uTorrent Mines Litecoin, Border Agents Demand Passwords [Tech News Digest]
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
Hey so uTorrent pulling down their forum, where the litecoin miner thing was revealed, isn’t skeevy or suspicious at all
— Misty: Into Dreams (@mistydemeo) March 6, 2015
Popular Bittorrent client uTorrent 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 . 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?
They can ask me for my mobile phone password at the border, but they can’t ask me to change my goatse background picture.
— Leonard Ritter (@paniq) March 9, 2015
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 .
Pandora Plans One-Day Paid Passes
Pandora 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 . 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 , 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 . 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
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