NSA allegedly tapped itself into Google servers, collecting millions of user records

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According to the Washington Post, the NSA has “infiltrated” the servers belonging to both Google and Yahoo and is collecting records of user-data:

According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.

Earlier this year, claims emerged that said the NSA has been working lawfully via a “PRISM” program to legally intercept data from the servers of technology companies. This new information, however, seems to indicate that the NSA is obtaining the information via its own means.

In order for the data centers to operate effectively, they synchronize high volumes of information about account holders. Yahoo’s internal network, for example, sometimes transmits entire e-mail archives — years of messages and attachments — from one data center to another.

Tapping the Google and Yahoo clouds allows the NSA to intercept communications in real time and to take “a retrospective look at target activity,” according to one internal NSA document.

In order to obtain free access to data center traffic, the NSA had to circumvent gold standard security measures. Google “goes to great lengths to protect the data and intellectual property in these centers,” according to one of the company’s blog posts, with tightly audited access controls, heat sensitive cameras, round-the-clock guards and biometric verification of identities.

Google and Yahoo have both responded to today’s claims with surprise, noting that it does not hand data to the NSA.

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Legality of driving with Google Glass questioned as Californian woman ticketed

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The legality of driving while wearing Google Glass appears set to face its first test after Glass Explorer Cecilia Abade was ticketed by a California cop.

 A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!

The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is #GoogleGlass  illgal while driving or is this cop wrong???

Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?  Read more

‘Moto G’ makes brief appearance on Motorola website

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Droid life spotted an update the the Moto X site which includes a temporary/now removed “Moto G” Menu item.  The “G” has appeared in trademark applications and it is speculated to either be a smaller “Mini” version of the X, a Google Play version of the X or something entirely different – like an accessory.

The fact that it hit the website probably means we wont have to wait terribly long to find out.

For the record, we’ve heard Google/Motorola is working on some pretty cool stuff including a set “smart headphones”. Read more

Google donates 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets to those affected by Superstorm Sandy 1 year ago

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The state of New York announced that Google donated 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets on the one year anniversary of the tragic Superstorm Sandy.  The $2.7 million worth of Nexus 7s (/17,000=$158/ea=v1) are likely to go to community centers, training programs and libraries:

  • Libraries will use the tablets in job training, work skills and English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages classes, and as e-reader loaners in the areas where libraries are not yet reopened
  • Small business development organizations plan to integrate tablets into onsite business assistance and training classes. The organizations will also provide assistance to a high school entrepreneurship program run in about 30 underserved schools in New York City by New York State Small Business Development Centers.
  • To help combat senior isolation, senior centers will employ tablets in teaching seniors to use video chatting and other electronic communication services as a way to keep them connected to their friends and families.
  • Community centers will be able to use tablets in their programs to move young people living in poverty towards STEM and other high-skilled careers, as well as to assist their parents gain and improve technology-based job skills.

New York Politicians and former New York Politicians who now work for Google had nice things to say:

“It has been almost a year since New York went through the worst natural disaster in our history but for many of our state’s residents who are still building back the generosity of companies like Google can make a huge difference,” Governor Cuomo said. “Private donations like these are critical in aiding local communities in our ongoing recovery. We thank Google for helping New York build back better than before.”

“Google is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and the New York State Community Action Agencies on this hardware donation,” said former New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari, Vice President for Government Relations at Google. “We believe that technology can and does play a compelling role in rebuilding communities to make them more resilient and stronger. Increasingly, more and more people are using technology and the internet to educate themselves or provide for their families. Our hope is that these tablets will be a resource to do just that.”

“I applaud Google and Governor Cuomo for coordinating a donation that focuses on strengthening our communities,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, who Governor Cuomo placed as Hurricane Sandy Donations Coordinator. “The New York Department of State is proud to have played a role in assisting Google in this donation.”

More details in the press release below: Read more

Motorola’s ATAP team plans to make modular phones as well as cartoons – we’re just not sure why

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We’re not quite sure which of  Motorola’s Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) team projects seems less likely: a cartoon mouse and sombrero, or teaming up with PhoneBloks to explore the possibility of a modular smartphone. Motorola’s version of the concept is called Ara.

Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software [...]

To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it …  Read more