News Fuse for August 21, 2013

If you live in the United States, the NSA can access up to 75 percent of your online traffic

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 21, 2013:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg wrote a piece called "Is Connectivity a Human Right?" He's certainly not the first to do so but he's also created a partnership called Internet.org that includes Facebook, Samsung, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Opera,and Ericsson. The organization aims to bring Internet access to the 2/3 of the planet's population who don't have it. Among the goals are to bring down the cost of mobile data access to 1% of the current price within 5-10 years. They also hope to make data transmission more efficient and encourage business models that make it in companies' best interests to help meet these goals. The organization will not be helping build out infrastructure. Read more at reuters.com.

  2. The Wall Street Journal reports that the National Security Agency’s surveillance program can access up to 75 percent of all U.S. internet traffic. The data comes from major internet nodes across the country, and most of the leading telecom companies help gather the information, according to interviews the paper conducted with current and former security officials. It also reports various programs with each telecom provider have their own code names — including Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew. Read more at gigaom.com.

  3. This morning, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison after being convicted of 20 counts related to leaking documents to Wikileaks. Manning will also have his rank reduced to private, forfeit pay and allowances, and be dishonorably discharged. Manning will need to serve at least one-third of his sentence before being eligible for parole. Read more at artstechnica.com.

  4. AllThingsD reports Google's CEO Larry Page, and YouTube content head Robert Kyncl met with NFL officials, including commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss many things, including the rights to the 'Sunday Ticket' package currently provided by DirecTV. That deal is up after the 2014 season. The NFL is a league of US sporting teams that throw and carry an oblong ball in a game similar to rugby but with forward passing allowed and a lot more equipment used. Read more at allthingsd.com.

  5. Netflix has replaced the instant queue for US customers with a new feature called “My List,” a watch-it-later list that replaces the Instant Queue for U.S. members and provides international users with an alternative to Netflix’s recommendation algorithm. “My List,” adds a row to the home screen where until now streaming members have only seen recommendations from Netflix’s algorithm. It will be available on all Netflix’s apps and will roll out globally over the next couple weeks. Read more at gigaom.com.

  6. Marc Maiffret, CTO of BeyondTrust, has begun a crowd-funded reward for Khalil Shreateh. Shreateh reported a bug to Facebook that would allow any person to post to any other person's timeline without being friends. Facebook denied him any reward claiming the discovery wasn't a bug. Shreateh then posted a message on Mark Zuckerberg's timeline to prove his point. As of right now, the GoFundMe funding goal of $10,000 has already been reached. Read more at cnmeonline.com.

  7. As we mentioned earlier in the week, Comcast responded to a subpoena revealing a subscriber associated with Prenda Law as posting copyrighted bittorrent files in order to catch infringers. Attorneys hired by Comcast sent a letter to TorrentFreak claiming it was the intellectual property of Comcast and must be removed within 5 days. Comcast however has stopped the problem and told GigaOm “This notice was sent in error, and we have advised TorrentFreak to disregard it. We apologize for any confusion,” Read more at gigaom.com.

  8. Google has launched a website for "Google Helpouts," a previously rumored p2p video chat helpline service. Anyone can sign up to receive or provide help through a Google+ account, and providers can make money off chat sessions. Just enter in your skills, availability, qualifications, and pricing, and Google will match you with people in need of your assistance. Payments will be handled by Google Wallet, and Google will take a 20 percent cut. Helpouts support desktop browsers, Android, and iOS. Google also offers a 100 percent money back guarantee. Read more at artstechnica.com.

  9. LG announced a new 5.5-inch smartphone display today, the first to feature a QuadHD 2560x1440 resolution with density of 538 ppi. It's also only 1.21 mm thick with a 1.2mm bezel. The panel has 3.7 million pixels, 4 times the pixels of a 720p display. LG did not announce when we might see one of these built in a phone. Read more at techspot.com.

  10. Jolla announced that its Sailfish OS-powered smartphones are fully booked by customers. Some customers have already made partial payments to reserve the device. Jolla didn't mention specific numbers when it comes to how many devices were booked, but the first Sailfish device costs about 400 Euro and will ship by the end of this year. A new batch will be up for order in the fall. Read more at thenextweb.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 21, 2013.