Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 09, 2013:
- Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo have formed the Reform Government Surveillance group in order to put pressure on the US government. In an open letter, the group calls for changes including, limiting collection, increasing oversight and transparency and insuring the flee flow of information worldwide. The website for the group is at reformgovernmentsurveillance.com Read more at thenextweb.com.
- According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian, the NSA has been monitoring online gaming communities since 2008 and sending agents into online RPGs posing as players. Xbox Live was a targeted service, as was World of Warcraft and Second Life. None of the leaked files suggest that this tactic caught any terrorists, even though undercover operations were apparently so numerous that an NSA analyst called for a "deconfliction group" to be set up to prevent the agency's personnel from inadvertently spying on each other. Read more at engadget.com.
- Square just introduced a brand new credit card reader. The device itself is 45% thinner than the previous model and Square says it's the "thinnest mobile card reader on the market." More importantly, the new device reads cards more accurately than before and it works on a broader range of devices. Read more at engadget.com.
- Verizon announced Monday morning that it intends to acquire Edgecast, a content Delivery Network that hosts media and other files for websites like Pinterest and Hulu. Edgecast makes most of its money from telecom partnerships according to Gigaom. Edgecast will join previously acquired CDN Uplynk as part of Verizon Digital Media Services. No price was announced though Techcrunch estimates the acquisition could cost Verizon around $350 million. Read more at gigaom.com.
- China Mobile and Apple have finally worked out a deal to bring the Phone to China’s largest mobile network, and iPhone 5s pre-order sales begin this week, with China Mobile’s new 4G services going live on Dec. 18th. The pre-order listing and advertisement for 4G and the iPhone 5s is already live on China Mobile’s official website, and China Mobile confirmed to the Wall street journal that it will indeed kick off pre-order sales officially starting this Thursday. Read more at techcrunch.com.
- A prank message on 4Chan is leading some folks to brick their Xbox One consoles or be stuck in an endless start-up loop. The message claims to give you steps to make the Xbox One backwards compatible with the Xbox 360. Major Nelson posted a tweet saying "To be clear there is no way to make your Xbox One backwards compatible & performing steps to attempt this could make your console inoperable." Read more at bbc.co.uk.
- Wikileaks published more information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently being negotiated in secret in Singapore. The agreement largely focuses on general trade among Pacific Rim countries but has come under criticism for attempting to include SOPA-like penalties purportedly meant to combat copyright infringement. If signed countries would have to change their existing copyright laws to match the requirement of the treaty. The leaked document states "The US is exerting great pressure to close as many issues as possible this week.” Read more at theverge.com.
- Facebook has created a "sympathise" button as an alternative to the "like" button. Such as, a user selects a negative emotion from Facebook's list of feelings in a status update - in that case then the "like" button would change to "sympathise". A Facebook engineer said at a company event that the button had been created as part of an internal project during a "compassion research day" where members of the public and researchers are invited along to "improve [Facebook's] understanding of the driving forces and benefits of compassion". Read more at bbc.co.uk.
- Samsung introduced the first ever 1TB mSATA SSD meant for ultra books. The 840 EVO mSATA achieves 540MB/s read speeds and 520MB/s write speeds. The drive thickness is just 3.85mm and weighs in at a mere 8.5 grams. Pricing has not yet been announced. Read more at geek.com.
- Google found that France's cyberdefence division was spoofing its domain certificates. Google says that the certificates were issued by an intermediate certificate authority linking back to ANSSI, a French certificate authority. The French agency says that the fake certificates were the result of "human error, which was made during a process aimed at strengthening overall IT security". Read more at zdnet.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 09, 2013.