1. Apple says US law enforcement agencies have made thousands of requests for user info
Apple reports that, between January 1, 2013 and June 20, 2013, American law enforcement agencies have made 1,000 to 2,000 account requests that affected roughly 2,000 to 3,000 specific accounts. Of these requests, less than a thousand were disclosed, though Apple claims it objected to an equal number of requests. The numbers are vague as the US government will not allow Apple to disclose the exact number of orders. Apple released a statement saying “We strongly oppose this gag order, and Apple has made the case for relief from these restrictions in meetings and discussions with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the courts.” Apple has indeed filed an Amicus brief at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, showing its support for greater transparency.
Apple’s device requests numbers are much more specific. 3,542 device requests were made. 8,605 devices were specified and data was provided for 3,110 of them. Apple says “We believe that our customers have a right to understand how their personal information is handled, and we consider it our responsibility to provide them with the best privacy protections available.”
2. Microsoft and Facebook team up to offer bug bounties for a safer internet
Microsoft and Facebook have teamed up to sponsor an “Internet Bug Bounty” program that offers cash prizes to those who are able to find important web vulnerabilities. Rewards can range anywhere from $300 to $5,000 depending on the flaws. The cash reward may go higher if the discovery is deemed to be very important. Prizes and money are only eligible to those in the US, and must go through a legal guardian for those under the age of 12. The security finding must be widespread and not specific to a single site. The finding will be judged by a panel of experts stemming from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Etsy, and security consulting firm iSEC.
3. Microsoft Office Web Apps get real-time co-editing, similar to Google Drive
Starting today, you can work on a Microsoft Word document, a PowerPoint Presentation, or even an Excel spreadsheet, while someone else is working on it. If you aren’t online, you can make changes on the desktop suite; the edits will sync with the online version once you gain access to an internet connection. An unlimited number of people can edit at once, and Microsoft gives two indicators to whether or not someone is inside the document.
4. Google Glass developers will get their first crack at its SDK later this month
Google is hosting a two-day hackathon starting on the 19th to developers interesting in creating apps for Google’s Glass Headset. An invite sent today describes an event hosted in San Francisco, where developers can test out the Glassware Development Kit. Now, developers will be properly equipped to build apps that work offline and have direct access to the Glass hardware. If you can’t make it to SF, office hours will be available in NYC and LA starting next month.
5. Google Maps adds Waze traffic data to the desktop, brings back Pegman
Pegman is back, through the overhaul of Google Maps. Not only did Google Maps bring back the iconic friend, but it’s acquisition of startup Waze has improved its traffic data. Traffic data is finally coming to the desktop, after having been added to the Android and iOS mobile apps back in August. Areas of congestion and spot incidents (such as accidents) will be visible to the user. Google Maps is also pushing a new feature called Earth Tours, which is a 3D bird’s-eye imagery of particular locations.
6. Samsung CEO promises to deliver devices with ‘folding displays’ in 2015
Samsung has announced that they intend to bring fully-foldable screens to customers around 2015. The screen tech could find its way into not only smartphones and tablets, but also wearables, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. Samsung has reiterated that they have not given up hope on the smartwatch, which was generally panned and did not perform as successfully as intended.
7. Twitter prices its initial public offering at $26 per share
Today, Twitter officially announced the price of its stock. Twitter will sell shares of its stock at $26 a share, which had been predicted by many analysts. The company will offer 70 million shares of its common stock. An additional 10.5 million shares will be sold only to its underwriters. Twitter’s initial offering is expected to raise roughly $1.8 billion. The shares are scheduled to go on sale tomorrow under “TWTR.”