Surveillance:

  • Tech companies win the right to report government data requests (like national security letters) in greater detail.
  • Rand Paul plans on taking his lawsuit against the NSA to the Supreme Court. [via The Hill]
  • The NSA hires its first Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer. [via SANSSC Magazine]

Government Information Technology:

  • Proposed legislation would authorize the Chief Technology Officer to review, and even take over, major technology projects throughout the federal government.

Cyber Crime & Cyber Security:

  • The CEO of BitInstant, a Bitcoin currency exchange, is arrested on money laundering charges stemming from the take-down of Silk Road.
  • The official Angry Birds website was hacked (and re-titled “Spying Birds”) when it emerged that Rovio, the app’s developer, had shared at least some data with the NSA. Rovio denies the collaboration.
  • A federal judge in the Northern District of California holds that misuse of company data alone (using otherwise authorized access for unauthorized purposes) is not a CFAA violation. There is currently a circuit split on this issue. [via SANS]
  • The Pwn2Own ethical hacking contest puts up a record $645,000 in prize money.
  • Microsoft reveals that a handful of its employees have fallen victim to a highly sophisticated spear phishing attack by perpetrators seeking documents relating to law enforcement data requests. [via SANS]

Internet:

  • C|Net reports that the D.C. Circuit’s ruling striking down the FCC’s net neutrality rules provides a roadmap for the agency when issuing future internet-related regulations, worrying that the agency has become too powerful.
  • New generic top-level domain names are coming online all the time. Up last week: .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures. This week: .camera, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting, and .photography. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
  • The Netherlands lifts a requirement that its major ISPs block the notorious p2p site The Pirate Bay, citing the ease with which users circumvented the block or found other similar sites.

Sports & Entertainment:

  • College football players at Northwestern University move to create a labor union. [via LGM]
  • Quentin Tarantino sues Gawker for linking to a leaked script of his movie The Hateful Eight, vows not to make the film.
  • Lionsgate fires back in the dispute over Twiharder, a Twilight parody. The studio had been sued by the producers of Twiharder (for $500 million), who alleged that it took actions designed to scare off distributors and financial backers that amounted to antitrust violations.

Advertising:

  • A self-regulating body in the advertising industry warns that so-called “native advertising” (in which ads are made to resemble content) may require explicit disclosures.

Technology Industry:

  • Google acquires London-based artificial intelligence firm DeepMind.
  • Google Glass secures coverage under the nation’s largest optical insurance provider, VSP Vision Care. [via CNN]
  • The Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo buys Motorola from Google (though the search and advertising company will keep most of the handset maker’s patent portfolio).
  • Microsoft is in the process of ending support for Windows XP, but despite many news reports sensationalizing the venerable operating system’s retirement, ATMs running Windows XP Embedded will continue to be supported until 2016 (and perhaps even longer, under arrangements with individual ATM operators).
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8.1, leaks in advance of its official release.
  • Apple patentssolar-powered MacBook.
  • Activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds about $3.6 billion in Apple stock, gives the tech company advice on expanding its product line.
  • Facebook turns ten years old.

Emerging Technology:

  • An entrepreneur in Minnesota tests a drone delivery system that can transport beer to ice fishing huts, but the FAA puts a hold on the planned service.
  • Croatian startup Rimac Automobili previews a battery-powered concept car that may soon become the fastest car on earth, potentially knocking the Bugatti Veyron off the top spot. Current figures for the Concept_One show it accelerating from zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds, which already places it in the top three.

–Brad Edmondson

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