Mozilla to Offer Open Source Operating System for Smart Phones

From Forbes:
Gary Kovacs is undaunted. As the CEO of Mozilla, the not-for-profit foundation behind Firefox, Kovacs says the world needs his OS and the open web for two reasons: It reduces carriers’ dependency on Apple and Google, both of which siphon 30% of app revenues. It’s also a lower-cost way to get the next 2 billion people onto the Internet.

Firefox’s mobile OS is not a traditional operating system like iOS or Android. It’s written entirely in HTML5, the underlying programming language of the Web. Apps run from the Web and hook into the phone’s hardware and data, and can also run offline. Firefox OS can make do with half the phone memory Android needs, so carriers can price a smartphone for well under $100, or half the price of a low-end Android smartphone.

The FBI Wants to Monitor Email and Online Chat in "Real Time"

From Slate:
Last week, during a talk for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau. He gave a few updates on the FBI’s efforts to address what it calls the “going dark” problem—how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted. It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story.

Is Congress Planning a Major Assault Against Data Privacy and Digital Rights in April?

Tech Dirt reports on a new bill proposed in the House that would expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (CFAA):
So, you know all that talk about things like Aaron's Law and how Congress needs to fix the CFAA? Apparently, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to raise a giant middle finger to folks who are concerned about abuses of the CFAA. Over the weekend, they began circulating a "draft" of a "cyber-security" bill that is so bad that it almost feels like the Judiciary Committee is doing it on purpose as a dig at online activists who have fought back against things like SOPA, CISPA and the CFAA. Rather than fix the CFAA, it expands it. Rather than rein in the worst parts of the bill, it makes them worse. And, from what we've heard, the goal is to try to push this through quickly, with a big effort underway for a "cyberweek" in the middle of April that will force through a bunch of related bills. You can see the draft of the bill here . . .

Rumors: Spotify Setting Up Streaming Video Service

From Business Insider:
Spotify, the on-demand music service, is planning a major change.  According to two sources briefed on the company's plans, Spotify intends to become an on-demand music and video service – one that would invest in original content and compete heads-on with Netflix.  Ultimately, Spotify's metamorphosis would also put it into competition with content creators and providers such as HBO.

No Brainer: Email Should be Protected from Illegal Search and Seizure, Just Like Snail Mail

A California state senator has come to the radical conclusion that email should be afforded the same privacy protections as traditional snail mail.  How many people out there are unaware that their email correspondence is not secure against unconstitutional and illegal search and seizure?  From ABC Local:
If law enforcement wanted to read your letters or other paper correspondence, they have to get a warrant. But in this age of technology, you don't have the same protections. If your email has already been opened or is more than 6 months old, law enforcement and other government agencies can read them.
"The courts have said that the laws are very confusing and have permitted the government to search your emails held by providers without a warrant," said Francisco Loboco with the American Civil Liberties Union.
While government investigators generally look at email for evidence of criminal activity, that's not always the case. Email privacy became a national debate after CIA Director David Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair. Privacy groups asked if the CIA can't keep the FBI from reading Petraeus' private email, what protections do ordinary people have?
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) wants to clearly define the line in California. Electronic communications should be no different than paper communications: They're all private.

Intro to Bitcoin

From Monetarism, an introductory article on Bitcoin:
In February 2013, version 0.8.0 of Bitcoin was released. This virtual payments system is the financial equivalent of Latin, the language with no native speakers. In the case of Bitcoin, though, what you are dealing with is a financial structure with no central bank, no one regulatory body as such, and no physical form.  That may sound odd – so let’s look in more detail at Bitcoin, how it works, and what its future might be . . .

OX Text, Browser Based Word Processing, to Launch Next Month

From OX:
On the 20th March 2013 at 10:00am Rafael Laguna (CEO of Open-Xchange) announced that the next release of OX App Suite would contain OX Text. The audience at this year's World Hosting Days in Rust Germany was the first to hear about Open-Xchange's plan to release a new online and collaborative word processing capability called OX Text in April.

OX App Suite is a centralized cloud environment that lets users manage their digital lives completely including emails, tasks, schedules, files and more from a single interface, on any device. OX App Suite already has the capability to preview almost any file type. The introduction of OX Text will dramatically expand this capability by enabling its users to edit text-based files in a whole new way.