While discussing plans for the mobile flavor of Ubuntu, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth made a very interesting aside remark about Apple in a conference call on Wednesday. Read more »
Meizu and BQ, which you will be forgiven for not recognizing, will be the first manufacturers to release Ubuntu mobile devices, and Canonical claims bigger names will follow in 2015. Read more »
The strategic partnership is important for Silent Circle, as it promises to make the encrypted Skype rival much more usable by widening its pool of users. Read more »
Legal issues forced Microsoft to rename SkyDrive, which it’s now officially pushing worldwide as OneDrive with some new features and, yes, free stuff. Read more »
My Face Privacy, made by the Israeli software developer CallingID, gives users a way to keep on top of the privacy settings of services like Facebook and LinkedIn, and now Google+ too. There really shouldn’t be a market for this, but there is. Read more »
Yandex.Kit, for which there are already two takers, includes rivals to Google Maps, Play Store, Chrome and more. Read more »
The company, which sells Google Apps-rivalling software to telcos and hosting outfits (and offers it all free to the open source crowd), has unveiled OX Drive and a new communications app based on WebRTC technology. Read more »
The data-wranglers’ seed funding should help the U.K.’s SplashMaps, which makes fabric maps for outdoor enthusiasts using OpenStreetMap and other open data, go international. Read more »
The British signals intelligence agency GCHQ used its tapping of the internet’s backbone to monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site, including Americans, according to a document leaked by Edward Snowden and published in The Intercept. The program, codenamed ANTICRISIS GIRL, was not the first in which GCHQ targeted activists online – it also allegedly waged war on Anonymous using criminal-style denial-of-service attacks. Other documents showed how NSA officials contemplated designating WikiLeaks as a “malicious foreign actor”, which would have permitted the surveillance of U.S. citizens connected with the whistleblower group, and also spying on The Pirate Bay.
It’s not just overbearing web giants and mighty broadband mergers that threaten to destroy competition — there’s also a case for seeing the surveillance state as a potential monopolistic blocker in the marketplace of ideas. Read more »
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has for the first time thrown her weight behind plans, initially suggested by telcos, for a “communication network inside Europe” that can keep data safe from prying U.S. eyes. Read more »
The Berlin startup is trying to offer small businesses low-cost analytics for keeping their online customers coming back. Read more »
The Dutch tech giant has come up with a way to use connected lighting as the basis for in-store location-based services, such as finding items and offering highly targeted coupons. Read more »
Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci argues that we aren’t living in either Orwell’s 1984 or Bentham’s Panopticon, and that the same tools that allow governments and companies to surveil us — often with our permission — also give ordinary citizens substantial power Read more »
The company has made public the full text of proposals it hopes will settle its European antitrust case — which, contrary to what many people seem to think, has not already been settled. Read more »
On its last earnings call, IBM laid the groundwork for more layoffs, and now they’re here. As Big Blue tries to reinvent itself, heads are rolling. Read more »
Viber users can look forward to welcoming Rakuten’s “Shopping is Entertainment” philosophy into their lives, as the Japanese e-commerce outfit intends to use the messaging platform as a tool for breaking into new markets. Read more »
Europe’s highest court resolved a seemingly obvious question about the right to use links on websites. This week’s court decision will hopefully put an end to a long-running discussion. Read more »
The app, which will soon be joined by some mysterious hardware, has a solid team behind it that now includes Heroku co-founder Adam Wiggins. Read more »
The European Commission has announced a set of standards for connected car systems, but privacy enthusiasts will be glad to hear such systems won’t be mandated by law, unlike in the U.S. However, practically speaking, connected cars will become the norm. Read more »
The European Parliament is finalizing its report on the NSA surveillance program, and the parliament’s Green faction had proposed an amendment that would give leaker Edward Snowden a guarantee of safety from rendition to the U.S. or prosecution by EU member states, should he choose to leave Russia and come to the EU. However, on Wednesday the parliament’s civil liberties committee will reportedly ditch the amendment, following opposition from both the conservative and socialist blocs. Indeed, the report will apparently not include any demands relating specifically to Snowden’s protection, though it will call for generalized whistleblower protection.
Global debates about internet governance are set to heat up in the coming years, so the European Union has set out its standpoint, with true globalization and human rights being non-negotiable principles. Read more »
If you’re jonesing for a phone that can run either Android or Firefox OS without voiding the guarantee, you don’t have to wait much longer. The plucky Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone said on Tuesday that it will start selling its Intel Atom-based Revolution handset through its online store from 20 February at a cost of €239 ($326) excluding tax, though it’s offering the device at a slightly discounted €222 for a limited period of time. We now also know the built-in storage capacity: 4GB (thankfully there’s also a microSD slot). One reminder: branding issues mean Geeksphone has to call Firefox OS “Boot2Gecko”, which is Mozilla’s old codename for the operating system.
According to Kaspersky Lab, a malware bundle dubbed “The Mask” was used to spy on government institutions, activists and energy companies across 31 countries for years. Here’s what it did, and where it might have come from. Read more »
Israel’s Calcalist says bootstrapped Viber is negotiating a sale worth somewhere between $300 and 400 million — but who’s the mystery suitor? Read more »
The Finnish handset maker Jolla has open-sourced the browser that comes with its Sailfish operating system. The Sailfish browser is built on Mozilla’s Gecko engine and embedded in the Qt application framework using the EmbedLite API. Its open-sourcing means the community can now contribute to its improvement. “Our objective with the project is to make this the first step to get official support from Mozilla Corp. to a mobile browser based on Gecko and embedded in Qt,” Jolla co-founder Stefano Mosconi said in a statement.
The attack, which appears to have been felt particularly hard in Europe, apparently exploited the protocol that maintains the accuracy of computers’ clocks. Read more »
As part of its ongoing quest to beef up its central and eastern European operations, Deutsche Telekom has bought up the 39.23 percent of shares in T-Mobile Czech Republic that it did not already own. The shares, purchased from a private equity–led consortium, cost the carrier group €800 million (USD $1.1 billion). Deutsche Telekom bought GTS Central Europe in November last year, partly for its fixed-line infrastructure in the Czech Republic, and now that plan is coming together. “T-Mobile Czech Republic is on a clear strategic path to enhance its fixed-line capabilities and foster its market position in B2B,” a Monday statement read.
Google lost an emergency appeal, meaning it is posting a notice in the middle of its French homepage for a period of 48 hours that tells users it violated their privacy. Read more »
Canada’s Telus is replacing key cards with SIM cards as the security credentials necessary to enter its buildings. Employees need only wave their NFC phones over a contactless sensor to gain entry. Read more »
The Finnish infrastructure-as-a-service provider is moving into the U.S. with a slightly secretive new model that, it claims, will protect customers’ personal data from U.S. authorities. Read more »
Critics charge that the NBC News report that your smartphones and computers get hacked the minute you arrive in Russia is erroneous and misleading. Read more »
Here’s a new paywall perk: Digital subscribers to the U.K.’s Times or Sunday Times can get a free year-long membership to Spotify Premium (normally $9.99 or £9.99 per month), through a special offer starting this Sunday. New and existing subscribers to the Times‘ two annual products — a digital-only subscription or a digital-plus-print subscription — are eligible. “Spotify said [this deal] is the first it has done of this nature with any media owner,” the Guardian notes.
The Turkish parliament has passed draconian new amendments to its internet law, which will allow the authorities to block content at the URL level without a court order, something critics of the new law say will effectively kill free speech Read more »
The caller ID and reverse phone directory app, which is only now seriously turning its sights on Western markets, is also touting major growth, having jumped from 10 million users in January 2013 to 45 million today. Read more »
KnCMiner, a Swedish company that makes hardcore hardware for the Bitcoin mining crowd, is constructing a data center for that very purpose. As reported by Data Center Knowledge, the 10-megawatt facility is being built in Boden, in a former army hangar nearby Facebook’s Lulea data center — northern Sweden is cold with great renewable energy facilities, and is as such an ideal data center location. According to KnCMiner co-founder Sam Cole, it will go live in the coming months as the first of many planned “mega data centers” for Bitcoin mining, a larger one of which may be situated nearby if talks with local authorities pan out.
Russian web giant Yandex may focus on customers in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but its research efforts are widespread — speech recognition R&D takes place in Zurich, and on Thursday the company said it’s coming to Berlin for mapping work. Yandex’s mapping partner is Navteq or, as it is known these days, Nokia Here, and Berlin has long been a hub for that team. Yandex said it will hire 30-40 people for its Berlin office during 2014 to work on its global Yandex.Maps service and, while the company still has no intention of pushing into the German market, a spokesman told me it would look into partnership opportunities with local startups.
Both TeleGeography and Cisco are pegging 2013 as the year that global 2G connections stopped growing globally, giving way to newer 3G and 4G devices. But it will be a long path toward obsolescence. Read more »
The deal should make it easier for shops to accept contactless payments from the handsets of Vodafone, EE and O2 customers. Read more »
Roger Levy says SkySQL will move into a relational database innovation phase now, rather than just trying to provide an alternative to Oracle’s MySQL. Read more »