Revisiting the top tech headlines of the past year
Another year is in the books and you know what? The PC isn't dead! Not that we ever thought our beloved platform was ever in jeopardy, though you wouldn't know it if you listened to analysts and market research firms predicting all kinds of gloom and doom for the desktop. We're happy to say the sky didn't fall, and as we look ahead to 2014, we're more excited than ever about all the advances in technology -- 3D printing, wearable computing, and advances in storage are just some of the things gaining momentum as we head into the new year.
Before we look too far down the road, however, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on some of the biggest news stories of 2013. We've put together a list of the most popular happenings of the past year based on a variety of factors including traffic, reader engagement, and of course editorial discretion. Some are included here because of their lasting impact on the industry, and others because they piqued the interest of you, our readers, and sparked lively debates.
Ready to get nostalgic with us? Then off we go as we relive the top 13 news stories of 2013!
Eight companies collaborate on an open letter to Washington
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Aol, and LinkedIn have teamed up to call for global government surveillance reform. Rival companies and services are working together to put pressure on Washington to start the path towards reforming government surveillance and maintaining individual privacy.
Whether you love it or hate it, the technology behind it all is here to stay
Poor Edward Snowden. The former NSA subcontractor has sacrificed his career to expose US government surveillance programs that were revealed years ago. Except for minor details, data-mining operations like “PRISM” were outed in 2006, and have been underway since at least 2003. Newspapers may be dinosaurs, but they beat the Internet to this story by seven years.
Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
Who owns the Internet? That is one question humanity hasn’t been able to answer with any degree of certainty hitherto and things are unlikely to change anytime soon. Now, it may be difficult for us to say who truly controls the Internet, but we can definitely tell you who’s currently behaving like they are the ones who do.
Edward Snowden is now officially a criminal on the run from the law, but the US extradition effort just became slightly more challenging. Despite having a canceled US passport, Snowden managed to legally secure transport to Moscow, and WikiLeaks is claiming they are behind the move. Lawyers for the controversial non-profit organization report they were approached by Snowden who requested their assistance, and they seem more than willing to take on the case once he reaches safe harbor. Presumably these are the same lawyers that have shielded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Swedish authorities for the past several years, so the chances are high this saga will take a very long time to fully play out if he reaches a country such as Ecuador where extradition can be tricky.
They might not have a choice, but they are fighting it anyway.
Privacy concerns are front and center in the online world these days, and a deal taken by Facebook and Microsoft on government transparency doesn’t pass the Google sniff test. Google claims the offer comes with strings attached they can’t live with, and they appear to be holding out for a better offer.
The source of the NSA leaks have finally been identified, and 29 year old Edward Snowden has come forward as the man responsible. Snowden went on record during an interview with The Guardian, and he answered several questions to help us understand his motivation behind the leaks, and what he hopes it will accomplish.
Privacy advocates are up in arms over reports that the U.S. government is harvesting cell phone and email data from major Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Through a supposed top secret program codenamed PRISM, the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI have what appears to be unfettered access to emails, chat logs, voice calls, videos, photographs, documents, and more.