Microsoft Supports Killing Passwords, Are You Being Spied On? [Tech News Digest]
Microsoft hates passwords, spies come clean, AT&T carries BlackBerry, the Dotcom MegaNet, Rock Band reboot rumors, and Cortana makes a good girlfriend.
Windows 10 Will Support FIDO
Read about a day in the life of the Windows 10 team: . pic.twitter.com/qvpj6k8Cru
— Windows (@Windows) February 14, 2015
Passwords may soon be a thing of the past, and Microsoft is one company supporting such a change. To prove its commitment to the cause, Microsoft has announced that the forthcoming Windows 10 will support the next version of the Fast IDentification Online (FIDO) standard.
FIDO aims “to address the lack of interoperability among strong authentication devices as well as the problems users face with creating and remembering multiple usernames and passwords.” In order to do this the alliance “plans to change the nature of authentication by developing specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that supplant reliance on passwords to securely authenticate users of online services.”
In layman’s terms this means replacing passwords with biometrics and USB dongles. While announcing its support for FIDO, the company stated that moving beyond the password is “one of the top priorities for us here at Microsoft.” Google and PayPal are two of the other major tech companies supporting FIDO.
Did GCHQ Illegally Spy on You?
Wonder if GCHQ spend a lot of time watching folks who make sarky comments about them on Twitter as they do terrorists.
— Tesla’s Cat (@LaReyneDEpee) February 17, 2015
You can now discover whether Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA), its U.S. equivalent, has ever illegally spied on you. This is thanks to a campaign by Privacy International (PI).
Human rights watchdog PI is asking people, from anywhere in the world, to submit a form containing their basic personal details. All submitted forms will then be collated into one file submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) with the request that all records on the individuals involved are deleted.
The specific intelligence-gathering in question is information collected by the NSA and shared with GCHQ, an action recently judged to be illegal in a UK court ruling. Unfortunately, the requests could take years to be resolved, and getting involved means voluntarily handing your personal details to GCHQ. Still, it’s unquestionably a positive initiative.
BlackBerry Passport Lands on AT&T
The two most recent BlackBerry devices, the Passport and the Classic, are coming to AT&T starting Feb. 20. This is the first time these handsets have been available to buy from a carrier, previously having only been available either from Amazon or BlackBerry itself.
The BlackBerry Passport will cost $649.99 on its own or $199.99 with a contract, while the Classic will cost $419.99 or $49.99. The Passport will be an AT&T exclusive, while the Classic will be coming to other carriers in the not-too-distant future.
Kim Dotcom Teases His MegaNet
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— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 16, 2015
Kim Dotcom has been making vague promises on Twitter of launching his own version of the Internet. Called MegaNet (what else!), this would be a non-IP-based, decentralized network based on the blockchain as used by Bitcoin.
Dotcom promises that his Utopian MegaNet couldn’t be “controlled, censored or destroyed by Governments of Corporations.” It would also mean “no more spying [and] no more DDoS or hacking.” Which all sounds fantastic, but we’ll believe it when we actually see it.
Is a Rock Band Relaunch Imminent?
There is increasing speculation that Harmonix is preparing to reboot Rock Band, a series which has been dead since 2012. After a break of almost two years, some new songs were released in January. And two more have been added this week.
The two songs are Rize of the Fenix by Tenacious D and Back to the Shack by Weezer. Both of which are about making a triumphant return. Hence the assumption this could be a precursor to an announcement of a new title being developed for the next-gen consoles. We can but hope.
Trading Siri in for Cortana
And finally, while Valentine’s Day has been and gone, Microsoft’s latest ad for Cortana still makes sense. It shows a guy who breaks off a relationship to start a new, better, relationship with someone else. Cortana, to be specific.
His ex just happens to be called Siri , who he dumped for Cortana. Sure, it meant trading in his iPhone for a Windows Phone , but he seems perfectly happy with the choice he made. Let’s just hope his real girlfriend doesn’t get jealous of the new woman in his life .
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Would you be happy to see the use of passwords come to an end? Will you be discovering whether or not you have been spied on? Do you think Kim Dotcom’s MegaNet will ever actually exist?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: a2gemma via Flickr