Microsoft has disclosed that it has sought permission from the U.S. government to disclose to the public how it handles requests from the Federal government for user data. Microsoft says “We believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us.”
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the concerns that many had that the new Microsoft Xbox One had built-in spying capabilities, especially as it needed to be connected to the Internet at least 1 hour a day. In fact with the leaks about the NSA PRISM program some were even wondering whether the new Xbox One would have an ‘NSA Spycam’ (in fact we had someone searching for that on our site).
Edward Snowden has come forward as the whistleblower in the NSA and PRISM scandal in which it has been discovered that through the PRISM program, the NSA and other agencies have had access to user data at such major Internet companies as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Hotmail and Apple. In the 12+ minute interview, Edward Snowden explains why he did it, and admits that by outing himself, he puts himself in danger from agencies such as the CIA and the NSA itself.
The Internet, the country, and indeed the whole world is abuzz with the news of PRISM, the no-longer-secret program of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) first exposed by Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper The Guardian, through which the United States federal government is accessing and mining all sorts of user data from the major ISPs and possibly cell phone companies. Data which is potentially about just about anybody and everybody, even you. The list of companies and ISPs alleged to be involved with PRISM, by which we mean allowing the government to data mine their users’ data, is impressive (read as “scary”) indeed, although most of them are quick to deny it. However, we have evidence (see screenshots below) that even though they are denying it, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, and AOL are all involved. There are rumours of DropBox and Amazon joining. And Verizon is also giving the Feds access to their user data. But as 1984 as this all is, we really only have one question: why is anybody surprised?
There has been a lot of speculation that the new Microsoft XBox One (XBox 1) will essentially be spying on its owners. Well, ‘spying’ may be too strong a word but, at least, that it will have the potential to spy on its owners when combined with the required Kinect motion-detecting web-cam, an ever-vigilant watching and listening device connected to the Internet. These concerns arose after rumours started spreading that the new XBox One required a near 24/7 Internet connection and requires the Kinect.
Microsoft has been fined to the tune of $732 million by the European Union, for failing to adhere to the requirements of a settlement agreement that resulted from Microsoft’s restrictive shipping of Windows computers pre-loaded with Internet Explorer as the default web browser, and with no obvious alternative. Joaquin Almunia, competition commissioner for the European Union, noted that it had been a mistake to let Microsoft monitor their own compliance with the agreement.
PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. has introduced the table PC, a 27-inch table computer that allows users to play boardgames, with the screen responding to up to ten fingers at the same time. Users can stick the 27-inch screen device on top of any table, or create a touch screen table with the optional coffee table that fits the device, and features sliding glass panels to cover the device when you are through playing board games.
The Internet is buzzing with Oprah Winfrey’s latest snafu – tweeting how much she loves the Microsoft Surface – from her iPad.
If you ever wanted to match the face to a name you just learned, or if you find yourself kicking yourself over missing a fabulous photo opportunity, then the tiny little Memoto clip-on camera may be just the device for you. Still in its concept phase, the device is promising to hold pubic interest, having already raised $245,000 on Kickstarter, far surpassing their goal of $50,000.
If Microsoft wanted to play it safe when designing their new logo, they pulled it off flawlessly. While a few are calling the new logo “great,” and a few are calling it “awful,” it seems the overwhelming response is “meh.”
Skype has found themselves in a privacy PR nightmare as reports are slowly coming out that the online voice and video chat company may be cooperating with governing authorities to make private conversations more accessible. As those with privacy concerns fear that yet another communications company is selling out user privacy, Skype is quick to deny that anything is changing. They do acknowledge that they have made technical upgrades to the Skype systems, but are quick to assert that these upgrades have nothing to do with helping police spy on those who are possibly using Skype to discuss illegal activity.
Microsoft announced today that it has taken an interest in the Kindle competitor, Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader. That is, a $300 million interest. That is how much Microsoft has announced that they are investing in the Barnes & Noble device. They have also announced Windows 8 will come pre-loaded with a Nook app.
Microsoft Hotmail, the world’s largest email provider, is better at blocking spam than Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail, according to a study released by the independent research firm Cascade Insights. The study only tested these companies – the so-called big three email providers – and was sponsored by Microsoft, which funded the research to combat their bad reputation for allowing loads of spam into users’ inboxes.
Several email providers that normally compete with one another, like Google Gmail and Microsoft Hotmail, have teamed up in an effort to better protect email users from spam and fraudulent messages. The new system is called DMARC, short for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. With a united front, the war against spam may have a powerful new weapon.