A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.
Even as Silicon Valley speaks out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, technology companies are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data. Tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency trolls deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers, companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are aggressively battling any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users' information.
Counselors helping people use the federal government's online health exchange are giving mixed reviews to the updated site, with some zipping through the application process while others are facing the same old sputters and even crashes. The Obama administration had promised a vastly improved shopping experience on healthcare.gov by the end of November, and this is the first week for users to test the updated site.
Online retailer Amazon.com aiming to deliver packages quicker than pizza. Its so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project, now underway in Amazon’s research and development labs, could get goods to customers in 30 minutes or less. But the company admits it will take years to advance the needed technology and for the needed federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations to be created.
The Chinese government has declared victory in cleaning up what it considers rumors, negativity and unruliness from online discourse, while critics say the moves have suppressed criticism of the government and ruling Communist Party. Beijing launched the campaign this summer, arresting dozens of people for spreading rumors and creating new penalties for people who post libelous information.
Einstein@Home creates a global supercomputer by connecting more than 350,000 participants that contribute to a variety of scientific projects, particularly astronomy, by conducting distributed analysis routines with their home computers. This resource has already found several pulsars hidden in radio telescope data. Now, “citizen scientists” have helped researchers discover four new gamma-ray pulsars.
The scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, says a growing tide of surveillance is threatening democracy's future. Lee, a former R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year said Friday that as more people use the Internet and social media to "expose wrongdoing," some governments are feeling threatened.
Yahoo is expanding its efforts to protect its users' online activities from prying eyes by encrypting all the communications and other information flowing into the Internet company's data centers around the world. The commitment announced Monday by Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer follows a recent Washington Post report...
A federal judge on Thursday tossed out a class-action lawsuit brought by authors against Google Inc., clearing the way for the Internet giant to create the world's largest digital library. Google already has scanned more than 20 million books for the project. The Authors Guild, which brought the suit, was seeking $750 for each copyrighted book that was copied.
Google has become less likely to comply with government demands for its users' online communications and other activities as authorities in the U.S. and other countries become more aggressive about mining the Internet for personal data. Legal requests from governments for people’s data have risen 21% from the last half of last year.
Iris scans, fingerprint scans, facial and voice recognition are tools that improve security while making our lives easier, says Stephen Elliott, director of international biometric research at Purdue Univ. His basement lab is a place where emerging biometric technologies are tested for weaknesses before they can go mainstream.
Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists have developed a new password system that incorporates inkblots to provide an extra measure of protection when, as so often occurs, lists of passwords get stolen from websites. This new type of password, dubbed a GOTCHA, would be suitable for protecting high-value accounts, such as bank accounts, medical records and other sensitive information.
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have joined with an international team to engineer and measure a potentially important new class of nanostructured materials for microwave and advanced communication devices.
Google says it is investing 450 million euros to expand a data center in southern Finland as part of Europe-wide development plans totaling hundreds of millions of euros. The investment comes on top of the 350 million euros Google Inc. has spent converting an old paper mill, which started operations as a data center in 2011.
In the hugely popular game Minecraft, players can freely build and create their own world by mining and stacking different types of bricks in a sandbox-like environment. Because of its customizable dynamic, the game has also become a background platform for many user-generated modifications, or "mods". Researchers and the developers of Minecraft have built a new Google-funded mod that introduces quantum mechanics into the game's landscape.
A patent filing shows Samsung Electronics Co. is working on a device it calls sports glasses in a possible response to Google's Internet-connected eyewear. A design patent filing at the Korean Intellectual Property Office shows a Samsung design for smartphone-connected glasses that can display information from the handset.
Over the past three years, 300,000 gamers have helped scientists with genomic research by playing Phylo, an online puzzle game. Now, the McGill Univ. researchers who developed the game are making this crowd of players available to scientists around the globe. The idea is to put human talent to work to improve on what is already being done by computers in the field of comparative genomics.
For those wanting to keep their distance from health threats like E. coli-contaminated lettuce or the flu, there are two upcoming apps for that. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory hosted a competition last summer where graduate students used Android development tools and web-based analytics to design mobile apps that could help fight the threats of food-related illnesses and the flu.
European Union lawmakers on Monday adopted sweeping new data protection rules to strengthen online privacy, and sought to outlaw most data transfers to other countries' authorities to prevent spying. The draft regulation was beefed up after Edward Snowden's leaks about allegedly widespread U.S. online snooping, and the legislation is poised to have significant implications for U.S. Internet companies.
Tracking blood flow in the laboratory is an important tool for studying ailments and is usually measured in the clinic using professional imaging equipment and techniques like laser speckle contrast imaging. Now, developers have built a new biological imaging system 50 times less expensive than standard equipment, and suitable for imaging applications outside of the laboratory.
North Carolina State Univ. researchers have developed a way for search engines to provide users with more accurate, personalized search results. The challenge in the past has been how to scale this approach up so that it doesn’t consume massive computer resources. Now the researchers have devised a technique for implementing personalized searches that is more than 100 times more efficient than previous approaches.
Computers will someday soon automatically provide short video digests of a day in your life, your family vacation or an eight-hour police patrol, say computer scientists at the Univ. of Texas at Austin. The researchers are working to develop tools to help make sense of the vast quantities of video that are going to be produced by wearable camera technology such as Google Glass and Looxcie.
From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.
During this week’s Intel Developer Forum, new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced a number of near-term changes for the company’s product line, including new LTE and 14-nm products, and a lower-power product family called Quark directed at future wearable electronics devices.
Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the laboratories ETH Zurich may be able to help by leveraging the color and depth information made available by XBox Kinect cameras.