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British Spies Said to Have Intercepted Yahoo Webcam Images (The New York Times)
A British intelligence agency collected video webcam images — many of them sexually explicit — from millions of Yahoo users, regardless of whether they were suspected of illegal activity, according to accounts of documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden. The surveillance effort operated by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, was code-named Optic Nerve. Financial Times “Optic Nerve” tapped into Yahoo users’ accounts and took still images from their computer webcams every five minutes. Yahoo reacted angrily to the revelations, denying all knowledge. The Guardian GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of U.K. or U.S. citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under U.K. law to prevent Americans’ images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant. The documents also chronicle GCHQ’s sustained struggle to keep the large store of sexually explicit imagery collected by Optic Nerve away from the eyes of its staff, though there is little discussion about the privacy implications of storing this material in the first place. PBS NewsHour A NSA spokesperson, late Thursday, emailed the following statement to the NewsHour: “As we’ve said before, the National Security Agency does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the U.S. government would be legally prohibited from undertaking itself. NSA works with a number of partners in meeting its foreign-intelligence mission goals, and those operations comply with U.S. law and with the applicable laws under which those partners operate …” NPR The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement condemning the spy agency’s actions and the NSA’s role in the snooping: “This is a truly shocking revelation that underscores the importance of the debate on privacy now taking place and the reforms being considered,” said Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.
Tumblr Adds its First Director of Media (SocialTimes)
Sima Sistani has been named director of media at Tumblr reports The Hollywood Reporter. She had been the director of mobile growth at Yahoo since August of last year, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Facebook Gives Up on Desktop Apps: Facebook Messenger for Firefox Will Also Shut Down on March 3 (The Next Web)
Less than 24 hours after Facebook confirmed it was shutting down Facebook Messenger for Windows on March 3, we’ve discovered the same kill date applies to Facebook Messenger for Firefox. It appears that the company is no longer interested in developing desktop apps.
Sprint Employee Allegedly Posts Woman’s Sex Photos from Trade-In Phone To Facebook (AllFacebook)
Can you imagine checking your Facebook News Feed and suddenly seeing compromising photos of yourself from a mobile phone you traded in, visible by all your Facebook friends? That is exactly what happened to a Los Angeles woman, but Facebook was not at all to blame: A Sprint employee who was supposed to be wiping all data off the phone instead accessed its Facebook application and uploaded the photos, according to her lawsuit against the mobile carrier.
String of Social Media Scandals Plagues Military (NBC News)
A string of photo-sharing posts over the past two weeks has brought dishonor to the uniform and created a barrage of controversy for the military. Observers say that should compel the Department of Defense to revisit its social media policies.
When Old School Meets Instagram (LostRemote)
Social media brings people of all ages together, and a picture from Thursday morning features a legendary TV host with His Holiness. The two took the photo after an interview in Los Angeles Wednesday, set to air on “Larry King Now” March 10.
Start-Up That Analyzes Twitter for Wall Street Raises Financing (The New York Times)
Eagle Alpha, a startup that mines social media and the web for market-related information, is expanding with backing from a handful of individual investors. The company, which is based in Dublin with operations in New York and London, is expected to announce on Friday that it has raised $1.5 million from a group of current and former senior executives at banks and hedge funds.
For Better Trending Topics, Try Current.ly (AllTwitter)
As TechCrunch reports, Current.ly co-founder Zlatan Menkovic is tired of seeing three trends a day about Justin Bieber based off of Twitter’s trending algorithm: “…we have our own trending algorithm. We tend [to] have news about tv, news, sports and viral discussions.”
Like a Rolling Milestone: Pandora Hits 250M Registered Users (CNET)
Pandora said Thursday that it has surpassed 250 million registered users, who have created more than 6 billion stations on its Web-based radio service. The company crossed the 200 million mark in April 2013.