New FBI unit tasked with making Web and mobile communications easier to spy on

By on May 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM.

New FBI unit tasked with making Web and mobile communications easier to spy on

FBI Mobile Web Surveillance

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently formed a new unit tasked with developing technologies that enable more effective means of monitoring Internet, mobile and VoIP communications, CNET reported. The secretive new unit, reportedly called the Domestic Communications Assistance Center, aims to develop new surveillance technologies that make it easier for law enforcement to spy on suspects as they communicate using modern technology. Joined by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI reportedly formed the DCAC because it believes technology has developed too quickly, leaving law enforcement without the tools necessary to effectively monitor these new communications channels. More →

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Facebook to launch its own app store in the coming weeks

By on May 10, 2012 at 8:40 AM.

Facebook to launch its own app store in the coming weeks

Facebook launching an 'App Center' in the coming weeks

Facebook on Wednesday announced it will be launching a new App Center in the coming weeks on the Web, iOS and Android. The company hopes the center will give developers a way to more effectively distribute apps and create new opportunities for more types of apps to be successful. “The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web,” the company said. “From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.” The social networking site is more to more than 900 million users and seems like a natural fit for app developers looking for the maximum amount of exposure. More →

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Pandora touts more than 150 million users

By on May 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM.

Pandora touts more than 150 million users

Pandora has more than 150 million listeners

According to CEO Joe Kennedy, Pandora has surpassed 150 million users in the United States and is the second most downloaded app in the history of Apple’s App Store, CNET reported on Wednesday. The Internet radio service has big plans for the future and is working with automakers to integrate the service into virtually all future vehicles. “We truly believe this is just the beginning,” Kennedy said at the CTIA Wireless trade show in New Orleans. Over the past year, the company has faced increased competition from streaming service Spotify, however it doesn’t seem to have affected Pandora’s continued growth. More →

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Mobile usage doubles, now accounts for 10% of worldwide Internet usage

By on May 9, 2012 at 7:15 PM.

Mobile usage doubles, now accounts for 10% of worldwide Internet usage

Mobile Internet Usage

The number of people accessing the Web through mobile devices has doubled since 2010 and now accounts for 10% of worldwide Internet usage. According to numbers compiled by Pingdom, Asia’s mobile usage amounted for 17.84% of the country’s total Internet usage, a 192.5% increase over the past 18 months. Africa’s mobile usage placed the region in second with 14.85%, usage in North America sat at 7.96%, followed by Australia, Europe and South America at 7.55%, 5.13% and 2.86% respectively. Pingdom notes that while worldwide mobile usage may only account for 10% of Web access, the number is growing at an extremely fast rate, and some countries’ Internet usage, such as India, is already nearing 50% from mobile devices. More →

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Netherlands passes Europe's first net neutrality law

By on May 9, 2012 at 6:10 PM.

Netherlands passes Europe's first net neutrality law

Netherlands passes Europe's first net neutrality law

As service providers and government officials in the United States seemingly look to further limit Internet freedoms, Dutch lawmakers have passed Europe’s first net neutrality bill, digital rights advocate Bits of Freedom reported on Tuesday. The legislation prohibits Internet service providers from throttling users or disconnecting their access unless in extreme circumstances. The bill also includes an anti-wiretapping provision, which restricts Internet providers from using invasive wiretapping technologies to monitor its users, although wiretapping is permitted with a warrant. A technical error in the law might still be corrected in a vote scheduled for May 15th. More →

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LG to launch new Google TV this month

By on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 AM.

LG to launch new Google TV this month

LG to launch Google TV device in late May

According to an LG executive, the South Korean firm plans to launch an Internet-enabled Google TV in the United States the week of May 21st, Reuters reported on Monday. The company is looking to gain a larger share of the emerging smart TV market and defend itself against Apple, which is widely expected to unveil an HDTV later this year or early next year. “Production of Google TVs will start from May 17 from our factory in Mexico and U.S. consumers will be able to buy the product from the week of May 21,” said Ro Seogho, LG’s executive vice president of its TV business. The executive said the company will decide whether to expand its Google TV offering to Europe and Asia based on sales performance in the U.S. market. More →

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Apple offering MobileMe subscribers 20GB of free iCloud storage

By on May 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM.

Apple offering MobileMe subscribers 20GB of free iCloud storage

Apple offering MobileMe subscribers 20GB of free iCloud storage

Apple’s MobileMe service will shut its doors forever on June 30th, 2012, and the Cupertino-based company is encouraging existing users to migrate to its iCloud service instead. To make the transition easier, MobileMe subscribers will be offered 20GB of free iCloud storage until September 30th. Apple plans to also offer MobileMe customers who purchased additional storage 50GB of extra iCloud space until September as well. “MobileMe members with 20GB of purchased storage receive a complimentary iCloud storage upgrade of 20GB, and accounts with additional purchased storage (40GB to 60GB) receive a complimentary upgrade of 50GB after moving to iCloud,” Apple posted on its website. “These free upgrades are good through September 30th, 2012. After that date, you can continue the upgrade at the regular price or let it expire and use the free 5GB plan.” -

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Happy 'International Day Against DRM'

By on May 4, 2012 at 6:15 PM.

Happy 'International Day Against DRM'

Celebrate the International Day Against DRM

The Free Software Foundation has created a campaign in an effort to eliminate digital rights management (DRM) and embrace DRM-free media. “While DRM has largely been defeated in downloaded music, it is a growing problem in the area of eBooks, where people have had their books restricted so they can’t freely loan, re-sell or donate them, read them without being tracked, or move them to a new device without re-purchasing all of them,” the campaign’s website reads. “They’ve even had their eBooks deleted by companies without their permission. It continues to be a major issue in the area of movies and video too.” The foundation is hoping to raise awareness surrounding what it views to be a growing problem, and it scheduled the “International Day Against DRM” protest for May 4th as a result. A list of local events can be found on the group’s website. More →

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Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

By on May 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM.

Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

Google to be fined by US over Safari breach

The United States Federal Trade Commission will fine Google for its breach of Apple’s Safari web browser security, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The Internet giant is currently negotiating with the Commission over an acceptable fine, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars. The fine would be the first time the FTC has ever punished a company for violating Internet privacy safeguards. Google in February was found to be bypassing the privacy settings of millions of unknowing Safari users by using a special code to install cookies on a user’s computer, even when such actions were supposed to be blocked by the browser. More →

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Religious websites contain more malware than porn sites

By on May 3, 2012 at 12:40 PM.

Religious websites contain more malware than porn sites

Religious websites contain more malware than porn

People who browse religious websites are more likely to have their computers infected with a virus than those who visit pornographic websites, according to Symantec’s annual “Internet Security Threat Report.” The firm found that websites with religious or ideological themes had triple the average number of threats than those featuring adult content. “It is interesting to note that websites hosting adult/pornographic content are not in the top five, but ranked tenth,” Symantec said. “We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners already make money from the Internet and, as a result, have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free; it’s not good for repeat business.” The report was based on information gathered from more than 200 countries through the Symantec Global Intelligence Network. Symantec blocked a total of 5.5 billion attacks last year, an 81% increase from 2010. More →

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Amazon to develop original programming

By on May 2, 2012 at 9:15 PM.

Amazon to develop original programming

Amazon to develop original content

Amazon on Wednesday announced an expansion of its Amazon Studios division, which will soon develop original content. The retail giant is currently accepting proposals for comedy and children’s programming to be distributed through its Instant Video service, the company said on Wednesday. “Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.” If selected for a full-budget series, the creator will receive $55,000 and up to 5% of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, along with other royalties and bonuses. Amazon’s press release follows below. More →

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Mozilla becomes the first Silicon Valley heavyweight to oppose CISPA

By on May 2, 2012 at 5:30 PM.

Mozilla becomes the first Silicon Valley heavyweight to oppose CISPA

Mozilla speaks out against CISPA

Thousands of people oppose the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), including the Obama Administration and “Anonymous.” The bill, which was recently passed by the United States House of Representatives, looks to give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share cyber threats with one another in an effort to prevent online attacks. Internet privacy and neutrality advocates feel as if the bill does not contain enough limits on how and when private information can be monitored. Numerous technology companies — such as Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Intel and Oracle — have voiced their support for the bill. Mozilla on Tuesday, however, took a stand and announced its opposition against CISPA. More →

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WTF is CISPA?

By on May 2, 2012 at 12:25 PM.

WTF is CISPA?

WTF is CISPA

The United States House of Representatives voted last Thursday to pass a piece of legislation called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. The controversial bill now sits in the hands of the Senate and faces further modifications if it hopes to gain approval from the White House, which has already gone on record with a veto threat. Legions of Internet users expressed outrage when the bill was passed, and numerous protests are being staged. According to President Obama’s office, the bill would allow “broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the government to minimize and protect personally identifiable information,” but what exactly is CISPA? Greg Vokes of Paralegal.net sought to make the answer as easy to digest as possible, and the result is a terrific infographic titled “WTF is CISPA?” that can be viewed below in its entirety. More →

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