NSA taps off-grid computers -- RIP Net neutrality (thanks, VERIZON) -- GOOGLE spent $17B on M&A in two years -- Mega-Troll sues FTC


January 15, 2014 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> SPINAL TAP: NSA devises radio pathway into computers, by David E. Sanger, Thom Shanker: "The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks. While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet... The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target." New York Times

> A Federal District Court judge says Surveillance Court should not be changed Ars Technica

> Surveillance-court judges oppose White House group's NSA proposals WaPo

> Senators question recommended changes to NSA surveillance InfoWorld

> Interactive graphic: The NSA's Tailored Access Operations spy catalog Der Spiegel

> Bruce Scheneir's daily implant from the NSA's Tailored Access Operations group Schneier on Security

>> MIND THE VELVET ROPE: Court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rules, agency may appeal, by Jeff John Roberts: "An appeals court in Washington on Tuesday ruled that the FCC's 'net neutrality' rules, which prevent companies like Verizon from favoring some types of internet traffic over others, are invalid. The 81-page ruling, which was decided by a 2-1 vote with one judge dissenting in part, has big implications for content providers, consumers and the future of the internet... The court's ruling is a game-changer because it upsets the FCC's current practice of requiring broadband internet providers to act akin to 'common carriers.' In plain English, this means that they have had to behave in a similar way to phone companies and not give special preference to one type of call (or traffic) over another." GigaOM

> Dear Verizon, you don't own the Internet -- no one does TechCrunch

> Court strikes down Net neutrality: What's next? InfoWorld

> Welcome to the Net Neutrality nightmare scenario BuzzFeed

> How the FCC screwed up its chance to make ISP blocking illegal Ars Technica

>> CASH OR CHECK: Google outspends top five rivals combined in move beyond Web ads, by Ari Levy and Brian Womack: "Google, drawing from its $56.5 billion cash pool, is spending more money than five of its biggest U.S. competitors combined to buy into new markets as growth in Web advertising slows…. Including this week’s announced deal to buy Nest Labs Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash, Google has spent more than $17 billion in the past two years to purchase hardware, software and advertising-technology companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Yahoo have spent less than $13 billion in total to buy companies in the same period, based on deals with disclosed prices." Bloomberg

>> ALL YOUR BASE: Android developer interest is catching up to its market share, by Matt Asay: "The app developer community may have finally hit an inflection point for Android. A year ago mobile developers preferred Apple's iOS, given superior tooling and revenue opportunities.  Yet, today's developers simply can't ignore Android's and outsized and rapidly growing installed base. Practical wisdom would say that the tide of developer interest in Android has to shift eventually, just because it is so massive and global. New survey data from Vision Mobile and Evans Data shows that the shift developer interest may indeed be starting to gravitate to Android while still remaining strong iOS." ReadWrite

>> BIG RED APPLE: Foxconn ships over 1 million iPhone 5Ss to China Mobile, by Lorraine Luk: "Apple's major iPhone assembler Foxconn has shipped about 1.4 million iPhone 5Ss to China Mobile last week... While the initial shipment volume doesn't represent the total sales at China Mobile for January, the figure helps to gauge early demand for iPhones from China Mobile... Analysts have expected that the deal with China Mobile would help Apple sell an additional 10 million to 30 million iPhones this year. But a recent report from Wedge Partners said initial indications of new iPhone demand at China Mobile appear to be lower than other carriers. Both China Unicom and China Telecom have been offering the new iPhones since late September and have also begun offering promotions to maintain subscribers." Wall Street Journal

> Apple's Tim Cook on China Mobile: 'There are lots more things our companies can do' VentureBeat

> The iPhone 5c has been a boost to sales -- of the iPhone 5s Re/code >> CORNERED CHUPACABRA: Patent stunner: Under attack, nation's most notorious 'troll' sues federal gov't, by Joe Mullin: "MPHJ Technology Investments quickly became one of the best-known 'patent trolls' of all time by sending out thousands of letters to small businesses--16,465 of them, we now know--saying that if the business did not pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker, it would be sued for patent infringement. MPHJ claimed to have patents that cover any networked 'scan-to-email' function... MPHJ has also become the first patent troll targeted by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC's interest in MPHJ was revealed in an audacious 'preemptive strike' lawsuit that MPHJ actually filed against the FTC on Monday. The suit, which names the four sitting FTC commissioners personally, says that the agency has overstepped its bounds and trampled on MPHJ's constitutional rights." Ars Technica

> Patent troll sues the FTC, saying it has a First Amendment right to shake down companies using a scanner TechDirt

> MPHJ Exposed: The real dirt on the notorious scanner troll Electronic Frontier Foundation

> Patent troll MPHJ will repay all New York licensees in settlement with state InfoWorld

>> LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case as group: court, by Jonathan Stempel: "Roughly 60,000 Silicon Valley workers won clearance to pursue a lawsuit accusing Apple, Google and other companies of conspiring to drive down pay by not poaching each other's staff, after a federal appeals court refused to let the defendants appeal a class certification order." Reuters

>> WHEN INVESTORS ATTACK: Juniper should reevaluate switching, security products investor says, by Jim Duffy: "Elliott Management, which owns 6.2% of Juniper, says the company has lacked execution and lost momentum after entering the switching and security markets through either organic development or acquisition... Elliott asserts that Juniper's forays into enterprise switching and security have been 'failures' and that the company has mismanaged its participation in those markets since entering them five and 10 years ago, respectively." Network World

>> With $14 million raised, Oyster plans to expand its Netflix-for-books offerings GigaOM

>> Early Android veterans raise $18M from Accel, Google Ventures for stealth company, NextBit TechCrunch

>> The mixed fate of Sun's tech under Oracle InfoWorld

>> Chrome 32 launches with noisy tab indicators, new Windows 8 look, better malware blocking, and supervised users TNW

>> Intel shelves cutting-edge Arizona chip factory Reuters

>> Did Microsoft (finally) fix Windows XP's SVCHOST redlining problem? InfoWorld

>> Facebook could launch its Flipboard-like news reader this month Re/code

>> 'You win, Kanye': Coinye creators throw in towel after rapper sues The Register

>> Massive denial-of-service attacks pick up steam, new nefarious techniques Network World

>> Don't believe the lies about Windows XP's imminent death InfoWorld

>> How Cyanogen plans to make Android even more open TechHive

>> Living a High-DPI desktop lifestyle can be painful Scott Hanselman blog

>> Here to stay: 4 reasons to stick with JavaScript InfoWorld

>> Chicago Sun-Times to test bitcoin paywall for articles SFGate

>> More than money, bitcoin's real value lies in its algorithms InfoWorld

>> BITCOIN: $936 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Oh PS with Nest's built-in sensors now Google knows when you're home, what rooms you're in, and when you're out. Just FYI." @ryan

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

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