Patrick Beja is on the show and we discuss British intelligence looking at nude photos of Yahoo chatters, plus more net neutrality thoughts, and a very special birthday that made all of this possible. You have not guessed who it was, I promise.
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Today’s guest: Patrick Beja, host of RDVTech
British spy program ‘Optic Nerve’ captures Yahoo web chats, including nude images: The Guardian reports on documents obtained from Edward Snowden describing a UK GCHQ spy program called ‘Optic Nerve’ which ran from 2008-2010 for sure and was showing up on an internal wiki as recently as 2012. The program captured images from Yahoo chats, saving a still picture every 5 minutes. Analysts could only look at metadata in bulk searches but could get images if a username was the same or similar to targeted individual. In addition to testing facial recognition and feeding some data to the US NSA. the GCHQ was surprised to find a “number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.” Around seven percent of the images included “undesirable nudity.” The report did not estimate the amount of desirable nudity.
Google’s Project Ara project to arrive as early as next year with $50 price tag: Time’s Technologizer blog reports Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone could arrive early next year priced at $50. That’s the phone that has blocks you can plug in and replace to add or upgrade functionality. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group reportedly will finish a functioning prototype within a few weeks.The $50 version would only have WiFi, but then you could always get more block later. The freemium model comes to hardware!
Boeing to make secure phone CNET reports on Boeing’s dupe secure government and military phone: Yes Boeing is making a phone. Codenamed Black, it comes with loads of security features, dual SIM cards, a modular back for mission-specific needs like satellite communications or ultra-specific geolocation. Also any attempt to open the device would delete the data and software. The device won’t be available to the consumer market and technical information on “Black” is to remain confidential or protected by non-disclosure agreements. Also we never had this conversation.
The European Commission plans to hold talks on clearer guidelines for in-app purchases to prevent free-to-download games from misleading customers
GigaOm reports on crowd funding for a wearable fitness device called Moov which would audio and visual instruction WHILE you’re exercising
Baidu finished 2013 with its fastest revenue growth in more than a year increasing 50.3 percent to 9.523 billion yuan beating analyst expectations of 9.319 billion
Pew research data shows 87 percent of people in the US use the Internet. That number shoots to 99 percent in households that earn more than $75,000 a year
News From You
Hey Steven Strogatz, I hope you made a bet on your prediction that computer-assisted math solutions would surpass human comprehension. Josh sent us an email with a link to the iO9 article about a computer that has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem. The solution is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined and impossible for a human to confirm. The only way to check if it’s right is to see if another computer attempting to solve the same problem comes up with the same answer.
KAPT_Kipper posted the TechCrunch article about Sony announcing it’s shutting down 20 of its 31 retail stores in the US. Sony is busy offloading unprofitable parts of its business, even considering things like selling Sony Pictures, so this isn’t a shock. The 11 stores to remain open are in California, New York, Florida, and Houston, Texas.
And tm204 noted the Computer World story about Apple’s decision Tuesday that it will no longer issue security patches for OS X Snow Leopard. The last Snow Leopard security update came in September 2013. Snow Leoaprd was released in 2009. Apple generally only supports the newest and previous versions of its OS, but has supported Snow Leoaprd longer. Still. 19% of Macs were running Snow Leopard according to Net Applications data. Snow Leopard was the last version of the OS capable of running applications on the PowerPC processor.
Discussion Section Links:
Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
Pick of the Day:
I always heartily endorse Writer, at writer.bighugelabs.com Its essentially an internet typewriter, a super stripped down word processor. By default its green text on a black background (takes me back to my DOS days), and when in full screen mode it gives the best distraction free writing experience I’ve ever had. It has basic features, word count and a word count goal percentage, along with online saving across their servers. There’s a subscription option with some more advanced editing features and the ability to save to Google Drive/Dropbox, but the free version is all I’ve ever need. Every time I try NaNoWriMo its my go to.
Unprompted and hopefully not resented. Thanks
Rich from Lovely Cleveland
Tomorrow’s Guest: Darren Kitchen of hak5.org