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Secret lawsuit in Manhattan filed last month asks judge to force Google to cough up user data without a search warrant. A different court has already ruled that the process is unconstitutional.
A new lawsuit in Manhattan pitting the U.S. Department of Justice against Google offers a rare glimpse of how determined prosecutors are to defend a process that allows federal agents to gain warrantless access to user records, and how committed the Mountain View, Calif., company is to defending its customers’ privacy rights against what it views as illegal requests.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed April 22 and not disclosed until this article, was sparked by Google’s decision to rebuff the FBI’s legal demands for confidential user data. It centers on the bureau’s controversial use of so-called National Security Letters (NSL), a secret electronic data-gathering technique that does not need a judge’s approval and recently was declared unconstitutional in an unrelated court case.
U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan has been assigned the New York case, which has taken place under seal, but as of last week has not made a final ruling. A law clerk for Sullivan did not immediately respond to queries from CNET this morning.
The use of NSLs is controversial because they gag the recipient: If you receive one, it’s illegal to tell anyone. They’re only supposed to be used in national security investigations, not routine criminal probes, and there’s no upper limit on the…
Read the whole article: Justice Department tries to force Google to hand over user data
New standards will soon make getting from a carrier’s 3G or 4G network onto a Wi-Fi network a seamless and easy process. But carriers large and small still have to get comfortable with that.
Soon wireless subscribers won’t even have to think about signing on to a Wi-Fi hot spot. New standards that will be included in the latest generation of products will take the headache out of Wi-Fi.
Millions of wireless customers access public Wi-Fi hot spots every day. Some people get free access to Wi-Fi through their mobile operator and use the networks to avoid going over their data caps. Others subscribe to Wi-Fi services to get access to higher-speed data wherever it’s available. Whether you use free Wi-Fi or you subscribe to a service, getting on to whatever Wi-Fi network you are using is not always a simple and easy process. Often you have to search for a hot spot. Then you have to sign in with a username and password. And if it’s a paid hot spot, you have to enter payment credentials.
Now thanks to new technical and roaming standards that have been developed by the wireless industry, wireless users will soon be able to avoid these nuisances. From here on, accessing a Wi-Fi network will be an…
Read the whole article: Ending the headaches of Wi-Fi
Crave globe-trotter Eric Mack kicks off an exclusive four-part series on the unlikely Latin American spot hoping to transform itself into a new hub for science, technology, and innovation.
QUITO, Ecuador–Imagine it’s 2023. Things have shifted in the world of technology, and I’m not just talking about the elimination of the standard-transmission vehicle in favor of autonomous transport. Companies in Asia, the United States, and Europe still produce many of the world’s major innovations in everything from energy efficiency and biotechnology to IT and consumer electronics, and many of those products are still made in China.
But there’s also a new player on the scene that wasn’t registering on anyone’s radar in the tech world just a decade ago.
In this particular vision of the future, a small but rapidly growing number of innovations are born, nurtured, produced, and sent to market from a tiny but vivacious country sandwiched between the Pacific and the Amazon — Ecuador.
Scientists and researchers flock to this new Latin American take on Silicon Valley to develop new medicines near the remarkably biodiverse Amazon rain forest. Other nearby abundant natural resources aid in the development of cutting-edge solar cells and new petrochemical technologies. And software and hardware designers take advantage of…
Read the whole story: Plotting the next Silicon Valley — you’ll never guess where
The developer conference, a staging ground for news on Android, Google Glass, and more, sells out in less than an hour.
It took less than an hour for Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, to sell out today.
The event, which will be held May 15-17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, has always been a popular draw for the developer community. About 50 minutes after the tickets went on sale at 7 a.m. PT today, the “sold out” message appeared. On the registration page instead was a note that the keynotes and top sessions will be available on computer, phone, or tablet.
Google I/O has been the venue for the announcement of major releases of Android, as well as a chance for conference attendees to check out experimental products, such as Google Glass. With the recent hype building over Google’s high-tech headgear, there are high expectations Google will wow the audience with new features and apps.
In addition, it has been the conference to get a lot of free Google gear. Last year, attendees got the Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q, Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and the Chromebox, a value of more than $1,100.
Given the early stage of Google Glass, it’s unlikely that developers will get to take a pair home for themselves. But the Nexus 4 smartphone from LG and the…
Full Article: And just like that, Google I/O is sold out
When you follow someone on Twitter, you see everything they post. When you follow someone on Facebook, it decides what you see. Which is right? I’d say both, and it comes down to the live TV versus DVR personalities of each service.
Should Facebook Show Everything?
The issue of Facebook deciding what to show people in their Facebook news feed came up this week when Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote about how over the past year, the engagement on his posts had dropped, despite his having gained a huge increase in Facebook followers.
That echoed concerns from Star Trek alum and social media extraordinaire George Takei, who last year was alarmed that his Facebook engagement was down. He wondered, as Bilton did, if this was perhaps something Facebook was doing to get him and others to pay for better visibility. Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, also got in on the criticisms last year.
I used to be in the “Facebook should show everything” camp. For example, when the Subscribe feature (now called Follow) launched in 2011, I wished it was…
Original Article: For Social Media Viewing, Twitter Is Live TV; Facebook Is DVR
Summary: After one of the world’s most famous newspapers points the finger at Symantec for failing to protect its network against a four-month long Chinese cyber-attack, the security firm returns fire.
After The New York Times slyly pointed the finger at Symantec for failing to protect it from a four-month long series of attacks by Chinese hackers, the anti-malware and security firm has fired back with its own critical rhetoric.
Arguably one of the world’s most well-regarded and well-known newspapers, The Times exclusively reported yesterday that its own networks have been “persistently attacked” by Chinese hackers, and that they infiltrated computer systems and acquired passwords for its reporters and other employees.
The newspaper, with help from security experts, were have “expelled the hackers,” and “kept them from breaking back in.”
The Times believes that the timing of the attacks coincided with an investigation it carried out in late October that found the Chinese prime minister had accumulated “several billion dollars through business dealings.”
Clearly the Chinese government—specifically the “Chinese military,” according to AT&T, which informed the newspaper of the attacks—did not approve of such fine investigative journalism.
But in the report, The Times also took the opportunity to prod Symantec with a sharp journalism…
Read Full Article: Symantec denies blame after Chinese gov. hacks The New York Times
Instagram disabled its Twitter cards integration today, which means that photos appear oddly cropped on Twitter. Instagram’s CEO pledges that his company will remain integrated with Twitter in some form, though.
The Twitter-Instagram feud continues, with Instagram today disabling a feature that allows photos to be properly displayed on Twitter’s Web site and apps.
Twitter noted in a status update today that Instagram disabled its Twitter cards integration. What that means is photos from Instagram are difficult to view and appear cropped or off center.
Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom, meanwhile, said today at the LeWeb conference in Paris that while the relationship with Twitter is changing, Instagram will remain integrated with Twitter in some form.
He noted that the move today, while confusing to some, is the right step for Instagram, which wants more people to view images via Instagram’s site instead of through other sites.
“Really it’s about where do you go to consume that image, to interact with that image. We want that to be on Instagram,” Systrom said at the LeWeb conference today. “What we realized over time is we really needed to have an awesome Web presence.”
Systrom added that the change was his decision, not an order from…
Read the whole story here: Twitter-Instagram feud escalates as photos show up wonky
The tech world loves to pit these two against each other. But for now, they really are on different courses.
It’s easy to call Facebook the social network of the past. It’s harder to build the social network of the future.
To hear Bradley Horowitz tell it, though, Google is well on its way. Google+, he says, lets people share with others in a more natural way than its competitors. Easy privacy controls, an environment free from obtrusive advertising, and highly polished mobile apps combine on Google+ to deliver a next-generation social network, as Horowitz tells it.
“It’s not attempting to chase the social networks of the past,” he said this week at a Business Insider conference in New York, in an assertion that launched a hundred headlines. “We’re charting our own course, and it’s a different course.”
The 15-minute interview with Google’s vice president of product for Google+ showed off a refreshingly pugnacious side of a social network that’s been rather quiet as of late — and, in doing so, got the network its best press coverage in months. (Slagging on Facebook’s increasingly advertising-heavy newsfeed, which no one besides Facebook investors are excited about, can do that for you.) Horowitz went on to suggest that Facebook fails to capture the way people interact in the real world. As a result, he drew renewed attention to the…
Read the full article here: The crazy truth: Google+ can thrive alongside Facebook
An outage at 10:26 a.m. UTC, or 5:26 a.m. ET, shut down all Syrian access to the Web. Phone lines also appear to be down, and airlines are canceling flights.
Syria, ravaged by a vicious civil war, has now lost contact with the outside world.
The Middle Eastern country has been experiencing an Internet outage for several hours, and many people on Twitter are reporting that phone lines are down as well. In addition, some airlines are canceling flights to Damascus.
According to Renesys, which operates a real-time grid that continuously monitors Internet routing data, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet. The outage started at 10:26 UTC (12:26 p.m. in Damascus or 5:26 a.m. ET), and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.
The site initially said that 92 percent of the country’s routed networks were offline, but the remainder also eventually disappeared. Renesys said it’s “investigating the dynamics of the outage and will post updates as they become available.”
Shutting down Web and phone service is a tactic increasingly pursued by countries to limit the spread of information both within the country and to the outside world. Egypt and Libya switched off Internet access early in their own uprisings last year, but Syria hadn’t taken the step despite being embroiled in a bloody war for many months now.
The move today could signal even tougher times ahead for…
See the whole story here: Blackout: Syria vanishes from Internet
If Microsoft’s new Surface device is successful, it will create a new category, something between Apple’s iPad and notebook computers made by its partners.
NEW YORK — Much has been speculated about how well the new Microsoft Surface will fare in the tablet world, particularly against Apple’s iPad.
But if consumers flock to the Surface, it won’t be because it’s an alternative to the iPad. Microsoft’s vision for the Surface goes well beyond the traditional tablet market. The company is betting that consumers will want to use the keyboard it’s designed for the Surface to create documents, annotate pictures, and more.
And yet, the Surface, which Microsoft launched here today, isn’t really a laptop either. The version that hits its New York store at 10 p.m. tonight and elsewhere at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow won’t run most legacy Windows applications. And, of course, it can be used without a keyboard to surf the Web and watch videos.
“Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? What category does it go in?,” Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky said at the launch event. “It’s not just a tablet, but it’s the best tablet I’ve ever used It’s not just a laptop, but it’s the best laptop I’ve ever used.”
If Microsoft succeeds, in reality, it will create..
See the whole story here: Microsoft Surface: Not really a tablet or a laptop