Tech News

uTorrent Mines Litecoin, Border Agents Demand Passwords [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 09-03-2015

uTorrent mines Bitcoin variant, border password panic, one-day Pandora passes, get Syndicate for free, email is too complicated, and the world’s longest selfie stick.


uTorrent Accused Over Silent Installs

Popular Bittorrent client uTorrent uTorrent Tips & Tricks Read More stands accused of installing a cryptocurrency miner to users’ computers without asking for permission. Epic Scale is a tool which uses a host computer’s CPU cycles to mine Litecoin A Full Guide To Getting Started With Mining Litecoin Read More . It has been bundled with uTorrent for several weeks, but an increasing number of users are reporting it’s now being installed without their permission.

uTorrent is playing down the issue, insisting it has “double-checked this particular offer, and … determined that it cannot be installed without user approval.” It seems that while most people are seeing the opt-in/opt-out page, some are not, and they’re the ones complaining about this stealthy install.

Epic Scale claims that it only uses your CPU when the computer is inactive, and that charities benefit from the cryptocurrency mining. It is also promising to investigate the problem with its “distribution partners.” However, this is unlikely to appease those who have discovered their CPU being hijacked by a program they never agreed to install on their machine.

Is Your Smartphone Password Sacrosanct?

Would you give up your smartphone password so that border agents can look through it at their leisure? Alain Philippon from Quebec, Canada, refused to do just that when customs officials at the Canadian border insisted he let them look through his BlackBerry before reentering the country. And he was subsequently arrested and charged with obstructing border officials from doing their job.

Philippon’s case will now be heard in court in a trial set for May. As this is the first time a Canadian citizen has been charged for refusing to unlock their cellphone, the outcome could set a precedent for the future. If found guilty, Philippon faces a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000, plus the possibility of one year in jail.


In the United States, a warrant is required before law enforcement agents can search a suspect’s phone, thanks to a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court in June 2014. However, these murky waters have yet to be tested in Canada, which makes Philippon’s case a vital one for privacy advocates everywhere Privacy In The UK: The Data Retention And Investigation Powers Bill Read More .

Pandora Plans One-Day Paid Passes

Pandora 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Pandora Music Radio Read More is looking to offer one-day paid passes for those who have no interest in the monthly Pandora One plans. The idea is to offer users ad-free listening for 24 hours for just 99 cents, which would suit those holding barbecues or other one-off events. The company told GigaOM, “Pricing and exact timing are yet to be determined but we expect it to be available later this year.

Get the Original Syndicate for Free

You can now get a free copy of the original Syndicate game from 1993 by signing up to EA’s digital distribution service Origin. Syndicate was a Bullfrog game produced by the legendary Peter Molyneux, and is now rightly regarded as being one of the classics of the strategy genre 6 of the Hardest, Most Unforgiving Strategy Games Ever Ready to distinguish yourself from the masses? Here are some of the toughest strategy games ever designed. Try mastering all of them. Read More . Sure, it’s 22 years old, but good gameplay always ages well.

The Tech Expert Who Doesn’t Use Email

Hillary Clinton is currently facing strong criticism for using a personal email account to conduct official business while Secretary of State. While this is clearly not good, it does at least shows that Clinton actively uses technology as it’s meant to be used. Unlike one of her fiercest critics, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.


It turns out that Graham has never sent an email in his life, as he revealed on NBC’s Meet The Press. Asked whether he has his own private email address, Graham replied, “I don’t email. No, you can have every email I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.” Which is fine until you realize he’s a member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Oh.

The Longest Selfie Stick in the World

And finally, how would Londoners 10 Essential Websites For Visiting London London is a great city to visit. I should know, having lived on the outskirts of it for 30 years before I upped sticks and headed north to Manchester, another great British city. London is... Read More , who aren’t exactly known for their happy, easy-going attitudes, react when faced with the longest selfie stick in the world? Surprisingly, most of them coped remarkably well with the ridiculous invasion of their privacy.

Most, but not all, as some complained to the police about the length of this particular selfie stick. Still, it’s probably no more annoying than the average, everyday, run-of-the-mill selfie stick 6 Gifts For The World Traveller In Your Life What do you buy for someone who prizes experiences over things? Here are 6 awesome gifts you can get for the intrepid adventurer in your life. Read More . Especially for Londoners trying to go about their business. Grumpily. [H/T PetaPixel]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Has this sometimes-silent install put you off using uTorrent? Would you let a customs official look through your smartphone? Should someone who has never used email be allowed on a technology subcommittee?


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: BTC Keychain via Flickr

Related topics: Email Tips, Smartphone Security.

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  1. GG
    March 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Re. Selfie Stick, whether in London or anywhere else, there no privacy on the streets...

  2. Tengu
    March 10, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I am pretty sure that I didnt Accept it, but is there an application to check to see if it was installed during a uTorrent installation?

  3. Tengu
    March 10, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I am pretty sure that I didnt Accept it, but is there an application to check to see if it was installed during a uTorrent installation?

  4. Evan
    March 10, 2015 at 9:37 am

    The reason some people don't see the opt-out page is becasue rather than the usual check box, it has only "accept" and "decline" buttons - which is confusing because clicking decline means not installing Epic Scale, but still installing uTorrent.

  5. Maria
    March 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    When I go overseas there is not a Customs I go through that asks me to start up my laptop to see what is on it. WHY????????????? are Smartphones treated differently? Why is some border patrol officer hell-bend on seeing the contents of someone's smartphone? Oh yeah, I forgot, terrorism, making sure people stay afraid because, heaven forbid, we might actually get on with our lives and do something like investigating why a lot of things happen that shouldn't happen. Like for instance using total IT dummies to populate technology committees. But then again, if you are a dummy you can exasperate everyone and while they are looking your way they don't see what is being sneaked in via the backdoor.

    • Charles
      March 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Maria, it's not so much for them to see what is on the laptop as to now that it isn't a laptop shell being used to "house" some type of explosive device.

  6. David
    March 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Before today, I thought it would be absurd to ask a member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law questions like "Do you know what the internet is?", or "Do you know what a computer is?".

    Now I'm not so sure.

  7. R A Myers
    March 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Dear Mr. Parrack,

    Thank you for the information that a warrant is needed to require you to "open" your cell phone's contents.

    R A Myers

  8. Will Radie
    March 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The way uTorrent has handled this has been a complete slap in the face to its user base... Putting aside the insane fact that they bundled a crypto currency miner in there installer, which alone is right up there with touching your mother inappropriately... They had to play the "You didn't read the installer" defense, which is only slightly less insulting... They knew damn well that they were using one of the biggest scumbag techniques know and had zero problem signing off on it... Their next move is going to be emails from a Nigerian prince, and then stand behind it and blame their users.

    I can also vouch that they shut down their forum and have been whitewashing any comments that are critical of their scam on their blog posts...

    When will these companies learn... The coverup is usually worse the the initial discretion. Maybe not the case here, given how insane the original sin was, but man did they give it their best effort at proving that old adage true.