Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for June 2, 2014:
- The National Security Agency is collecting millions of digital pictures from the Internet per day, including thousands of “facial recognition quality images.” The information is the latest revelation from the Edward Snowden trove of leaked NSA documents. The pictures are extracted from emails, text messages, social networks, video conferences and other types of communication. The story also revealed that the NSA relies in part on facial recognition technology from a company acquired by Google in 2011 called Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, or PittPatt. That’s the technology used by Google itself. The NSA also has the ability to match harvested snapshots with satellite photos to figure out where the snapshots were taken. Read more at nytimes.com.
- Google apparently plans to spend more than $1 billion on a satellite system that will spread Internet access to the far reaches of the world. It's a familiar story. And it goes something like this: To increase online ad revenues, Google needs to make the Web more accessible to more people. This latest project, according to The Wall Street Journal, will start with 180 small satellites orbiting the earth at a lower altitude than traditional satellites. Read more at wsj.com. and theinformation.com
- The Chinese government has begun blocking some Google services in the country ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square this week, according to the site GreatFire.org. Google Search, Images, Translate, Gmail and other Google sites have been blocked since late last week, even in Hong Kong where the government normally censors much more lightly. Read more at cnet.com.
- The popular video-streaming site Justin.tv announced that they’re going to delete all archived video next week and kill both its premium account option and the ability to record live video streams. According to the company, people just don’t watch recorded videos that much. More than half are never watched, while the most videos are watched 10 or fewer times. Read more at justin.tv and gigaom.com
- Samsung announced its first ever phone running the Tizen operating system. Called the Samsung Z, the phone has pretty standard hardware specs, plus a fingerprint sensor built into the home button and a heartrate monitor on the back like the Samsung Galaxy S5. But unlike the S5, the Z has a lower display resolution and inferior camera. The phone will debut in Russia by September at a yet-unannounced price. Samsung is also planning to launch a Tizen store for apps. Read more at forbes.com. and tizen.org
- Some high-profile web sites this week plan to protest mass surveillance by the National Security Agency with an organized movement called “Reset the Net.” Participating sites include Reddit, Imgur, BoingBoing and DuckDuckGo, as well as political activist sites like Amnesty International, Greenpeace and MoveOn.org. The protest takes the form of a “Reset the Net” splash screen, plus the distribution of a “mobile privacy pack” that includes free tools for using the Internet securely. Plus, organizers are asking that people spread the word on social media. Read more at resetthenet.org.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for June 2, 2014.