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Rather than free you from your smartphone dependence, LG's new G Watch ends up being even more of a distraction.

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Scytl snags another $20M to put secure elections on the Web (Ruth Reader/VentureBeat)

Image Credit: Shutterstock Scytl is trying to modernize elections by killing the ballot box and moving the voting process online. SAP Ventures just handed the startup another $20 million to help the company expand. The software focuses on providing voter registration and voting services, as well as election night reporting. The company also offers election planning. It’s goal is to make elections efficient, accessible, and transparent, but what Scytl  really offers is security — a crucial component for high stakes elections. It has developed “election-specific cryptographic security technology protected by more than 40 international patents and patent applications,” according to the company’s press release. Norway just ended its own e-voting experiments due to security fears, exemplifying how important a role security plays in the future of services like Scytl. The company was founded in 2001, so it’s not new, but it has been racking in the dough lately.  In April  Microsoft co-founder  Paul Allen’s fund Vulcan Capital gave Scytl $40 million. Currently the company works with governments and other organizations in 35 countries. Its headquarters are located in Barcelona, Spain. SAP Ventures Vulcan-capital SAP Ventures, with more than US$1.4 billion under management, is an investment firm that seeks to partner with outstanding entrepreneurs and leading venture firms worldwide to build industry-leading businesses. SAP Ventures is an i... read more » Vulcan Capital is the private equity and venture capital arm of Vulcan Inc. specializing in investments across all stages of corporate development through leveraged buyouts, growth capital, acquisitions, PIPE, seed and early stage, dis... read more » Powered by VBProfiles

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How The EU Censors Google & Search Engines Just Like China (Danny Sullivan/Marketing Land)

When it comes to censorship, the European Union generally isn’t one of the political entities that immediately comes to mind. But it should, especially since its new Right To Be Forgotten mandate has the political union acting in the same manner as that poster child of censorship, China. Sound crazy, that the EU could possibly be imposing censorship on search engines in the same way that China is notorious for? It’s not crazy. It’s real. In May, the European Court of Justice felt that anyone in the EU should have the right to ask for material to be removed from search engines like Google, if those people consider that material to be “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive,” to quote the EU’s  fact sheet  (PDF) about the ruling. How do search engines like Google make these decisions? What guidance are they given, especially when they’re also supposed to balance this censorship against another fundamental EU right, the public’s right for access to information? The court provided none of this. It simply said that search engines should accept these requests and magically make their own decisions. That’s exactly how China handles its own censorship requirements. Like the EU, China doesn’t impose censorship by issuing clear guidelines about what is and isn’t acceptable. Instead, it just expects companies to somehow know what to censor. Consider the situation Google was in, when it undertook censorship of its search engine in China

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Google sets up European venture capital arm with initial $100 million fund and five general partners (Robin Wauters/Tech.eu)

The beans have been spilled, courtesy of the FT : Google is creating a $100 million fund to invest in European startups. The Internet behemoth's newest VC arm will have five general partners, including the inevitable Eze Vidra and angel investors / entrepreneurs Tom Hulme , Peter Read , and Avid Larizadeh . The fifth - and perhaps most surprising - name is that of American tech blogger (and ex-TechCrunch colleague of mine) turned VC, MG Siegler . The money quote gets delivered by David Drummond , Google’s senior VP of corporate development: ”As we look out around the world, we realise that the tech ecosystems are getting bigger and stronger. Nowhere is this more true than in Europe. Every European capital I travel to I see these start up clusters. Its obvious that great companies will come out of these ecosystems.” They already are, David, they already are . According to the FT report, the five partners will work from offices in Clerkenwell in London but make investments across Europe, and report to Google Ventures chief Bill Maris. ( Image courtesy of Flickr user Burt Lum )

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Google sets up European venture capital arm with initial $100 million fund and four general partners (Robin Wauters/Tech.eu)

The beans have been spilled, courtesy of the FT : Google is creating a $100 million fund to invest in European startups. The Internet behemoth's newest VC arm will have five general partners, including the inevitable Eze Vidra and angel investors / entrepreneurs Tom Hulme , Peter Read , and Avid Larizadeh . The fifth - and perhaps most surprising - name is that of American tech blogger (and ex-TechCrunch colleague of mine) turned VC, MG Siegler . The money quote gets delivered by David Drummond , Google’s senior VP of corporate development: ”As we look out around the world, we realise that the tech ecosystems are getting bigger and stronger. Nowhere is this more true than in Europe. Every European capital I travel to I see these start up clusters. Its obvious that great companies will come out of these ecosystems.” They already are, David, they already are . According to the FT report, the five partners will work from offices in Clerkenwell in London but make investments across Europe, and report to Google Ventures chief Bill Maris. ( Image courtesy of Flickr user Burt Lum )

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Chinese hackers accessed personal details of US federal employees, targeted applicants for top-secret security clearances (New York Times)

HTTP/1.1 302 Found Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:15:14 GMT Server: Apache Set-Cookie: NYT-S=deleted; expires=Thu, 01-Jan-1970 00:00:01 GMT; path=/; domain=www.stg.nytimes.com Set-Cookie: NYT-S=0Ma4sBMxNlJcbDXrmvxADeHyDWNz0/EjtNdeFz9JchiAIUFL2BEX5FWcV.Ynx4rkFI; expires=Sat, 09-Aug-2014 06:15:14 GMT; path=/; domain=.nytimes.com Location: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/world/asia/chinese-hackers-pursue-key-data-on-us-workers.html?_r=0 Content-Length: 0 nnCoection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Apache Cache-Control: no-cache Channels: NytNow Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Content-Length: 65182 Accept-Ranges: bytes Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:15:14 GMT X-Varnish: 2176793687 Age: 0 Via: 1.1 varnish X-Cache: MISS X-API-Version: 5-5 X-PageType: article Connection: close Sections Home Search Skip to content Skip to navigation View mobile version Asia Pacific | Chinese Hackers Pursue Key Data on U.S. Workers http://nyti.ms/1mATnjr See next articles See previous articles Asia Pacific | ​ ​NYT Now Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story WASHINGTON — Chinese hackers in March broke into the computer networks of the United States government agency that houses the personal information of all federal employees, according to senior American officials. They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances. The hackers gained access to some of the databases of the Office of Personnel Management before the federal authorities detected the threat and blocked them from the network, according to the officials. It is not yet clear how far the hackers penetrated the agency’s systems, in which applicants for security clearances list their foreign contacts, previous jobs and personal information like past drug use. Continue reading the main story Related Coverage U.S. Case Offers Glimpse Into China’s Hacker Army MAY 22, 2014 N.S.A. Breached Chinese Servers Seen as Security Threat MARCH 22, 2014 In response to questions about the matter, a senior Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that the attack had occurred but said that “at this time,” neither the personnel agency nor Homeland Security had “identified any loss of personally identifiable information.” The official said an emergency response team was assigned “to assess and mitigate any risks identified.” One senior American official said that the attack was traced to China , though it was not clear if the hackers were part of the government. Its disclosure comes as a delegation of senior American officials, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, are in Beijing for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the leading forum for discussion between the United States and China on their commercial relationships and their wary efforts to work together on economic and defense issues. Computer intrusions have been a major source of discussion and disagreement between the two countries, and the Chinese can point to evidence, revealed by Edward J. Snowden, that the National Security Agency went deep into the computer systems of Huawei, a major maker of computer network equipment, and ran many programs to intercept the conversations of Chinese leaders and the military. American officials say the attack on the Office of Personnel Management was notable because while hackers try to breach United States government servers nearly every day, they rarely succeed. One of the last attacks the government acknowledged occurred last year at the Department of Energy.

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Forget "OK Glass," MindRDR Is A Google Glass App You Control With Your Thoughts (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

Google Glass has made a name for itself (somewhat  infamously ) as head-mounted hardware that you can control with your voice and a sliding finger. Now, a team based out of interactive studio  This Place  in London, is launching a new app that it hopes will kickstart an even more seamless way of interacting with the device: with the power of your mind. MindRDR , as the app is called, links up Google Glass with another piece of head-mounted hardware, the  Neurosky EEG biosensor, to create a communication loop. The Neurosky biosensor picks up on brainwaves that correlate to your ability to focus. The app then translates these brainwaves into a meter reading that gets superimposed on the camera view in Google Glass. As you “focus” more with your mind, the meter goes up, and the app takes a photograph of what you are seeing in front of you. Focus some more, and the meter goes up again and the photo gets posted to Twitter. Like this: and this: It’s an early, and somewhat primitive vision of how your mind can control Glass. Yes, there are devices out there that have even more sensors on them, although that can start to get very expensive (the Neurosky retails for £71 in the UK, while Google Glass costs £1,000 and the app is free). And to be honest, the current hook-up is pretty primitive, too. When I arrived for a demonstration earlier today, one of This Place’s account managers was cooling Glass down under the air conditioner. And that’s before you start to put on two different bits of headgear. It can be a little clumsy. But all this isn’t the point: The idea here is that this is a minimum viable product, a first step that can be developed further — for example, to create applications to “train” people to concentrate better, or to play games, maybe to help suggest places to get a coffee when your sensor picks up that you’re tired, or for medical applications, for example for people with mobility problems. And potentially, you could build out the basic concept with more, lighter and easier-to-use sensors.

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Singapore passes anti-piracy law enabling copyright owners to block sites like Pirate Bay (Aloysius Low/CNET)

The Singapore government has passed an amendment to the country's Copyright Act that will let content owners compel service providers to block infringing sites, like Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay's web site will soon be blocked in Singapore. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET Announced back in April, the new amendment to Singapore's Copyright Act will provide content owners with the ability make Internet service providers in the country block illegal web sites such as the infamous Pirate Bay. Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah said the new law will give copyright owners "greater ability to protect their rights in the online space." "The prevalence of online piracy in Singapore turns customers away from legitimate content and adversely affects Singapore's creative sector," Rajah said . The new law is reportedly set to come into force at the end of August , and copyright owners can apply to the court in Singapore without having to establish the liability of the network service provider. Previously, copyright owners had to send a take-down notice, but as it was not mandatory to comply, service providers did not need to act. Given that it's relatively easy to use a VPN service to bypass the block, the block is likely to really only affect the less tech-savvy users (who just enter URLs into a browser window).

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