Today in Tech News Digest, GCHQ spies on Yahoo, Bitcoin vs. the Federal Reserve, 25 years of the Web, Apple admiration, Amazon’s plans for a music streaming service, Warner Bros. is making a Minecraft movie, and a working Game Boy is revealed as the best cosplay ever.
British Spies Targeted Yahoo Webcams
GCHQ thinks nude people are “offensive.” But invading their privacy? Not at all. Oy. http://t.co/EaFyRE3NnS
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) February 27, 2014
GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, spied on Yahoo users chatting via webcam. The program, titled Optic Nerve, is the latest revelation to emerge from the documents obtained by Edward Snowden.
Optic Nerve saw British spies, aided by their American counterparts, collect still images from webcams, with 1.8 million users targeted in just six months. The still images were collected at random, with one still captured every five minutes.
The document claims that between 3 percent and 11 percent of the images obtained from Yahoo webcams contained “undesirable nudity.” GCHQ seems concerned about its staff being confronted with nudity, stating, “users who may feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them.”
Yahoo issued a statement regarding the report, telling the Guardian, “We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity. This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable … We are committed to preserving our users’ trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services.”
Bitcoin & The Federal Reserve
No matter what happens with Bitcoin, it seems an alternative currency is inevitable at this point. With or without a governments blessing.
— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) February 27, 2014
Bitcoin is in a bit of a crisis at the moment thanks to the happenings at MtGox. This has led U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to demand federal regulators ban the cryptocurrency thanks to its “highly unstable and disruptive” nature.
Unfortunately for Manchin, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has suggested they’re powerless to act, with the Wall Street Journal reporting her as saying, “The Federal Reserve simply does not have authority to supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way. This is a payment innovation that is taking place entirely outside the banking industry.”
This is both the blessing and the curse of Bitcoin. It’s beyond government control, which is why it was set up in the first place. But this means that when an institution fails, as MtGox has, there is no recourse for those caught up in the mess. In other words, dealing in Bitcoin, and any other cryptocurrencies, is more of a gamble than dealing in a physical currency.
Pew Tracks 25 Years Of The Web
To commemorate the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the Web, Pew has conducted a new survey revealing our attitudes to this innovation. Marketing Land has a good overview of the results, which show, amongst other things, that 76 percent of people think the Internet has been a “good thing” for society. The other 24 percent of people are idiots.
Apple Is The Most Admired Company
Forbes names @tim_cook and Apple the most admired corporation. I wonder how their suicidal, slave labor force feels about that?
— C.T. (@Iservedrinks) February 27, 2014
Apple has topped the list of “most admired companies” for the seventh year in a row. The list is compiled by Fortune and based on a survey of corporate peers. Apple beat Amazon and Google into second and third place, respectively. Because it turns out corporate executives are Apple fanboys too.
Amazon Wants To Spotify
— Brad Stone (@BradStone) February 27, 2014
Amazon is reportedly negotiating with the major record labels in the hopes of launching its own music streaming service. According to Re/code, Amazon is months away from a deal because it’s asking for “a substantial discount” on the pricing terms given to existing efforts such as Spotify and Beats Music.
If Amazon were to secure the content needed for its own music streaming service, it’s likely to add it to Amazon Prime, which already gets its paying members both Instant Video for watching TV and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for borrowing eBooks. Expect the price of Amazon Prime to rise as soon as this deal is done.
Warner Bros. Making Minecraft Movie
Minecraft is being made into a movie, with Warner Bros. acquiring the rights. The property looks to be in good hands, with the producer of ‘The LEGO Movie’ being on board. However, the suggestion that this will be “live-action” rather than animated may worry some Minecraft fans. And moviegoers. And anyone with even a hint of common sense.
Working Game Boy = Best Cosplay Ever
It is, in a nutshell, a playable Game Boy, worn by someone, somewhere, who really needs to come forward to claim credit for such genius.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks
Image Credit: Francis Storr via Flickr