Top News for August 8, 2014

Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for August 08, 2014:

  1. Facebook has now separated its Messenger feature from the main Facebook app. In order to use Messenger on a mobile device, you now have to download and install Facebook’s separate Messenger app. But the move by Facebook -- and the online chatter surrounding it -- has caused some panic and confusion among users. Read more at

  2. Russian WiFi users are outraged and confused about a muddled new degree requiring people to show a passport or other ID before using WiFi hotspots in the country. Russian media first reported that prime minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order requiring proof of identity before using any public WiFi. The Russian communications ministry clarified that the rule only applies to hotspots set up by network operators. A Moscow city official announced that it only applies to WiFi at Russian post offices. But media outlets, including Izvestia, say that operators of all public hotspots are now required to record the hardware identifiers for devices that are logging on, along with users’ full names and ID or driver’s license numbers. They will need to keep this information for six months and submit it to the authorities when required. And operators themselves will need to register with telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor as a “personal data operator.” At this point, the only thing that’s clear is that some kind of crackdown is taking place, but nobody agrees on the details. Read more at

  3. Some 900 or so book authors plan to publish an open letter in the New York Times Sunday slamming Amazon for their negotiating tactics with publishing giant Hachette. The letter will ask Times readers to send email to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and his email address will be published in the letter. Read more at

  4. Today is World Cat Day. So it's fitting that a security researcher named Gene Bransfield will hold a talk at the DefCon security conference in Las Vegas this weekend called “How to Weaponize Your Pets.” In the presentation, he’ll explain how he built a custom collar for a cat containing custom-coded firmware, a Wi-Fi card, a GPS module and a battery. In one test, a cat named Coco belonging to Bransfields’ wife’s grandmother roamed around the neighborhood mapping Wi-Fi networks and probing for networks that would be easy to hack. The cat collar is called the “WarKitteh” collar. And it cost less than $100 to build. Read more at

  5. For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for August 08, 2014.