The Dutch publication NRC has published claims, based on Edward Snowden’s leaks, that more than 50,000 computing networks around the world have been infected with NSA or GCHQ malware, Belgacom-style, in order to siphon off information. The New York Times has revealed the NSA’s plans for grabbing more powers in future, in a report that also mentions a fascinating NSA data visualization tool called Treasure Map. And journalist Glenn Greenwald has challenged assertions by the Norwegian intelligence service that it only spied on Norwegians outside the country.
The deal gives Apple proven technology (it powers Microsoft’s Kinect controllers) that could be used in a wide range of contexts. Read more »
The British platform will have some immediate advantages over many local rivals as it leaps across the English Channel, namely continent-wide scale and a higher funding limit than that available in some mainland European countries. Read more »
Earlier this week the Korea Herald quoted an unnamed ARM executive as saying 128-bit processors could make their way into mobile devices within a couple of years. On Friday the British chip design house, whose designs power the vast majority of mobile devices today, said the report was simply “not true”.
In a blog post the firm said, “64-bit processors are capable of supporting the needs of the computing industry now and for many years to come” and “there are absolutely no plans underway for 128 bit ARM-based chips because they simply aren’t needed.” Quite so — the mobile industry is only just starting to move to 64-bit architecture, which is arguably overkill for a smartphone’s current requirements.
Amazon Coins are now available in the UK and reportedly Germany too. The company’s virtual currency is intended for use in its Kindle Fire tablet ecosystem, and owners of the tablet will receive £4 ($6.50) worth of them — that’s 400 Coins — to buy apps, games and in-app items.
Developed-world governments are more likely than those in the developing world to spy on their citizens’ online communications, a report from the World Wide Web Foundation has warned. Meanwhile, a U.N. resolution on online privacy has been softened but retains some bite. Read more »
The box takes a minute to set up and promises anonymity for all surfing done through the connected router. It may not prove quite that simple to use in reality, but it’s certainly an intriguing and cost-effective privacy tool. Read more »
The speed of technological progress is enabling rapid change in our societies and threatening the principles we claim to hold dear. We have to decide — now — whether we want to accept or resist the loss of our freedoms. Read more »
Politicians from Germany’s two biggest parties are currently negotiating what their grand coalition will look like, and they’ve reportedly decided on at least one thing: they need encrypted phones. According to local newspaper Bild, this means no iPhones, because Apple’s platform doesn’t support encryption software developed by Germany’s federal office for information security, and all official business will henceforth require encrypted communications.
It recently emerged that the U.S. and British embassies in Berlin have been used as bases for spying on German parliamentarians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel (who, for the record, was using a highly-hackable old Nokia slider-phone before the Snowden revelations this summer, when she switched to BlackBerry).
The tool, which is gaining a degree of popularity within the maker movement, now provides a way to include moving images in its instructional storyboards. Read more »
LG’s Smart TVs may be reporting a tad too much information back to the company’s servers, according to a detailed and convincing post by British blogger “DoctorBeet”. Apparently in the name of targeted advertising, it appears some of the sets are monitoring not only what channels are being watched (even when told not to), but also details of files stored on external hard drives hooked up to the TV. And here comes the really dumb bit: they’re sending that data back to LG’s servers sans encryption. I’m awaiting comment from LG.
A Berlin court has upheld a complaint by the Federation of German Consumer Associations, which argued that Google’s users can’t be certain what they’re signing up to when they agree to the firm’s terms and conditions. Read more »
Android tablet users can now get a specially-optimized version of Opera that opts for tabs, rather than the firm’s usual carousel approach to flipping between pages on mobile devices. Read more »
As Norway becomes the latest European country to be dragged into the surveillance scandal, it’s worth running through the revelations we’ve seen thus far. Read more »
Nokia’s extraordinary general meeting, convened to discuss the takeover of the Finnish firm’s handset division by Microsoft, is still ongoing at the time of writing. However, The Financial Times reports that it’s a formality — 99.7 percent of shareholders who voted before the meeting (that’s 4 in 5) have already said yes to the $7.2 billion deal. The remaining bits of Nokia are nothing to be sneezed at: the Here location business, a division creating new advanced materials, sensors and so on, and of course the NSN networking business.
What does a national cloud look like? In France’s case, it looks like two fairly similar ventures — one based on OpenStack and the other soon to follow in its footsteps. Does this approach make sense? Read more »
Luxembourg’s data protection regulator says Microsoft and Skype’s transfer of Europeans’ data to the U.S. remains legal, despite the Snowden revelations about what happens to that data. It’s a messy situation where neither side is, strictly speaking, wrong. Read more »
The app lets users check their balances and recent transactions without needing to fire up their smartphones or browsers. Read more »
The Finnish handset maker is about to launch its handset on a small scale, but last year we were told of widespread distribution plans in China, as well as $260 million in backing from the “Sailfish Alliance”. Turns out that’s all on hold. Read more »
Organizations and individuals will be able to sign up from Spring 2014, through a subsidiary of London’s promotional agency. Read more »
Twitter’s post-IPO path to prosperity presses on: the company has opened up its self-serve advertising platform to companies outside the U.S. Small-to-medium-sized businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada get first (well, second) shot at the platform, and others will presumably follow. The move lets those without a deep working relationship with Twitter to pay to promote their accounts and tweets in a targeted fashion – so expect a lot more of those in your timeline soon, if you’re in one of the aforementioned countries.
Suffering Twitter withdrawal while you’re flying over European Union airspace? You may be in luck, after regulators changed radio spectrum rules to allow the use of mobile broadband 3km up in the air — but the decision really rests with your airline. Read more »
Jolla, the Finnish mobile firm that’s trying to revive Nokia and Intel’s old MeeGo operating system, will release its first handset in less than two weeks’ time. Jolla said on Thursday that the first of its €399 ($537) phones will go on sale in the firm’s native country on 27 November.
Although Jolla wants developers to write natively for its Linux-based Sailfish OS operating system, the devices will also support Android apps, and the handsets will come with the Yandex Android app store. Finnish carrier DNA was one of the first partners that signed up for Jolla, along with Chinese distributor D.Phone.
It’s not the only factor, but Cisco says the backlash over U.S. surveillance has definitely hit orders in China. Orders in other developing countries have also plummeted, and again the NSA is being cited as a possible factor. Read more »
You may be familiar with the “https” prefix that tells you your connection is secure. Well, get ready to see a lot more of it — standards-makers have decided that HTTP version 2 will only work with such web addresses. Read more »
“The forces of unification are stronger” than those trying to fragment the internet, the former Microsoft chief said in Berlin on Wednesday. Read more »
Jolla wants developers to write native apps for its Sailfish OS, but it looks like the platform’s initial boost will need to come from its compatibility with Android. Read more »
A lot of money is going into trying to disrupt the stock photography market – something investors hope will be possible through advances in the quality of smartphone cameras. This year in Europe alone we’ve already seen funding for Finland’s Scoopshot ($1.2 million), Germany’s EyeEm ($6 million) and Sweden’s Foap ($1.5 million).
Now Scoopshot has (sorry) scooped up more: a $3.9 million Series A round led by Conor Venture Partners and Finnish Industry Investment. The cash will help Scoopshot establish sales teams in the U.S. and U.K. The firm also said on Wednesday that it now has over 60 publishers using its on-demand photography service, including News Corp Australia and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
Now with big backing from Dropbox and Evernote funder Sequoia Capital — and with VC legend Michael Moritz on the 6Wunderkinder board — task-management app Wunderlist should soon become more lightweight and stable, and more widely available. Read more »
OnApp CEO Ditlev Bredahl claims OnApp version 3.1, which provides on-demand access to pretty much everything in the data center, is the platform he wishes he’d had when he was running hosting businesses. Read more »
Ripple Labs — formerly known as OpenCoin — has pulled in $3.5 million in fresh investment, bringing the total to $9 million. New investors include Core Innovation Capital, Venture 51 and Camp One Ventures, while existing investor IDG Capital Partners is back for more. Earlier investors include Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
Ripple is a decentralized currency exchange that’s been riding the Bitcoin hype wave while not actually being dependent on Bitcoin – it handles traditional currencies too, and uses its own virtual currency (XRP) for transaction tokens. Apart from the name change, Ripple recently completed its open-sourcing and released an iOS app for monitoring XRP prices.
Deutsche Telekom said on Sunday that it will buy GTS Central Europe, a 20-year-old telecommunications firm that focuses on the business market. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, is worth €546 million ($731 million). GTS Central Europe is currently owned by a private equity consortium. The buy will provide much-needed fixed-line infrastructure for Telekom in Poland and the Czech Republic in particular, although it’s worth noting that GTS also has a fair amount of data center infrastructure that might come in handy.
Although LinkedIn and Slashdot had no knowledge of it, the GCHQ agency used fake versions of their webpages as way of sneaking malware onto the networks of major mobile connection exchanges. Here’s how that worked. Read more »
The latest Snowden scoop, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel: the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have thoroughly infiltrated the computer systems of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The NSA has already been shown to be spying on Brazil’s Petrobras.
Meanwhile, reports in Australia indicate the country’s intelligence agency – a regular partner of the NSA and GCHQ – spied on Japanese firms for the benefit of Australian companies during trade negotiations. Particularly favored were “firms that provide employment and cover for spy operatives.”
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated an attack that can reveal the PIN codes for sensitive apps, such as those for banking, by tapping into the device’s microphone and camera. Read more »
Google has declared a white space broadband trial in Cape Town, in which it participated, a resounding success. The firm said on Friday that the 6-month trial, which involved running wireless broadband in the fragmented buffer zones between chunks of TV spectrum, did not interfere with the complex TV broadcast set-up in the city. I went to see the pilot in June and am delighted to learn that the network will stay operational for the schools that have been using it, even though the trial is over. Similar experiments are taking place around the world.
It’s not exactly a surprise, but confidence in the cloud has taken a battering in Germany after the Snowden revelations. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released on Thursday suggested 22 percent of German companies now see the risk of using cloud services as “very high,” up from 6 percent before the leak; 54 percent say risk is high or very high.
Thirty-eight percent said they were now looking at email encryption and 25 percent at encryption of mobile communications while 15 percent want to switch to European tech providers that won’t cooperate with American or British intelligence services.
The heads of the UK’s highest-profile intelligence services, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, all appeared before a parliamentary committee on Thursday to not explain why Snowden’s surveillance revelations have harmed the country. Read more »
Coresystems creates apps for mobile field force efforts and software that ties in with SAP Business One. Former SAP exec Peter Zencke participated in the round. Read more »
Gartner says the PC market is shrinking faster than expected in western Europe, and nowhere more so than in Britain. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now… Read more »