Did you receive an email this holiday season from a kind-hearted woman who just wanted to celebrate Christmas by sending random strangers pictures of herself in skin-bearing bikinis? Free noodz from an anonymous hottie seemed too good to be true! And indeed, it was.
Sophos’ Naked Security reports that malware is currently circulating via screensavers of bikini shots landing in the inboxes of hapless Internet folks.
Online privacy pundits might not want to venture over to China any time soon; the country just passed a law requiring citizens to identify themselves when signing up for internet and mobile access. [Bloomberg]
Another Snapchat scandal! Turns out both Snapchat and Facebook’s new Poke app store your videos sent over the services locally, meaning it’s possible to save videos sent to you without the sender ever knowing. [BuzzFeed]
It appears those ads at the top of Wikipedia are paying off: the Wikimedia Foundation has raised $25 million so far in its 2012 fundraiser. [The Next Web]
Someone wants to make a stage show in Las Vegas based on Portal. [The Daily Dot]
John McAfee is at it again. [Wired]
Instagram’s updated terms of service unleashed a maelstrom of confusion from users who believed that the new terms would allow Instagram to sell their photos without compensation. Celebrities even began quitting over it! Unwilling to lose their influential users, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom took to the company blog today to clarify just what exactly the new TOS says.
Much ink has already been spilled over Instagram’s new updated terms of service, which specifically states that it can use your photos for “advertising and promotions.” Twitter users erupted in outrage over the news, with many techies claiming they would soon be quitting the service. Wired wrote a helpful how-to on how to download your photos and delete your account. Photographer Clayton Cubitt, who is not at all hyperbolic, called it Instagram’s suicide note. Gizmodo called everyone whiny babies and offered a counterpoint: “shut up.”
XXX in Tech
When last we checked in on creepy technologies that wholly encroach on your sense of personal privacy, Microsoft had registered a patent that would allow the Kinect to detect how many people are in a room and stop playback on a movie if it sensed more people than the copyright allowed. But a new patent filed by Verizon takes that concept a step further by allowing a set-top box to observe what’s going on in your house and serve you ads based on what it hears.
The king of revenge porn had just slept with a girl on her 18th birthday at an inconspicuous hotel in Chinatown, and he claimed he had the cell phone snap of her driver’s license to prove it. Though he lives in San Francisco, the notorious Hunter Moore was in New York to serve a community service sentence following an incident in which he’d headbutted a go-go dancer.
“I was so coked out,” Mr. Moore told Betabeat, as we made our way from the lobby of his hotel to a Broome Street bar called Lolita. Tall and thin with ink-colored hair and eyes to match, wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head, Mr. Moore sipped a rum and coke as we slid into a booth toward the back. Black tattoos reached like spiders across his arms.
On Thursday the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The ECPA has actually been around since 1986; the new version has been updated for the 21st Century. Now law enforcement will be required to have a search warrant if they want a peek at emails, private messages and data that’s been uploaded to the cloud.
As The Next Web reports, the ACLU is pretty happy the new version of the act has come this far:
Perhaps it’s time for a burner phone? The New York Times reports that the NYPD has begun quietly and methodically accumulating heaps of call logs and putting them into a searchable database called the Enterprise Case Management System.
It works like this: When someone has their cell phone stolen, the NYPD frequently subpoenas the call logs for that phone, hoping that if the thief used the phone, the recordings will provide evidence that can help track him or her down. But instead of deleting the logs after closing the case, they continue to exist in the NYPD’s database, and could “conceivably be used for any investigative purpose.”
When Google launched its new worldwide alternative reality game earlier this month, the web lit up with widespread questions. The game, called Ingress, allows users to move through the physical world with their Android devices, collecting pockets of energy in various locations that they can then use to complete virtual quests. It was an interesting idea, but on the surface appeared to not make any significant contributions to the company’s bottom line. Why would Google, which has $217.59 billion market cap, allocate time and resources to a free Android game?
Technology Review called it “augmented reality’s first killer app.” AllThingsD reported that because the game incorporates real stores and businesses into its plotline, it’s a natural next-level venue for advertisers–Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel have already all signs on to host ads on Ingress.