Ghostery Goes Open Source and Intros New Business Model

Ghostery, an ad blocker recommended by Edward Snowden, just published all its code on GitHub. The company was acquired last year by Cliqz, “the first browser with integrated privacy protection,” including anti-tracking and anti-phishing. Ghostery’s revenue model has been hard to understand for some users, who opt-in to share data about the ad trackers they find on the web. Ghostery then sells that data to e-commerce websites and other companies, a seeming incongruity with its stated mission. Continue reading Ghostery Goes Open Source and Intros New Business Model

U.S. and China Continue to Compete in Supercomputing Race

In an experiment described in Science, Chinese researchers used photons (also known as light particles) from the country’s quantum-communications satellite and established an instantaneous connection between two ground stations more than 744 miles apart. By doing so, say the experts, China is now a pioneer in harnessing matter and energy at a subatomic level — and a leader in the field of using quantum technology to build a global communications network that can’t be hacked. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy is paying for companies to develop new supercomputers in pursuit of at least one “exascale” system. Continue reading U.S. and China Continue to Compete in Supercomputing Race

WikiLeaks Claims of CIA Hacking Could Impact Tech Industry

WikiLeaks released thousands of documents yesterday that it claims detail methods used by the CIA “to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions,” reports The New York Times. According to WikiLeaks, the CIA and allied intelligence services bypassed encryption on messaging services including Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. WikiLeaks also suggests that agencies can collect audio and messaging data from Android phones “before encryption is applied.” The Wall Street Journal notes that such activities, if actually taking place with consumer electronics, could fuel tensions between intelligence agencies and the tech industry, which has been concerned about customer privacy. Mobile devices are a major concern; NYT published an article detailing potential smartphone vulnerabilities. Continue reading WikiLeaks Claims of CIA Hacking Could Impact Tech Industry

Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who shot the Oscar-winning “Citizenfour” about Edward Snowden, along with 150 other documentary filmmakers, signed an open letter from the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) asking camera manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Kodak and Ricoh to add encryption features. The fear is that thieves, law enforcement or agents of authoritarian governments can access footage by simply taking possession of the camera, and the documentarians want protection. Continue reading Documentarians Entreat Camera Manufacturers for Encryption

WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

When Facebook bought the popular free messaging service WhatsApp, it promised it wouldn’t change the privacy policies. Now the company has done just that, and organizations including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy are not happy. Facebook has stated it will now connect users’ phone numbers with Facebook’s systems, offering “better friend suggestions” and more relevant ads. The new approach will help Facebook finally monetize WhatsApp. Continue reading WhatsApp Updates Privacy Policy, Shares Data with Facebook

App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Avner Ronen, founder of consumer electronics startup Boxee, has rolled out Public, a messaging service that he calls “a third medium for broadcasting conversations.” Public, which raised $2 million at the end of 2015 and is available as an iPhone app and website, broadcasts group chats to an audience, complete with GIFs and emoji. A handful of active participants chat about a topic, which anyone can follow in real-time or read later. Chats can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or embedded in other websites. Continue reading App for Broadcasting Text Chats Rolls Out with ‘SummerBreak’

Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Apple’s 13-year run of quarterly revenue growth has come to an end; the company reported that revenue for its second fiscal quarter, ending March, declined 13 percent to $50.6 billion. The reasons are many: its huge size makes sustained momentum difficult; it has suffered setbacks in China, its second largest market; it lacks a hot new product; and, with iPhones accounting for half the smartphones in the U.S., phones have likely reached a saturation point. Sales of iPhones fell 16 percent in Q1 2016 compared to the same quarter last year. Continue reading Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Whistleblower Edward Snowden Virtually Attends CES 2016

Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who famously leaked thousands of classified NSA documents, made an appearance at the Suitable Technologies booth during CES by way of a video chatting device on wheels. Snowden used a Beam telepresence device by Suitable to chat with founder of the Xprize Foundation Peter Diamandis about the future of technology and government surveillance. Snowden faces arrest if he returns the United States, so he touted the Beam technology as a way to stay connected. Continue reading Whistleblower Edward Snowden Virtually Attends CES 2016

U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

In response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, many Internet and social media companies responded by creating encryption so advanced that even they couldn’t read users’ communications. Now, many critics say, terrorists and other criminals are using those same platforms because their messages will be safely encrypted from prying eyes of intelligence and government authorities. Among the strongest critic is the U.K. government, which is proposing that such encryption be illegal. Continue reading U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

Two years after government contractor Edward Snowden famously leaked secret NSA documents, another release of classified information has occurred. This time, The Intercept — which is staffed by journalists who previously worked with Snowden — has published what it claims is a comprehensive breakdown of the U.S. government’s military drone program. The report, featuring documents provided by another whistleblower, offers details regarding U.S. strategy to kill foreign targets in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — and highlights the unintended consequences involved with drone wars. Continue reading Leaked Documents Offer Details of U.S. Military’s Drone Wars

European Court Rules Data Transfer Pact with U.S. is Invalid

The European Union’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, dealt a blow to the American tech industry yesterday when it struck down the international Safe Harbor agreement that previously allowed companies to move digital information between the EU and the U.S. The pact allowed companies to transfer data such as social media updates and online search histories. However, the court ruled that Safe Harbor was flawed since the U.S. government used it to access the online information of Europeans, an issue that was raised by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Continue reading European Court Rules Data Transfer Pact with U.S. is Invalid

China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

During a visit with U.S. tech leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized cooperation between Chinese and U.S. technology sectors, and highlighted opportunities for U.S. commercial relations in light of China’s “relatively high” growth over a long period of time. Although recent research has tied Chinese hacks to a military unit there, Xi protested that both countries are victim of cybertheft and all hackers are subject to international law. He vowed to ease issues creating friction between the two countries. Continue reading China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

Google’s Fall From Grace in EU Culminates in Antitrust Suit

Google, which enjoyed enormous popularity and usage numbers in the European Union, now suffers blowback from information revealed in the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Not long ago, free-speech advocates in many countries applauded Google for shutting down its China site rather than face censorship, and Google has also been seen on the right side of history during the Arab Spring and in Syria. But now, the EU is accusing the tech giant of abusing its power — and it is looking for payback via an antitrust suit. Continue reading Google’s Fall From Grace in EU Culminates in Antitrust Suit

China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

The Chinese government stated it will place cybersecurity police units at the country’s major Internet companies and websites, to prevent fraud, other illegal activities and the amorphously phrased “spreading of rumors,” reports the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The Internet in China is monopolized by three major companies: e-commerce site Alibaba, Tencent for gaming and messaging, and search engine Baidu. Neither Facebook nor Google operate in China; LinkedIn, which has agreed to China’s cybersecurity measures, does. Continue reading China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

New language in China’s recently enacted national security law is generating major concern across the global technology industry. The rules call for a “national security review” of networking, tech products and services, and foreign investment. In addition, the rules call for crucial tech sectors to be made “secure and controllable,” which industry groups fear may suggest that back doors for allowing third-party access to systems would be necessary, perhaps even leading to the sharing of encryption keys or source code. Continue reading New Chinese Security Law Raises Concerns by Tech Industry

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