Whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided documents to The Guardian revealing that the NSA and UK sister agency GCHQ have undercover agents lurking on theXbox Live network, World of Warcraft, Second Life and other virtual realms. Why? Because online gaming is big business, and it's possible that terrorists are lurking within those virtual realms, scheming. Infiltrating MMORPGs and other game networks is also a good way to recruit potential informants. The NSA documents provided to The Guardian were written in 2008, indicating that NSA spies have lurked within these games for around five years. Titled "Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments," one document describes these game communities as a "target-rich communications network" where intelligence targets can "hide in plain sight." In fact, there are so many agents within these games that the NSA set up a "deconfliction" group to make sure the agents weren't spying on each other by accident.
The nation's mobile phone carriers received more than 9,000 requests last year for cell-tower dumps, which identify every mobile phone at a particular location and time, often by the thousands. The revelation, revealed in a congressional inquiry, underscore that domestic authorities, from the FBI to the local police, are performing a massive amount of surveillance on Americans on domestic soil sometimes without probable-cause warrants. Figures provided by the nation's largest carriers T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, and smaller companies like C-Spire and Cricket, show that the carriers overall got as many as 1.1 million requests for customer cellular data last year. They've earned tens of millions of dollars processing the data, the records show. The governments requests, most of which were honored, include data for, among other things, the geo-location of a device, call detail records, texts message contents, voicemail, cell tower dumps, wiretapping, subscriber information, and websites visited.
Up to 100 million users downloaded a popular Android app that turned their phones into flashlights. What they didn't realize was that their smartphones also became sophisticated tracking devices, with the app collecting information that could pinpoint their precise location. The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday issued its first enforcement action related to location-based technology, reaching a settlement with the maker of Brightest Flashlight Free for allegedly hiding the fact that it sold information about the location of its users and the unique string of numbers assigned to a device.
What do you do if you can't decide between a BlackBerry and an iPhone? Easy - you buy the Typo Keyboardthat's already captured the attention of a fair few followers, including one Mr. Ryan Seacrest. The host of American Idol might have stumbled across a real winner. Seacrest recently pumped a full $1 million into the Typo Keyboards development and production, so clearly he's of the impression that it has legs. As for what it does, just attach it to your iPhone like any regular case and you have yourself something of an iPhone BlackBerry hybrid - an iBlackBerry, if you will. The familiar Blackberry keyboard simply attaches under the iPhone so you get the keypad experience with the iPhone technology.
Santa Claus is coming to town and he's bringing presents for all the good girls and boys… including shotguns and assault rifles and rocket launchers! Microsoft has announced thatHalo: Spartan Assault, their twin-stick shooter set in the Halo universe, will be released for the Xbox One on Christmas Eve, December 24. Halo: Spartan Assault was previously released for Windows 8 PCs and devices through the Windows Store. The Xbox One edition will add a co-op mode and new weapons to the game, as well as include the "Operation Hydra" expansion. If you've previously purchased the Windows 8 version of Spartan Assault, you'll be able to upgrade to the Xbox One edition for just $4.99.
Facebook is developing a 'sympathise' button as an alternative to the 'like' button. If a user tags their status with a negative emotion, then his or her friends will be able to 'sympathise' with the post rather than press the 'like' button. Until now the 'like' button has proved to be unsuitable for use on gloomy occasions such as the death of a pet. Bad news such as the changing of a relationship status from 'married' to 'divorced' has also stretched the limits of the feature. The 'sympathise' button emerged at a Facebook 'hackathon' event, where the company's engineers come together and brainstorm new ideas.
The 107th birthday of computer scientist Grace Hopper has been celebrated with a Google Doodle. Hopper helped to programme the first computers and is credited with developing the COBOL computer language. Born in 1906 in New York Grace Hopper spent the early part of her childhood dismantling products, such as clocks, to see how they worked. She studied mathematics and physics at Vassar College where she graduated in 1928. Hopper then moved to Yale where she earned a master's degree in 1930 followed by a PhD in 1934, which was a rarity for the time.
Snapchat, a service that allows users to exchange fleeting photo messages, has filed for a temporary restraining order against Frank Reginald Brown, who claims he came up with the idea for the company. Snapchat last month rejected an acquisition offer from Facebook Inc that would have valued the company at $3 billion or more, the Wall Street Journal has reported. Snapchat said Brown disclosed confidential information about the company to the media, according to court documents filed in California on Friday. Snapchat, started in 2011 by Stanford University students, is popular with teenagers and twenty-somethings. Users of the service can set a time limit of up to 10 seconds for how long photo messages may be viewed before they disappear.
Microsoft NZ: "Windows 8.1 is Windows 8 made better" That's the view of Dean Edwards, Windows Business Group Manager for Microsoft New Zealand, who believes Windows 8.1 represents a new era for the software giant. Kiwis were among the first users to get their hands on the revamped operating system on October 18, but now the dust has settled, it's time to get serious about Redmond's latest offering. Taking time out from his busy schedule, Edwards sat down with Techday.com for a detailed run-through of Windows 8.1, highlighting why consumers should get on board as the holiday season approaches. The Windows 8.1 Product Guide boasts 'endless entertainment options for users', what are the key features consumers should look out for? From an entertainment perspective Windows 8.1 adds some all-new apps that are available right from the Start Screen, plus many other in-built apps get a major makeover. For example, there are beautiful new apps for Food and Drink (you can even browse through recipes in hands-free mode - great if you are in the kitchen with hands covered in flour!), and a new Health & Fitness app featuring exercise routines, videos, health and nutrition features and more.
In the latest from Pandora's quest to make people listen to more music, the company's added a new feature in its mobile app that will start blasting songs to wake you up first thing in the morning. Users set when they want to wake up, and what station they want to play, and the app runs just like a standard system alarm. There are, however, special features, such as adjusting what volume you want music to blare at, and an adjustable snooze function that works by shaking the phone.
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Dave from Portland asks "Can I use an Xbox or a Playstation to send email and web browse?