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2. Algorithms can write breaking news
Move over, assignment editor — you're not needed for this one — particularly in the case of the California earthquake this week, reported by the Los Angeles Times, which published just three minutes after the quake hit. How? Because an algorithm wrote it, according to Slate. But, anyone who was on the east coast during the quake will know that no matter how fast your journalists (or robots) are, they will never be faster than those Twitter users jolted awake in the early hours by an semi-regular seismic shift.
Image: LA Times
3. Microsoft gets as much as $200 from the FBI for user data requests
Microsoft was reimbursed by more than a millions dollars over the course of 2013 for U.S. data requests by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reports The Daily Dot, which leaked documents that were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army earlier this year. A single request for data costs the U.S. taxpayer as much as $200, but the figure varies, the documents show. It's not unique to Microsoft, either. Many other tech companies, including Yahoo and Google, are paid a certain amount for (legal) access to its systems, based on earlier leaks.
Image: White House
4. Failing to disclose encryption keys is legal in Australia, but not for long
Like its British counterparts, Australia wants to force suspected criminals to hand over encryption keys — by threat of prison, TechDirt wrote on Monday. It comes at a time when encryption is increasingly being used in the wake of the U.S. government surveillance leaks. Under U.K. law, it is a criminal offense, punishable by up to two years in prison, for failing to disclose passwords or encryption keys to material that may ultimately land them in further trouble. That's because the U.K. (and Australia) don't have a Fifth Amendment right to protection against self-incriminations.