New Drone City
The drone invasion is practically upon us: The FAA is authorizing various police departments to fly unmanned aerial vehicles; Chris Anderson left Wired to focus on his drone hobbyist startup. But it seems some folks are none too keen on the idea of eyes in the sky surveying their yards, and you will probably not be too surprised to learn some of those opponents live in Texas.
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be drone-operating snoops.
A company that everyone trusts wholeheartedly with the troves of personal data you’ve turned over is reportedly developing an app that will further engender great faith and confidence from the public.
Just kidding, it’s Facebook. Facebook is doing another creepy thing because it is a day that ends in “y.”
Is Snapchat representative of a new wave of apps that tout privacy as the defining feature? Fred Wilson thinks so. [A VC]
Google’s obsessive drive to quickly index and display as much info as possible on search results pages could diminish Wikipedia’s traffic. [Optimize and Prophesize]
Coursera and other startups offering online classes could totally be the future of education…if only they figured out a stable business model. [New York Times]
Marissa Mayer made a Yahoo employee dance to “Gangnam Style” as cruel punishment for not participating in the employee feedback survey. [AllThingsD]
Is Reddit raising a new round at a $400 million valuation? [TechCrunch]
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.