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UK Newspaper's Hard Drives Next to Suffer Over NSA Leaks

UK Newspaper's Hard Drives Next to Suffer Over NSA Leaks

Today in international tech news: The Guardian says UK officials destroyed some of its hard drives because of NSA leaks. Also: Google is trying to stop a lawsuit from being heard in the UK, even though the plaintiffs are all from the UK; Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics looks to buy out HTC's ownership stake; and a researcher launches a campaign to pick up Facebook's unpaid "Bug Bounty."

By David Vranicar TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
08/20/13 12:21 PM PT

Alan Rusbridger, the editor for The Guardian, wrote a column Monday detailing how British law enforcement had destroyed hard drives at the newspaper's offices in London.

The destruction was purportedly to prevent additional leaks about the National Security Agency.

The Guardian was the outlet to first blow the top off that story in June, reporting in-depth on Edward Snowden leaks.

Prior to destroying the Guardian-owned hard drive, Rusbridger writes, an official told him, "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."

To which Rusbridger wrote, "We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents. We just won't do it from London."

Over the weekend, UK officials detained the partner of The Guardian's go-to NSA reporter, Glenn Greenwald.

[Source: The Guardian]

Google Trying to Stop Lawsuit From Being Heard in the UK

Dan Tench, a lawyer representing dozens of British plaintiffs who accuse Google of secretly bypassing a security setting to collect data, says that the search giant is trying to prevent his clients' lawsuit from being heard in the UK.

The plaintiffs say that Google illegally tracked them on the Web while they used Apple's Safari Web browser. They launched their case earlier this year, claiming that Google falsely assured them that their online activity in 2011 and 2012 would not be tracked. However, that Google did indeed collect cookies, they say, which allowed the company to better target advertising.

Safari has a setting designed to prevent such data collection.

Last year, Google paid US$22.5 million to settle a case with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. That case, too, alleged that Google misrepresented how it would track Safari users' cookies, which violated a previous privacy settlement with the FTC.

Google is reportedly seeking to have the case heard by a California court because that it where its software is based.

Tench doesn't much agree with that logic, however, and says that because those who were harmed reside in the UK, that is where the case should be heard. A ruling on jurisdiction is expected in October.

Google could do well to move the hearing out of the UK, where the company dominates the search market but also irks lawmakers on a regular basis. In May, for instance, a Member of Parliament said, "I think that you do evil," referencing Google's clever (if legal) tax practices, which allow the company to skirt loads of British corporate taxes.

Such accusations are nothing new.

[Sources: BBC; The Sunday Times]

Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics Looks to Drop HTC

Beats Electronics LLC, founded by music mogul Jimmy Iovine and American hip-hop icon Dr. Dre, is looking to buy out its Asian partner, Taiwan-based HTC.

Made famous for its Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, Beats Electronics is looking to broaden its catalog to include speakers, audio systems and consumer electronics, as well as an upcoming online streaming music service.

HTC owns a 25 percent stake in the company, while Iovine and Dr. Dre control about 75 percent.

HTC, which last year provide Beats with a $225 million loan, has incorporate beats software into phones, and has bundled Beats headphones with phones.

Beats, whose revenue hit about $1 billion last year -- a five-fold increase from 2010 -- owns nearly 60 percent of the U.S. market for premium headphones, according to NPD Group.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

Campaign to Pick Up Facebook's Unpaid Tab

A security researcher has launched a fundraising campaign to pay Khalil Shreateh money that Facebook refuses to pay.

The campaign, started by Marc Maiffret, is designed to compensate Shreateh, a Palestinian, for the Bug Bounty some think Facebook owes him. As part of a program launched in 2011, Facebook has doled out more than $1 million to researchers who have ID'd bugs and improved security. The rewards are usually about $500, but can range into the thousands -- and up to $20,000 for major bugs.

After the company disregarded a bug reported by Shreateh, he penetrated the Facebook page of Mark Zuckerberg to highlight the bug.

Alas, Shreateh, who says he has been out of work for two years, received zilch because Facebook says he broke the terms by posting directly to Zuckerberg's wall. Facebook also cited the language barrier and the fact that Shreateh failed to dot all i's and cross all t's in his report.

The campaign has raised more than $6,000; the goal is $10,000. Maiffret forked over the first $3,000 himself.

[Source: Wired]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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