Apps link people with new places in real world

Woman walks past icons for Apple Apps at San Francisco retail storeNot sure if friends would want to venture to a new cafe or bar? Superb, an iPhone app that launched last week, lets users create lists of popular places they would like to visit and shows them a list of other people who would also like to go there. "It's all about hanging out in the real world and getting offline, and the best way to do that is to know where people want to go," said Eddy Lu, co-founder and chief executive of Venice, California-based Superb. It also reveals friends who would like to visit a venue.



At Mt. Gox bitcoin hub, 'geek' CEO sought both control and escape

Mark Karpeles, chief executive of Mt. Gox, attends a news conference at the Tokyo District Court in TokyoBy Sophie Knight TOKYO (Reuters) - In June 2011, when customers of now-bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox agitated for proof that the Tokyo-based firm was still solvent after a hacking attack, CEO Mark Karpeles turned to the comedy science fiction novel "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". During an online chat, Karpeles moved the equivalent of $170 million in bitcoin at today's market rates - the virtual equivalent of a bank manager flashing a wad of cash in a wallet to establish credit. The gesture - with a sly wink to the "geek" culture Karpeles believed he shared with many of his 50,000 customers at the time, including an interest in coding, Japanese manga comics and science fiction - succeeded. By moving 424,242 bitcoins, Karpeles, then 26, evoked the random number, 42, described as the "meaning of life" in Douglas Adams' sci-fi novel.



China steps up purge of online porn amid wider censorship push

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in SingaporeChina has shut down more than 100 websites carrying pornography and closed thousands of accounts on social media sites in an re-newed effort to clean up the internet, state media reported. The campaign, named "Cleaning the Web 2014", was launched in response to the spread of online pornography despite repeated bans, according to a circular issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. Pornography is illegal in China, but some overseas critics are concerned that the crackdown on material deemed obscene is the latest government attempt to tighten its grip on the internet and will be used in broader censorship of websites. In the latest drive, authorities have closed 110 websites and more than 3,300 accounts on China-based social networking services, and deleted more than 200,000 items containing pornography since January, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.



China heightens alert over illegal funds as internet finance booms
The fast development of internet finance in China is driving an increase in cases of illegal fund raising, a situation that could worsen if regulation does not catch up, a senior official at the country's banking sector watchdog said on Monday. Liu Zhangjun, a director at the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) in charge of combating illegal fund-raising, said some of the recent cases have been disguised as normal online financial services, requiring tighter scrutiny. He particularly singled out cases conducted in the name of "crowd funding" and "P2P lending", two types of internet finance that are gaining increasing popularity among China's vast number of depositors. "As internet finance is developing rapidly, many illegal funding activities are moving from offline to online," Liu told a media briefing jointly held with the Ministry of Public Security and the Supreme Court.

Erdogan challenges social media in top Turkish court

Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in AnkaraBy Orhan Coskun ANKARA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan applied to Turkey's constitutional court on Friday to challenge the alleged violation of his and his family's rights by social media, a senior official in his office told Reuters. Erdogan's government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites. The Twitter block was lifted earlier this month after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.



Most popular videos: 'Orange is the New Black,' 'The Rover' and Sonic the Hedgehog

Screenshot: "Orange Is The New Black - Season 2 - Official Trailer"The trailer for the second season of "Orange is the New Black" is released, Robert Pattinson sheds his Hollywood hearthtrob image for gritty new Australian thriller "The Rover," and viewers learn 10 things they never knew about Sonic the Hedgehog.



How to stay under the radar when communicating online

The Wickr mobile app promises total confidentiality for users' digital communications.The uproar surrounding the National Security Agency's Prism program, in which the US government collected data from citizens' webmail and social network accounts, has led to the development of encrypted alternatives to Gmail, Hotmail and other popular messaging services. Known only to a small set of users in the past, solutions for enhanced data security are now beginning to hit the mainstream. But ever since Edward Snowden's revelations on the NSA's Prism surveillance program, a wider set of users are looking for more confidential communication services than the ones that have already proven vulnerable to the US government's prying eyes (Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.). Lavaboom, a new free webmail service out of Germany, guarantees that all a users' emails are encrypted and that accounts are impenetrable to spying by any organization.



Facebook rolls out 'nearby friends' feature

Facebook's new optional "nearby friends" featureFacebook on Thursday began rolling out a feature allowing users of its mobile app to use smartphone location to discover friends near them. The optional "nearby friends" feature "helps you discover which friends are nearby or on the go," said product manager Andrea Vaccari in a blog announcement. "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," Vaccari said. "For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward."



Patent consortium Rockstar loses bid to move Google case

A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, CaliforniaBy Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected a request by patent consortium Rockstar to transfer patent litigation from Google Inc's home turf in California to Texas, according to a court ruling. Rockstar, which counts Apple Inc as an investor, outbid Google and paid $4.5 billion for thousands of former Nortel Network Corp patents as the networking products supplier went bankrupt in 2011. Last year, the consortium sued several handset manufacturers whose phones operate on Google's Android operating system, which fiercely competes with Apple mobile products.



Weibo debut highlights complicated dance with Chinese censors

Weibo Corporation Chairman Charles Chao speaks during a visit to the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in celebration of Weibo's initial public offering (IPO) on The NASDAQ Stock Market in New YorkBy Gerry Shih and Yimou Lee SAN FRANCISCO/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Weibo Corp executives on Thursday toasted the Chinese social media firm's debut at Nasdaq's New York headquarters. Hours earlier in Beijing, Charles Xue, a Chinese-American venture capitalist and prominent Weibo user, celebrated a different kind of coming-out: his release after eight months in jail. The timing of the two events, though coincidental, highlights the fundamental challenge for Shanghai-based Weibo: progressing from being a microblogging phenomenon in China to becoming an entrenched member of the international social media industry. Now, as Weibo celebrates its warm reception on international financial markets, its conflicts with censors at home raise the question of whether the firm known as the "Twitter of China" may eventually be derailed by government interference.



SEC's information technology at risk of hacking: report
By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has failed to protect its data network against possible breaches, to encrypt highly sensitive information, or to use strong enough passwords, the Government Accountability Office said on Thursday. In addition to the cybersecurity failings, even the physical security in place to protect SEC data and equipment from being accessed or stolen is lax, a 25-page GAO report said, with workstations located in an area open to all agency staff. The report comes just two days after the SEC issued a nine-page blueprint that put Wall Street firms on notice that they should brace themselves for some tough questions from agency examiners about their cybersecurity policies and practices. "Information security control weaknesses in a key financial system's production environment may jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information residing in and processed by the system," the GAO wrote.

Sina Weibo soars in debut, overcoming censorship concerns

The Weibo logo is seen at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in celebration of its initial public offering (IPO) on The NASDAQ Stock Market in New YorkBy Alexei Oreskovic and Tanya Agrawal SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of Weibo Corp rose as much as 41 percent in their U.S. debut on Thursday, sweeping aside concerns that censorship in China will hurt the growth of the country's Internet sector and broader worries about the outlook for tech-sector stocks. Investors are watching the biggest debut of a Chinese Internet company in years, hoping for clues as to demand for the highly anticipated IPO of far larger e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd . Sina Weibo's early gains came after the owner of a Chinese Twitter-like messaging service priced its shares at the very bottom of a target range of $17 to $19, and cut its offer to 16.8 million American Depositary Shares from 20 million. "People had concerns that there's some competition over there and that engagement on Weibo may be challenged in the future, but I think Weibo is still a social media platform, that people still use it every day," said Henry Guo of JG Capital.



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