Microsoft defends opening Hotmail account of blogger in espionage case

Microsoft defended what it called the "exceptional" step of a "limited review" of a blogger's Hotmail account as part of a larger Windows espionage case, saying it had caught the blogger selling Microsoft's intellectual property without permission.

A court filing alleges that the unnamed blogger had been provided prerelease Windows 8 RT source code by then-Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo. Kibkalo is being charged with stealing trade secrets.

The filing says that Microsoft triggered an internal investigation into the blogger's actions when the blogger sent the source code to an unnamed person, hoping for … Read more

Microsoft sniffed blogger's Hotmail account to trace leak

Microsoft went through a blogger's private Hotmail account in order to trace the identity of a source who allegedly leaked trade secrets.

A March 17 court filing by federal prosecutors reveals that Microsoft's Office of Legal Compliance approved the decision after confirming that the leaked data in question included proprietary Microsoft code.

According to the filing, Microsoft received a tip from a person who was contacted via Hotmail by the blogger, who wanted to verify that the leaked source code was legitimate. Instead, the tipper went to Steven Sinofsky, then-president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, and told … Read more

Unannounced Samsung 'activity tracker' pops up on FCC site

Samsung is working a new, unannounced product through the regulatory process.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday published files submitted recently by Samsung showing details on what the company is calling an "activity tracker." The product number doesn't match up with any fitness devices shown off so far this year by Samsung, making the blogosphere guess that it's actually the rumored, and unannounced, S Circle fitness tracker.

Details are slim on the device, due mainly to Samsung requesting that the FCC keep private most of the product's features, but the files indicate that the product … Read more

Feds imply that reporters are in cahoots with Snowden

As reports fueled by documents leaked to the press by whistle-blower Edward Snowden continue to reveal the operations of government-sponsored electronic spying, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the US Senate that Snowden had "accomplices."

In a prepared opening statement (PDF) to the Senate (Select) Committee on Intelligence, Clapper said, "Snowden claims that he's won and that his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.… Read more

How to check if your Snapchat account info was leaked

To ring in the new year, Snapchat suffered from a fairly large data breach. A file containing 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers was posted for all to view.

When leaks like this occur, it's natural to wonder if your data is included in the breach. With the original document and site no longer available (the site itself was suspended), you're not able to grab the leaked file yourself and search for your username or phone number.

But as Mashable reported earlier today, there are a couple of Web sites built specifically to help people identify if … Read more

Snowden: Dear Brazil, the NSA is watching you

Edward Snowden has written an extensive open letter to the people of Brazil to discuss his findings and ultimately seek asylum.

In a broad letter published Tuesday by Brazil newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Snowden asks Brazil for the second time to grant him asylum. To make his case, for former NSA contractor said that his "act of conscience" prompted the US to make him "stateless."

"The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort,&… Read more

White Motorola Droid Ultra coming to Verizon?

An all-white Motorola Droid Ultra might make a debut on Verizon store shelves soon.

The Twitter account for @evleaks on Tuesday published an image of a white Motorola Droid Ultra featuring a Verizon logo. The Twitter account has become a hotspot for leaked mobile devices and, in many cases, the images turn out to be real. Although there's no way to know where @evleaks obtained the photo or whether it's real, its track record means it should be taken seriously.

Currently, Verizon sells Motorola Droid Ultras in either black or red for $100 with a two-year activation.

@evleaks … Read more

iPad 5 in space gray crops up again on video

In case you missed the first several leaks of this purported iPad 5 metal backing in Apple's newest color, there's more.

iCrackUriDevice posted a rather extensive video of the part, which is said to have originated from suppliers in Hong Kong. Besides the color, it's identical in appearance to other such leaks, which strongly suggest Apple plans to super-size the iPad Mini case design to its larger 9.7-inch tablet.

Apple introduced Space Gray as a new color option on the iPhone 5S, while quietly adding it as an option for iPod Touch buyers. As the name … Read more

iPhone 5S gets unboxed early

Both of Apple's new iPhones don't hit stores until Friday, but apparently Christmas comes early in some places.

A forum user on Chinese site DGtle (via AppleInsider) has posted unboxing shots of both the silver and gold iPhone 5S models, and has lined up all five colors of the iPhone 5C as well.

There's not too much to glean here since the inside packaging looks identical to last year's iPhone 5. Curiously enough, the first photos of the iPhone 5's packaging were posted about the same time last year, just before launch (to the day). … Read more

NSA hands Israel intelligence data on 'US persons'

Another shoe has dropped in the National Security Agency's covert mass surveillance program.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has provided The Guardian with a document that outlines the NSA's widespread sharing of "US persons" cellular and e-mail metadata with Israel. According to The Guardian, "US persons" include US citizens, permanent residents, and anyone located in the US at the time of data interception.

The classified document, called the "Memorandum of Understanding," shows that the NSA has been providing Israeli intelligence agencies with reams of raw intelligence data, such as transcripts, phone records, and digital network information, … Read more