Digital Bytes!




Snowden Docs and NSA Rule Bending 

According to a recent slew of documents belonging to Edward Snowden,    the NSA has been trying to hack into cellphone networks around the world. Last year Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been taking advantage of shaky encryption technology – known as the A5/1 protocol – in order to spy on conversations and texts. These new documents suggest that the NSA has been trying to breach the newer encryption technologies currently in use, specifically the A5/3 protocol. It has also been revealed that the NSA has been spying on internal emails of cellphone companies employees.         Source: Mashable


An App For Bullying 

After multiple reports of cyber bullying, the app ‘After School’ has been removed from Apple’s App Store. The app was designed for schools and students to anonymously communicate within their school group via a messaging type service. However the app has taken on a more sinister nature than the creators likely intended, providing a haven for cyber bullying. While the app has been removed from the store, the app itself is still running, making it likely that Apple were the ones that removed the app rather than the publishers. Source: TechCrunch


In the News This Week

Target Bans GTAV

Grand Theft Auto V will no longer be sold by Target in Australia. After a great deal of community pressure, fronted by a petition the Australian retailer has caved and decided to remove all copies of the game from its shelves. The petition made many comments about the treatment of women in the game, stating that “The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.” The game has been rated by the classification board as an R18+ game. Many people within the community have spoken out against the petition and Target’s decision, calling it a misinformed knee-jerk reaction. One twitter user commented “@Targetaus so you’re suggesting you are above the decision making skills of adults, and the classification board? Crazy decision.” Following suit with Target, Kmart has now also stopped selling the game. Source: Kotaku


Amazon Australia & Damage Potential

Amazon is looking to launch in Australia after appointing former Yahoo!7 CEO Stuart Sayers as CEO last year. According to GroupM’s digital boss, Rob Norman, this could cause some serious damage to Australian online retailers. At an Interactive Advertising Bureau event, Norman shared his thoughts on the potential threat the American online retail giant could pose to our local stores. He also included some insights into the current mindset held by many Australian retailers, stating that “there are a bunch of businesses in Australia that are imperilling themselves by not embracing e-commerce the way they could… people will make the mistake of thinking ‘it will be hard for them to compete on economic grounds’, but that is predicated on the presumption that they care.”  Source: Mumbrella


In Australia

What down Sephora?
Beauty and cosmetic giant Sephora has just opened at Pitt St mall Westfield. By using the hashtag #countdowntobeauty, and placing a giant clock above the store Sephora hoped to gather plenty of exposure in the lead up to the grand opening. Well, gather exposure they did, but not necessarily in the way that they intended. In a classic rookie error the letter ‘o’ in count was left out of the hashtag. We’ll let you figure that one out for yourselves… Source: Adnews


Did you know?

Life on Martian Meteorite?
A meteorite that landed in the Moroccan desert back in 2011 may show signs of life on mars. After a collision with an asteroid that occurred 70,000 years ago, a fairly sizeable chunk of the martian surface was thrown off in our general direction. Upon examination of the meteorite showed evidence of water. There were multiple tiny fissures on the meteorite’s surface into which water had deposited seemingly organic material with biological origins. It may be too soon to categorically say that this is evidence of life on mars. While it may not be a living breathing Martian this is an amazing find. Source: Cnet


Other Cool Stuff

Down to a ‘T’
A new optic link device made from silicone may revolutionise the way we transmit data. Light is a far more effective means of transmitting information, however it can be a bit tricky getting it to work consistently and reliably. Led by scientist Jelena Vuckovic of Stanford University, this new device and accompanying paper may dramatically increase data transmission speeds, as well as lowering power requirements. Measuring eight microns long, the device itself acts like a prism, breaking down beams of light based on wavelength. Through the process of refraction, light is angled in such a way as to resemble a ‘T’ shape, which is apparently vital to its success and totally unheard of. Source: Iflscience

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