Tech 2.0 for Friday, January 3, 2014
Snapchat says it plans to put out a more secure version of its application following a breach that allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of some 4.6 million of its users. The disappearing-message service popular with young people said in a blog post late Thursday that the updated version of its app would allow users to opt out of its "Find Friends" feature and would stem future attempts to abuse its service. The breach occurred after security experts warned the company at least twice about a vulnerability in its system.
Government lawyers are asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington to overturn a federal judge's ruling that threatens the National Security Agency's practice of collecting every Americans' telephone records every day. The Justice Department filed its notice of appeal Friday. Meanwhile, Larry Klayman, the opposing lawyer who spearheaded the case against the NSA said he will ask the appeals court to refer the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the NSA phone records program was likely unconstitutional, so the government's appeal was expected. In a separate case, a district judge in New York last month upheld the NSA program as lawful. The ACLU, which lost that case, said this week it will appeal that case.
Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. is accusing a company backed by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest of being a rip-off artist. The allegations emerged in a patent infringement lawsuit filed Friday in a San Francisco federal court by BlackBerry. The suit targets an iPhone keyboard made by Typo Products LLC, a Los Angeles startup co-founded by Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier. The complaint contends that Typo Products' keyboard for recent iPhone models illegally copies technology and designs that BlackBerry pioneered years ago for its line of smartphones. BlackBerry is seeking unspecified damages and a court order that would prevent Typo Products from selling the keyboard without a licensing agreement. Typo Products didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The keyboard in dispute hasn't hit the market yet.