NSA wanted to hack the Android store

A newly published Snowden leak reveals that the NSA planned to hack the Android store so that it could covertly install malware on its targets' phones. Read the rest

FBI's crypto backdoor plans require them to win the war on general purpose computing

The FBI wants backdoors in all your crypto, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron made backdoors an election promise, but as Stanford lawyer/computer scientist Jonathan Mayer writes, there's no way to effectively backdoor modern platforms without abolishing the whole idea of computers as we know them, replacing them with an imaginary and totalitarian computing ecosystem that does not exist and probably never will. Read the rest

Youtube and Nintendo conspire to steal from game superfans

Youtube's stilted, one-sided dispute resolution system allows game companies like Nintendo to confiscate the earnings of gamers who produce hugely popular "Let's Play" videos. Read the rest

An online community that deletes itself once it's indexed by Google

Unindexed is an online community that anyone can contribute to; it runs a back-end process that continuously scours Google for signs that it has been indexed, and securely erases itself once it discovers evidence of same. Read the rest

EMI claims it owns copyright to videos of cats purring

Hugh writes, "YouTube's automated takedown tool is known for its flaws, but this week it crossed a line by attacking a purring cat. According to YouTube's Content-ID system both EMI Publishing and PRS own the rights to a 12 second purring loop. The cat in question, Phantom, has filed a dispute and hopes to reclaim his rights." (Thanks, Hugh!) Read the rest

Google fought gag order over Wikileaks emails

The company says that it fought the warrants and their gag orders, and the reason they weren't able to follow Twitter's suit by disclosing the warrants' existence was that prosecutors were furious over the public backlash when Twitter got to disclose. Read the rest

Google strong-arms indie musicians into accepting brutal, crowdfunding-killing deal for streaming service

Google is launching a new, Youtube-branded streaming music service, with the cooperation of the Big Four labels, who got to negotiate the terms of their participation -- unlike the indie musicians, who have been told that they will be exiled from Youtube altogether unless they make it their most-favored-nation distribution service, without the possibility of holding back tracks for backers on services like Kickstarter or Patreon. Read the rest

UPDATED Google handed Wikileaks staffers' email over to US Government, didn't tell anyone

Wikileaks has issued a furious denunciation of Google after it learned that the company turned over its staff email to the US Government in March 2012 without notifying it. Update: Google says it fought to disclose sooner. Read the rest

G+ Kremlinology: estimating the desolation of Google's social media ghost-town

Google's spent four years frog-marching its users into G+, its faltering social network, even tying company-wide bonuses to G+ performance, thus ensuring that all of Google's offerings did everything they could to cram us into G+ -- but it hasn't worked. Read the rest

Porn companies carpetbomb Google with sloppy takedowns, remove tons of Github projects

Takedown Piracy is a copyright enforcement outfit that works on behalf of porn companies; they sent thousands of takedown notices to Google demanding the censorship of search-results for links to pages that contained the word "pure," "rebound," "lipstick," and other common words, including several Github pages that had nothing to do with their clients' movies. Read the rest

Google News shuts down in Spain

Spain's insane new compulsory fee for quoting news stories has shut down Google News there -- and will prevent any new news search-engines from emerging to replace it. Read the rest

Youtube nukes 7 hours' worth of science symposium audio due to background music during lunch break

Yannick writes, "We live-streamed our second annual Canadian conference of Citizens' Climate Lobby, a day of speeches, with a very interesting panel discussion." Read the rest

Google Maps euthanizes Auckland cat

google-maps-cat

Sad news from New Zealand. The beautiful smiling cat that appeared briefly in a mangrove swamp on the Google map of Auckland has been euthanized. Read the rest

The dirty secret of Google's self-driving cars

They've 700,000 miles, but mostly the same few thousand miles, over and over again -- because the cars only work if every single light, piece of street furniture, and other detail is mapped and verified by armies of human and computer analysts, and when anything changes, the mapping needs to be re-created. Read the rest

How AIs are rewriting photographic history

If you send your holiday photos to Google's Autoawesome processor, it will snip out the best smiles and poses and combine them to make pictures of scenes that never actually happened. Read the rest

Kevin's List

Jason Weisberger imagines a near-future where Google gets a little too eager to please.

What Google should do

This Neil Cicierega design-fiction from 2013 proposes a brilliant idea for a Google autocomplete easter-egg, where typing "Google autocomplete is not working correctly" would autocomplete to a long, wonderful list of Borges-ian non-sequiturs, each more wondrous than the last. (via JWZ) Read the rest

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