Top News for February 27, 2014

GCHQ

Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for February 27, 2014:

  1. The UK version of the NSA, which is called GCHQ, collected pictures from the Yahoo webcam chats of millions of users worldwide, according to a story in the Guardian newspaper today. Code-named “Optic Nerve,’ the capturing of pictures took place between 2008 and 2010 and involved many people not suspected of crimes. The GCHQ says their program was legal. Read more at arstechnica.com.

  2. Boeing -- yeah, the company that makes jets and drones -- really is getting into the smartphone racket. Confirming two-year-old rumors, Boeing is building a super secure Android phone for American spies and government agencies called the Boeing Black. We learned about this the same way we learn about many secret smartphones: documents filed with the FCC. Read more at wsj.com.

  3. Google announced yesterday that it will host three conferences on its Project Ara phone. Now, conferences themselves aren’t interesting. But this news tells us that Google is actually serious about turning the phone concept into a real phone you can buy. Read more at techland.time.com.

  4. Google launched a new online education tool called Oppia today. It’s an open source project that enables anyone to create interactive learning activities called “explorations.” They can be put together collaboratively by people who have zero programming experience, then embedded into any web page. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  5. Some big stories came out of Mobile World Congress this week. But shows like this also bring to the surface some weird and ill-advised new products. Read more at iphoneeinstein.com.

  6. You may have heard about IBM’s Cognitive computers, which are designed to develop creative computers that can think like humans do. One of their projects is a computer that can create new kinds of food recipes. They’re mostly mashups of existing foods -- chocolate burritos, Turkish bru-SKATE-ta and so on. Well soon you might get a chance to taste some of the computer’s creations. IBM has partnered with the Institute of Culinary Education to take an IBM Food Truck on a tour across the United States. The truck’s next stop: Austin, Texas, for the South By South West festival, which begins March 3. Read more at theverge.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for February 27, 2014.