SNOWDEN seeks asylum in Brazil -- Judge: NSA violated Constitution -- QUALCOMM 'freaking out' -- GOOGLE poaches machine genius -- Obama calls Digerati to office

 

December 17, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> BREAKING: Edward Snowden offers to help Brazil over US spying in return for asylum by Paul Owen and agencies: "Edward Snowden has offered to help Brazil investigate US spying on its soil in exchange for political asylum, in an open letter from the NSA whistleblower to the Brazilian people published by the Folha de S Paulo newspaper. 'I've expressed my willingness to assist where it's appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the US government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,' Snowden said in the letter. 'Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out,' he said. Snowden...said he had been impressed by the Brazilian government's strong criticism of the NSA spy programme targeting internet and telecommunications worldwide, including monitoring the mobile phone of the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff has been one of the most vocal critics of the spying revealed by Snowden." The Guardian

>> WE THE PEOPLE: NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules, by Spencer Ackerman, Dan Roberts: "A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first surveillance disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was 'almost Orwellian' in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be 'aghast' at the scope of the agency's collection of Americans' communications data." The Guardian

>>>> In historic ruling, federal judge declares NSA mass phone surveillance is likely unconstitutional Electronic Frontier Foundation

>>>> DOJ defends NSA phone records program after judge's ruling InfoWorld

>>>> Edward Snowden says judge's ruling vindicates NSA surveillance disclosures The Guardian

>>>> Premature celebration: Today's anti-spy ruling is merely symbolic for now TechCrunch

>>>> End the surveillance state Thank you, Edward Snowden

>>>> NSA surveillance critic Bruce Schneier to leave post at British Telecom Ars Technica

>> MORTAL COMBAT: Qualcomm insider: Apple 64-bit chip 'hit us in the gut,' by Dan Lyons (formerly "Fake Steve Jobs"): "In public, Apple's rivals in the smartphone market have tried to downplay the technological advances Apple introduced in the iPhone 5s. But it turns out that one breakthrough -- Apple's speedy, 64-bit A7 microprocessor -- has set off a panic inside its competitors. At chipmaker Qualcomm, which provides microprocessors for many of the Android phones that compete against the iPhone, executives have been trying to put on a brave face to the world, but internally people are freaking out, according to an insider at the company." Hubspot

>> DEPARTURE LOUNGE: A Microsoft star goes to Google, by Nick Wingfield: "Blaise Agüera y Arcas, a respected engineer and software designer at Microsoft, has left the company to join its rival Google. Mr. Agüera y Arcas was involved in a variety of development projects at Microsoft including some on augmented reality, wearable computing and natural user interfaces. He was a top figure in the development of Microsoft's Bing Maps service. One of the most recent efforts he oversaw at the company was a new version of Photosynth, a service for creating immersive, 3-D panoramas. Mr. Agüera y Arcas will work on machine learning at Google." New York Times

>>>> Google's recent hires and buyouts point to a robot-filled future TechHive

>> DRIVING THE DAY: Obama to meet tech execs Tuesday over NSA spying, Obamacare website, by Zeke Miller: Tim Cook, CEO, Apple; Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter; Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy; Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO, Netflix; Drew Houston, Founder & CEO, Dropbox; Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo!; Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer, Salesforce; Mark Pincus, Founder, Chief Product Officer & Chairman, Zynga; Shervin Pishevar, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Sherpa Global; Brian Roberts, Chairman & CEO, Comcast; Erika Rottenberg, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, LinkedIn; Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft; Randall Stephenson, Chairman & CEO, AT&T Time

>>>> Obama meeting with Silicon Valley elites to figure his shit out ValleyWag

>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Oculus primed: Meet the geniuses who finally mastered virtual reality, by Peter Rubin: "In May 2012, a programmer named John Carmack--who, as a cofounder of id Software and the man behind games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, is widely seen as the father of 3D gaming--tweeted a picture of what looked like steampunk bifocals made out of a black shoebox. 'This is a lot cooler than it looks,' read the caption. He was right. Since then, that awkward contraption--now more streamlined, and known as the Oculus Rift--has become the most anticipated new product in gaming since the Nintendo Wii got people off the couch. It's a head-mounted display that promises to be a gigantic step toward what many had dismissed as an unrealizable dream: virtual reality." Wired

>> VIDIOT SAVANT: Facebook to sell video ads, by Reed Albergotti, Ben Fritz, Suzanne Vranica: "The ads, which will play automatically in users' news feeds may help Facebook capture a share of the $66.4 billion advertisers are expected to spend on U.S. television this year. Facebook plans to make the announcement on Tuesday and the ads will begin on Thursday on users' feeds both on the Web and on smartphones." Wall Street Journal

>> NEOGAMING: Steam Machine beta kit arrives with top-tier specs and amazing packaging, by James Plafke: "Valve made its first shot across the game console bow, releasing SteamOS to the masses and shipping its promised 300 Steam Machine beta kits to lucky recipients... While Valve's Steam Machine beta box is a powerful rig, it's just a gaming PC made with off-the-shelf parts running an operating system you can install on your own gaming PC right now." ExtremeTech

>>>> Everything you need to know to install SteamOS on your very own computer Ars Technica

>> REBOOT: Windows Phone 8.1 includes notification center and Siri-like personal assistant, by Tom Warren: "New quick settings are exposed by a short swipe from the top, and a longer swipe will display a full notification history... Another key feature in the upcoming 8.1 update is the inclusion of 'Cortana,' a personal digital assistant. Microsoft has been testing Cortana for a number of months, and we understand it will replace the existing Bing search on Windows Phone to allow users to interact using voice or text input." The Verge

>> GOING VIRAL: The Thought Leader, by David Brooks: "The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it's like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts." New York Times

>> MICROSOFT MISCHIEF: Analyst credits Surface sell-out to Microsoft swinging conservative, by Gregg Keizer: "Microsoft's Surface tablets were in short supply Monday, with most models out of stock on the company's online store... Other retailers were also short of the devices... Without knowing the number of Surface tablets that Microsoft ordered from contract builders -- a secret the company will never divulge -- it's impossible to know for certain how the brand is doing this quarter, even with the sell-outs." Computerworld

>> WHITEBOARD, PLEASE: Microsoft: Skype runs on Windows Azure; SkyDrive up next, by Mary Jo Foley: "Microsoft execs have said publicly that Microsoft is building most, if not all, of its new cloud services and features to run on Windows Azure from the get-go. But Microsoft isn't planning to move all of its legacy cloud services -- such as Hotmail/Outlook, Xbox Live and Bing -- to Windows Azure. Instead, at least for the forseeable future, they'd continue to run in Microsoft's datacenters on their own dedicated servers, I was told." ZDNet

>>>> Microsoft's cloudy chief (ScottGu): Azure reliability knocks your own kit for six: "Every Office 365 customer has a Windows Azure Active Directory login." The Register

>> Crowdtilt raises another $23M from Andreessen Horowitz & others for international expansion, enterprise tools TechCrunch

>> Khosla ventures replaces Yuri Milner in Y Combinator's YC VC program TechCrunch

>> Federal Circuit affirms Microsoft's import ban against Motorola Mobility's Android-based devices Foss Patents

>> With eyes on Hillary Clinton, Democrats fight to maintain digital edge Politico

>> Where pass-the-hash attacks could be hiding InfoWorld

>> Amazon reportedly buys mobile payments startup Gopago, working on an 'ambitious' new project TechCrunch

>> Candy Crush tops iPhone download chart for 2013, Duolingo and Disney Animated selected as top apps TNW

>> WSJ Announces Personal Tech Reviewing Team [Walt Mossberg v 2.0] Wall Street Journal

>> Google reportedly testing smart thermostats in 'EnergySense' program [Nest v 2.0] Engadget

>> Hadoop gets native R tools for big data analysis Computerworld

>> Attackers exploited ColdFusion vulnerability to install Microsoft IIS malware InfoWorld

>> Parallels says key to success is cloud virtualization, not Mac desktop virtualization InfoWorld

>> BITCOIN THIS HOUR: $706 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Fascinating how financial interests can force a reevaluation of closely held principles." @neiltyson

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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