TECH GIANTS unite against US gov't -- ADOBE struggles to keep up -- Crimeware king PAUNCH revealed -- Combing big data at the NYT


December 9, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

Not a TechBrief subscriber? Sign up for a free subscription.

>> HAPPENING TODAY: Tech giants issue call for limits on government surveillance of users, by Edward Wyatt, Claire Cain Miller: "Eight prominent technology companies, bruised by revelations of government spying on their customers' data and scrambling to repair the damage to their reputations, are mounting a public campaign to urge President Obama and Congress to set new limits on government surveillance. On Monday the companies, led by Google and Microsoft, presented a plan to regulate online spying and urged the United States to lead a worldwide effort to restrict it.... Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and LinkedIn joined Google and Microsoft in saying that they believed in governments' right to protect their citizens. But, they said, the spying revelations that began last summer with leaks of National Security Agency materials by Edward J. Snowden showed that 'the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual.'" New York Times (paywalled)

>>>> Reform Government Surveillance

>>>> Google, Apple, Microsoft express concern about mass spying after seeing profit problems over their complicity in it WikiLeaks

>>>> Internet companies demand spying overhaul after NSA revelations - live reaction The Guardian

>>>> Kudos to Microsoft for its takedown of NSA snooping InfoWorld

>>>> NSA morale down after Edward Snowden revelations, former U.S. officials say WaPo

>>>> Snowden and Greenwald: The men who leaked the secrets Rolling Stone

>>>> Twenty years ago the NSA tried to protect you from spies, not spy on you Pando

>>>> Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA USA Today

>>>> A Senator plans legislation to narrow authorities' cellphone data requests New York Times (paywalled)

>>>> Revealed: spy agencies' covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online games The Guardian

>> LIBERTY AND REVENUE FOR ALL: "On the high end, U.S. cloud computing providers might lose $35 billion by 2016. This assumes the U.S. eventually loses 20 percent of the foreign market to competitors and retains its current domestic market share." Daniel Castro, on the fallout of NSA revelations, from the 12 most memorable cloud computing quotes from 2013. Forbes

>> REWIRING WASHINGTON: New White House plan reaffirms commitment to open data, by Mohana Ravindranath: "A White House plan released on Friday announced new plans to make government data open to the public... calls for updates in existing initiatives, such as further development of, which houses federal data sources for public use... The White House announced it would create a new online application that would allow third parties to gather signatures and perform data analyses on signatures and petitions. It will also require some agencies to participate in whistleblower certification programs and comply with the Whistleblower Protection Act." WaPo

>>>> Slowly they modernize: A federal agency that still uses floppy disks New York Times (paywalled)

>> HEY, GUYS, WAIT UP: Adobe chases elusive profit in $67.3 billion cloud market, by Aaron Ricadela: "The $350 billion software market is stagnating, with annual growth of 6.3 percent projected until 2017, compared with 24 percent in cloud software through 2016, according to IDC. Gone are the days of being glued to a single machine -- software must be available on any device at any time.... Moving to the cloud means forgoing upfront contracts with lofty profit margins in favor of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products that pay off monthly and can be canceled if customers aren't satisfied. The transition results in short-term revenue drops, often irking investors and leaving employees unsettled." Bloomberg

>> BIG DATA: This data scientist spent a year deep inside The New York Times. Here's what he discovered, by Sam Petulla: "'If, as I've been led to believe, this is a post-pageview world, then we must be living in a zombie apocalypse, as I'm relentlessly haunted by the metric's lifeless corpse....' Those are the words of Brian Abelson, a data scientist and the 2013 OpenNews Fellow at The New York Times, who spent the last year at The Times using data and analytics to understand Times content.... In particular, he focused on the pageview's value to the organization and looked into other metrics it might use. Abelson had access to one of the most coveted datasets in publishing, The New York Times' web and social traffic, to draw his conclusions." Contently

>> CULTURE 2.0: Netflix's war on mass culture, by Tim Wu: "Binge-viewing was just the beginning. Netflix has a plan to rewire our entire culture... For the past two years, the Silicon Valley company has been making a major push into original programming, putting out an ambitious slate of shows that have cost Netflix, which had profits of $17 million in 2012, hundreds of millions of dollars. Because of the relative quality of some of those series, such as 'House of Cards' (a multiple Emmy winner) and 'Orange Is the New Black,' they've been widely interpreted as part of an attempt to become another HBO.... But in fact the company has embarked upon a venture more radical than any before it. It may even be more radical than Netflix itself realizes." New Republic

>> NEOMONEY: How to bet against the Bitcoin megabubble, by Stephen Gandel: "Can you bet on the likely eventual bitcoin crash? You bet. But it's an expensive trade. And even if you're right, you won't walk away with much, if anything. The traditional way you bet against something is to 'short it.' But in order to do a short sale you have to borrow a share of stock or bond or whatever you are looking to bet against. And borrowing bitcoins is nearly impossible." [This article was written Thursday, when 1 Bitcoin was worth $1,100. It fell below $700 over the weekend, and now sits over $900] CNN Money

>>>> Baidu and China Telecom stop accepting Bitcoin, price slumps again CoinDesk

>>>> Why Bitcoin won't be a bubble Trevor Owens

>>>> The Bitcoin derivatives market has arrived ZeroHedge

>> BEACON ME: Apple tracks shoppers in its stores with nationwide iBeacon rollout, by Zach Miners: "The Apple rollout affects everyone who has the Apple Store app installed on their iOS device. Bluetooth has to be enabled on the device, because that's the underlying technology powering iBeacon. Users also have to give the app permission for the iBeacon technology to work. Once they do, they could start receiving several different types of notifications as they walk through Apple's stores... if shoppers are standing near the latest iPhones a notification might pop up on their phone to let them know they're eligible for an upgrade. At the accessories table, the iBeacon technology could also let people use their iOS devices to learn more about certain products." InfoWorld

>>>> Why I want Apple's iBeacon at home Cult of Mac

>>>> China Mobile to accept iPhone orders this week WSJ Digits

>> CRIMEWARE: Meet Paunch: The accused author of the Blackhole exploit kit, by Brian Krebs: "BlackHole is commercial crimeware designed to be stitched into hacked or malicious sites and exploit a variety of Web-browser vulnerabilities for the purposes of installing malware of the customer's choosing. The price of renting the kit ran from $500 to $700 each month. For an extra $50 a month, Paunch also rented customers 'crypting' services; cryptors are designed to obfuscate malicious software so that it remains undetectable by antivirus software. Paunch worked with several other cybercriminals to purchase new exploits and security vulnerabilities that could be rolled into Blackhole and help increase the success of the software. Paunch bought the exploits to fund a pricier ($10,000/month) and more exclusive exploit pack called 'Cool Exploit Kit....' I would argue that Blackhole was perhaps the most important driving force behind an explosion of cyber fraud over the past three years." Krebs on Security
>>>> Cybercriminals have access to 100 zero-day flaws on any day, NSS Labs calculates Techworld

>> FOOT-IN-MOUTH DISEASE: "I would say that right now we have investment without revenue on Azure, or less revenue," says Chris Suh, GM Microsoft Investor Relations

>> SHOT: America's outer-space spy program has a new mascot: a world-eating octopus Quartz

>> CHASER: US spy rocket blasts off with globe-sucking octopus "At a time when all US surveillance agencies have come under fire for spying on everybody's private business, you might think it's time for a little rebranding." Voice of Russia

>> Tablets drove more online sales than mobile phones on Cyber Monday Digiday

>> Microsoft exec hints at separate Windows release trains for consumers, business Computerworld

>> FBI's search for 'Mo,' suspect in bomb threats, highlights use of malware for surveillance WaPo

>> Big data "start-up" Pivotal to invest £100 million into Tech City Techworld

>> Ranking startup investors by portfolio momentum Mattermark

>> The sad story behind Yahoo's latest startup acquisition: Ptch Business Insider

>> The test begins: Do Google Shopping & other shopping search engines give you the best deals? Search Engine Land

>> New site tracks the cracks in Oracle's empire (MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, et al) Wired

>> Obama, celebrities, politicians and Tech co's come together to launch coding education push TechCrunch

>> C Spire (Mississippi) launches next phase of its fiber to the home initiative: Homeowner pre-registration for 100 times faster internet BusinessWire

>> Google says 91.4% of non-spam emails sent to Gmail users are now authenticated using antiphishing standards TNW

>> U.S. media firms stymied in China Wall Street Journal (paywalled)

>> HAD TO RUN IT: Report: BlackBerry passed on Justin Bieber as a spokesperson; Nokia still wants him Neowin

>> Bitcoin this hour: $930 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "JPMorgan hired children of Chinese elite. This sort of thing never happens with children of American elite." @PJORourke

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

Pass it on. Tweet us!

Not a TechBrief subscriber? Sign up for a free subscription.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.