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NSA Facials, Beats Kills MOG, Kills Archive, Heartbleed Spam [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 02-06-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, the NSA collects photos, Beats kills MOG, deletes its video archive, Google offers the right to be forgotten, the Heartbleed bug lives on, Springpad is shutting down, and Cloverfield loses the shaky cam.


The NSA Is Collecting Millions Of Faces

The National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting millions of images through different forms of communication, according to a report from The New York Times. This is the latest revelation to emerge from the documents obtained by Edward Snowden, the agency contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden Talks, TrueCrypt Mystery, Ballmer Buys L.A. Clippers [Tech News Digest] Edward Snowden talks to NBC, troubling TrueCrypt tales, CryEngine comes to Steam, Google Video Quality Report ranks ISPs, Vimeo's gets High Maintenance, Ballmer buys the Clippers, and 25 years of LOLs. Read More .

It’s alleged the NSA intercepts “millions of images per day,” tens of thousands of which are “facial recognition quality images.” These are then used to track “suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets” using advanced facial recognition techniques.

Despite the NSA’s facial recognition methods 5 Fascinating Search Engines That Search for Faces There are search engines that can find someone from their photo. Here are several face recognition search engines to try. Read More being described as advanced, mistakes are still commonplace, with several being detailed in the documents. As well as its own in-house technology, the NSA is believed to use commercially available software, including PittPatt, which is owned by Google.

It should come as no surprise that the NSA intercepts and collects images of suspected terrorists. However, the scale of the operation, as described in these documents, is shocking, and with so many images being captured, there are bound to be photos of ordinary, law-abiding civilians caught in the net.

MOG Is Dead, Killed By Beats

MOG is officially dead, with the streaming music site now redirecting users to Beats Music. Beats bought MOG in 2012 for $14 million and used it as the basis for Beats Music. This move comes just a few days after Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion Apple Finally Buys Beats, Microsoft Teases Skype Translator, Hidden Cash on Twitter [Tech News Digest] Apple gets Beats; a promise of real time translations from Microsoft; Chrome turns into a walled garden; Billboard ranks songs on Twitter; Uber gears up for the future; Avast hacked; and a Twitter cash grab. Read More .


MOG founder David Hyman told TechCrunch, “I’m incredibly proud of the team and our accomplishments. We raised the bar and significantly contributed to ushering in the new wave of streaming music.” MOG users are being offered a two-month free trial of Beats Music The Algorithm is People! Rocking out with Beats Music for Android Beats Music is aiming to turn your phone into a virtual DJ. Read More . Kills Video Archiving is deleting its archive of recorded live streams, and removing the archiving feature on all future videos. This move, happening on June 8, will destroy seven years of archived material, and change the nature of the service is offering.

The reason being given is the lack of interest in watching archived streams, with the vast majority of archived videos being viewed less than 10 times. Even premium users are affected, meaning any user who wants to retain a copy of their past videos should download them ASAP.

Google Offers Right To Be Forgotten

Google has responded quickly to a ruling by the European Court of Justice that Internet users deserve the “right to be forgotten. EU citizens keen to have search results about them removed from Google need to fill out an online form which requires proof of identity and lots of relevant information.


Even before the form went live Google had received thousands of requests, and a further 12,000 were received in the hours following its appearance. This decision by a European court is therefore likely to cost Google big in terms of time and money spent fixing the issue. This despite the majority of the MakeUseOf readership not caring one iota.

The Heartbleed Bug Is Still Causing Chaos

Almost two months after the Heartbleed bug Heartbleed – What Can You Do To Stay Safe? Read More first reared its ugly head, it’s still causing problems across the Internet.

According to a report by Portuguese security researcher Luis Grangeia (via The Verge) the bug could be used over Wi-Fi to pull data from enterprise routers or Android devices. Meanwhile, Symantec is warning of spam emails offering a Heartbleed bug removal tool that’s actually a keylogger.

The message is clear: ensure your devices are up-to-date and not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, and don’t believe any too-good-to-be-true emails offering a quick fix.


Springpad Is Shutting Down

The note-taking and information-capturing service Springpad is shutting down on June 25 Springpad Shutting Down June 25th - Back Up To Evernote Now The information capturing service, is shutting down on June 25th. The Springpad blog says that because of a lack of funding, the site, which was free to members, is no longer self-sustaining. Read More due to a lack of funds. Users are being urged to migrate their content to another service such as Evernote Why You Should Be Using Evernote As Your Go-To Place For Remembering Everything Remember Everything. That’s the Evernote motto and that’s what it allows you to do best. If you aren't familiar yet with Evernote, you’re in for a real treat! If you have heard of it, but... Read More , which can be accomplished via an HTML data backup, and/or an importable JSON file What Is JSON? A Layman's Overview Whether you plan to be a web developer or not, it's a good idea to at least know what is JSON, why it's important, and why it's used all around the web. Read More .

Cloverfield Without The Shaky Cam

And finally, your enjoyment of J.J. Abrams’ monster movie Cloverfield was likely determined by your tolerance for the shaky camera effect used throughout. This technique offers a heightened sense of realism, but it’s not exactly audience-friendly.

Now, thanks to an unnamed Vimeo user, we can all watch Cloverfield without the shaky cam effect. It’s not pretty, but it does offer an alternative for those who felt nauseous watching the original. At least until Paramount gets it taken down.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr


Related topics: Google, Google Search, Online Privacy, Online Security, Springpad.

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  1. Maryon Jeane
    June 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I was a long-time, Premium user of Evernote - and it destroyed a lot of my data. ("A lot", in some senses, is worse than destroying the whole lot because it's like being burgled, you keep finding more things that you didn't realise initially that you'd lost.) Their answer, basically, was "Sorry about that, yes it happens sometimes" and I had to send a lot of help requests even to get that. My fault, perhaps, because it happened once before with Evernote and that time I did get a big apology (although I had to contact the CEO through Facebook to get any action) and some attempt to get the data back (which failed) but I still trusted them and went on using them. Of course having to migrate a very large database was a huge disincentive to moving as well.

    I will never again trust anything Cloud-based for my data, I only use it for some backups. I migrated to AllMyNotes and use BitTorrent Sync to keep everything up-to-date. My data is safe and private - and it costs me far less that Evernote did into the bargain.

  2. dragonmouth
    June 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    NSA - the surest way of capturing the facial images of terrorists is to capture EVERYBODY'S face. May not be moral, may not be legal but it does the job. BTW - You never know who might become an "enemy of the state." If they do, NSA already has the individual's face in their archives.

    GOOGLE - let me get this straight. In order for Google to delete some data about me, I have to fill out an online form providing Google with more information about me? That's what I call chutzpah.

    CLOVERFIELD et al - in order to produce a more real "reality effect" the makers resort to supposedly hand-held camera work. All this shaking does is to induce nausea, vertigo and disorientation in the viewer.