Weekend Wrap-up: NSA Phone Data Surveillance Deemed 'Likely Unconstitutional'; Target Hacked
It’s time for another edition of the Weekend Wrap, where we summarize and catch you up on the week’s top stories in tech. We also have a complimentary video version of the weekend wrap-up now! You can watch it below.
Let’s dive in.
Federal Judge Says NSA Data Surveillance “Likely Unconstitutional”
Quite a few revelations have come from the documents released by Edward Snowden over the past couple of months, and spotlight on the United States surveillance community, and the NSA in particular, has never been brighter. It’s with that context that Judge Richard J. Leon of the District of Columbia remarked on a lawsuit filed against the government regarding phone data surveillance. Leon’s belief? That the data surveillance program run by the NSA is “likely unconstitutional,” an opinion that could be seen as a blow to the Obama administration, which has fervently defended the NSA’s programs. It’s likely not the last we’ve heard of this issue, so stay tuned.
If you’ve visited a Target brick and mortar store, you might want to check your credit card accounts to make sure unauthorized charges haven’t been made. The popular retailer had 40 million credit card records compromised, and since this data is now in the wrong hands, there’s a change that someone could be using the information to charge purchases. Again, this only applies to those who’ve made purchases at a Target retail location and, at this point, does not apply to those who’ve made purchases on Target.com.
Facebook Video Ads Hit This Past Week
Facebook confirmed this week that video ads were on the way, supposedly arriving this past Thursday. I myself have yet to see a video ad on Facebook, and I’m no slouch when it comes to usage. If you’re concerned about auto-play ads annoying you while you’re trying to keep up with your friends, fear not — while the videos will start automatically, sound will be automatically muted until you click on an ad to activate its audio. User-uploaded videos on Facebook will work in a similar way, so the ads should blend in. Will they actually? We’ll see.
Who Needs a Steam Machine from Valve? We Built One
We’ll cap this off with something fun. A lot of people who pay attention to gaming have their eyes on Valve’s latest initiative, dubbed “Steam Box,” which brings a game console-like experience to the PC. A unique controller lets PC gamers sit on the couch and play games that are traditionally known for the desktop much like they’re hanging out playing their Xbox or PlayStation. Valve sent out some beta boxes to various folks, but since we didn’t get one, our own Landon Robinson decided to custom build one. You can check out his post for a breakdown.
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