News Fuse for December 5, 2013

Microsoft

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 05, 2013:

  1. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith wrote a blog post saying Microsoft is “taking steps to ensure governments use legal process rather than technological brute force to access customer data.” as well as saying government snooping potentially constitutes an “advanced persistent threat”. In response, Microsoft will expand encryption across services, reinforce legal protections for customer data and enhance code transparency so customers can reassure themselves no backdoors exist. Read more at cnet.com.

  2. The Wall St Journal reports that China Mobile has signed a deal to offer iPhones on its network. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile carrier, with more than 700 million subscribers, and is the last of China’s three major carriers to offer the iPhone. The launch date is expected to coincide with the Dec. 18 China Mobile conference in Guangzhou, when the carrier is supposed to reveal more information about its new 4G LTE network. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  3. The Chinese government isn't a fan of Bitcoin and is telling Chinese banks to not view it as money. The government says says that Bitcoin is a "virtual commodity that does not share the legal status of a currency." The Chinese government also says that Bitcoin is at high-risk for money laundering and can be a threat to financial stability. Read more at gigaom.com.

  4. Security researchers at Trustwave’s SpiderLabs posted Tuesday the discovery of a database containing 1.58 million stolen usernames and passwords associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo and other accounts. The data seems to have been collected through the Pony Botnet controller, which uses a key logger to capture login data. 97 percent of the credentials seemed to belong the Netherlands, though that may be due to a gateway or reverse proxy between infected machines. Read more at cnet.com.

  5. Starting this Sunday, AT&T is giving no-contract, full-price paying customers better mobile share plan options. For example, instead of a sliding scale of monthly fees attached to the device, the fee is now $25 a month. For a single user, a standard 2GB plan would cost $80 a month, or $25 for the phone and $55 for the data. For contract customers, the monthly cost to add a smartphone to a plan goes to a flat rate of $40 from the previous sliding scale, so a smartphone customer with a 300MB plan would get a $10 break. Compared to T-Mobile or Sprint offers, AT&T still isn't the best deal in town, though. Read more at cnet.com.

  6. Acer just introduced the Acer Chromebook C720P. $300 gets you touch-enabled notebook running Chrome OS. Inside, you'll find an Intel Celeron 1.4GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. The Acer C720P is the second touch-enabled Chromebook on the market (the Pixel is the first) and it's available for pre-order today. Read more at informationweek.com.

  7. The Washington Post reports that the NSA logs location records of almost 5 billion phones each day, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agency has apparently collected 27 terabytes of location data, outpacing the agency’s ability to analyze it. The paper said the system, called Co-Traveler, analyzed the data and used a fraction of 1 percent in anti-terror work. However even users of disposable phones or switch a handset off after a brief use could be tracked. Read more at washingtonpost.com.

  8. Appwork, maker of popular JDownloader software, is liable for coding carried out by third-party contributors, says a German court. Back in June the software got into legal trouble over a specific feature present in an unofficial beta of JDownloader2 which enabled the downloading of RTMPE video streams on top of existing RTMP, and the Hamburg Regional Court decided that this represented a circumvention of an “effective technological measure” under Section 95a of Germany’s Copyright Act, and appwork has been fined 250k euros. Appwork tells TorrentFreak that the judgment will be a burden on the open source creative process. Read more at torrentfreak.com.

  9. Ford CEO Alan Mulally will not become the CEO of Microsoft. At least not in 2014. At least if you believe Ford board member Edsel Ford II, great grandson of founder Henry Ford. Bloomberg reports Edsel Ford said “Alan is staying through the end of 2014 and that’s all I know,” while at the introduction of the new Mustang in Dearborn, Michigan. Microsoft said they planned to find a new CEO to succeed Steve Ballmer within a year. Read more at bloomberg.com.

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  11. If you've got an Nvidia Shield, good news. Some users in Northern California are receiving the GRID Beta update today. The update allows Shield owners stream PC games to their handhelds when they are away from home. Nvidia says you should have an Internet connection of at least 10Mbps for good quality. Read more at androidheadlines.com.

" For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 05, 2013.