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Dave Eggers, the acclaimed author behind A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and A Hologram for the King, will release his latest novel, The Circle, this fall. The book will revolve around a fictional, but eerily familiar entity, "the Circle," which is described as "the world's most powerful internet company."

The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

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Cyrus Farivar


Smári McCarthy, in his Twitter bio, describes himself as a "Information freedom activist. Executive Director of IMMI. Pirate."

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On Friday, two Icelandic activists with previous connections to WikiLeaks announced that they received newly unsealed court orders from Google. Google sent the orders earlier in the week, revealing that the company searched and seized data from their Gmail accounts—likely as a result of a grand jury investigation into the rogue whistleblower group.

Google was forbidden under American law from disclosing these orders to the men until the court lifted this restriction in early May 2013. (A Google spokesperson referred Ars to its Transparency Report for an explanation of its policies.)

On June 21, 2013, well-known Irish-Icelandic developer Smári McCarthy published his recently un-sealed court order dating back to July 14, 2011. Google sent him the order, which included McCarthy's Gmail account metadata, the night before. The government cited the Stored Communications Act (SCA)(specifically a 2703(d) order) as grounds to provide this order.

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General Chicken

You know your product is doing well when most of your early blog posts deal with the status of the waiting list of hundreds of thousands of users eagerly waiting to download your product. That's the enviable position Mailbox, a free mobile email management app, found themselves early in their release cycle. 

Hasn't email been done already? Apparently not. Mailbox scaled to one million users in a paltry six weeks with a team of about 14 people. As of April they were delivering over 100 million messages per day.

How did they do it? Mailbox engineering lead, Sean Beausoleil, gave an informative interview on readwrite.com on how Mailbox planned to scale... 

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samzenpus

Rick Zeman writes "Hot on the heels of Verizon's massive data dump to NSA comes news of 'PRISM' where The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time. This program, established in 2007, includes major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook...and more."

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Original author: 
Dan Goodin

Josh Chin

The Chinese hackers who breached Google's corporate servers 41 months ago gained access to a database containing classified information about suspected spies, agents, and terrorists under surveillance by the US government, according to a published report.

The revelation came in an article published Monday by The Washington Post, and it heightens concerns about the December, 2009 hack. When Google disclosed it a few weeks later, the company said only that the operatives accessed Google "intellectual property"—which most people took to mean software source code—and Gmail accounts of human rights activists.

Citing officials who agreed to speak on the condition that they not be named, Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima said the assets compromised in the attack also included a database storing years' worth of information about US surveillance targets. The goal, according to Monday's report, appears to be unearthing the identities of Chinese intelligence operatives in the US who were being tracked by American law enforcement agencies.

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Florence Ion

There's no better way to start off the afternoon than coming to terms with your mortality, which you'll need to do if you want to take advantage of Google's new Inactive Account Manager. Google launched the service on its account settings page to give users options with their account should it remain inactive for an extended period of time.


It's simple to set up: choose a timeout period—three, six, nine, or twelve months of inactivity—and from there you can direct Google on what to do with your Gmail messages, Blogger posts, Contacts, Google+ account, Google Voice, and YouTube accounts. (Basically, any Google services you've used in the past.) After that time period of inactivity, Google will send out a text message and e-mail the secondary address you provide. If you don't respond, it will assume... well, the worst. "We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife," Google concluded in the blog post.


If you have intentions of allowing a friend or family member to have access to that data, you can set up the service to notify up to 10 people that your account has been inactive for the time you've specified. Google will then ask for verification details for the listed people, like a phone number and e-mail address. When you're ready, you can send out an e-mail to those people you've entrusted with your data should anything happen to you.

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Adi Robertson

2y5bt_large

Google has added a new way to control what happens to your account when you stop using it — most likely because you're no longer around. A new Inactive Account Manager, available in Google's settings, allows you to set a timeout period for your account. If you go three months to a year without signing in, Google will first notify a selected phone number or alternate email address. After that, it will let you add up to ten contacts, who will be notified with a custom-written email and optionally given access to data from any or all Google services. As a last step, Google can also delete your account once any contacts have been notified.

In a blog post, Google detailed how to plan for your "digital afterlife." It's not the first company...

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Reflected XSS vulnerabilities in action

Aspect Security

When my neighbor called early Wednesday morning, she sounded close to tears. Her Yahoo Mail account had been hijacked and used to send spam to addresses in her contact list. Restrictions had then been placed on her account that prevented her from e-mailing her friends to let them know what happened.

In a blog post published hours before my neighbor's call, researchers from security firm Bitdefender said that the hacking campaign that targeted my neighbor's account had been active for about a month. Even more remarkable, the researchers said the underlying hack worked because Yahoo's developer blog runs on a version of the WordPress content management system that contained a vulnerability developers addressed more than eight months ago. My neighbor's only mistake, it seems, was clicking on a link while logged in to her Yahoo account.

As someone who received one of the spam e-mails from her compromised account, I know how easy it is to click such links. The subject line of my neighbor's e-mail mentioned me by name, even though my name isn't in my address. Over the past few months, she and I regularly sent messages to each other that contained nothing more than a Web address, so I thought nothing of opening the link contained in Wednesday's e-mail. The page that opened looked harmless enough. It appeared to be an advertorial post on MSNBC.com about working from home, which is something I do all the time. But behind the scenes, according to Bitdefender, something much more nefarious was at work.

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google redesign feature lead

By Dieter Bohn and Ellis Hamburger

Something strange and remarkable started happening at Google immediately after Larry Page took full control as CEO in 2011: it started designing good-looking apps.

Great design is not something anybody has traditionally expected from Google. Infamously, the company used to focus on A/B testing tiny, incremental changes like 41 different shades of blue for links instead of trusting its designers to create and execute on an overall vision. The “design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data” led its very first visual designer, Douglas Bowman, to leave in 2009.

More recently, however, it’s been impossible to ignore a series of thoughtfully designed apps — especially on iOS,...

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