News Fuse for August 22, 2013

EFF logo

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for August 22, 2013:

  1. An EFF Freedom of Information Act request has declassified a US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision that declared some NSA data collection unconstitutional. The 85-page October 3, 2011 opinion by FISC judge John D. Bates rules the NSA exceeded its authority in collecting upstream Internet data. Bates noted this was the third time the government misled the court in what data was being collected. The Washington Post reports the NSA put in a filter in response, and destroyed the previously collected information. The Director of National Intelligence has also launched a Tumblr at icontherecord.tumblr.com declassifying more documents. Read more at washingtonpost.com.

  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Several of Apple’s iCloud services went offline last night and affected almost 3 million users across iMessage, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, Backup and iPhoto Jounals.... although Apple pointed out on its status page that the outage accounted to less than 1 percent of users overall. Read more at valuewalk.com.

  3. The crowdfunding period for the Ubuntu Edge is now over and it missed by "this much" - that is if "this much" means over $19 million. The project to build a superphone that dual booted Android and Ubuntu Mobile raised $12.8 million. In an update, Canonical says that backers will receive their refunds within five working days. Read more at cnet.com.

  4. Yahoo's number 1 again for the first time since May 2011. According to ComScore Yahoo had 196.6 million unique users in July, ahead of Google's 192.3 million. The data does not include Yahoo's recently acquired Tumblr blogging service nor does it include mobile data. Read more at allthingsd.com.

  5. Sports network ESPN President John Skipper told Bloomberg the company is considering partnering with an online TV provider with some of its more popular channels, such as ESPN and ESPN2. However Skipper also said whomever ESPN worked with would have to buy "the whole suite of products. We're not going to offer one-offs," and said online provider would not get a break on carrier fees paid by cable and satellite TV companies. Read more at bizjournals.com.

  6. German automotive supplier Continental is working out a deal with IBM and Google for self-driving cars according to reports. Continental is best known for making tires, but also makes all kinds of parts for cars like batteries and disk brakes. The partnership with IBM and Google could be announced at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Read more at cnet.com.

  7. Google wants to make it easier for you to get home and unlock. Not unwind, unlock. Engadget spotted a patent application today that modifies your smartphone's security based on your location. As an example if the phone knows you're at home or work then swiping to unlock could be set as acceptable, but the phone could require a passcode elsewhere. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  8. IDC has released its Mobile Phone Tracker report for the second quarter of 2013, Windows Phone came out as the second place operating system in the Latin American region. It ranked second in Mexico for the second consecutive quarter, and in the most recent quarter was also ranked second in both Colombia and Peru. In other countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil, Microsoft’s mobile platform ranks third in the second quarter of 2013. Read more at microsoft.com.

  9. Weekly Ascii in Japan has a picture of three purported new iPhones, one of which sports the much-rumored gold or champagne color. Oddly the gold iPhone in the shot doesn't have a full back. Does it mean the gold iPhone will be delayed? Is it a new more open-air design? Is the picture entirely faked? How will we ever know? Read more at engadget.com.

  10. There's a new Kickstarter for a smartwatch. No, wait. Don't leave. This one is called the "Omate TrueSmart" and it's a smartwatch that has a slot for a microSIM so you can connect it to a cell network without the need of a phone. The device has a camera, GPS, and is built on Android 4.2 so you can use lots of apps. The campaign has another 28 days to go, but has already surpassed its $100,000 goal by raising over $170,000. Early bird backers are promised a watch in November of this year for a pledge of $179. Read more at time.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 22, 2013.