Facebook in 2020: What will the future hold?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

If the past month’s activity is any indication, Facebook (s fb) and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are planning an ambitious roadmap. Tuesday’s acquisition of Oculus VR for $2 billion   shows that the company wants to ensure its longevity after social media has hit its saturation point. The  dive into virtual reality might seem rash in 2014, but it makes more sense a few years down the line.

So what might Facebook look like in 2020, with VR on its side? Here’s a couple of threads it could explore:

Double down on games

A more concerted effort in gaming is the most natural extension of the work that Oculus VR has already done Within a few years, the company could establish a cross-platform VR experience, offering a games platform similar to Valve’s Steam: cross-platform VR and social games available for purchase directly through the website.

Oculus reaffirmed its commitment to gaming in a blog post about the acquisition:

“Over…

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How much will Office for iPad actually help Microsoft? (Hint: Less than you think)

Originally posted on Gigaom:

It took a few years of denials and rumors but Microsoft Office for iPad is officially available . The company debuted the software for free on the iTunes App Store(s aapl) on Thursday with the news coming from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in his first public appearance as the company’s leader. The free version allows for viewing Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations; file creation and editing capabilities will cost you in the form of a Microsoft(s msft) subscription plan.

I haven’t installed the software yet on my iPad. I did check out some of the early reviews and images, however. The software looks visually excellent and feature filled; it should since the app was built from the ground up and not just a simple port of Microsoft Office for iPhone, noted Ina Fried from Re/code. So with a subscription plan and support on one of the best-selling tablets, Microsoft has…

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lashes out at Obama over “damage” to internet

Originally posted on Gigaom:

In an unusual Facebook post (s fb), Mark Zuckerberg blasted President Obama on Thursday over controversial hacking tactics used by the NSA in the name of national security.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” wrote Zuckerberg, adding, “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.”

The harsh words are likely related to leaked documents published yesterday that suggest the NSA has been instructing its computers to pose as Facebook servers in order to inject malware into people’s computers in order to spy on them.

The NSA had denied the allegations, putting out a statement late Thursday that reads in part: “Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other…

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Snowden calls encryption “defense against the dark arts”

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Encrypting our communications is the best way to thwart mass government surveillance programs, according to fugitive whistle blower Edward Snowden, who appeared via live-stream at the SXSW tech festival in Austin on Monday.

Snowden, whose leaks have exposed secret data collection operations between the NSA and major U.S. companies, claims that is impossible for specific individuals to hide from the government, but that encryption will render the current practice of mass surveillance expensive and impractical.

“Encryption is the defense against the dark arts for the digital realm,” Snowden said, appearing against a backdrop of the Constitution, and protected by what he described as “7 proxies” – an apparent allusion to a 4Chan meme.

Snowden’s remarks came as part of a public discussion with ACLU lawyer Christopher Soghoian over how to take privacy techniques employed by tech enthusiasts — which Snowden described as “firefighters” who can oppose those who are “setting…

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The Final Countdown – Windows XP end of support popup has started

Originally posted on Naked Security:

There are 31 days in March.

So, counting from when this article was written, that gives almost exactly one month left until Windows XP gets its Goodbye, Farewell and Amen moment.

XP users will get security updates on Tuesday, 11 March 2014, as they have for just over ten years.

They’ll get scheduled security updates again on 08 April 2014.

And then that’s it.

No more updates, neither scheduled nor emergency, no support, no nothing.

From then on, as we’ve pointed out many times, if someone finds an vulnerability in XP they’ll be able to exploit it for ever.

exploit-sign-170It also means that the fixes that will be coming out for Windows 7 and 8 may end up helping hackers to zoom in on exploits in XP.

After all, a lot of code in the current versions of Windows has been carried forward, albeit with modifications, from XP.

Anyone…

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Privacy groups lodge complaint over Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp

Originally posted on Naked Security:

Padlock image courtesy of Shutterstock. Overlaid with WhatsApp logo The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp in a deal worth $19 billion.

The privacy advocates have asked regulators to investigate the deal, and possibly even block it, due to concerns over how the social network will use the personal data of WhatsApp’s 450 million users.

EPIC and CDD’s concerns are focused around the fact that WhatsApp, a service that allows mobile users to send each other messages, had built up a solid reputation for not collecting user data for advertising purposes.

In fact, the service built its popularity on the back of a policy of only saving unsent messages, and even those are stored for just 30 days before being deleted.

The complaint states that Facebook is well known for making use of user information as part of…

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To secure your data you have to secure the device

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Security is a big issue when it comes to the internet of things. This isn’t privacy, which is a different but related topic , but merely securing the devices and data they generate so malicious people can’t steal it, see it or otherwise use it for nefarious purposes. Right now, it’s something many people are talking about, but something few people are trying to solve.

That may be partly because, as this New York Times story notes, software and internet companies are more concerned with getting users and revenue than security, but when it comes to connected devices there’s another layer of challenges. Devices have to connect to the web, but they also are incredibly person, either part of the user’s home or on their person at all times. This gives them a lot of “knowledge” that if shared can lead to an actual loss of personal safety or belongings.

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