The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Thursday, May 12


Senators block vote extending NSA dragnet powers

Four U.S. senators ground the chamber’s business to a halt Wednesday in an effort to prevent voting on a bill that would extend a law that’s legitimized the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone and business records. The relevant section of the Patriot Act expires at the end of the month, and to stop it from being renewed, a bipartisan group took control of the Senate floor in a filibuster mid-Wednesday.

Hack hits health care target, reaps data on 1.1 million

Offering information that enables medical identity fraud is among the most lucrative crimes for hackers, and they have hit a rich target once again: Health insurer CareFirst revealed that data on 1.1 million people has been stolen in a security breach. The attack took place nearly a year ago, and targeted a single database that contained information about CareFirst members and others who accessed its websites and services.

Apple fixes critical security issues in Watch

Get used to the idea that a watch can endanger your digital life: Apple’s first update for Watch OS includes 14 security patches, and they’re not trivial. Watch OS 1.0.1, released this week, fixes vulnerabilities that could enable arbitrary code execution, information disclosure, denial of service, traffic hijacking, privilege escalation and other attacks.

Huawei has an OS for the Internet of Things, too

Add Chinese networking equipment vendor Huawei to the list of companies that want to control the platform that connected devices—aka the Internet of things—run on. It’s launched LiteOS, saying it wants to help third-party vendors break into the emerging market by giving them a lightweight software platform that can be as small as 10 kilobytes and is designed to run on minimal power.

Google said to be readying a photo service for Facebook and Twitter

In a tacit admission that Google+ is an also-ran in the social networking race, Google is getting ready to take the wraps off a photo sharing and storage service aimed at Facebook and Twitter users, Bloomberg reports. Previously, Google had a photo offering limited to Google+. The new option is set to be unveiled at Google i/o later this month, but will face plenty of competition from other cloud-based photo services already available.

E-paper gives payment cards ever-changing security codes

That so-called security code on the back of your credit card offers limited protection from fraud since cybercriminals have figured out how to capture it from payment terminals. But now Oberthur Technologies is embedding an e-paper display in cards that replaces the printed 3-digit code with a small screen, where the code changes periodically. To test the technology in the real world, 1,000 customers of French banks Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne will pilot it in September.

Former Radio Shack customers should probably set spam filters to ‘high’

After a lengthy legal tussle, bankrupt Radio Shack will be able to sell some customer data that it had listed among assets it sought to liquidate. Attorneys for 38 states that had objected to the sale have now agreed to a settlement that forces Radio Shack to destroy a good deal of the information. The New York attorney general hailed the deal as a victory for consumer privacy and one that creates a model for how to protect troves of personal data when companies go under.

Acquisitions take a bite out of Lenovo earnings

Lenovo’s recent acquisitions have hit hard at the company’s earnings, with its net profit in the first quarter dropping 37 percent despite strong PC sales. The Chinese company paid $2.9 billion for Motorola Mobility and $2.1 billion for IBM’s x86 server business. Revenue rose 21 percent year-over-year to $11.3 billion, though.

Watch now

Sports helmets that use Boditrak’s pressure-sensing fabric can help monitor and diagnose head injuries. Here’s how it works.

One last thing

Farhad Manjoo wants to know what happened to tech’s drive to change the world—what he sees instead is a rise innovation aimed at the young and the rich.

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