A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

NSA XKeyscore
The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian's earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

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After the embarrassing failure of the Nexus Q, Google has introduced another bid to enter the living room with Chromecast, a 2 inch dongle connected by HDMI to any TV. After connecting the device to wi-fi, users just need to open an app such as YouTube from their phone or tablet,  and have it stream directly to the TV. The phone acts as a remote, controlling volume and other settings. All streaming also happens in the background, allowing the owner of the mobile device to continue browsing separately, or even put the device to sleep.

google chromecast
In addition to streaming from YouTube, other apps can make use of Chromecast. For example, Netflix, who has already made use of the allegedly simple Google Cast SDK. The feature works with both iOS and Android,and if using Chrome on Windows, Mac or a Chromebook, full webpages can be mirrored.

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german flagThousands of people demonstrated across Germany yesterday over claims of widespread online privacy invasion by the NSA and demanded the release of Wikileaks whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.
The widespread protests, which occurred in over 30 cities, such as Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, were led by the organisations such as the Green Party and the #stopwatchingus movement.

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Microsoft's been in the news a fair bit lately on the strength of its supposed collaboration with the US National Security Agency - a Guardian report alleges that the latter is able to gather user data via Skype, Outlook and Hotmail with Microsoft's consent. The company has now released a formal statement on the matter, denying much of the report and calling on the US government to allow it "to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information".

kinect next gen
Microsoft has also rejected claims that it will allow the NSA to gather data via the Xbox One's Kinect sensor, which is required for the console to run. "Absent a new law, we don't believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data," reads a comment mailed to the Verge.

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tmobile-girl-holding-phoneStarting today, T-Mobile are offering all phones, including leading devices such as the Lumia 925 for $0 down, in a promotion for back-to-school. Both new and old customers can receive their free devices for a little extra on their monthly payments, on top of their monthly service rate. A Lumia 925 will cost $20 a month for 24 months, an HTC One will come in at $25 and an iPhone 5 at $27, but only the 16GB version.
In a press release, the carrier drew focus to their JUMP! upgrade plan, which allows people to upgrade their devices before their contract ends. Customers can do this up to twice a year for an extra $10 a month. For those who always want the latest device, this is a very enticing offer.

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iphone5 ipad iphone5 ipod touch ios6 Apple sold a boatload of iPhones in the second calendar quarter of 2013, but the number of iPads it sold was lower than expected. That's the big news from Apple's latest financial results, which revealed that the company sold 31.2 million iPhones and 14.6 million iPads in the April-June time period.
Apple's press release states that the number of iPhones it sold was up 20 percent compared to the same time period a year ago. However, the iPad's sales were much lower compared to a year ago, when the company said it sold 17 million units of its tablets. As usual, Apple did not offer a breakdown of how many units of each iPhone model it sold, nor how many of its iPad and iPad mini tablets were bought.

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amazon packerAmazon may be one of the biggest retailers in the world, but it has surprised investors with an overall net loss for the second-quarter of 2013. A total loss of $0.02 per share has been responsible for a loss of $7 million in total.
The money 'lost' by the company has been invested into warehouses and improving digital content, so it may increase sales growth overall (i.e. lose now, profit later). Amazon's digital content includes MP3s, eBooks and games, so the company can justify the costs.

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gmail logoIt's well known that Google generates specific and targeted ads in the Gmail service based on looking at the emails of its users. It's a practice that's not well liked by some people and even Microsoft has slammed Google in the past for how it handles ads in Gmail.
  Now it looks like Google is actually sending ads that look like emails directly into the inboxes of at least some Gmail subscribers. This new "feature" was noticed by some users last week. VentureBeat reports that the ad messages are found in the "Promotions" tab, which is typically filled with newsletters, ads and press releases.

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Four men from Russia and another from the Ukraine have been charged by the US Justice Department in a massive hacking case, which is being called by one of the attorneys involved as "the largest ever hacking and data scheme breach in the United States."
The Justice Department's press release states that Russia's Vladimir Drinkman, Aleksander Kalinin, Roman Kotov and Dmitriy Smilianets, along with Mikhail Rytikov from the Ukraine, are accused of stealing over 160 million credit card and debit card numbers over a period of seven years from a number of large corporations, including Nasdaq, Visa, Dow Jones and others.

credit card fraud

The amount of money stolen from these businesses as a result of the hacker's actions is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Apple Headquarters in Cupertino2Apple recently put up a page on their developer portal that said they were performing unexpected maintenance and because of this, any account that was going to expire during this time window was extended a week. Seeing that the maintenance was unexpected, it first seemed like they were having some backend issues but the longer the down-time has gone on, some have been wondering if Apple’s systems may have been compromised.
To build on this theory, we should note that this is not confirmed and we are simply looking at social indicators, there are tons of users reporting that they have received a notice that an attempt was made to reset their user ID’s password.  

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