Daily Tech Briefing: June 19, 2014

By eWEEK Staff  |  Posted 2014-06-19 Print this article Print

Amazon unveils fire phone with HD display optimized for reading outdoors; BlackBerry to support Amazon Appstore on upcoming OS; UK monitors Britons that use Google, Facebook, Twitter; and there's more

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Amazon has introduced its first smartphone - the Fire. It features a 4.7-inch In-Plane Switching LCD HD display, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with unlimited photo storage in the Amazon cloud, 2GB of RAM and many other features.

One unexpected feature CEO Jeff Bezos debuted was FireFly, which uses sensors to enable users to identify things in the world around them, everything from fine art to a jar of peanut butter and order them online.

Bezos also highlighted the phone's "Dynamic Perspective" features, which are 3D-like capabilities that utilize sensors on the Fire's top corners. At the announcement, Bezos pulled up a map of NYC, tilted the phone, and the Empire State Building popped up in 3-D.

Amazon Appstore apps will be available on BlackBerry devices running the 10.3 operating system that BlackBerry will introduce this fall. Currently, BlackBerry World offers an estimated 130,000 apps, while the Amazon Appstore offers 240,000 Android applications.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen explained that this deal answers users' calls for more apps, and allows Blackberry to remain focused on core BlackBerry areas of productivity and security.

Civil liberties groups are posing a legal challenge against the United Kingdom's intelligence services over mass surveillance. Privacy International recently published the witness statement of Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism at the United Kingdom's Home Office.

He explained that mass surveillance would not normally be allowed under British law without a warrant, but Google Searches within the U.K. could involve communication between the searcher's computer and a Google Web server outside the British Islands.

Therefore, the search involves two external communications. Privacy International criticized this reasoning, stating that British residents are being deprived of safeguards that would apply to other forms of communication.

The Federation Internationale de Futbol Association (FIFA) World Cup has attracted billions of viewers - including cyber-criminals and online protesters. Security firm Radware is reporting that hackers linked to the Anonymous Web activist group have claimed responsibility for acts such as the leak of email from Brazil's Foreign Ministry in late May.

Meanwhile cyber-criminals are unleashing scams, such as fraudulent video players and emails that claim the recipient has won tickets to Brazil to induce World Cup fans to unknowingly download viruses onto their computers.


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