While some of the recent announcements beat economists' forecasts, most of us can still feel the stagnation of the economy. The overall unemployment rate is moving at a snail's pace -- and not always in the … Read more
Facebook and Microsoft on Friday became the first Internet companies to disclose the total number of legal orders they receive for user data, including ones from the National Security Agency and from state, local, and federal police performing criminal investigations.
The total for Facebook: About 18,000 accounts over a six month period, or one-thousandth of one percent of user accounts.
Microsoft's total was about 31,000 accounts over the same six month period ending December 31, 2012. A Google representative told CNET this evening that the search company is working on disclosing the same type of statistics, and … Read more
Four years after a hotly contested presidential election, Iranians head back to the polls Friday. A lot has been said and written about the circumstances surrounding the 2009 vote as well as its aftermath. But one of the more lasting images came when a video captured the final moments of a young woman who bled to death after being shot during a Tehran demonstration.
Almost immediately, pictures of Neda Agha-Soltan went viral, and the 26-year-old music student turned into a symbol for the opposition challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election. Of course, Neda's was not the first image … Read more
Yahoo reportedly challenged a U.S. government order to help it spy on foreign users before ultimately failing and becoming part of the PRISM, the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program.
The details of the dispute were never made public beyond a heavily redacted court order (PDF). But sources told The New York Times that Yahoo is the unnamed company that petitioned the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2008 for review of the order over concerns it violated its users' the Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The court responded that the company's concerns … Read more
Life is filled with trade-offs, and when it comes to keeping the country secure against terror attacks, Americans largely trust the government with broad access to personal data. Indeed, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 56 percent of those polled favored the National Security Agency's previously undisclosed phone tracking activities compared with 41 percent who opposed letting the spy agency surveil phone records.
In making their case to the public, government officials tend to put the issue in black-and-white terms: Do you want to be responsible for a terrorist attack because the intelligence community failed to connect … Read more
Google should be investigated by the U.K. tax authority HM Revenue and Customes over its tax affairs, according to a parliamentary watchdog.
The search giant came under heavy criticism from the U.K. Public Accounts Committee today for only paying $16 million in tax to HMRC on turnover of $18 billion between 2006 and 2011.
Google achieved this by basing its operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in Ireland, which has a corporation tax rate of 12.5 percent, less than half the 28 percent rate in the U.K. It then reduced its Irish tax liabilities … Read more
Twitter has been ordered by a French appeals court to produce the names of the people behind any anti-Semitic tweets, according to Le Monde.
On Wednesday, the Paris Court of Appeal struck down an appeal by Twitter in which the site argued that it shouldn't be required to take action against tweets unless they're illegal in the country where the tweet was reported. Twitter had launched its appeal after a French court ruled in January that it must hand over the names of those who post anti-Semitic tweets.
The case stemmed from several tweets posted last October that … Read more
The head of the National Security Agency hinted Wednesday that logs of Americans' e-mails and Web-site visits may be secretly vacuumed up by the world's most powerful intelligence group.
During a U.S. Senate hearing, NSA director Keith Alexander was asked specifically about whether "e-mail contacts" are ingested under the Obama administration's secret interpretation of the Patriot Act's surveillance powers.
"I don't want to make a mistake" and reveal too much, Alexander said, adding that disclosing details about such surveillance would cause "our country to lose some sort of protection." … Read more
When Internet companies were recently accused of allowing the National Security Agency direct access to their servers, they strenuously denied it. But when AT&T was accused of allowing the NSA direct access to its network, it did the opposite.
Mark Klein, who worked as an AT&T technician for over 22 years, disclosed in 2006 (PDF) that he met with NSA officials and witnessed domestic Internet traffic being "diverted" through a "splitter cabinet" to secure room 641A in one of the company's San Francisco facilities. Only NSA-cleared technicians were allowed to work … Read more
The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Tuesday that it is considering requests from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft that would let them clear their names after allegations they opened their networks to government spies, although U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has not yet issued a decision on the matter.
In response to queries from CNET, the Justice Department said late this afternoon: "The department has received the letter from the chief legal officer at Google. We are in the process of reviewing their request."