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ExtraBITS for 9 September 2013

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It turns out that the NSA has for years been running a campaign to undermine Internet security — alas, there’s not much anyone can do about it for now. Apple last week confirmed an event for Tuesday, 10 September 2013, where we expect to see new iPhones and maybe even other surprises. Amazon’s upcoming Kindle MatchBook service offers free or cheap ebooks for titles you’ve purchased from Amazon in physical form; meanwhile, Microsoft finally put a ring on its deal with Nokia, buying out Nokia’s cellphone division for $7.17 billion. And Adam Engst joined Gene Steinberg to discuss many of these topics, plus Joe Kissell’s latest ebook, “Take Control of Your Online Privacy.”

Adam Engst Discusses Online Privacy on Tech Night Owl -- On the latest installment of the Tech Night Owl Live with Gene Steinberg, Adam Engst talks briefly about Samsung’s new smartwatch and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s cellphone unit, before focusing on a variety of privacy-related topics connected to Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Your Online Privacy.”

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The NSA’s Campaign to Undermine Internet Security -- Revelations continue to mount with regard to the capabilities of the U.S. National Security Agency, which, newly revealed documents show, has long been working to crack widely used Internet encryption technologies and “covertly influence and/or overtly leverage” technology firms’ products to make them exploitable. In this joint article by ProPublica and the New York Times, the damning details are piled ever higher, suggesting that the NSA can decrypt Internet traffic protected by SSL and VPNs, as well as encryption used in 4G-based smartphones.

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Apple Event Confirmed for 10 September 2013 -- Apple has sent out invitations for a special event to be held on 10 September 2013, at the company’s headquarters. We expect the announcement of new iPhone models, the imminent release of iOS 7, and perhaps some other surprises. The invitation features a number of multi-colored bubbles, and the text, “This should brighten everyone’s day.” Could it be a hint at often-rumored multicolored iPhones?

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Amazon Announces Kindle MatchBook -- Starting in October 2013, Amazon will begin offering Kindle MatchBook, a new service that enables you to obtain free or discounted Kindle copies of any qualifying physical books that you’ve purchased from Amazon — dating all the way back to 1995! The Kindle editions will range from free to $2.99.

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Microsoft Buying Nokia’s Cellphone Business -- All Things D reports that, in an attempt to compete with the duopoly of iOS and Android in the smartphone market, Microsoft will buy Nokia’s cellphone unit for nearly $5 billion and will license Nokia’s patents for another $2.18 billion, for a grand total of $7.17 billion. The move gives Microsoft the hardware portfolio and control it believes it needs to succeed in the phone business and lets Nokia focus on its remaining businesses in cellular networking equipment, location-based services, and other technologies, which accounted for roughly half the company’s 2012 sales.

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