government

Tech industry presents unified privacy front to White House

Tech industry presents unified privacy front to White House

A veritable pantheon of top-ranking emissaries from some of the largest and most powerful tech companies in the United States descended on the White House today to press the Obama administration to move aggressively on reforming the NSA's nearly universal surveillance of US citizens and the world. Their message was clear: Stop the spy agency from forcibly or stealthily seizing and storing bulk data about their customers. The message comes during an ongoing firestorm of public opposition to the agency's bulk data collection programs, ignited and continually stoked by the revelation of Edward Snowden's cache of an estimated 1.7 million stolen NSA documents detailing its ongoing quest for data omniscience.

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NSA phone data-tapping ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

NSA phone data-tapping ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

This week in Washington a district judge by the name of Richard Leon has ruled that the NSA's data collection program on phone call data collection is unconstitutional. This ruling came amid a court case which had two American citizens filing suit against the National Security Administration to stop any and all data collection programs. The case was originally filed the day after Edward Snowden's avalanche of NSA leaks began to be revealed for the first time.

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Google patent lawyer to head US patent office, address patent wars

Google patent lawyer to head US patent office, address patent wars

Patent reform could well be on its way. Last week the US House passed the "Innovation Act", a bill that would make it harder to win overly broad patents and force claimants to present more detailed evidence when suing for infringement. That bill awaits the Senate. This week, it was revealed that former Google top patent lawyer Michelle Lee is to lead the US Patent and Trademark Office starting in about a month.

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StarCraft 2 professional is first series gamer to be granted U.S. pro athlete visa

StarCraft 2 professional is first series gamer to be granted U.S. pro athlete visa

If you're a StarCraft 2 fan, it is likely you've heard of gamer Kim Dong Hwan, also known as Violet, who holds the title of professional gamer and now the distinct honor of being the first StarCraft player granted a traditional pro athlete visa in the United States. The news is said to have brought Hwan to tears, and is the second ever instance of gamers being recognized as athletes by the US.

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MetaPhone Stanford University crowdsourced project shows NSA’s three-hop reach

MetaPhone Stanford University crowdsourced project shows NSA’s three-hop reach

The NSA, through means by which the average citizen cannot tread, has been collecting vast amounts of phone metadata that is intended to help locate and track terrorists and related activity. Though not always keeping up to standard, what the NSA does is not illegal and has been the subject of intense criticism across the globe. In response, Stanford University launched a crowdsourced project to prove the extent of information that can be revealed through the collection of metadata, and using this information has posted a lengthy write up on the three-hops procedure.

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FBI webcam spying turned on: no red light required

FBI webcam spying turned on: no red light required

This week a former assistant director of the FBI's Operational Technology Division has spoken up on a single case which has subsequently revealed a lot of pointed spying abilities of the institution itself. Speaking up on terror suspect "Mo", Marcus Thomas has let it be known that they've been able to break into (some) computers for years, able to turn on their webcams remotely, and that they're able to do this without triggering the webcam's red light. In other words, they're able to see through a computer's webcam without the computer's owner knowing.

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23andMe class action lawsuit claims misleading advertisements

23andMe class action lawsuit claims misleading advertisements

Taking a peek into our genes isn't something easily accomplished, and that is where the Google-backed 23andMe genetic testing service came in. For $99, anyone could send in their sample and receive the results a short while later. In recent days, the company was slapped with an order from the FDA to stop selling its kits, and a handful of days later, customers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.

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Healthcare.gov upgrades to go live Dec. 1

Healthcare.gov upgrades to go live Dec. 1

Healthcare.gov, the website that serves as a marketplace for private and public health insurance plans for Americans, is getting more upgrades. The servers and software will be upgraded, some fixes will be made, by Sunday, Dec. (tomorrow.) This will allow up to 50,000 people to access the site at the same time, up from about 20,000 as of this moment.

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Microsoft reportedly boosting security efforts in light of suspected NSA spying

Microsoft reportedly boosting security efforts in light of suspected NSA spying

Earlier today, sources spoke to The New York Times about a suspected tapping of fiber optic cables as the means by which the NSA managed to gather vast amounts of Internet data. Following this, sources -- which may or may not be related to the NYT's sources -- told the Washington Post that Microsoft is rapidly boosting its encryption plans in light of concern that the NSA could be intercepting its traffic.

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