Government Surveillance, Xbox One Backwards Compatibility, Game of Thrones Game [Tech News Digest]

Today in Tech News Digest, a coalition of Internet companies is formed to fight government surveillance, Windows 7 is declared dead, Xbox One users are tricked into bricking their consoles, a Game Of Thrones video game is announced, Creative Commons 4.0 arrives, Google News on iOS and Android is improved, and SpaghettiOs has a Twitter nightmare.

Reform Government Surveillance Coalition

A coalition of seven Internet companies has been formed to fight back against government surveillance. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and AOL are collectively calling for global government surveillance reform, arguing that “current laws and practices need to be reformed.” A website detailing the demands has gone live, and an open letter has been published in several American newspapers.

All of the companies involved issued statements regarding their membership of this coalition, with Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, saying, “People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.” This all comes on the back of serious and persistent leaks revealing just how much ordinary citizens are being monitored.

It’s important to note that while the Edward Snowden revelations have mostly involved the NSA, countries other than the U.S. — including the U.K. and Australia — are involved in surveilling their own citizens. Hence the need for global reform rather than just a change to the laws in the United States.

These companies all collect data about their users, and that practice isn’t going to end anytime soon. This coalition is merely seeking changes to the laws that mean intelligence agencies can demand access to this information whenever they choose. For sworn enemies such as Google and Microsoft to team up in this way, these companies must be serious about seeing this fight through all the way to its conclusion.

Windows 7 Is Dead

Microsoft has withdrawn Windows 7 from sale through retailers, but PCs with the popular operating system preinstalled on them will still be available for at least another year. While this is the end of official sales, Windows 7 can still be purchased from retailers holding stock, and existing stock could (as it has with older versions of Windows) last for several more years. Still, if you’re not a fan of Windows 8 then now is as good a time as any to buy a copy of Windows 7.

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Trick

The Xbox One is incapable of playing Xbox 360 games, with backwards compatibility not possible on either of the next-gen consoles. Unfortunately, an Internet troll is preying on this fact in order to trick people into bricking their Xbox One with a simple guide to “unlock” backwards compatibility. This guide is being shared heavily across social networks but should not be taken seriously under any circumstances. Otherwise your shiny new Xbox One will no longer work… you have been warned.

Game of Thrones Game Announced

Telltale Games has officially announced a new title based on the Game Of Thrones television series. The developer is best known for The Walking Dead graphic adventure which scored extremely well with critics. Telltale Games has once again teamed up with HBO for the Game Of Thrones title, which is due to be released in 2014. Beyond that, little is known about the nature of the game, but another graphic adventure seems highly likely.

Creative Commons 4.0 Arrives

creative commons 40   Government Surveillance, Xbox One Backwards Compatibility, Game of Thrones Game [Tech News Digest]

Creative Commons 4.0 has arrived, with the new licenses making the whole thing more user-friendly and geared towards the global community. Dozens of changes have been made for CC v4.0, which helps people protect and share their creative ventures. Works licensed by Creative Commons can easily be found using CC Search.

Google News Improved On Mobile

google news for mobile   Government Surveillance, Xbox One Backwards Compatibility, Game of Thrones Game [Tech News Digest]

Google News has been redesigned for Android and iOS, with the new version offering a better experience for those on smartphones. The new Google News for mobile can be customized to suit individual tastes, and the whole thing is based on the cards UI already utilized by Android. Unfortunately, none of this will make the news any less depressing to read.

SpaghettiOs Apologizes For Pearl Harbor Tweet

And finally, SpaghettiOs has apologized for a tweet some people considered to be offensive. The tweet, which has now been deleted, was to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the event which brought the U.S. into World War II.

The tweet read, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” But it was the accompanying picture, showing the smiling, lip-licking SpaghettiOs mascot holding a U.S. flag, that drew complaints.

With more than 2,400 Americans having been killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor such a light-hearted image was clearly ill-advised, but the level of condemnation aimed at SpaghettiOs seems a little OTT. Perhaps brands should just play it safe and avoid piggybacking on occasions such as this one. Or at least read our free guide to social media marketing first.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks

Image Credit: Frerk Meyer

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6 Comments -

0 votes

dragonmouth

“A coalition of seven Internet companies has been formed to fight back against government surveillance. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and AOL are collectively calling for global government surveillance reform, arguing that “current laws and practices need to be reformed.””

The companies’ position is that only they should be allowed to collect data on their customers/clients/users. If NSA and/or any other government agency want the data, they should purchase it from the companies. After all, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and AOL worked very hard collecting that data and should be remunerated for their efforts.

“Windows 7 Is Dead”
The king is dead, long live the king! Microsoft will do anything to force everyone to migrate to Windows 8, even kill off a successful and popular O/S.

Microsft must first drive a stake through XP’s heart, which they have not been able to do due to strong corporate customer resitance. Once they eradicate XP, then they can start on eradicating all traces and vestiges of Win 7. Good Luck, M$!

0 votes

Kevin M

Windows 7 is not dead, Microsoft is killing it because they are not making enough money off of it. They want their precious Windows 8 to take off and the only way to do that is to deny the sales of its better sibling. At least now this means soon I will be able to install and run pirated versions of Windows 7 without repercussions from the greedy giant!

0 votes

Dave P

In the eyes of Microsoft Windows 7 is dead, because, as you say, they want (need) Windows 8 to take off in a big, bad way.

0 votes

Kevin M.

That is the biggest issue with Microsoft Dave, its all about what “they” need and has NEVER been about what their customers need. From day one we have been forced to comply or move to another platform. The good news in all this is, as with all businesses Microsofts days are numbered and with the release of Windows 8 it becomes clear just how bad off (desperation) this company really is.

0 votes

Nick K

“Reform Government Surveillance Coalition”

While this is a good thing you must remember that all of these companies are solely looking out for their own interests, and their only interest is making more money. This could be a sign that these corporations are growing too big for the government to control (which IMO is worse), or it could simply be a pr stunt. For example with Microsoft, it wouldn’t matter if they “fought” against it, or even encrypted their data (which they have only started doing) if they gave the corporations a backdoor. All-in-all I wouldn’t trust any of these companies , mainly because they are all actively trying to invade your privacy, just like the government.

“Windows 7 Is Dead”

While M$ may consider W7 to be dead their customers do not, Windows 7 is the most widely used OS in the world, and even if they’ve stopped shipping physical copies there is always digital download (torrent, or whatever). While I use like and use 8.1, its foolish to say W7 is dead.

0 votes

Frank P

not to long ago there was a hack for ps4, let the trolling commence!