NSA Claims Tech Giants Knew About Surveillance and Other Tech Headlines for 3/17-3/21

by Modis on March 21, 2014

U.S. Tech Giants Knew NSA Gathered Data

Rajesh De, the senior lawyer for the National Security Agency, said on Wednesday that United States technology companies such as Yahoo and Google were fully aware that the surveillance agency was collecting data. Not only were they aware – they provided full assistance in the legally mandated collection of data. Nearly all companies listed as participating in the program including: Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, AOL, and Apple claimed they didn’t know about the surveillance practice. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, said he called President Barack Obama last week to voice his concerns about the damage the government is doing to the future. De also said that the NSA is not allowed to search for Americans’ data from communications taken directly off the Internet.

Mystery Tech Company Moving into San Jose’s Largest Office Complex

San Jose City officials approved a two million square foot office project in North San Jose on Wednesday, which leaves people speculating as to what company will be moving into the biggest ever office park in the area. The only person at City Hall who knows the name of the company is Mayor Chuck Reed, and he’s not saying anything to anyone. Reed says the company name is not something he can discuss because they’ve asked him to keep it confidential. He did say that it was a Fortune 500 company, and that people will recognize the name when they finally hear it because it is a Silicon Valley tech company. The proposed project itself is twice the size of Facebook’s Menlo Park campus and more than two-thirds the size of Apple’s planned spaceship campus in Cupertino.

Oregon Tech Job Rate Peaks, but Growth Still Slow Across U.S.

Oregon’s jobless rate continues to decline, finally under 7% for the first time in five years. Most of the growth comes from tech jobs, as they have hit their highest point in years. The growth stems from well-funded startup companies like Puppet and Jama Software calling Portland home, and hiring people by the dozens. However, a broader measure of job data suggests that, even with the growth, Oregon is still 2,000 tech jobs shy of where it was at the start of the recession, and suggests slower growth, at a rate of about 1.6%, slower than the national average. This data suggests, overall, that United States tech employment returned to pre-recession levels in 2012.

IBM’s New Services to Crack Down on Fraud

This week, software giant IBM introduced new software and services to help companies use big data to address monetary loss caused by fraud. IBM’s new offering has been coined the “smart counter fraud” initiative, and includes software and services based on more than 500 fraud consultants, 290 fraud-related research patents, and the investment of $24 billion in Big Data software over the last nine years. The company claims their new services can detect a number of criminal activities, such as tax evasion, money laundering, cyber attacks, and internal threats. Issues can be detected and resolved more quickly, resulting in less loss for a company.

Watson to Work on Cancer Genome Data

Watson, the supercomputer known for beating even Jeopardy’s best champions, will now have a new project. IBM will put him to work on the task of analyzing cancer genome data for the purpose of choosing cancer treatments. In the process, the company hopes to bring us one step closer to the reality of personalized medicine. The project will begin with a small group of patients, ages 20 to 25, who suffer from glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer with frequently poor outcome. The project will take both health and cancerous tissue from each of the patients and put it all through extensive DNA sequencing. From here, it would be theoretically possible to analyze the data Watson spits out, and create a personalized treatment for each patient.

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