DCTech News and Views

Pirate Bay Founder Arrested

Peter Sunde, one of the founders of file-sharing website Pirate Bay, has been arrested in southern Sweden to serve an outstanding sentence for copyright violations after being on the run for nearly two years. Mr. Sunde had been wanted by Interpol since 2012 after being sentenced in Sweden to prison and fined for breaching copyright laws.

We have been looking for him since 2012,” said Carolina Ekeus, spokeswoman at the Swedish National Police Board. “He was given eight months in jail so he has to serve his sentence.” <source>

Sunde, who had been living in Berlin, recently launched a campaign to represent Finland as a member of the European Parliament, which seems to indicate that he was fairly confident he would not be taken into custody.

Google’s Massive Project to bring the Internet to All

Google plans to spend more than $1bn on a fleet of 180 satellites to beam internet access to unconnected parts of the globe. The project will use small, but high capacity low-Earth orbiting satellites that sit lower in the sky than traditional satellites.

The satellite venture will be an extension of Google’s Project Loon, which uses high-altitude balloons to carry internet signal across areas of New Zealand with the intention of establishing an uninterrupted internet signal around the 40th parallel of the Earth’s southern hemisphere.

According to a report published by The Guardian, a Google spokesperson told them… “Internet connectivity significantly improves people’s lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all. “It’s why we’re so focused on new technologies—from Project Loon to Titan Aerospace—that have the potential to bring hundreds of millions more people online in the coming years.” <source>

Mortal Combat X Due in 2015

Mortal Kombat X is headed to a console near you in 2015. Series co-creator Ed Boon announced the new game on Twitter, first revealing its “Mortal Kombat X” title, then sharing the announcement trailer on YouTube [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci6lMQNLKZU&feature=youtu.be].

Fueled by next-gen technology, Mortal Kombat X combines unparalleled, cinematic presentation with dynamic gameplay to create an unprecedented Komat experience,” the YouTube description reads.

There is no official word on compatible platforms, but based on a leaked listing posted to Amazon U.K. Sunday, which was quickly removed, the title will be available for PC, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One sometime next year.

I think I know of at least one DCT team member who will be pretty excited by this news.

NSA Says Facial Recognition Program is Totally Legal

Privacy advocates have been up in arms over the news that the NSA is collecting vast numbers of digital photos from Internet sources in order to identify and track ‘persons of interest’. So much so that the new head of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, recently declared that the agency’s newly revealed facial recognition program is 100% legal.

We do not do this in some unilateral basis against US citizens,” Admiral Rogers said at the Bloomberg Government cybersecurity conference in Washington. “We have very specific restrictions when it comes to US persons.”

Apparently, Admiral Rogers did not cite exactly what those restrictions are. “In broad terms, we have to stop what we’re doing if we come to the realization that somebody we’re monitoring or tracking has a US connection that we were unaware of,” he said. “We have to assess the situation, and if we think there is a legal basis for this, and we have to get the legal authority or justification.”

Hmmm, “broad terms” indeed.

Coming Soon – Google’s New Email Encryption Extension

Google recently announced that it will soon be releasing a Chrome plug-in to enable end-to-end encryption for web-based email services. The plug-in, simply labeled “End-to-End”, is based on the OpenPGP email encryption standard and Google says it will let “anyone” enable end-to-end email encryption “through their existing web-based email provider.”

Right now, setting up email encryption can be a quite complex process for less savvy users so Google’s plan is to make encryption simple enough to use that it becomes widespread among mainstream users. Google isn’t actually launching the plug-in just yet. Instead, it is sharing the source code with the community to test and evaluate it. The plug-in is covered under Google’s Vulnerability Reward Program, so developers and security researchers who find issues with it can receive prizes for identifying any bugs.

Google and privacy, for so long generally regarded as somewhat of an oxymoron, perhaps the times they are a changin’?

Google’s Chrome to go 64-bit

While on the subject of Google; the internet giant has recently announced that it will be releasing a 64-bit version of its Chrome browser.

Most modern operating systems now natively support 64-bit processors but software developers have generally lagged behind in offering 64-bit versions of their software, especially mainstream browsers. Google has just released its first 64-bit version of Chrome into the highly experimental Developer and Canary channels for Windows, which puts it on the road to a potential mainstream release later this year.

In a Chromium blog post, Google engineer Will Harris explains that this change will bring a significant speed improvement, “64-bit allows us to take advantage of the latest processor and compiler optimizations, a more modern instruction set, and a calling convention that allows more function parameters to be passed quickly by registers. As a result, speed is improved, especially in graphics and multimedia content, where we see an average 25% improvement in performance.” <source>

Maybe another for the ‘better late than never’ department?

NSA Chief Says Snowden Probably not a Spy

As much as the Snowden revelations have captured everyone’s attention, is it just me or is anyone else getting a little fed up with all the speculation over his motives?

In the latest turn of events in the continuing saga, and despite a surfeit of Congressional speculation to the contrary, NSA Chief Admiral Michael Rogers has said he doesn’t think it likely that Snowden is working for Russia, or any other country’s intelligence agency:

Could he have? Possibly. Do I believe that’s the case? Probably not,” Admiral Rogers said.

The really surprising element of Admiral Rogers’ comment is that he actually came out and said it. It flies in the face of the steady flow of accusation and speculation previously trying to tie Snowden to Russia.

Traitor, spy, or hero? One thing for certain, the name Edward Snowden will live on in the annals of history for many years to come.


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