The rise of the smartphone camera mixed with the ability to freely post video visible to anybody in the world has the power to shake nations, as we've seen around the globe in recent years. It also has a chilling side effect: dissenters are now easier than ever to identify and track down, as we saw vigilante groups doing following the London riots. Dictator haters have a little less to worry about now, as Google has added a free, easy-to-use face blurring tool to YouTube.
Microsoft on Monday confirmed that a wily bug in Skype could, in some instances, cause instant messages (IMs) to be delivered to a different IM client than the one intended. It only occurs when Skype crashes during an IM session, which Microsoft said could result in the last IM entered or sent ending up finding its way to a random contact. Today Microsoft started rolling out a hotfix.
Google is attempting to hammer out a record-setting $22.5 million settlement offer to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the sultan of search effectively sidestepped privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. If agreed upon, the $22.5 million settlement would be the largest fine ever handed out to a single entity by the FTC, which has ramped up efforts to ensure rights of online users aren't violated.
Good old Uncle Sam can be awfully nosy when he wants to be. The U.S. government poking its head into personal affairs isn't news to most, but it is reiterated by Twitter's first ever transparency report, which was released on Monday just two days ahead of July 4th, otherwise known as Independence Day in the States. Not by coincidence, Twitter notes "July 4th serves an important reminder of the need to hold governments responsible, especially on behalf of those who may not have a chance to do so themselves." Let the fireworks begin.
Getting to know your neighbors better used to involve a lot of legwork: heading next door for dinner, chatting over the fence, signing up for the Neighborhood watch, et cetera. The times, they are a-changin', though, and a new study commissioned by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office suggests that these days, all you have to do to understand your fellow man is buy a used hard drive. Almost half of all used hard drives tested by the organization still contained information from their previous owners.
If you haven't been paying attention to CISPA, or Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, it's time you started doing so. It's a bill that, according to many, is every bit as controversial as SOPA and PIPA were, and that was before a proposed amendment written by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) upped the ante by giving the Department of Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano a scary amount of authority to "intercept" online communications.
Different people handle breakups in different ways. Some might find it appropriate to stand outside their ex's home and blast Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" from an outstretched boombox. Others simply move on, perhaps glad the experience is over with. But there's always that one person who does something completely inappropriate like, say, posting nude photos of their ex on Facebook, a decision that earned a scorned Australian lover a six months home arrest sentence.
Many B-rated horror flicks end with the good guys destroying some kind of monster, literal (like a flesh eating beast from hell) or figurative (deranged serial killer), with the camera then panning down to the creature. Right before rolling to credits, an eye opens or a arm twitches to let the viewers know it's still alive, ensuring a sequel is in order. Such is the case with SOPA and PIPA, the controversial privacy bills that were essentially destroyed by an angry Internet mob, only we didn't really kill it completely.
Google's market capital is over $200 billion, and shares of the search giant sell for about $625 a pop. Why is this relevant? Well, let's just say that a $25,000 fine wouldn't exactly be painful to Google. In fact, it would barely register as a prick, yet it's the amount the Federal Trade Commission is seeking after accusing the sultan of search of acting like one, or more specifically, for 'impeding' an investigation into how it collects personal and private data, including emails and text messages, through its Street View service.
It doesn't take much for online comments to quickly get out of hand, and there are certain subjects that inevitably attract trolls ready to defend their stance or platform of choice. PC (Windows) versus Mac, AMD versus Intel, politics, religion, abortion, and other high octane subjects could all be fun to debate, but almost always quickly end up derailed by name calling and other Internet tough-guy nonsense. The solution? Most sites just drop the ban hammer if someone gets too far out of line, but the state of Arizona has written a bill that would essentially make it a crime to be a troll.