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Yahoo denies surveillance claims amid privacy outcry

Yahoo on Wednesday rejected allegations of mass email surveillance amid an outcry from privacy activists over a report that it created a special scanning program at the behest of US intelligence. The report, which said the US internet giant secretly scanned hundreds of millions of email accounts to help American intelligence, was "misleading," Yahoo said. "We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure," the company said in a statement to AFP. "The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems." A report Tuesday by Reuters news agency, citing former employees of the internet firm as sources, said Yahoo had built a custom program in 2015 which scanned all its emails to help the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI. The New York Times reported Wednesday …

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Things I learned at RootCon 2016

1. Persistence Pays off How did the Duter Team (representing the Philippines) win the “Capture the Packet” at the US DEFCON24 competition against teams like Squirttle Squad, Friday Bird, SEC DSM, RFC 3514, Laser Unicorn, Slipnyx77, Digrev, ATL, AOL Junkies and IP Often? Given that the other teams were far better equipped/financed while Duter Team’s resources were much meager? Visualize David versus Goliath and you get the idea. The win was the culmination of a five year effort where the first four years built up enough experience for the major win on the fifth year. While they lost in each of the past four years, their participation gave them valuable insights which included: • Using higher powered notebooks in the competition with SSDs as well. • Optimization matters - Wireshark processing was too slow …

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Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence – sources

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter. The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events. Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time. It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search …

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Google expected to unveil new phones at San Francisco event

Alphabet Inc's Google is expected to unveil new smartphones at an event on Tuesday, the company's latest effort to sell consumers on a Google-branded device and to challenge Apple Inc at the high end of the market. Analysts predict the San Francisco product launch will also showcase other Google hardware initiatives, including a voice-controlled speaker system called Home to challenge Amazon.com Inc's Echo device, and a virtual reality headset. The most eagerly expected offering is a pair of smartphones released under the Pixel brand, replacing the Nexus line. While most vendors other than Apple use Google’s Android operating system, the company has for years toyed with various approaches to building its own hardware without alienating manufacturers. Google has sold Nexus phones since 2010, but the devices have gained little traction in a market …

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Facebook expands reach with buy-and-sell ‘Marketplace’

Facebook launched Monday a "Marketplace" trading platform that lets users of the vast social network buy and sell goods with each other in a mighty challenge to the likes of eBay and Craigslist. The new feature puts Facebook -- with a global base of 1.7 billion users -- squarely in competition with local online selling platforms led by Craigslist, and offers an alternative to marketplaces like eBay. Facebook said the new program formalizes what some members have already been doing in Facebook Groups for years. "Facebook is where people connect, and in recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other," said product manager Mary Ku in a blog post. "This activity started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially. More than 450 million …

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BlackBerry, once a phone innovator, to stop making its own

TORONTO  — BlackBerry plans to stop making its signature smartphones internally, signaling a strategic shift for a company that built its reputation on innovative smartphone technology. Rather, all development for BlackBerry-branded phones will be left to BlackBerry's partners, which will license BlackBerry's technology and brand, while the Canadian company concentrates on growing its software business. "We believe that this is the best way to drive profitability in the device business," BlackBerry chairman and CEO John Chen said in a statement Wednesday. He said the move will reduce BlackBerry's expenses by eliminating the need to carry inventory and by reducing staff and equipment requirements. BlackBerry was considered a game changer in 1999 when its RIM 950 allowed on-the-go business people to access email wirelessly. BlackBerry devices were popular for nearly a decade; users couldn't part …

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D5STUDIO reinforces its vision of being a “digital first” business

Living up to its promise of being a multi-platform, multi-discipline, and multi-channel creation network, D5STUDIO has, within a year’s time, successfully transformed into a digital powerhouse that offers not just original content but a full suite of services that lives up to the “digital-first’ vision of MVP Group chairman Manny V. Pangilinan. In addition to its original entertainment content available on http://www.d5.studio, the former DIGITAL5 has also been providing online support and creating content for other brands of the MVP Group that include PLDT and SMART. In helping transform PLDT and SMART from communication service providers boasting of state-of-the-art technologies into brands that are more consumer-oriented and lifestyle-centric, D5STUDIO has become a key player to the strategic rebranding of the two companies that also reflect its three-year massive digital transformation. Another company belonging …

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Schneider Electric’s Energy Efficiency Claims

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO & Chairman of Schneider Electric shared today how “megatrends” will drive a rise in energy demand. By 2050, there will be 2.5B people living in cities; industrialization will increase energy demand by 50% - while halving carbon emissions. This all translates to the need for innovations that can increase power efficiency by a factor of at least 3. The Schneider Electric CEO also shared how his company’s vision to make “Everything connected” from “Plant to Plug” will bring about a chain of efficiency to make this 3X efficiency possible. Schneider Electrics claims that targeting the unconnected buildings alone could generate efficiencies and savings of up to 82% in unrealized potential. Since every 1KW savings at the end-user side translates to 3KW of savings at the power generation side, that …

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Aruba’s Strategy: Focus on End-user Experience

Mr Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba delivered the keynote address during their APAC Atmosphere 2016 event held at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The event opened with a dragon dance after which Mr Orr announced its developer-ready Mobile First Platform in addition to new procurement models and partner readiness programs. The interview After the keynote, Mr. Orr sat down with us and shared that the software defined approach that Aruba is currently taking was started three years ago when Aruba saw that wireless was fast becoming the primary access for most of the world. This change demanded resiliency in the network, adaptability and configurability and led Aruba to separate the networking to a ‘stable’ part and a part that can change when you have new policies or events. When I asked about what …

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Big Data: Getting Employment Trends without DOLE Stats

I was trying to analyze labor and employment in the Philippines to look for job trends, but the DOLE’s most recent data was stale with the most recent data dated 2012. (FOI fail!) So I hunted for alternative datasets online that are ‘fresher’. Background: Companies routinely require an NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) clearance as part of the job application process. So by tracking the number of NBI clearances that were issued, we can have an “idea/sense/approximation” of how many people were applying for jobs. Fortunately NBI has published their 2015 Clearance applications statistics over at data.gov.ph. Several things are noteworthy of this NBI dataset. It is published not in PDF format but in CSV so there is no need to redo data entry. In addition, NBI dataset also provides added details like Month, …

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