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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Today’s Scuttlebot: Law Blog Shuts Down Over Government Surveillance

Every day, The New York Times’s staff scours the Web for interesting and peculiar items.

Early on Tuesday morning, Pamela Jones, the voice behind an influential legal blog known as Groklaw, decided to shut down her site because of concerns over government surveillance and insecure communications.

“No matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how ‘clean’ we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere,” Ms. Jones wrote on Groklaw.

The shutdown came a little less than two weeks after two small e-mail providers decided to stop their services to challenge secret government surveillance.

As Ms. Jones put it, “there is no way” to continue to run it without using secure email, and the threat of spying by the national security agency means that communications can be compromised.

Here’s what we noticed today:

Viral Videos May Harm Cute Animals, Study Shows
CBC |  Are YouTube videos of threatened animals, like the “tickled” slow loris, increasing black market demand for them? - Amy O’Leary

Crowdfunding a Facebook Bug Bounty
Computer World |  A security expert is crowdsourcing a fund to pay a researcher who was rebuffed by Facebook a $10,000 bounty for identifying a flaw in the network’s user privacy. - Ashwin Seshagiri

High-Speed In-Flight Internet Possible by 2014
BBC |  A regulator in Britain is studying a satellite-based mobile Internet system that could make streaming Netflix in-flight possible. - Victoria Shannon

White House Taps McAfee C.T.O. for Cybersecurity Post
WSJ Digits |  The Obama administration tapped Phyllis Schneck, a vice president and chief technical officer at McAfee, to be Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official. - Ashwin Seshagiri

The ‘Mood Graph’
Wired |  How are our emotions taking over the Web? - Ashwin Seshagiri

Inside Samsung’s Coming Watch
GigaOM |  What’s inside Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch? @Om offers some key details. - Nick Bilton