Mark Wilson

Amazon Family Vault lets you share your Prime Photos storage with others for free


Amazon likes to chuck a few freebies (well... not free exactly...) at Prime subscribers, and today there is a new addition to the pile -- Family Vault. The new feature allows subscribers in the US to share their free photo storage space with up to five other people.

This makes it possible for a family to store all of their photos in one place. In addition to the unlimited shared photo storage, each person invited to the Family Vault is given an extra 5GB of storage which can be used to house other files.

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MI5, MI6 and GCHQ secretly and illegally collected data about British citizens for over a decade


The surveillance activities of the NSA in the US, along with MI5, MI6 and GCHQ in the UK, have been known about for some time now, largely thanks to Edward Snowden. Now the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that for more than a decade, huge amounts of data were collected without adequate oversight, breaking privacy laws.

The tribunal also said that some instances of data collection failed to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Privacy International, the group who brought the complaint against the spy agencies, said that this is a "highly significant judgment".

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Facebook on the frontline: livestreaming Iraqi and Kurdish forces trying to wrestle Mosul from ISIS


When Facebook Live launched as a service available to everyone (after a celebrity-only debut) it didn’t take long for people's fears of terrible incidents being broadcast to come true. We've had celebrities livestreaming, we've had death, injuries and accidents livestreamed. What next? War.

Over in Iraq, the city of Mosul is currently under the control of ISIS. Iraqi and Kurdish military forces are in the process of attacking the city to regain control. What's unusual -- and particularly disturbing -- about this is that the whole event is being livestreamed on Facebook by Kurdish media group Rudaw -- complete with viewers' reactions in the form of cartoon emoji.

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iOS 10 has a hidden onscreen Home button for iPhone 7 users


With the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Apple not only removed the headphone jack, the company also replaced the mechanical home button with a static one. What was not revealed, however, is that iOS 10 also has a secret software Home button.

The feature is a safeguard built in should anything go wrong with your physical home button. Should this happen, the button problem will be detected and iOS 10 will offer up a temporary on-screen Home button to tide you over until you can get to the Genius Bar.

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Samsung announces mass production of 10nm FinFET SoCs

Samsung logo building

Still reeling from the Galaxy Note7 recall and flight ban, Samsung has announced it has started mass producing system-on-chip (SoC) products with 10-nanometer FinFET technology.

It follows on from the mass production in 2015 of FinFET mobile application processors, and Samsung says this is another industry first. The company says that devices featuring 10nm SoCs will launch in early 2017 and become more widespread throughout the year.

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Google will show different search results to mobile and desktop users in the coming months


At the moment it does not matter whether you perform a Google search from your phone or from your computer; you'll see the same results. But in a few months this is set to change. The company is set to launch a new mobile search index that will be more up to date than the desktop index.

The news came at Pubcon, a social media and optimization conference, via Google's trends analyst Gary Illyes. It was an idea that was floated last year, and after a little experimentation, Google is almost ready to launch the new search index.

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Game of Thrones actress Faye Marsay is bullied into quitting social media


The latest high-profile victim of online abuse is actress Faye Marsay, famous for her portrayal of the Waif in Game of Thrones. After finding herself on the receiving end of hate and harassment, she has announced that she is to quit Facebook.

Marsay's decision comes after guidelines were unveiled to help determine whether criminal proceedings should be brought against individuals engaging in online hate crimes.

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Samsung Galaxy Note7 is banned from all US planes to avoid 'a catastrophic incident'


An emergency order has been pushed through by the US Transportation Department that means the Galaxy Note7 phones cannot be taken on board any US flight.

The grounding of the handset comes after Samsung stopped manufacturing it because of numerous reports of phones catching fire or exploding. It is yet another incentive for anyone who has hung onto the Note7 following a recall which saw Samsung offering customers $100 to switch to another phone from the company.

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Twitter experiments with replacing Moments with a new Explore feature


The Moments feature could be set to disappear from Twitter's mobile apps. Having only recently announced the roll out of a curation option to everyone, Twitter is now experimenting with replacing it with a more inviting Explore feature.

Speaking to Mashable, Twitter confirmed that a "content discovery"-focused Explorer tab could replace Moments in the future. For now, though, there is an experimental change visible to some iOS and Android users that sees the Moments and Explore tabs show up side by side.

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Samsung offers Galaxy Note7 owners $100 to stick with the company as it expands product recall


The cost of Samsung's explosive and disastrous Galaxy Note7 launch just keeps on mounting up. Having previously offered Galaxy Note7 owners $25 for anyone seeking a refund on their handset or switching to another brand, the company is now dangling the promise of a $100 sweetener to anyone willing to try their luck with another Samsung phone.

The expansion of the refund and exchange program starts today, and is accompanied by near-grovelling from Samsung president and COO Tim Baxter. Samsung is currently counting the financial cost of the recall -- but would the promise of a nice, crisp Benjamin be enough to entice you back?

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Updated Google Photos uses AI to animate and auto-rotate your pictures... and more


Google Photos has received a fairly significant update that sees the arrival of four key new features. Three of them are focused on sharing and viewing your photos, but the fourth is an AI-powered auto-rotate function that ensures you'll no longer have to look at photos on their sides.

As Pixel and Pixel XL owners (as well as other Android users who don't mind a drop in quality) have unlimited Google Photo storage at their disposal, Google is introducing a Facebook-style restrospective feature. Google says it will "make it easier to look back at your fondest memories", but there is more to discover.

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Playboy comes to iOS and Android after ditching the nudity


Playboy is a name synonymous with nudity -- or at least it was. It's been some time since the top shelf stalwart decided to drop pictures of completely naked women (the prevalence of hardcore online porn was too much to compete with), and the cleaner image means that the title is now available in the App Store and Google Play.

The title can now be downloaded as an app which provides subscribers with access to "sexy, seductive pictorials of the world’s most beautiful women". But of course you only buy it for the articles, so you'll be pleased to hear that the magazine "remains committed to its award-winning mix of long-form journalism, interviews and fiction".

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Rumors of the OnePlus 3's death have been greatly exaggerated


That the Samsung Galaxy Note7 was killed off hardly came as a surprise, but rumors also started to circulate this week that the OnePlus 3 was to be discontinued. While OnePlus has not suffered from any problems, delays in getting orders out to customers led to speculation that there was a new phone in the pipeline and that production on the OnePlus 3 had come to an end.

Nonsense! Says OnePlus. The company reassures us that it is "still producing and selling the OnePlus 3". There is, however, a slight problem with the supply chain.

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Google's latest transparency report reveals the futility of transparency reports -- and increased data requests

Google Logo

As has become the norm for big tech companies these days, Google has just published its latest transparency report. The report reveals -- in very, very broad strokes -- the number of requests for user data the company has received from the US government.

In a groundbreaking revelation (and -- please -- note the sarcasm) the lifting of a gag restriction by the FBI means Google is now able to report about the number of National Security Letters it received in Q2 2015. Sort of. "We have updated the range of NSLs received in that period [...] from 0-499 to 1-499." Or, to paraphrase: "there definitely weren't none".

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Snowden-endorsed Signal gains Facebook-style disappearing messages


Facebook's recently rolled-out Secret Conversations heralded the arrival of not only end-to-end encryption for users, but also disappearing messages. Not to be outdone, Edward Snowden's favorite messaging service, Signal, has followed suit.

The company behind the app, Open Whisper Systems, points out that the feature is not really designed to further improve security and privacy; rather it is a way "to keep your message history tidy".

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