McAfee developing Anti-NSA Device, and Other Tech Headlines for 12/9-12/13

by Modis on December 13, 2013

Could an Anti-NSA Device be Coming Soon?

According to former fugitive and computer programmer John McAfee, yes, and it cannot be stopped. He has announced plans to develop a new device, known as the D-Central, that will create secure, portable networks, about a quarter of a mile in size. He says they will be resistant to government surveillance because they will be localized and incredibly secure networks. McAfee gained his fame and fortune by founding and selling the anti-virus software that bears his name. He claims the device will cost less than $100 and be small enough to fit in your pocket or backpack.

Smartphone Displays May Soon be a Thing of the Past

According to a Google engineer, the smartphone display screen may soon disappear. He is certain we are heading toward a display free computing environment that will rely solely on voice commands, in a world where the user will be surrounded by a number of computers. We already have computers in our pockets, and now we’re finding them in our watches and in our glasses. We’ve already seen a dramatic increase in the number of people using voice recognition to interact with their devices. Google says 3% of the U.S. population use voice controls on their Android devices every day, and half of the population has a smartphone with voice controls. Two-thirds of the U.S. population is aware of their existence. Voice commands are protected by Google’s data encryption, just like other data flowing between the servers and users.

Encrypted Text Messaging Now Built into a Popular Android-Based Operating System

CynogenMod, a version of Android made by independent company Cynogen, recently announced users will be soon be using secure text messaging by default. Thanks to a partnership with Open Whisper Systems, a company that makes open source apps to secure text messages and phone calls, the encryption is built directly into the phone’s firmware. Once you install CynogenMod, your texts to anyone else using it or Open Whisper System’s TextSecure will automatically be encrypted. You can use any messaging app you like. It will be first included in the 10.2 version of the software, and then incorporated into earlier versions, to accommodate more than 668,000 users.

Mixed Messages to Lawmakers on Limiting Spectrum Bidding

Some U.S. senators say the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should limit the amount of spectrum giant mobile carriers Verizon and AT&T should be able to buy at an auction scheduled for mid-2015. Lawmakers were unable to reach a consensus on the proposals to limit bids. The upcoming auction is for 600MHz spectrum currently controlled by television stations. Those against the idea of bidding restrictions say the FCC should allow any interested participants to compete freely against each other in the open market. The caps are designed to give smaller companies a fair shot, but others say that if any caps are imposed, they should be imposed on all carriers, not just the two largest ones.

Box to Add Security and Automation to IT Admin Console

Box, a cloud storage vendor has launched an IT services unit and created a partnership with Capgemini. The new console will give IT staff centralized control over user access and sharing rights. Admins will be able to manage and control content in Box across the entire user base, while establishing general usage and security policies for data transfer. It will also allow for automatic notifications whenever employees perform certain actions. In addition, it will allow for multi-step workflow automation for approving invoices, so when one step is completed, it automatically triggers the next. These are common request from companies that work in highly regulated industries, such as financial services. Some of the services will be available to current customers within the coming weeks, while others will become available in the coming months.

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