile phones and online communications, arguing that a way needs to be found to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies with lawful interception capabilities.

Company News:

BlackBerry expands its security smarts to the Internet of Things – BlackBerry’s smartphone business is limping along but the company knows mobile device security. It plans to apply that expertise to billions of potential connected things.

Comcast’s Time Warner Cable merger in danger as FCC staff calls for hearing – In another setback for Comcast’s planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, staff from the Federal Communications Commission have recommended that the agency arrange a hearing, a move that move The Wall Street Journal says is a strong sign the regulatory body believes the deal is not in the public interest. FCC staff considering the deal concluded that the agency should issue a “hearing designation order,” a ruling that would put the merger in the hands of an administrative law judge, force Comcast to justify its plans, and delay proceedings.

AT&T adds 684,000 connected cars in Q1 – AT&T said it added 684,000 connected cars to its network in the first quarter as the company races to find its future growth in the Internet of things. The telecom giant reported first quarter earnings of $3.2 billion, or 61 cents a share, on revenue of $32.6 billion, roughly flat with a year ago. While the focus on smartphone additions and churn are the norm for wireless telecom players it’s worth pondering some of the other figures that are almost throwaways. Why? That’s where the growth will be. Sure, AT&T added 1.2 million smartphones to its base in the first quarter with a churn of 1.02 percent. But 1.2 million total wireless net additions, including 684,000 connected cars is worth noting.

More than 70 percent of Facebook’s $3.54 billion revenue is now mobile – The company, which reported its first quarter earnings today, now has 1.44 billion monthly active users, and 1.25 billion on mobile, an increase of 13 and 24 percent, respectively. A whopping 936 million people use it every single day. Facebook continued to cruise, posting revenue of $3.45 billion, up 42 percent over the same period last year. The shift to mobile continues, with 73 percent of its revenue coming from mobile ads as compared to 59 percent for this period last year. On the earnings call, Zuckerberg dropped one interesting detail. Facebook now sees over one billion searches on mobile every day.

Uber gives in to Germany’s demands to end ban – Another day, another place where Uber is having trouble operating the way it wants to. Last month it ran into another issue in Germany, where it was banned for the second time for failing to play by the rules. The company was hit last month with the threat of fines by the Frankfurt regional court should it violate the transportation laws in the area. That ruling has now become enforceable, and Uber issued a statement about it yesterday, saying it’s “a defeat for all those who want more choice for their personal mobility.”

Games and Entertainment:

Netflix’s library to get shakeup on May 1 – Netflix regularly purges content from its library and replaces it with new content — this is generally a bittersweet moment, in that there’s a good chance something you enjoyed will disappear, but that something you’d like to watch will be incoming. It is that time again, with May 1 marking the start of more content being added, as well as the start of a bunch of content being removed. Amongst those that are outbound is Skyfall and RoboCop, and inbound are a load of new things including Zombeavers.

11 most overrated games of all time – Excuse me for a minute while I slip into this asbestos suit and close the door on my insulated concrete bunker in an undisclosed location. I fully expect this article to ruffle a few feathers, and as we all know gamers don’t do very well with that. The canon of computer gaming is massive, with new classics added every year. And while some of the “greatest of all time” earned that title honestly, others look pretty lousy in hindsight. In this feature, I’m going to lay down the law on eleven games that are seriously overrated. Feel free to leave your picks in the comments, as well as any thoughts you have on my mother and her sexual purity.

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Bioshock Infinite

DC Comics and Mattel team up for superhero action figures for girls – Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn and more will soon be available as a new line of action figures and comics targeted at girls.

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The 10 Most-Pirated Movies Last Week – Let’s not pretend that the most-pirated movie of the week is anything but Vin Diesel’s Furious 7. The movie, which delivers a series of over-the-top stunts and a heartfelt goodbye for the late Paul Walker, has already grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Furious 7 is super popular, which means that it’s a prime candidate for bootlegging. Before I discuss the week’s most-pirated movies, however, allow me to state that PCMag doesn’t condone piracy in any way, shape, or form. Our mission is a simple and pure one—to inform you about what’s happening in the online digital media world.

CyberPower’s insane three-pointed Trinity PC ditches ‘prototype’ for preorders – When we saw CyberPower’s Trinity gaming PC prototype at CES 2015 we thought it was one of the wildest computer designs we’d ever seen. Just look at the thing! Products so radical tend to wind up being vaporware, however. But CyberPower said the PC would go on sale within three months after its CES debut, and true to its word, Trinity is now available for pre-order with base prices between $955 and $1795 depending on the configuration. CyberPower says pre-orders will ship after Tuesday, April 28. Current estimated ship dates we saw on Wednesday morning were targeting early May.

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Xbox One May update brings Miracast support – That time of the month is here and the Xbox One is receiving some serious updates this time around which are designed to streamline the experience between the Windows 10 Xbox app and the console. Not only that, but the update also brings new features like Miracast support. Here’s a list of all the features coming to the console soon:

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Surprising Trait That Gets Better With Age – A new study from researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Buffalo shows that people aren’t getting older and crankier—they’re getting older and more trusting. And this increased sense of trust is linked with higher well being, says study co-author ClaudiaHaase, who also serves as director of Northwestern’s Life-Span Development Lab. While the elderly tend to have a reputation for being cranky and crotchety, this new research shows that they are actually “more likely to look at the bright side of things,” Haase said in a statement.

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country – In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages. According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities. Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average. France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else. No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.” Check out the full report here.

Woman filming law enforcement has phone smashed by federal agent – The woman, identified by the LA Times as 34-year-old Beatriz Paez, was fortunate that someone on the other side of the road was filming her as she tried to film the officers of the law. The footage, now released to the outside world, shows the clearly aggressive approach of someone now identified as a US deputy marshal. The woman appears to be standing clear of any officers and is not behaving in an obstructive manner. US courts have ruled that filming the police is perfectly legal, as long as those filming aren’t getting in the way of the police doing their job.

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Pointing up   Just another black uniformed criminal, committing just another criminal offense. Move along – nothing to see here.

Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC – A Colorado Springs man who decided he’d had just about enough of his cantankerous Dell PC took it into an alleyway and pumped eight 9mm rounds into its sorry case, according to the local Gazette. Lucas Hinch, 37, simply “got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months”, as the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Lt. Jeff Strossner put it. “He was having technology problems, so he took it out in the back alley and shot it.”

C’mon now – who hasn’t considered this at least once – maybe even more than once?    Smile

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Ben Affleck and PBS Failed at Helping Viewers Deal With the Past – As a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, I know what it’s like to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly of our pasts. However, we have to stop censoring history and start accepting it and learning from it. Affleck and PBS missed out on an important opportunity to face the ugly truth head on. This is a chance to educate and enlighten America about its painful past and current struggle. Instead of hiding the information about the Gone Girl star’s past, maybe PBS could have, and still can, help him and others cope with the devastating news that his ancestor owned people.

Something to think about:

“There are two sorts of people, those who favour ideology and those who favour humans. “

–       Jon Ronson

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinPatrol – WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. WinPatrol was the pioneer in using a heuristic behavioral approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment. Now, using our “Cloud” technology you can benefit from the experience of other WinPatrol users. WinPatrol continues to be the most powerful system monitor for its small memory footprint.

WinPatrol’s easy tabbed interface allows you to explore deep inside your computer without having to be a computer expert. A one-time investment in WinPatrol PLUS provides a unique experience you won’t find in any other software.

WinPatrol PLUS is a great investment!

One Time fee includes for ALL future WinPatrol versions.

No Hidden or Reoccurring Subscription Fees.

Single License valid on all your personal desktops and laptops!

No Toolbars or other unwanted software

WinPatrol PLUS is quicker and faster.

Upgrade Now with No Additional Download

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POP Peeper – POP Peeper is an email notifier that runs in your Windows task bar and alerts you when you have new email on your POP3, IMAP (with IDLE support), Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, GMail, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno and NetZero accounts. IMAP supports allows you to access AOL, AIM, Netscape and other services. Send mail directly from POP Peeper and use the address book to email your frequently used contacts. POP Peeper allows you to view messages using HTML or you can choose to safely view all messages in rich or plain text. Several options are available that will decrease or eliminate the risks of reading your email (viruses, javascript, webbugs, etc). POP Peeper can be run from a portable device and can be password protected. Many notification options are availble to indicate when new mail has arrived, such as sound alerts (configurable for each account), flashing scroll lock, skinnable popup notifier, customized screensaver and more.

Primary Features:

Easy Setup – accounts are imported from your existing email client(s)

Supports POP3, IMAP (including GMail, AOL, AIM, Netscape, FastMail, mail.com, etc), SMTP, GMail, Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno, NetZero

IDLE is supported for IMAP accounts which allows instant notification when new mail arrives in your inbox

Support for RSS feeds is available with purchase of the Premium Add-on Pack

Read, delete, print and reply to Email without opening your email client

Send email directly from POP Peeper

SSL support for POP3, IMAP and SMTP

HTML email support

Password protection

Address book

Options to protect you from messages that contain viruses and web bugs

Send, save and open file attachments

Run POP Peeper off your portable storage device

No account limit — notifies you of an unlimited number of accounts

Many ways to receive new mail notification: skinnable desktop alerts, audio, flashing scroll lock LED and more

Specify how often all accounts are checked for new mail or set individual intervals for each account

Extensive help with useful tips and information

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Easy Service Optimizer – All Windows versions loads many services at startup, most of them (Not all) are essential for the core system features . By disabling unnecessary services, the performance can be improved significantly, especially on computers with low system resources , here’s some of the windows services which are generally enabled by default that you can disable safely:

Print Spooler (if you don’t use a printer or print-to-PDF)

Bluetooth Support (if you don’t use Bluetooth)

Remote Registry (it’s not usually running by default, but you can disable it for safety)

Remote Desktop (There are 3 services. If you don’t use Remote desktop, disable them) but disabling a service was not for the novice (now it is)

Easy service optimizer (Eso) is a portable freeware to optimize almost all Windows services (except windows 98 and below) and It does not require any technical knowledge. It is very safe to use because it changes only the startup type of the services and you can restore them easily , you can create your own list or customize selected one.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The system is like a ship – once it leaves port there is no stopping it. Unless it sinks.

European Rights Body Again Rejects Mass Surveillance – Europe’s top rights body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has crystalized its censure of mass surveillance as a threat to fundamental human rights and to democracy itself by adopting a draft resolution in which it reiterates deep concerns over the practice of intelligence agencies systematically harvesting untargeted communications data, without adequate legal regulation or technical protection.

“Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act,” PACE warned yesterday.

“These powerful structures risk escaping democratic control and accountability and they threaten the free and open character of our societies,” it added.

The Council took evidence from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year as part of its investigation into mass surveillance — going on to publish a lengthy report back in January.

That report also included concerns about intelligence agencies seeking to systematically perforate Internet security — a topical concern, given the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security was only yesterday speaking out against the ‘dangers’ of pervasive encryption. PACE’s draft resolution includes the same “deep” worries about threats to Internet security from “certain intelligence agencies”.

Australia: The censorship end game of the piracy site-blocking Bill – Summary: A call for the government to implement a widespread internet filter in addition to allowing rights holders to get piracy sites blocked shows that the legislation will be an open door for full internet censorship in Australia.

The House has passed a controversial new cyber info-sharing bill – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act in a bipartisan 307-116 vote, taking an important step forward in Congress’ ongoing efforts to promote cyber threat-sharing. The bill is meant to help network operators share information about possible threats more quickly and easily, making it easier to defend against any subsequent attacks. “Our bill will ensure that we have the tools to address these attacks by enabling voluntary information sharing of cyber threats between and among the private and public sectors,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a statement.

It’s a crucial issue, particularly in the wake of ongoing criminal and state hacks like Home Depot, Target, and Sony Pictures, but many have criticized the new crop of info-sharing bills as opening the door to private sector surveillance. Ron Wyden criticized CISA, an earlier info-sharing bill, as “a surveillance bill by another name.” Others have raised questions about how government agencies will use the threat information after it’s been reported. “Any company has to think at least twice about sharing how they are vulnerable with a government that hoards security vulnerabilities and exploits them to conduct massive surveillance,” Stanford Law Professor Jennifer Granick wrote in a recent editorial.

Even NSA Chief Acknowledges Need for Broad Discussion About Cyberwarfare – A whole new and very dangerous field of warfare has been developed by the Obama administration, in secret, using untested legal justifications, and without even the faintest whiff of oversight.

So kudos to Patrick Tucker, technology editor for Defense One, who took advantage of a recent moment with National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers to ask him: Is there a way to discuss publicly what the future of cyberwar operations will look like?

Rogers said, dismissively, that the public should trust that the U.S. will follow the international laws of conflict and that its use of cyberwarfare would “be proportional” and “in line with the broader set of norms that we’ve created over time.”

But he also acknowledged the need, at some point, for the public to have some sort of a say.

Rogers likened cyberattacks to the development of mass firepower in the 1800s. “Cyber represents change, a different technical application to attempt to achieve some of the exact same effects, just do it in a different way,” he said.

“Like those other effects, I think, over time, we’ll have a broad discussion in terms of our sense of awareness, both in terms of capabilities as well as limitations.”

Over time?

That discussion is long overdue.

Google’s Encryption Efforts Are Paying Off In Wake Of Snowden Leaks – Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company has evidence that its efforts to improve encryption in the wake of Edward Snowden leaks have worked. His remarks at BoxDev, Box’s yearly developer conference, come as law enforcement officials are criticizing encryption efforts for slowing down investigations.

In response to a question about encryption from Box CEO Aaron Levie, Schmidt said that after the Snowden leaks, his company was “very, very upset.” He joked that Google wasn’t given a heads up about the activities of the American NSA, which he noted that in slang is often called “never say anything.”

At the time of Snowden’s revelations, Schmidt was one of the first executives to suggest encryption was the only way to prevent government surveillance. He said that the company has embarked on work to bolster its encryption efforts, including at-rest encryption, and in-transit encryption. He said people previously poking into the company’s networks are “complaining” and called the rising whining “proof” that its work was effective.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2015

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 16, 2015

11 simple steps to secure your PC and online accounts;  90% of security incidents trace back to PEBKAC and ID10T errors;  False Positives Sink Antivirus Ratings;  Digital music revenue overtakes CD sales;  A simple Google search can find your lost Android phone;  Google releases a new handwriting app for Android;  50 Best Free iPhone Apps for 2015;  14 Google Calendar Tricks You’re Probably Not Using;  How to Break Bad Habits With Tech;  IKEA releases its line of wireless charging furniture;  Why you should be using mobile shopping apps;  EU’s three gripes with Android: What you need to know;  How to Save Stories To Read Later On Your Phone;  How Google Could Threaten the Web;  In-flight Wi-Fi is “direct link” to hackers;  Mystery solved: Why do knuckles crack?  Binge-watch ‘Orphan Black’ for free this Friday.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

90% of security incidents trace back to PEBKAC and ID10T errors – 90% of security incidents are still caused by PEBKAC and ID10T errors, according to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report. Phishing attacks are a prime example of how the problem exists between keyboard and user as the DBIR said it takes a mere one minute and 22 seconds after a phishing email is sent before the first victim clicks on the tainted link.

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11 simple steps to secure your PC and online accounts – Data breaches, hacks, and vulnerable software makes it easier than ever for a hacker to get access to your data. These simple steps can help mitigate it happening in the first place.

A simple Google search can find your lost Android phone – This new feature lets you do a simple Google search to recover your Android phone. Simply, go to the main Google search webpage in a browser and type in “find my phone.” The first result will be a map of your phone’s exact location, like the bar last night. Then, through a drop-down menu, you can ring your phone directly from the browser if your phone is still nearby. You’ll need the Google app’s latest version installed before you can try to search for your Android phone, and you need to make sure that your phone and your browser are both logged into the same Google account for the search to work properly.

50 Best Free iPhone Apps for 2015 – Not everything in life is free, but many great iPhone apps are. And when you can find good software for free, take it. This list of the 50 best free iPhone apps highlight apps that we at PCMag think have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are truly “free.” No gimmicks, no membership required or in-app purchase necessary. Free. Period.

Tip: WinDirStat can help you free up storage space for GTA V (or anything else) in a flash – WinDirStat is a free tool—donations accepted!—that scans your drive, then explains where all your storage is being consumed with some gorgeous data visualization, separating the culprits into different blocks to provide a quick, at-a-glance summary. Clicking on one of the blocks lets you dive deeper and truly see where your storage is tied up—but in this case, I was looking for major offenders anyway.

Google releases a new handwriting app for Android – If you ever wanted to draw an emoji, now is your chance. Google has released Google Handwriting Input for Android, which supports printed and cursive writing in 82 languages, as well as hand-drawn emojis….

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How to Break Bad Habits With Tech – Yes, there’s an app for “that,” almost no matter what “that” might entail, but when it comes to busting your bad, bad habits, don’t overlook the possibilities. With some help from software—and by applying some of your own willpower, an aspect that can’t be overlooked or ignored—it’s possible to better yourself. Even if all you do is correct one practice or pattern that is bugging, governing, or ruining you and those around you on a regular basis. With some of these tools and tips, you can try positive, go negative (start paying for your habitual crimes!), or a little of both.

Tinder integrates Instagram to show you’re well-rounded – If you’re trying to lure in new connections on Tinder, hawking your life through carefully filtered and selectively framed Instagram photos is one way to do that. The service hasn’t been entirely friendly toward Instagram, however, in that it didn’t offer support for such and users would have to put a link to their Instagram profile in their Tinder profile. Users requested a bit more than that, though, and Tinder has decided to listen, adding an option to embedded your Instagram photos directly in your Tinder profile for all to see.

Why you should be using mobile shopping apps – The truth is, there are certain categories of mobile apps that are created to make life easier. And when you are working in a mad-dash pace five days a week, every second you can get back from daily duties adds up by the end of the week. And yet there are still those that believe the shopping app is below them. Get this … Forbes believes that shopping apps will be the single fastest growing category of mobile applications in 2015.

Microsoft Band is officially on sale in the UK, priced at £169.99 – The Microsoft Band is now available to buy in the UK – its first market outside of the US – priced at £169.99, and includes guided workouts developed with leading UK health provider Nuffield Health.

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14 Google Calendar Tricks You’re Probably Not Using – If you consider yourself a true 400-pound orangutan of organization, a profit of productivity, a caballero of collaboration, then take a look through our slideshow of 14 neat little tricks that you can do inside Google Calendar. There will definitely be some you didn’t know.

Twitter’s new front page advertises news sources, tech reporters, and butts – Twitter has a new login page that collates images from its most popular users to keep you informed about important topics like world politics, movie gossip, tech news, and — apparently — spandex-clad butts….

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Dormi Turns Android Smartphones Or Tablets Into A Video Baby Monitor – A number of companies today leverage the ubiquity of smartphones in order to offer parents “connected” baby monitoring systems that can be accessed from anywhere. Often, as with devices like NapTime or Evoz, these include a monitor and camera of some sort and an accompanying mobile app. But a startup called Dormi has historically offered a different take – instead of selling new hardware, the company allows you to re-use old Android smartphones or tablets in order to remotely monitor your baby’s room. Now its system has received a long-anticipated update, with the much-requested addition of video monitoring.

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IKEA releases its line of wireless charging furniture – IKEA has launched its Wireless Charging collection of furniture, which has built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers for compatible mobile phones. In addition to offering bedside tables, floor- and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads, IKEA is also selling a DIY kit that lets users embed wireless chargers into furniture of their choice.

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How to Save Stories To Read Later On Your Phone – Sometimes, it feels like our phones buzz with notifications from our favorite news apps at the most inconvenient moments — it’s hard to open a notification about Iranian nuclear developments when we’re headed into a meeting or chasing down the bus. Luckily, there are a few great apps that will help you save important stories for reading later in the day when you’ve got some downtime, even if you don’t have a data signal (say, on the subway).

Security:

New York Times columnist falls prey to signal repeater car burglary – Last week, the New York Times columnist Nick Bilton took to Twitter to let the world know that two kids broke into his car before his very eyes. What made the break-in a little more remarkable was the fact that, according to Bilton, the perps used an electronic device to simply unlock his Toyota Prius, rather than doing things the old-fashioned way with a slim jim, coat hanger, or brick. This isn’t the first time that signal repeaters have been linked to car burglaries in California. In 2013, we reported on a similar spate of thefts in Long Beach, CA, that left local police ‘stumped.’ And it’s not the only way of gaining entry to a supposedly secure car; The Register has previously covered devices that can eavesdrop on the signal between a BMW and its remote, allowing miscreants to program a blank remote for later use.

IBM makes decades worth of cyber-threat data public – IBM’s X-Force Exchange aims to be one of the largest and thorough catalogs of vulnerabilities in the world, helping companies to defend against cyber-crimes in real-time.

Neighborhood Watch program to add wireless security cams to its wetware network – The Neighborhood Watch program is about to augment its wetware network of watchful eyes with a hardware network of wireless IP security cameras. The objective? Reduce false alerts to local authorities, improve emergency response times, and reduce crime rates. It all starts with the rollout of a new safety system that will use wireless, battery-powered cameras to monitor participating neighborhoods.

Bitdefender Box review: Trying hard to be antivirus for the Internet of Things – My smart home has more than 40 devices connected to the Internet: Multiple computers, tablets, and smartphones; 10 IP security cameras; a control panel for my Vivint home-security and automation system; a satellite TV tuner with a DVR; a Roku video-streaming box; four Sonos nodes; and more. Bitdefender tells me its Box can protect all of them, and with enough confidence that I can run my PCs, tablets, and smartphones without local antivirus or anti-malware. All I need besides Box is a lightweight agent on those devices (Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS are all supported).

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False Positives Sink Antivirus Ratings – What’s the big deal about false positives? Well, depending on the prevalence of the file affected, the consequences can be epic. Some years ago McAfee erroneously quarantined an important Windows file (they’ll never live that down!). More recently, Panda identified its own files as malware. Even without major fiascos like these, if your antivirus visibly makes mistakes, you’ll lose faith in it. AV-Comparatives offers a detailed report on false positives encountered by each product in this test, including prevalence data for the legitimate samples. This simple file-detection test has its limitations, as noted in the full report. Even so, it’s a good sign when a product aces this test, and a high rate of false positives may be cause for worry. How did your antivirus stack up?

In-flight Wi-Fi is “direct link” to hackers – Airplanes with in-flight Wi-Fi are vulnerable to hacks by passengers and could be targeted by a “malicious attacker” on the ground, a US report has warned. The threat appears to come in two forms, the GAO said. The first is from intrusion into avionics systems by passengers using in-flight Wi-Fi. “Four cybersecurity experts with whom we spoke discussed firewall vulnerabilities, and all four said that because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented,” the report said. It described theoretical methods by which committed hackers could access any aspect of an airplane’s control system.

Company News:

Europe opens antitrust investigation into Android – The European Commission has been examining Google’s Android operating system for nearly three years, and it is now ready to launch a formal investigation into claims of unfair app bundling. Google services and apps like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube are often bundled with Android devices, and competitors have complained that it’s giving Google an unfair advantage. Regulators previously questioned telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see whether Google forces them to bundle apps or services at the expense of competitors.

EU’s three gripes with Android: What you need to know – Did you know there are really two main versions of Android? The one Google controls is under fire for potential antitrust practices. Here’s why.

Facebook-backed Internet.org loses some Indian partners over net neutrality – A project by Facebook-backed Internet.org to offer people access to select online services without data charges has run into trouble in India, after the program was criticized by net neutrality activists. A number of companies that had partnered with Internet.org to offer content or services had by Wednesday either quit the alliance or were readying to leave. The Internet.org program does not meet its stated objective of providing free and unfettered Internet access to all, according to the activists.

Netflix Adds 4.9M New Members In Q1, Sending Shares Up More Than 10% – Why’s Wall Street so excited about flat revenues and an earnings miss? Netflix reported that its subscriber base grew to a total 62.3 million. That figure includes 2.3 million new domestic subscribers, and 2.6 million non-domestic subscribers.

Online marketplace Etsy prices IPO at $16 a share – Online crafts marketplace Etsy priced its initial public offering at $16 a share on Wednesday, at the high end of its expected range of $14 to $16 a share. The Brooklyn, NY-based company raised $267 million by selling 16.7 million shares, valuing Etsy at $1.8 billion, the firm announced Wednesday. Founded in 2005, the website derives its revenue from listing fees and commissions on the sale of items such as handmade jewelry, crocheted wool booties and antique mother of pearl silverware.

Yahoo may be readying new Messenger to battle Snapchat, Periscope – You probably don’t use Yahoo Messenger. It’s tired, really. As a simple chat app, it’s fine, but we want more than that. In an age of sending each other more than words, Yahoo is way behind. Instead of dropping messaging, Yahoo may be priming a revamp to Messenger, one that reportedly combine live and recorded video sharing. This app is meant for mobile, though it’s not clear if Yahoo is also readying the app for your desktop as well. If the report is accurate, we’ll see this new Messenger by the end of Q2 2015.

AT&T, but not Verizon and Comcast, sue FCC over net neutrality – AT&T made no secret of its opposition to the FCC’s net neutrality order, but it was reported last month that trade groups rather than individual ISPs would lead the legal fight against the FCC. That has mostly been the case so far, with AT&T but not other big ISPs like Comcast or Verizon filing suit. Lawsuits have been filed by four consortiums representing cable, wireless, and telecommunications companies. One small provider in Texas called Alamo Broadband sued the FCC as well.

Games and Entertainment:

Binge-watch ‘Orphan Black’ for free this Friday – Send your clone to work and stay home for Season 1 of the cult-fave show, streaming free of charge courtesy of Amazon.

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Sling TV channel guide: All the programming, and all the restrictions, all in one chart – Sling TV is cheaper than bloated cable- or satellite-TV bundles, but it’s no less confusing. I’m about to fix that for you.

Hearthstone goes fully mobile; now available on iOS and Android smartphones – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available in the App and Google Play stores, and it comes with all of the features that the bigger versions of the game have, including the recently launched Blackrock Mountain expansion. But the handset version of the game will also feature a new interface designed to make card-playing easier on smaller screens. Blizzard is also celebrating the expanded availability of the game by offering mobile players a free Classic card pack once they complete a game on their mobile phones.

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Digital music revenue overtakes CD sales for the first time globally – Global revenue from music downloads and subscriptions has overtaken sales of physical formats for the first time. In 2014, digital revenue grew nearly 7 percent to $6.85 billion, while physical sales — of which CDs make up the vast majority — fell 8 percent to $6.82 billion. These figures, from a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), also reflect the growing popularity of digital music streaming, with revenue from services like Spotify growing 40 percent to $1.57 billion.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Bruce Schneier: Metal Detectors at Sports Stadiums – Fans attending Major League Baseball games are being greeted in a new way this year: with metal detectors at the ballparks. Touted as a counterterrorism measure, they’re nothing of the sort. They’re pure security theater: They look good without doing anything to make us safer. We’re stuck with them because of a combination of buck passing, CYA thinking, and fear. There’s no evidence that this new measure makes anyone safer. A halfway competent ticketholder would have no trouble sneaking a gun into the stadium. For that matter, a bomb exploded at a crowded checkpoint would be no less deadly than one exploded in the stands. These measures will, at best, be effective at stopping the random baseball fan who’s carrying a gun or knife into the stadium. That may be a good idea, but unless there’s been a recent spate of fan shootings and stabbings at baseball games — and there hasn’t — this is a whole lot of time and money being spent to combat an imaginary threat.

Watch the SpaceX rocket landing (now in video form) – Before we’d only had tiny glimpses of the near-landing bit of the Falcon 9 rocket. Now we’ve got a fully operational video from off the starboard bow. This video shows how the rocket flew in at great speed, nearly – so very, very nearly – landing on the “Just Read The Instructions” autonomous sea craft. But with a final blast, it fell to the wayside. Time to try, try again, of course, as Elon Musk suggests they’ll be approaching an 80% success rate by the end of this year.

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How Google Could Threaten the Web – Since most people have their sights set on Google, the crusading antitrust folks in Europe now have their sights set on the dominant search engine. There’s certainly some “not invented here” schadenfreude in some of the EU’s antitrust actions. Europe has come down hard on Microsoft, Apple, and now Google, all American companies. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Man flies gyrocopter to US Capitol to protest government corruption – US Capitol Police in Washington, DC have detained a man after he flew a personal gyrocopter through restricted airspace and landed it on the West Lawn of the Capitol building. The strange incident led authorities to close off nearby streets and briefly put the Capitol on lockdown. Reports indicate that police arrived immediately after the pilot, 61-year-old Doug Hughes, touched down. Hughes is a US postal worker from Ruskin, Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times, and orchestrated the stunt as his own attempt to protest government corruption and urge lawmakers to advance campaign finance reform.

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Best Boss Ever Aims to Raise Minimum Worker Pay to $70K per Year – Bet you wish Dan Price was your boss right about now. The founder of Gravity Payments told employees on Monday that over the next three years, he plans to make the minimum salary paid to staffers at the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm a cool $70,000 per year. Per The New York Times, that means “even the lowest-paid clerk, customer service representative, and salesman” working for Gravity Payments will make nearly $20,000 more a year than the median household income in the United States, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014.

Mystery solved: Why do knuckles crack? – For the first time, an MRI video has been taken of cracking knuckles, answering once and for all what makes the audible pop.

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Chess grandmaster caught cheating with smartphone chess app – The cheating claim was made by his opponent, Tigran Petrosian, during the sixth round of the Dubai Open. Nigalidze had been making very frequent and long trips to the toilet after playing his moves, which made Petrosian suspicious and led to a search of the bathroom. A smartphone was discovered hidden in some toilet paper in a bin with a chess program loaded on to it. We don’t know which chess app he was using (yet).

Something to think about:

“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices – just recognize them.”

–     Edward R. Murrow

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Port Scanner – Free Port Scanner is a small, fast, easy-to-use and robust port scanner. You can scan ports on fast machines in a few seconds and can perform scan on predefined port ranges. This tool uses TCP packets to determine available hosts and open ports, service associated with port and other important characteristics. The tool is designed with a user-friendly interface and is easy to use.

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GlassWire 1.0.43 Beta – GlassWire displays your network activity on an easy to understand graph while searching for unusual Internet behavior that could indicate malware or violations of your privacy. Once unusual network activity is discovered you’re instantly alerted with detailed information so you can protect your computer, privacy, and data.

Features:

Network Monitor – Visualize your current and past network activity by traffic type, application, and geographic location, on an easy to use graph. GlassWire lets you see what applications are sending out data over the Internet and shows you what hosts they are communicating with.

Internet Security – GlassWire adds extra Internet security to your computer or server by visualizing all past and present network data in an easy to understand graph. Instantly see every application or process communicating over the Internet, then dive in deeper to see who or what your computer is communicating with.

Bandwidth Usage Monitor – Keeping track of your daily, weekly, or monthly bandwidth usage is easy with GlassWire. Go to the usage tab to see what apps, traffic, or hosts are using the most bandwidth.

Internet Privacy Protection – GlassWire shows all your network activity on an easy to use graph to help protect your Internet privacy. Easily see what apps are sending out data to the Internet and what host in what country they are communicating with. When you visit a website click the graph to see every server that your computer communicated with while that web page loaded.

Remote Server Monitoring – GlassWire installs easily on servers so you can monitor their network activity on your local computer via our remote access feature. Go to GlassWire’s settings and choose “remote server” to logon to your server after you have installed GlassWire on your local computer and remote server.

Discreet Alerts – We specifically designed the GlassWire alert system so it wasn’t annoying to users. GlassWire alerts appear briefly and then disappear into the background.

Network Time Machine Use the sliders to go back in time and analyze past network activity on the graph. Check your bandwidth usage by day, week, and month in detail with resolved hosts.

Universal Media Server – Universal Media Server is a DLNA-compliant UPnP Media Server. It is based on PS3 Media Server by shagrath. It is actually an evolution of the “SubJunk Build” of PMS. UMS was started by SubJunk, an official developer of PMS, in order to ensure greater stability and file-compatibility.

To see a comparison of popular media servers, click here.

Because it is written in Java, Universal Media Server supports all major operating systems, with versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

The program streams or transcodes many different media formats with little or no configuration.

It is powered by MEncoder, FFmpeg, tsMuxeR, AviSynth, MediaInfo and more, which combine to offer support for a wide range of media formats.

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The DEA is spending millions of dollars on spyware – The Drug Enforcement Agency has been spending millions on spyware tools to take over suspects’ phones, according to an exclusive report from Motherboard. Government records show the agency paying $2.4 million for a “remote control system” that could be implanted in a suspect’s phone. Once the phone is infected, the spyware can record texts, emails, passwords, and even nearby conversations through the onboard microphone. The use of spyware by law enforcement is controversial, and while officials typically need a warrant before deploying the programs, some agencies have ignored that requirement in the past. The source of the spyware is even more controversial.

New Zealand Spy Data Shared With Bangladeshi Human Rights Abusers – Secret documents reveal New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency shared intelligence with state security agents in Bangladesh, despite authorities in the South Asian nation being implicated in torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.

Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, has conducted spying operations in Bangladesh over the past decade, according to the documents. The surveillance has been carried out in support of the U.S. government’s global counterterrorism strategy, primarily from a spy post in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, and apparently facilitated by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Bangladesh spying, revealed on Wednesday by The New Zealand Herald in collaboration with The Intercept, is outlined in secret memos and reports dated between 2003 and 2013. The files were obtained by The Intercept from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The FBI informant who mounted a sting operation against the FBI – A new documentary, (T)ERROR, reveals the weaknesses and bungling behind a terrorism investigation that relied on informants. One of the domestic spies, Saeed Torres, warned the FBI that the target of its investigation “ain’t going to throw rice at a wedding, believe me.”

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 9, 2014

40 Reasons Why You DON’T Need An Antivirus;   How and why to set up and use a password manager;  11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search;  Report: Android Security Apps Improving;  Translate text into a different language as you type;  Why you should take another look at Google Keep;  Google offers $20 Play Store credit with Chromecast;  Beware this online shopping scam: Fake order confirmations;  Fedora 21: Worth the wait;  Hackers tell Sony to halt the release of The Interview;  Your Christmas Gaming Guide [Updated];  How to make the most money from old gadgets;  Corporate Abuse of Our Data;  Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast: Why not both?  Samsung SSD Magician.

How and why to set up and use a password manager – A password manager stores the passwords for your various online accounts and profiles and saves you from having to remember and enter each one each time you visit a password-protected site. Instead, your passwords are encrypted and held by your password manager, which you then protect with a master password. With a password manager, you can create strong passwords for all of your accounts and keep all of those passwords saved behind a stronger master password, leaving you to remember but a single password. Which password manager you choose to use is less important than actually choosing one and then using it.

11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search – Google Search’s learning curve is an odd one. You use it every day, but still all you know is how to search. But the search engine has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Here’s an overview of some of the most useful Google search tricks, from basic tips to new features just recently released.

Report: Android Security Apps Improving – The latest Android antivirus report from AV-Test comes with good news; almost half of the products earned a perfect score. While there aren’t nearly as many malicious applications aimed at Android devices as there are targeting Windows, that’s no reason to be complacent. If one of those malware apps hits your phone, you’ve got trouble whether it’s common or not. AV-Test Institute rated 31 Android security applications and found that for the most part they’re even more effective than when last tested.

Tablets growing at a faster rate than that of any other connected device, claims NPD –  Tablet ownership among US consumers is on the rise, and growing at a faster rate than that of any other connected device, claims The NPD Group Connected Intelligence, Connected Home Report. The report gives us a general idea of what people are doing with their tablet. For example, 55 percent of tablet users report leveraging a video feature of their device, which means that they used it for video calling or taking, posting, and uploading videos, as well as watching video from a streaming service or app from a TV channel or pay TV provider. Video usage is even more prolific among younger consumers, with 67 percent of tablet users aged 18-34 use these video features compared to 53 percent of 35-54 year olds, and 45 percent of users age 55 and older.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft discounts its subscription services bundle to just $149 – Microsoft only announced its special “Work & Play Bundle” of subscription services last month, but the company is already discounting it in time for the holidays. The Work & Play Bundle, which includes Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Unlimited World subscriptions, is now just $149 for the year. Separately, the subscriptions would cost around $450 annually, so It’s more than 65 percent in savings for services that provide access to the full Office suite, unlimited OneDrive storage, Xbox Live gaming, music streaming without ads, and unlimited Skype calls.

Google Translate to decipher words in images, better recognize speech, says report – International travel could get much easier if all you have to do is point your phone at a menu, or speak into it for an instant translation. That’s the magic promised in a leaked build of Google Translate that’s apparently in the works. The new version of Google’s translation app adds features courtesy of Google’s acquisition of Word Lens, which already has much of this functionality in place. You can grab the app now to get an idea of what the new image translation in Google Translate will be like.

Translate text into a different language as you type – There are some amazing language-translation apps, everything from Google Translate to Word Lens. But few of them integrate with iOS proper. Translate Keyboard Pro ($1.99) does. It takes advantage of iOS 8’s support for third-party keyboards, effectively translating text from 30 source languages into as many as 80 other languages as you type. But using it can be a little confusing at first. Here’s how to get started:

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Google offers $20 Play Store credit with Chromecast – Google wants the Chromecast to be your one and only streaming stick this holiday season. The company recently launched yet another limited time offer to sweeten the deal for prospective Chromecast buyers. From now until December 21, anyone who picks up a Chromecast from Google Play or participating retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy will get a $20 credit for Google Play Movies. That’s on top of the two other deals you can get if you buy your Chromecast from Google Play: two free months of free Hulu Plus and three months free of Google Play Music All Access.

Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast: Why not both? – The comparison is certainly inviting. Both streaming media devices fit in the palm of your hand and plug directly into your TV’s HDMI socket. The pricing is nearly the same as well, at $39 for the Fire TV Stick and $35 for Chromecast. But beyond those skin-deep similarities, Chromecast and the Fire TV Stick couldn’t be more different. You could choose one or the other, but owning both isn’t a crazy idea.

Kakao Talk adds encrypted ‘secret chat’ feature amid privacy worries – Chatting on Kakao Talk will become more secure with a new hidden chat feature that has end-to-end encryption for all messages. Secret Chat is a chat room that requires messages to be read with a decryption key stored in a user’s mobile device, Daum Kakao, the South Korea-based operator of the service, said in a release. That means the messages cannot be intercepted by outsiders, even if they’re going through servers, it said.

Why you should take another look at Google Keep, the best free organizational tool on Android – Google has been plugging away at strengthening its capabilities, making it a real contender for your home screen in a crowded field of productivity apps. It’s great not only for taking notes, but also saving articles and images, sharing lists, and setting reminders. It doesn’t have the same litany of features as software like Evernote, but that’s partly the point: There is great power in its simplicity.

Facebook Brings Graph Search To Mobile And Lets You Find Feed Posts By Keyword – Facebook is finally getting serious about search. Today it’s challenging Google for finding answers and Twitter for checking real-time chatter with the launch of keyword search. Two years after debuting semantic “My friends who…” search for people, places, and photos on the web, Graph Search is rolling out on iOS in the US along with a new keyword search option for dredging up old News Feed posts by friends.

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YouTube shows video creators what copyright restrictions their audio will face – With the new feature in Audio Library, video creators can see whether an audio track will affect playability in certain markets (YouTube will prevent videos containing copyright for certain tracks from being played in, say, Europe or Canada). Creators can also discover whether a track can be monetized (that is, whether a copyright holder will let a video creator use the copyrighted audio in exchange for a cut of the profit from pre-roll ads that run before the video).

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Google’s Android Studio now available, ready for your app creations – Android now has an official IDE. Android Studio has come out of beta today, and provides the first true cross-platform IDE for Developers who can’t get enough Javascript. Announced way back at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio is the first official IDE from Google, and could end up serving as a watershed moment in Android development history. It’s also likely to get some add-ons in the near future, which could make it much easier to work with for novices and experienced developers alike. With Android Studio, Google has done the hard work of making sure you can develop for any one of their Android platforms. Android Wear, Android Auto, Android Tv, and Google Glass are all included. Oh, yeah, regular Android, too.

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Windows 10: Microsoft plans to let users upgrade from Preview to RTM builds – The full launch of Windows 10 is still around 6-9 months away, but some users are already looking ahead to what the launch will mean for them. In particular, some have been wondering whether or not those enrolled in the company’s Windows Insider program – which gives them access to pre-release builds of the new OS – will be able to simply upgrade to the full and final version when it’s released. There’s good news on that front – although it does come with one important caveat.

Fedora 21: Worth the wait – After a full year of development, Fedora 21 is due for release on 9 December. I have installed Release Candidate 5 (RC5), which was declared ready for release and so should be the final released version. I actually have two consecutive posts lined up for this release: first, this one which will cover the five different desktops on five different laptops; and then a second one which will focus on Anaconda, the Fedora installer, which has been improved again, and is better than ever with this release.

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Fedora 21 Workstation (Gnome 3)

With Comcast’s Ethernet @Home, your holiday break could be even more like work – Want to work from home? Great. On your corporate network? So that your employer can monitor you 24/7? Comcast can help.

10 things end business users should ask when making tech purchases – More and more business users are taking on the role of IT decision maker — but they may not know what they should ask vendors. If you find yourself in this boat, keep these 10 critical issues in mind..

Seagate offers low-cost 8TB hard drives – Got a lot of data? Finding your PC a little cramped when it comes to free space? Would a Seagate 8TB hard drive help? Sold by Seagate under the “Archive Label” brand and aimed at those looking for a cost-effective storage solution, the drive retails for around $270, which is far more palatable than the $1,000 or so that 8TB drive from HGST are currently going for. That works out at around $0.033 per gigabyte.

Samsung SSD 850 Evo brings 3D V-NAND tech to consumer drives – Long promised, the day when 3D V-NAND would reach consumer SSDs has finally arrived with the launch of Samsung’s SSD 850 Evo family. The new technology promises enhanced endurance and lower costs, the latter of which is borne out by the competitive price of the new drives. While not dirt cheap, the 850 Evo’s starting price of $100 for a 120GB version is certainly not much more than traditional SSDs. Also in the series are 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB flavors for $150, $270, and $500, respectively.

Security:

40 Reasons Why You DON’T Need An Antivirus – There is no way around it: viruses do exist, trojans do infiltrate your PC, and most users will act to guard against them. With software, but also with sensible behavior online. Malware relies partly on users doing the hard work for them. Most of the time you know when you are straying into the murkier waters of the internet. Do you ever think that your good behavior is enough to protect you from attacks, and that antivirus software is not necessary? You may be right. Here are 40 reasons why you don’t need an antivirus.

Beware this online shopping scam: Fake order confirmations – Brian Krebs, a respected authority on security and all-things-cybercrime, wrote a cautionary post earlier this week. “If you receive an email this holiday season asking you to ‘confirm’ an online e-commerce order or package shipment, please resist the urge to click the included link or attachment: Malware purveyors and spammers are blasting these missives by the millions each day in a bid to trick people into giving up control over their computers and identities.” If you do receive a message about a problem with an order or shipment, don’t click any links or open any files. If it appears legitimate, open a new browser window and visit the vendor’s website yourself to check on order status, or just pick up the phone to clarify any potential issues without risking compromising your PC.

Hackers tell Sony to halt the release of The Interview – A new message has been posted on GitHub, purporting to be from the Sony hackers and offering a fresh batch of sensitive corporate data. The message threatens further consequences if the studio continues with its release of “the movie of terrorism,” believed to refer to The Interview, an upcoming comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It’s the most explicit reference to the film that the attackers have made so far, although many had previously linked the attacks to North Korean retaliation for the film’s release.

Company News:

Blackphone launches app store for personal security and privacy – Together with the launch of updated custom Android software PrivatOS, the handset maker has revealed a new store dedicated to security and privacy applications.

BlackBerry, NantHealth put genome browser on Passport – The collaboration, first in what the companies hope will be a series of offerings, highlights how BlackBerry is going after regulated verticals such as healthcare.

Amazon tipped to be testing bike delivery in NYC – Latest among Amazon’s new delivery projects is a bike delivery service being tested in New York City. The program is called Amazon Prime Now, according to sources that spoke to the Wall Street Journal, and it aims to provide customers with their orders within an hour of placing them. This will give the company an edge on competing online retailers, and will give consumers the immediacy that results from shopping at brick-and-mortar shops.

Oracle asks Supreme Court to reject Android copyright case – Oracle is trying to make sure its billion-dollar copyright dispute with Google over the Android OS doesn’t make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The companies have been battling for years over whether Google infringed Oracle’s copyright when it lifted programming interfaces from Java for use in its Android mobile OS. There’s a lot of money at stake, with Oracle seeking at least $1 billion for the alleged infringement. Some programmers are also watching the case, believing the outcome will affect their freedom to use other software APIs (application programming interfaces).

Alibaba’s Alipay Now Sees Over Half Of Its Transactions In China From Mobile Devices – China is in the midst of a mobile commerce boom, according to a new report from Alipay, the Alibaba-affiliated payments service that handles more than 80 million transactions per day. The company‘s latest report found that 54 percent of the number of transactions on its PayPal-like service during the first ten months of 2014 were from mobile devices. That’s a huge increase on last year, during which mobile accounted for just 22 percent of all payments.

Portland sues Uber over unapproved launch – This past Friday, Uber announced its arrival in Portland, OR, with the ridesharing service sending out drivers to pick up riders without city approval. Portland officials immediately denounced the move, threatening to go after drivers and to “throw the book at” Uber. That didn’t deter the service, however, which encouraged its drivers to start working in the city despite the risks. Merely one weekend later, Portland has filed a lawsuit against Uber.

Games and Entertainment:

Mario Maker lets you change the game on the fly – Almost every game developer, at one point in their early lives, tried recreating the classic Mario game in one form or another. Last June, Nintendo made a surprise move by revealing Mario Maker, a Wii U exclusive that actually let you do exactly that, no programming required. At the Game Awards over the weekend, Nintendo stepped it up a notch and wowed would be game designers and gamers alike with a new trailer that shows the full power of Mario Maker’s interface, letting you change Mario’s world even as you play.

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General George Patton’s rights holders go to war with video game maker – US Army Gen. George S. Patton once said that “the object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” Decades later, the rights holder to the Patton namesake is launching another war, this one against California video game maker Maximum Family Games. The publisher produced a strategy game called History Legends of War: Patton, and it now has until Friday to answer a federal infringement lawsuit from CMG Worldwide, which owns the rights to the former World War II legend. It’s the third lawsuit of its type lodged this year. Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega sued the publisher of Call of Duty: Black Ops II over his likeness being used without permission in that game. And celebrity Lindsay Lohan sued Rockstar, the maker of Grand Theft Auto V, alleging that elements of the game tread too close to her real life.

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A “let’s play” video from Outside Xbox of History Legends of War: Patton.

The Importance of Aimlessness in Gaming – One of the best ways to play Far Cry 4 is blindly. Don’t look at the map—either on the menu screen or the miniature version that sits at the screen’s bottom left. Just open the door, head on out and keep walking. You’ll soon enough find something to occupy your time: a skirmish between forces you’re loyal to and recruits from the royal army; a rampant rhinoceros wrecking a convoy; a glittering lake protecting its sunken secrets with a pair of all-teeth demon fish. Or, y’know what’s just as fun? Simply looking around. Or hanging out with elephants, or clambering over a hill just to see what’s on the other side (it’s usually something that wants to kill you).

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The procedurally generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky looks amazing – UK-based Hello Games released another trailer for its highly-anticipated upcoming PC and PS4 title, No Man’s Sky. The game, slated for a 2015 release, is a procedurally generated space exploration game with stunning visuals. In other words, players will be able to explore planets and solar systems that are randomly generated. The results continue to look promising; here’s a closer look.

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Your Christmas Gaming Guide [Updated] – We have put together a large guide to gaming gifts for Christmas. So if you are wondering what to buy a gamer for Christmas, look no further. We’ve covered the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Grumpy Cat has made over $95 million in two years – Bad news, Internet. A smallish cat with a permanent grimace has earned more money in two years than you’re likely to see in your entire lifetime. According to her owner, Grumpy Cat has raked in $95 million in just two years. Nowadays, that money is coming from numerous sources. The original YouTube video posted in September of 2012 is still going strong; it’s now closing in on 17 million views. That’s nowhere near enough to break YouTube’s counter code, but it’s still a heck of a lot of views and a good chunk of advertising income.

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Bondic liquid plastic welds plastic, wood, and fabric together – A new product called Bondic has debuted and this isn’t a glue. The makers of Bondic say that people should think of it more as welding than gluing. Bondic is a liquid plastic that remains a liquid and hardens into a plastic that can be sanded and painted after exposure to UV light. Bondic can be built up layer by layer to achieve the strength needed for repairs. It will work on multiple materials include wood, plastic, and fabric. As far as glue goes, Bondic is rather expensive at $22 per tube. The tube contains the glue and a UV light source on one end for hardening the plastic.

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How to make the most money from old gadgets – Selling old electronics doesn’t need to be a hassle if your end game is making the most cash. The bad news first: if you want the absolute best price possible, shop around and compare deals. Don’t rely on one source, because a better deal may be waiting around the corner. The good news? With a few tips, that sweet cash return can help subsidise your new devices.

Something to think about:

“It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.”

–     Malcolm Forbes

Today’s Free Downloads:

FileBot Portable – FileBot is the ultimate tool for renaming your movies, tv shows or anime and downloading subtitles. It’s smart, streamlined for simplicity and just works.

Features:

A simple user-interface tuned for drag-n-drop

Rename hundreds of media files in a matter of seconds

Fetch episode lists from TVRage, AniDB or TheTVDB

Download subtitles from OpenSubtitles, Subscene or Sublight

Find exact/linked subtitles from OpenSubtitles and Sublight

Easily create and verify sfv, md5 and sha1 files

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Homedale – With Homedale you can monitor the signal strength of multiple WLAN Access Points.

You can view a summary of all available access points with their:

signal strength

encryption [WEP/WPA/WPA2]

speed

channel

other settings

You can also see the signal strength of selected access points in a graph over the time. With a right mouse click, you can start logging and create a screenshot.

Homedale is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Homedale and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

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Samsung SSD Magician – The Samsung SSD Magician software facilitates easy maintenance and use of Samsung SSD products connected to a desktop or notebook computer.

In addition to providing information about the user’s system and SSD product, Samsung SSD Magician also supports advanced features, like SSD performance management, benchmarking for optimum performance, new firmware updates, etc.

Get Samsung SSD Magician and give it a try to fully assess its capabilities!

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA warrantless bulk phone metadata spying continues unabated – The NSA’s bulk phone metadata spying program was renewed for another 90 days, the fourth time the warrantless snooping has been reauthorized following President Barack Obama promising reform last January, the government said Monday.

That means the nation’s telecoms will continue forwarding a database to the government that includes the phone numbers of all calls, the international mobile subscriber identity number of mobile callers, the calling card numbers used in calls, and the time and duration of those calls to and from the United States.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the program 18 months ago, but the numerous calls for reform since have fallen on deaf ears.

UK court to review legality of fast-tracked surveillance law – A surveillance law that was rushed through by the U.K. government will be reviewed by the country’s High Court to determine if it violates human rights.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, also known as DRIPA, was adopted in July by the U.K. government, after the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) invalidated EU laws requiring communication providers to retain metadata. The EU court said those laws seriously interfered with fundamental privacy rights. Since the U.K. law that preceded DRIPA was based on the invalidated EU laws, it needed replacement legislation.

However, the new law is worse than the one it replaces, according to civil rights groups which pointed out that, for instance, it not only gives law enforcement officers access to metadata but also allows them access to the content of messages, even if they are held by companies outside the U.K.

Even though DRIPA is quite new and now under review, the U.K. government is already planning to add onto the law to address a so-called “capabilities gap” that authorities face when trying to obtain communications data.

Idaho mom’s suit over NSA database gets a cool reception from appeals court – An Idaho woman named Anna Smith filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA telephone database. She was represented by her husband, Peter Smith, pictured above at today’s 9th Circuit hearing.

Since the Snowden leaks first made clear the US government’s sweeping database of phone call data, four separate legal challenges to that program have been filed in federal courts. Three of them now await decision from appeals courts.

This morning, a federal lawsuit directly challenging the NSA’s vast phone call database was heard by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. And the three-judge panel that heard Smith v. Obama seemed skeptical of the plaintiff’s claims that the database should be ruled unconstitutional.

Anna Smith is an unusual plaintiff. In an interview last year with The Washington Post, she described herself as a “northern Idaho mom” with no particular legal background. “It’s none of their business what I’m doing—who I call, when I call, how long I talk… I think it’s awesome that I have the right to sue the president,” Smith, then 32, told The Post. “I’m just a small-town girl.”

Her husband Peter Smith, who argued the appeal this morning, is a commercial litigator with no experience handling a constitutional or national security lawsuit. For the appeal, Smith accepted legal help from the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation, both of which have their own lawsuits challenging the NSA database.

Corporate Abuse of Our Data – Last week, we learned about a striking piece of malware called Regin that has been infecting computer networks worldwide since 2008. It’s more sophisticated than any known criminal malware, and everyone believes a government is behind it. No country has taken credit for Regin, but there’s substantial evidence that it was built and operated by the United States.

Right now, antivirus companies are probably sitting on incomplete stories about a dozen more varieties of government-grade malware. But they shouldn’t. We want, and need, our antivirus companies to tell us everything they can about these threats as soon as they know them, and not wait until the release of a political story makes it impossible for them to remain silent.

What Bad, Shameful, Dirty Behavior is U.S. Judge Richard Posner Hiding? Demand to Know – Richard Posner has been a federal appellate judge for 34 years, having been nominated by President Reagan in 1981. At a conference last week in Washington, Posner said the NSA should have the unlimited ability to collect whatever communications and other information it wants: “If the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine.” The NSA should have “carte blanche” to collect what it wants because “privacy interests should really have very little weight when you’re talking about national security.”

His rationale? “I think privacy is actually overvalued,” the distinguished jurist pronounced. Privacy, he explained, is something people crave in order to prevent others from learning about the shameful and filthy things they do:

Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct. Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.

Unlike you and your need to hide your bad and dirty acts, Judge Posner has no need for privacy – or so he claims: “If someone drained my cell phone, they would find a picture of my cat, some phone numbers, some email addresses, some email text,” he said. “What’s the big deal?” He added: “Other people must have really exciting stuff. Do they narrate their adulteries, or something like that?”

I would like to propose a campaign inspired by Judge Posner’s claims (just by the way, one of his duties as a federal judge is to uphold the Fourth Amendment). In doing so, I’ll make the following observations:

Australia: Data-retention costs report kept confidential – Attorney-General George Brandis has cited Cabinet confidentiality as being behind his decision to reject a Senate motion for the government to release a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the cost of the government’s data-retention legislation.

Legislation currently being reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security would require Australian telecommunications companies to retain a set of customer information, including IP addresses, call records, and other personal information for a period of two years for warrant-less access by designated law-enforcement agencies.

The legislation has been resisted by a number of telcos on cost grounds, as well as civil rights and privacy advocates, due to the associated privacy implications with a large wealth of data collected over that two-year period.

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