James Watson

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Congress scoffs at U.S.-Russia deal for Syria cease-fire

Members of Congress would love to see a cease-fire take hold in Syria. They're just not betting any Russian rubles it will.<p>News of a deal between the U.S. and Moscow to pause the fighting in the blood-soaked Arab state within a week was met with doubt Friday on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers simply …

Ex-NSA boss says FBI's plan for ending encryption is a terrible idea

A former head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) told a conference that the FBI’s attempts to ban encryption are a bad idea, reports CNN.<p>General Michael Hayden, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Miami Beach came out in favor of encryption saying, “I actually think end-to-end …

Robot helpers are on the rise

You may not have unwrapped a robot on Christmas, but your new year will be filled with artificial intelligence.<p>Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other technology companies, large and small, are making rapid advancements with virtual personal assistants that can solve problems and even complete …

Chatbots

The CEO of Google's £400 million AI startup is going to meet with tech leaders to discuss ethics

The AI ethics meeting will be held at New York University in January and attended by the heads of big tech firms, according to Hassabis.<p>It's not clear at this stage exactly which individuals or which companies will attend but global technology giants such as Facebook and Apple are likely candidates …

Artificial Intelligence

15 interesting startups to watch in 2016

As we usher in another year, we brace for the next wave of innovation, disruption, consolidation, and dissolution. What will be the next big thing that everyone talks about? I’ve been asking around and looking at companies, trends, and what else is going on to put together the following list of …

You Won't Believe All the Crazy Hardware the NSA Uses for Spying

Over the weekend we learned a lot about the National Security Agency’s Access Network Technology, or ANT, division, that, in the words of Der …

The NSA and the Corrosion of Silicon Valley

I believe that the people who work at the NSA are patriots. They devote their considerable intellects to preserve, protect, and defend the people of …

Silicon Valley

7 Enterprise IT Trends to Watch in 2016

Worlds created entirely of clouds. “Unicorns” racing through new landscapes. Data moving faster than the speed of light.<p>For those of you who don’t …

An example of why government backdoor access is terrible

As the US and UK governments seek to get backdoor access to encrypted phones, computers and other devices pushes forward, we just got the best example of why to avoid them altogether.<p>This week, Juniper discovered that <i>someone</i> had added malicious code within its firewall devices running ScreenOS that …

Tim Cook

Dueling Realities

Augmented-reality systems could edge out virtual reality and re-imagine human perception in the process.<p>After coordinating scientific research for the United States during World War II, including initiating the Manhattan Project, the engineer Vannevar Bush set his sights on a pacifist instrument …

Augmented Reality

Is Migration a Basic Human Right? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

The U.S. border checkpoint in Champlain, N.Y. On a typical day, more than 1 million people cross U.S. borders by land, sea, and air. (photo, cropped: …

Immigration

Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

Providing universal access to clean drinking water delivers a bigger bang for the buck than fighting climate change, says our guest Bjørn Lomborg. …

Cost-benefit Analysis

Judge finds Apple didn't violate wiretap laws in failing to deliver iMessages to Android phones

Texts may be an indispensable form of communication, but THEY can easily become a source of consternation if, for example, you’ve no idea whether …

Watch 60 years of space junk accumulate in 60 seconds

Space junk is a huge problem for space exploration. It’s such a problem that NASA tracks the debris to ensure the safe passage of its orbital …

Yahoo to notify users of state-sponsored attacks

With a growing number of hacks, breaches, and leaks occupying media real estate, cybersecurity is more top of mind than ever for companies and …

Virtual Reality is ready to launch, but could it crash and burn?

At the 2014 Game Developers Conference, I endured a two-hour wait to play CCP Games’ <i>Eve: Valkyrie</i> on the Oculus Rift for the first time. The …

This futuristic chip transmits data in an entirely new way

While some companies are looking for new ways to charge electronics wirelessly, a handful of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are …

Yahoo will now tell you if your account is attacked by government hackers

Yahoo has announced in a blog post that it will warn users if it thinks their accounts are being attacked by state-sponsored hackers. (We saw the news over on ZDNet.)<p>Yahoo joins numerous other tech companies taking similar measures as privacy issues becoming increasingly front-and-centre: Facebook, …

Online Life

NSA knew about Juniper backdoors and kept quiet about them

Last week, network hardware manufacturer Juniper revealed that it had found unauthorized code in its system firmware that made it possible for hackers to gain administrative access to its devices. It’s possible that the firmware has been vulnerable for years.<p>The Intercept has released a top secret …

The U.S. Is Still No.1 at Selling Arms to the World

The United States remains the world’s preeminent exporter of arms, with more than 50 percent of the global weaponry market controlled by the United …

Edward Snowden Wants You To Ditch Dropbox For This Service

He thinks Dropbox, the cloud storage firm with over 200 million users, is "hostile to privacy," and urged people to switch to what he calls more-secure storage services like SpiderOak.<p>"Dropbox is a targeted wannabe PRISM partner," Snowden told The Guardian. "They just put Condoleezza Rice on their …

Condoleezza Rice

How a British Spy Agency is Manipulating the Internet | The Takeaway | WNYC

From changing the outcome of online polls to artificially increasing website traffic, GCHQ has been blurring the line between online surveillance and …

Surveillance

Israeli startups flock to New York

"Startup Nation" actually breeds a lot of U.S.-based firms -- especially in New York City.<p>About ten new Israeli startups are added to the New York community every month, a trend Guy Franklin has been noticing for the past six months.<p>Franklin works as an accountant at Ernst & Young but tracks …

Israel kills two handicapped Palestinian women in air strike on home for disabled

The two disabled Palestinian women probably knew or understood nothing of the Israeli air strike that struck a home for orphaned and severely disabled men and women<p>Suha Abu Sada probably knew or understood nothing about the suspected Palestinian militants who lived in the flats above her and whose …

Merkel doubts whether US will stop spying on Germany

Amid a continuing scandal over the arrests of two German government workers for allegedly spying for the US, the country's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Saturday she was doubtful the US would ever stop spying on Germany.<p>On Friday, a senior German official told the Guardian the country expected …

Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses Twice in Court as He Hears Details of Horrific Murders

HOUSTON (AP) — A man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family, including four children, after forcing his way into their suburban Houston home collapsed in court twice Friday as a prosecutor read out details of the crime.<p>A shackled Ronald Lee Haskell was standing before a state …

Diane Sawyer Apologizes To Viewers For Misrepresenting Palestinian Victims As Israelis

ABC News | ABC Sports News<p>Diane Sawyer apologized to her viewers on Thursday for an error she made about the current violence in Palestine and Israel on her Tuesday show.<p>When introducing a segment about the conflict, Sawyer had misidentified the people in two photos, saying they were Israelis …

Putin pledges to help Cuba explore for offshore oil

HAVANA (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to help revive Cuba’s struggling offshore oil exploration on Friday at the start of a six-day tour of Latin America as Russia aims to reassert its influence on the communist-ruled island.<p>Putin was joined in Havana by close ally and …

Israel continues Gaza bombardment, pushing death toll past 120

Israel has vowed no easing of its aerial bombardment of Gaza, which has killed at least 120 Palestinians, as a defiant Hamas rained more rockets on the Jewish state.<p>A charity for disabled people and a mosque in which Israel claims weapons were concealed were reported to be among the latest targets …