Mark Wilson

Bitcoin is not money, it's property

bitcoin-wallet

What's the first word that pops into your head when you hear Bitcoin? It's probably cryptocurrency, but a judge in Florida says this is wrong -- it's actually property.

In a case relating to alleged money laundering, Judge Teresa Pooler ruled that the charges could not stick as Bitcoin was not money, and therefore could not be laundered. With the decision that Bitcoin cannot be considered a 'monetary instrument', this could have implications for future cases.

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The KickassTorrents forums are alive and kicking

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Just a few days ago, KickassTorrents was dealt a blow when Artem Vaulin was arrested and the site seized by feds. Of course, it didn’t take long for mirrors to spring up, keeping KAT online in new locations. But the original team has also taken steps to ensure that the community lives on.

The KAT team has set up Katcr.co, home to a forum complete with many familiar old faces. This time around, there are no torrents -- this is strictly a forum -- although the KAT mirrors are still to be found online.

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What's the point of Twitter? Twitter explains...

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Twitter is worried. It's worried that while it is a well-recognized brand, a disturbingly large number of people have no idea what Twitter is actually for. What is the point? Getting slightly meta, the company today explains its raison d'être and tries to clear up some common misconceptions.

'What misconceptions are there about Twitter?', you may well ask. That it is a social network. (It ain't.) That you have to use it every day. (Seriously?) As Twitter says, 'We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!'

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Verizon acquires Yahoo for $4.83 billion

yahoo-logo-mobile

After speculation and rumors, the deal has been done. Verizon has stumped up $4.83 billion in cash for Yahoo's operating business, including search, advertising and content.

The acquisition adds an extra one billion monthly active users to Verizon's customer base, and the deal comes just over a year after the company acquired AOL. Verizon's CEO says the company is in a 'highly competitive position' and the deal will 'help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising'.

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Ford adds SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its entire 2017 range

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All of Ford's 2017 SUVs, light trucks, cars and electric vehicles will be kitted out with SYNC 3. The addition of Ford's voice-activated communications and entertainment system means that every single vehicle from its 2017 lineup will feature support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto -- in the US, at least.

SYNC 3 allows for the use of iPhones and Android smartphones to get directions, make calls, listen to music and make use of third party apps while driving. Ford promises that a "platform-focused approach to SYNC 3 means a fast rollout across all vehicles".

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Forget the beta... Prisma arrives on Android

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Like Pokémon Go, Prisma has taken the app world by storm in recent weeks. Previously only available for iOS users, the photo app that creates works of art from your snaps has finally made its way to Android.

Just a few days ago there was talk of a beta program that keen users could take part in, but now we've jumped straight to the full release. If you're (somehow) unfamiliar with the app, it uses machine learning to transform your photos into the style of any one of a number of famous artists and styles.

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Malicious computers are spying on Dark Web users on Tor

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For people concerned with their privacy the Dark Web and Tor seem like natural bedfellows. Not for the first time, concerns are currently raised that Tor may not be anywhere near as anonymous as users might like to think, with researchers saying they have discovered dozens of computers engaged in surveillance of the Dark Web.

Computer scientists from Northeastern University used honeypot addresses to identify over 110 malicious machines storing identifying information about users accessing .onion addresses via Tor. At the moment it is not clear whether data gathered by the computers has been used to identify individuals, but the possibility exists.

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Windows 10 telemetry will be used to drive enterprise upgrades with Upgrade Analytics

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Rightly or wrongly, telemetry in Windows 10 has been roundly and soundly criticized. But while the feature may be a privacy concern for some, Microsoft says that it is using the data gathered to provide advice to would-be Windows 10 users about driver and application readiness.

This is something that is aimed at enterprise users for whom Microsoft recognizes that certain apps are mission-critical for businesses. This is why the company has launched Upgrade Analytics to "provide customers with insights which allow them to [...] mitigate potential problems".

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Judge wants Yahoo to reveal how it recovered deleted emails

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Helping out with a drug trafficking case, Yahoo was able to recover emails that had previously been deleted. Now a judge wants to know how this was possible.

Yahoo's only policies state that email cannot be recovered once they have been deleted, and defense lawyers for Russell Knaggs -- who planned to move cocaine from South America -- want to know how the company was able to produce deleted email in this case.

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Cyanogen ditches a fifth of its staff and switches focus from OS to apps

cyanogenmod

Cyanogen Inc -- the cheeky little upstart behind Android-based CyanogenMod -- is reportedly laying off 20 percent of its workforce. The company is a fairly small operation with just 136 employees, but the lay-offs are significant as they are mostly from the OS side of things.

It seems that the open source Android-inspired operating system has failed to generate quite as much interest as hoped, although it does have a very dedicated cult following. It is not clear quite what the future holds for CyanogenMod, but things are not looking good at the moment.

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Google wants devs to reduce the size of app updates

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For many mobile users, it's important to keep an eye on data usage to ensure tariff limits are not exceeded. A major contributor to gobbling up monthly bandwidth allowances is the updating of apps, and Google is taking steps to reduce the size of APK updates.

In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google speaks directly to developers, pointing out the various steps they can take to optimize the size of updates. The company also calls for greater transparency so users know the size of updates before committing to a download.

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Niantic Labs faces lawsuit in Germany over Pokémon Go privacy concerns

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Pokémon Go has proved almost unbelievably popular, and like any app that gains a huge following, malicious versions of the app soon appeared. The game has been in the headlines after hackers knocked gaming servers offline, but there have also been major privacy concerns.

Now there could be a nightmare brewing for developer Niantic Labs in Germany, where consumer advocates say the game violates the country's consumer and privacy laws. Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) says the company needs to make sweeping changes to a raft of clauses in the app's terms of use in order to avoid further action.

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Spotify sells your personal and playlist data to advertisers making you the product

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Much like Google, streaming music service Spotify is increasingly turning its attention to advertising. Announcing what it refers to as "programmatic buying", the company reveals that it is launching a targeted advertising program.

Advertisers -- or "buyers" in Spotify's nomenclature -- will be granted access to not only demographic data about users, but also access to information about playlists.

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KAPOW! Bubble Zoom in Google Play Books means better support for comics

bubble-zoom-comic

If you use your Android smartphone or tablet to read comics, your reading experience is about to get a whole lot more enjoyable. An update to Google Play Books sees the introduction of Bubble Zoom, a feature announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.

It uses image recognition technology to identify speech bubbles and automatically enlarge the text of each, one at time as you tap. To celebrate, Google is offering 50 percent off certain DC Comics and Marvel comics.

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BBC iPlayer Radio app launches in the US for iOS and Android

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The BBC pumps out a great deal of fabulous content, but there's one problem -- an awful lot of it can only be accessed in the UK. With the launch of the iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android, this changes.

As well as giving listeners the chance to tune in to live radio broadcasts, the app also provides access to podcasts, and boasts a catch-up feature for shows you may have missed. The iPlayer Radio app is available free of charge, and has already received rave reviews in the Google and Apple stores.

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