OBAMA panel yanks NSA leash -- Your MacBook's CAMERA says 'Hi' -- TARGET skunked by huge skim scam -- LYFT growing faster than Uber


December 19, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Obama panel recommends new limits on NSA spying, by David E. Sanger, Charlie Savage: "The most significant recommendation of the panel of five intelligence and legal experts was that Mr. Obama restructure a program in which the NSA systematically collects logs of all American phone calls -- so-called metadata -- and a small group of agency officials have the power to authorize the search of an individual's telephone contacts. Instead, the panel said, the data should remain in the hands of telecommunications companies or a private consortium, and a court order should be necessary each time analysts want to access the information of any individual 'for queries and data mining.'" New York Times

>>>> Obama review panel: strip NSA of power to collect phone data records The Guardian

>>>> EFF statement on President's review group's NSA report Electronic Frontier Foundation

>>>> Obama won't give tech firms assurances on snooping SFGate

>>>> Report: Zynga founder asked Obama to 'pardon' Edward Snowden Kotaku >> CYBERCRIME BLOTTER: Target says 40 million cards likely skimmed in security breach, by John Ribeiro: "Target has confirmed that data from about 40 million credit and debit cards was stolen at its stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. The statement from the retailer Thursday follows reports that thieves had accessed data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards during the Black Friday weekend through card swiping machines that could have been tampered with at the retailer's stores, a practice known as card skimming. The data could have been used to create counterfeit cards that could even be used to withdraw money at an ATM, according to the reports." InfoWorld

>>>> Target confirms massive credit-card data breach USA Today

>> BETTER TO SEE YOU WITH: Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning, by Ashkan Soltani, Timothy B. Lee: "Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI's Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer's camera -- without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording -- for several years. Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first public confirmation that it's possible to do just that, and demonstrates how." WaPo

>>>> Researchers show how to hijack a five-year-old MacBook camera without triggering warning light The Verge

>>>> Miss Teen USA spied on via MacBook camera while indicator light was off 9to5Mac >> BREAKING BEZOS: Hackers break into Washington Post servers, by Craig Timberg: "Hackers broke into The Washington Post's servers and gained access to employee user names and passwords, marking at least the third intrusion over the past three years... Post officials, who on Wednesday learned of the intrusion from Mandiant, a cybersecurity contractor that monitors the company's networks, said the intrusion was of relatively short duration." WaPo

>>>> Washington Post reports servers attacked, suspects Chinese hackers InfoWorld

>> MICROSOFT MISCHIEF: Microsoft pulls Dec 2013 firmware update for Surface Pro 2 as troubles become widespread, by Ron: "On December 10th, Microsoft rolled out a firmware update for the Surface Pro 2. Immediately upon downloading that firmware update, numerous users began experiencing an error code (80070490) when attempting to install the update. Microsoft explained a few days after that this update was triggering a false error message upon installation. Now, as the issue becomes much more widespread, Microsoft has decided to pull the firmware update - for now." WinBeta

>>>> Microsoft yanks second botched Surface update in as many months InfoWorld

>>>> Frustrated users complain about SkyDrive problems after Windows 8.1 update PCWorld

>>>> Low Surface inventory could hamper Microsoft's Q4 hardware results [Go figger.] TechCrunch

>>>> Windows Phone turned the corner in 2013 Windows Supersite

>> MONEY SHOT: Hey Uber, Lyft is growing faster than you, by Kim-Mai Cutler: "Uber's revenue numbers, which were leaked to Gawker just a few weeks ago, look bold at roughly $20 million per week. But there isn't necessarily a definitive market winner yet in the peer-to-peer space, as the entire field is on a rising tide. Lyft, which started peer-to-peer ride-sharing after Uber's black cars on demand, is seeing its revenues grow at a rate of about 6 percent every single week, according to raw data and revenue dashboards that Lyft co-founder John Zimmer shared." TechCrunch

>> MONEY CHASER: Uber economics: Sometimes the invisible hand slaps you in the face, by Zachary M. Seward: "Many Uber customers bristled at the 'surged' prices they encountered as the snow fell in New York: from three to nine times the normal rate, with minimum fares that sometimes rose above $100... many people won't be willing to pay exorbitant fees for a ride across town, whatever the weather conditions. But enough will." Quartz

>> AGILE ELEPHANT: Datameer picks up $19M to help companies do analytics along with Hadoop, by Jordan Novet: "Datameer helps companies analyze and visualize their big data more quickly and easily through a simple point-and-click and spreadsheet-like user interface. It allows users to perform this analysis on data dumped into the scalable Hadoop file system. It has reported strong revenue growth over the past year, saying it had tripled revenues through May of last year." VentureBeat

>> MOOD MUSIC: Bitcoin, magical thinking, and political ideology, by Alex Payne: "Bitcoin has become synonymous with everything wrong with Silicon Valley: a marriage of dubious technology and questionable economics wrapped up in a crypto-libertarian political agenda that smacks of nerds-do-it-better paternalism. With its influx of finance mercenaries, the Bitcoin community is a grim illustration of greed running roughshod over meaningful progress." Alex Payne blog

>> Oracle's Q2 profits down 1 percent, revenue up 2 percent to $9.3 billion InfoWorld

>> Big money for mobile crowdsourced transit app Moovit, with Sequoia leading $28M round AllThingsD

>> 'Hatching Twitter' book optioned for TV show development by Lionsgate TechCrunch

>> VMware vSphere 5.5 adds speed and usability InfoWorld

>> Analyst who called this year's 10% PC decline thinks 2014 will be much better CITEworld

>> Edtech startup Boundless settles its dispute with publishers VentureBeat

>> Why freelancers are dismayed at Elance's merger with oDesk Forbes

>> Google Glass face recognition app coming this month, whether Google likes it or not Forbes

>> Chrome OS's best new use case: The all-in-one PC InfoWorld

>> Twitter's Vine gets vanity URLs: sign-up starts Dec. 20 for verified accounts and Dec. 23 for all others TNW

>> Viber takes its battle against Skype to Windows 8 GigaOM

>> Google joins Open Invention Network patent commons as a full member ZDNet

>> Use of Tor helped FBI ID suspect in bomb hoax case Ars Technica

>> Researchers crack the world's toughest encryption, 4096-bit RSA, by listening to the tiny sounds made by your computer's CPU ExtremeTech

>> XiaoMi MiWiFi YouTube


>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "a guy who can't successfully run a company about running fake farms is going to meet with the president of the united states to give advice" @samfbiddle

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