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Breakfast Briefing: Mega encryption worries, BlackBerry 10 app hunt, PayPal's account thaw

Breakfast Briefing

Posted on 22 Jan 2013 at 09:30

Today's top tech stories include a look at why Mega's encryption leaves security watchers nervous, RIM's BlackBerry 10 apps push and PayPal promises to improve how it freezes accounts.

Mega bad news for storage encryption

Kim Dotcom's latest venture – Mega – has been hitting the headlines with its generous storage allowances and flamboyant owner's antics, but questions are emerging over how the company will protect files and members from breach by either hackers or law enforcement officials. ArsTechnica has a look at the encryption used and reveals that there are many potential holes.

Potential problems include losing access to files and being caught up in a copyright probe. "If the MPAA gets wind that Bob is hosting a copy of The Hobbit: An Unexpectedly Long Movie in his Mega folder, and Alice also happens to have the same file in her Mega folder, it's trivial to prove that Alice has the same file," Ars says. "In fact, the nature of deduplication means there's some record of every deduplicated block, and therefore every other infringing user."

RIM delays deadline in BlackBerry apps push

As BlackBerry 10 makes its final approach, RIM is looking to populate the app store for the latest, albeit late, handsets on the OS. The Next Web details how the company has extended the deadline for a scheme that guarantees developers $10,000 a year for their wares if they are accepted by the company.

"The fact is, the volume of apps being submitted for review and entry into the program has been remarkable," said Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations. "Due to that large volume of apps, we are extending the deadline." Definitely not because there aren't yet enough apps to compete against Apple's App Store. Absolutely not.

PayPal revamp to free up blocked accounts

PayPal has been fiercely criticised for its policy of seemingly indiscriminate blocking of accounts that leaves users' money tied up, but it now says it is ready to change its anti-fraud tactics. According to PayPal, it will make "aggressive changes" to the way it deals with accounts when it suspects suspicious activity.

"We want to be clear about how people can get out of the [frozen funds] situation," PayPal told CNN Money. "We need to get better about helping people, or explaining why actions are being taken."

French publishers dismiss €50m Google offer

Google's tetchy relationship with French officials and web industry practitioners has been lukewarm of late, with ISPs seeking payment for carrying Google traffic and speculation of an "internet tax" on personal information. Paid Content reveals a behind-the-scenes proposal between Google and copyright owners. Google would have paid €50m to French publishers for the privilege of linking to their content – but the publishers said "Non", while holding out for more cash.

The 3D-printed building site

Forget plastic dinosaurs and even military hardware, which have both been touted as early markets for 3D printing technology, a Dutch designer believes he can build homes and offices with a flick of Control-Print. The BBC reports how Janjaap Ruijssenaars plans to create buildings designed to resemble a giant mobius strip - a continuous loop with only one side - for between £3.3 and £4.2m.

"In traditional construction you have to make a mould of wood and you fill it with concrete and then you take out the wood - it's a waste of time and energy," he told the Beeb, "You can print what you want - it's a more direct way of constructing."

Cuban fibre riddle

A blog post from web traffic watcher Renesys reveals intriguing details about a new undersea web pipeline switched on to better link Cuba with the rest of the world. The mystery surrounds why the connection only appears to be working in one direction, with asymmetric information arriving into the country via fibre but outgoing traffic going by satellite.

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