Daily Tech Briefing: July 31, 2014

The Internet of Things offers consumers the opportunity to have all manner of devices connected to the Internet. However, a new study from Hewlett-Packard has pointed out that with the great power to connect also comes great risks.

The company found a host of common vulnerabilities across 10 major IoT devices that it scanned for security risks. HP is not specifically identifying the vendors or devices it scanned, since the goal was not to shame any individual vendor, but rather to point out the areas of risk that are present.

Microsoft has released the Visual Studio Tools for Unity add-on for developers working with the Unity gaming tools platform. This is happening less than a month after Microsoft acquired SyntaxTree, a French tools vendor and maker of the popular UnityVS plug-in for Visual Studio, which is now known as the Visual Studio Tools for Unity add-on or VSTU.

All customers who own Visual Studio Pro or above can already download the extension for free. The 1.9 release includes a faster debugger, faster startup, better handling of C# constructs and the ability to start your game and debugging session in one click.

According to a panel of legal experts, a case in which federal prosecutors are demanding email data from Microsoft that resides on a server in Ireland may result in violations of the U.S. Constitution, as well as international law and a variety of treaties.

The case involves the Department of Justice is trying to get its hands on email created by an alleged drug dealer. The legal experts say that the attempt to gain access to information held on European servers is a violation of international law.

The case goes to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 31. It's likely that a lengthy appeal process will ensue no matter which side wins.

Following disclosures first made over a year ago by U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Congress has embarked on the long, arduous journey toward surveillance reform.

Congress took the latest step on July 29 with legislation introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, which builds on the USA Freedom legislation passed in the House of Representatives in May. President Obama had pledged in a January policy speech to enact surveillance reforms.

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