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Major Tech Firms Create ‘Reform Government Surveillance’ Coalition (SocialTimes)
Eight tech giants — including Facebook, Google, Apple and Twitter — are urging the president, the U.S. Congress and world leaders to reform government surveillance laws and reassess intelligence practices in light of last summer’s leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The overarching principles guiding the alliance include limiting the government’s authority to collect user information, increasing accountability and transparency, respecting the “free flow” of information and protecting citizens’ privacy even when laws differ internationally. TIME/Techland The public relations maneuver escalates a battle that Silicon Valley has waged since early June, when media reports based on internal documents revealed the NSA had fashioned an elaborate system to vacuum up some of the user data that U.S. technology companies collect. “The entire tech industry has been implicated and is now facing a global backlash,” said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank. Reuters Several of the eight companies, which have a combined market capitalization of nearly $1.4 trillion, have responded by publicizing their decision to boost encryption and security on their sites. The companies have detailed their “Reform Government Surveillance” campaign on a website, calling on the U.S. government to take the lead by limiting how much user information a government can collect. The Guardian “This is a major game-changer,” Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group, told The Guardian. She said the letter was certain to get the attention of the White House and Congress, not least because the often-cautious tech companies wrote the letter in unison, accompanied by personal statements from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and his counterpart at Google, Larry Page. VentureBeat In related news, it seems Snowden has done more than open the world’s eyes to the NSA’s surveillance techniques. It seems the agency feels slighted by President Barack Obama who has yet to visit and reinstate confidence in the NSA’s employees.
Twitter Shares Surge Close to Record (USA Today)
Twitter surged Monday to trade near a record high on optimism about a new advertising product the company recently launched. Twitter unveiled Tailored Audiences late last week. This is a re-targeting product that will let advertisers show more relevant ads to users of the micro-blogging site.
Auto-Play Videos Being Rolled Out on Facebook’s iOS, Android Apps (AllFacebook)
Most users of Facebook’s flagship applications for iOS and Android may have noticed that videos shared in their News Feeds via the social network or Instagram are now set to play automatically, without sound, rather than being displayed with a play button in the center of the image. Facebook confirmed the rollout of the feature to TechCrunch, saying that it should be available to all of its iOS and Android users soon, and adding that auto-play of videos is still being tested on desktop, and there is no timetable for its rollout.
Song-Sharing App Soundwave Now Caters to the Masses Who Use YouTube as Their Main Player (The Next Web)
Soundwave, the mobile app designed to let music fans share their taste with friends in real time, has rolled out an update that offers support for YouTube. Users who listen to music via YouTube on their iOS or Android device will have it shared via Soundwave just the same as with the audio players the app already supports.
Stephen King Joins Twitter, Gets 30,000 Followers in 90 Minutes (AllTwitter)
You can now follow the most famous horror author on Twitter – Stephen King has signed up, and he’s already starting to get comfortable. You can follow King at @StephenKing.
Scripps Shells Out $35 Million to Buy Video News Startup Newsy (LostRemote)
In an effort to beef up its video and mobile efforts, Scripps has acquired Newsy for $35 million in cash — one of the largest tech acquisitions in the local media space in recent memory. Newsy produces video news reports across web, mobile and connected TV platforms for partners like AOL, Microsoft and Mashable.
Guy Kawasaki’s Social Media Advice: Repeat Your Tweet (CNET)
It may be gauche, but Guy Kawasaki tweets the same tweet four times a day and thinks you should, too. Sending out the same tweet multiple times simply ensures that your message is more likely to be received, even if it ruffles feathers, he said at the LeWeb conference.
Etsy Artist Turns Family Photos into Custom Illustrations for iPhone Cases (AppNewser)
Now that Amazon has custom cases for Kindles, you’re probably on the lookout for something even more special to give yourself. Our pick? Etsy Artist, My Little Buffalo’s custom illustration for iPhone cases.
Reddit Favorite ‘Imgur’ Could Be Yahoo’s Next Big Acquisition (VentureBeat)
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is apparently watching popular simple image sharing startup Imgur closely, and she may even be trying to acquire it, according to a Business Insider post that cites an anonymous source. But while Yahoo has acquired tons of smaller startups over the last year, Imgur might be a much harder nut to crack.