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China says new cybersurveillance proposal follows US security practices

China is scratching its head over why the U.S. is opposing a new anti-terror law relating to cybersurveillance when the U.S. and other countries have also requested that tech companies hand over data to help stop terrorists.

On Wednesday, China?s parliamentary spokeswoman tried to play down the impact the proposed legislation might have on foreign tech businesses, in the face of U.S. fears it would require companies to hand over sensitive data to the country?s government.

The anti-terror law is still under review, but if passed, it would require tech companies to give encryption keys to the authorities, and create ?back doors? into their systems for government surveillance access.

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5 TV antenna tricks for the modern-day cord cutter

When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone had cable, and owning a TV antenna meant you were stuck in the past.

But with the rise of cord cutting, the lowly over-the-air antenna has experienced a rebirth. More than just an old-school way to get basic channels like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, an HD antenna can pair with all kinds of high-tech hardware, unlocking capabilities that were never possible before.

If you've ditched cable TV and are using an antenna for over-the-air channels, here are five ways to take it to the next level:

Get a DVR for your living room

The simplest way to improve your over-the-air experience is to add a DVR, letting you record and time-shift shows from major broadcast networks and local stations.

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Alibaba enters US cloud market, signaling global ambitions

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is making a push into the U.S. cloud computing market, where it?s expected to run into competition from Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft.

Alibaba subsidiary Aliyun is already the biggest cloud player in its home market, and on Wednesday, it opened a data center in California, its first data center outside of China.

The U.S. business will first focus on attracting Chinese enterprises based in the country, before it expands to international customers in this year?s second half, Alibaba said in a statement.

No doubt Alibaba will face intense competition in the U.S., where Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are major players. But opening the data center in Silicon Valley sends another message that it wants to be a global company, said Charlie Dai, an analyst with Forrester Research.

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Apple in settlement talks with car battery maker A123 Systems

Apple is in talks to settle a lawsuit filed by electric-car battery maker A123 Systems, which has charged the iPhone maker with poaching five of its employees to set up a new battery division.

The lawsuit has added fuel to reports that Apple is getting into the electric-car business.

Apple filed a motion Tuesday that requested the court for more time to file its response to A123?s motions as it and the five engineers charged ?are exploring potential resolution of this matter.?

A123 alleged in its complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts that the engineers had worked at its System Ventures Technologies division in Waltham, Massachusetts, which does research and development in the area of lithium-ion battery technology.

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Apple, like Google, to hire full-time security guards in Silicon Valley

Apple will replace a number of contract security positions with direct hires for its Silicon Valley operations, amid widespread demands from contract workers like drivers and security guards for better working conditions at tech companies.

The move by Apple comes in the wake of growing concerns about inequality in Silicon Valley, arising largely from the gentrification and high-costs in the area driven by the influx of hi-tech employees.

In October, Google said it would employ on its payroll security guards, rather than have them placed by a contractor, shortly after a report in August by community labor organization Working Partnerships USA that highlighted the poor working conditions of janitors, security guards and other contract staff, supplied by third-party companies, that are used extensively by tech companies in the valley.

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Malware-spreading drive-by attack relies on hacked GoDaddy accounts

Hundreds of hacked domain name accounts registered through GoDaddy are being used as part of a highly effective campaign using the Angler exploit kit to infect computers with malware.

The attackers are using the accounts to create subdomains that shuttle Web surfers to websites hosting Angler, wrote Nick Biasini, an outreach engineer with Cisco Systems.

The owners of the accounts are usually unaware of the activity, which Cisco calls ?domain shadowing,? since they may rarely log into their accounts. Hundreds of GoDaddy accounts that have several thousand domain names assigned to them have been compromised, Biasini wrote.

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Sony's Project Morpheus VR headset updated with bigger, faster screen

Sony is trying to make PlayStation 4 gameplay more immersive by adding a high-resolution OLED display to its prototype video game headset, set for release in the first half of next year.

Announced Tuesday at this year?s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the latest version of the Project Morpheus virtual reality (VR) system is similar in appearance to its predecessor, unveiled at GDC 2014.

But it features a 5.7-inch, 1920 x 1080 OLED display, providing a 100-degree field of view, that improves on the previous version?s 5-inch LCD display. The OLED screen is also faster?it can render 120 images per second, enhancing the immersive feel while playing games.

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IBM plugs OpenPower servers into SoftLayer cloud

IBM will roll out a cloud computing service next quarter using OpenPower-based servers, continuing an effort to expand the market for Power processors and challenge Intel in hyperscale data centers.

The company?s SoftLayer division will provide an infrastructure-as-a-service offering using OpenPower systems in the second quarter, initially from a data center in Dallas, Texas, it said Wednesday. It will roll out the service worldwide at a later date.

IBM kicked off its OpenPower initiative about two years ago. Its goal is to license its Power architecture to other server makers, who can use it to design systems targeted at online service providers like Google and cloud providers like Amazon Web Services.

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Nvidia's Shield console is a 4K Android TV box that streams full PC games fro...

To start Nvidia's Made to Game event late Tuesday, chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang promised an advanced television, a supercomputer, and a gaming console. As it turned out, it was all the same product: the Nvidia Shield. No, not the 2013 handheld.

?Desktops, workstations, notebooks, data centers, cloud, card?that journey has been incredible indeed, and today I want to talk about a brand new place that journey has taken us?the living room,? Huang said at a press event near the Game Developer Conference on Tuesday night.

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Judge says $415 million settlement in Silicon Valley hiring case is 'substant...

A judge has approved a US$415 million settlement in a Silicon Valley employee hiring case, calling the amount ?substantial? to settle claims that Apple, Google, Adobe Systems and Intel conspired not to hire each other?s workers.

The amount is fair and adequate, particularly in light of the risk that a jury may not have awarded damages, federal Judge Lucy Koh wrote in a Tuesday order in the U.S. district court for northern California.

The settlement also avoids what would have been complex and expensive litigation, she wrote.

The lawsuit constitutes one of the more high-profile class action lawsuits in Silicon Valley. Engineers alleged a handful of companies entered into secret ?no-poach? agreements not to hire their workers, which drove down their wages and restricted their ability to move between jobs. A chunk of evidence in the case consists of emails sent between the late Apple chief Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley executives like Google chairman Eric Schmidt and cofounder Sergey Brin.

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Uber buys deCarta to improve mapping and arrival estimates

Uber is acquiring deCarta, a mapping and location company that could help Uber to develop new types of services and also ensure its drivers show up on time.

DeCarta, headquartered in San Jose, California, holds a variety of data pertaining to mapping, local search and turn-by-turn navigation. Location services in cars from GM and Ford have been powered by deCarta?s technology, as well as devices from Samsung and Blackberry.

Now, Uber is buying the company for an undisclosed sum. It will allow Uber to improve services like UberPool and also give its users more accurate estimated times of arrival.

UberPool lets several people share the same ride, with multiple pick up and drop off points, so it involves more complex routing data than a regular Uber ride. But regular rides could benefit too, if deCarta?s technology can help Uber drivers know exactly where they?re supposed to pick you up.

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Snowden willing to face trial in US, if it's fair

Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of the agency?s surveillance programs, is willing to return to the U.S. and face criminal charges, if he?s assured of a fair trial, according to a Russian news report.

Snowden, now living in Russia, is ready to return to the U.S. on the condition that he?s guaranteed a fair trial, Snowden lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told journalists Tuesday, according to a report from Russian news agency TASS.

Several Snowden lawyers are negotiating his return to the U.S., Kucherena said. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised in a letter to Snowden?s lawyers that he would not face a death sentence, Kucherena added.

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Valve reveals Steam Link, a $50 box built for Steam in-home game streaming

When Valve announced Steam Machines last year at CES 2014, one of the main things that stood out was the lack of a cheap, simple machine dedicated solely to streaming PC games from one source to another. After all, Valve had implemented Steam in-home streaming into its venerated games service and pigeon-holed it as a cornerstone of the Linux-based SteamOS?a much-needed one, given the relatively small (but exploding) number of native Linux games. But everything we saw at CES was a computer in-and-of itself, capable of running games of its own accord.

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Valve finally announces next-gen Source 2 engine, and it's free too

After months and months?or more properly, years and years?of speculation, Valve has officially announced Source 2 Engine, the second iteration of the engine that?s powered all the studio?s games since 2004?s Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2. And, in a move that?s sounding pretty familiar after the past few days, Source 2 is free to use.

?We will be making Source 2 available for free to content developers. This combined with recent announcements byEpic and Unity will help continue the PC?s dominance as the premiere content authoring platform,? said Valve?s Jay Stelly in a prepared statement.

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FREAK is another serious flaw in the Web's encryption

Experts are warning of a serious security flaw that has apparently gone undetected for years and can weaken encrypted connections between computers and websites, potentially undermining security across the Internet.

The flaw, which has been dubbed FREAK, affects the widely used Secure Sockets Layer protocol and its successor, Transport Layer Security, and can allow an attacker to intercept supposedly encrypted traffic as it moves between clients and servers.

The flaw affects many popular websites, as well as programs including Apple?s Safari browser and Google?s Android mobile OS, security experts say. Applications that use a version of OpenSSL prior to 1.0.1k are also vulnerable to the bug, detailed in this advisory.

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