The name Satoshi Nakamoto was long thought to be a pseudonym. Nakamoto was the name of the author of a 2009 paper titled, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” which is the document that launched the famous alternative currency known as bitcoin. In the ensuing years, reporters have searched to discover the true identity of the man behind the revolutionary currency. According to a story in the newest issue of Newsweek magazine, the name was not a pseudonym at all; the creator of Bitcoin is, in fact, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto.
As the Newsweek story broke, reporters flocked to the Los Angeles area home of Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 64-year-old Japanese American then led reporters all over the city while he, apparently, ran errands and grabbed some lunch.
Fox News reports that Nakamoto acknowledged to reporters that the Newsweek story got many facts about his life correct, including that he once worked as a defense contractor for the U.S. government. He denied, however, that he was the creator of Bitcoin.
According Leah McGrath Goodman, the author of the Newsweek story, Nakamoto did admit to early involvement in the currency’s creation. Fox News quoted Goodman’s story:
"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he said, according to Goodman. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Goodman claims Nakamoto then called police to have her removed from his doorstep as she was researching the story.
The slow motion car chase that occurred Thursday was reminiscent, to some Los Angeles observers, of the infamous O.J. Simpson White Bronco chase from the '90s, according to The Daily Dot. This time, though, the lead vehicle was Nakamoto’s Toyota Prius, and reporters didn’t gain much information for their efforts.
As Nakamoto brushed by the reporters in his front yard on the way to his car he told them, “No questions right now. I’m not involved in Bitcoin.”
He then invited an Associated Press reporter to travel with him saying, “I want a free lunch, so I’m going with you.”
That lunch interview only yielded more denials, according to the subsequent AP story.
At the end of the lunch, Nakamoto simply asked, ”How long is this media hoopla going to last?”
When 26-year-old Josh Grant buried his 59-year-old mother Anthea, he didn’t expect that he’d add a battle with tech giant Apple to his list of things to deal with.
At their mother’s funeral, Grant and his brother Patrick realized that they never asked their mother what her Apple ID password was so that they could get into her iPad. When Grant reached out to Apple to explain the situation, they denied his request for information, saying he needed “written permission” from his newly deceased mother.
Grant and his brother again attempted to explain that their mother had just recently died of cancer and that, obviously, she was unable to write them a letter. Apple then asked the brothers for a copy of Anthea’s death certificate, her will, and a letter from their solicitor. Apple later went even further and requested that the grieving sons get a court order to unlock the woman’s beloved iPad, citing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as reason.
Grant, who is from London, wrote on his blog that although he was once an Apple fan, he is now turned off by their lack of compassion.
“I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely,” Grant wrote on his blog Musnt’t Grumble. “Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold. Understandably, my brother has given up and we now have a redundant iPad. If anyone has any suggestions for an unusable iPad please do send them in. I’ve suggested illuminated placemat and shiny paperweight.”
Josh and Patrick Grant became executors of their late mother’s estate when she passed away on January 19.
Rejoice, bacon lovers of the world!
A new iOS device made by Oscar Mayer will allow you to start your mornings in a way all mornings were meant to start: with the sweet, succulent smell of bacon.
The company created a device called Wake Up & Smell the Bacon, which will emit the scent and sound of sizzling bacon when your alarm goes off in the morning. The device plugs into your iPhone or iPad and syncs with Oscar Mayer’s mobile app of the same name.
"With nearly two million mentions of #bacon on Instagram, it seems people never get tired of bacon," said Tom Bick, director of marketing and advertising at Oscar Mayer. "That's why our team decided to develop a device to give folks what they long for most. Oscar Mayer is thrilled to bring the first-ever bacon-scented mobile device to market, giving bacon aficionados a new reason to welcome their morning alarm clocks.”
Much to the dismay of your pig-flesh-loving self, the device will not be sold in stores. Oscar Mayer is giving away the device for free in a contest. You can apply here to be one of the lucky winners.
The promotional video produced for the device is a bacon lover’s dream – literally.
“At darkest midnight, the nostrils' north star awaits you,” the video says. "When imagination blossoms, only this scent will guide you to the greatest awakening. Wake up … to the morning of your dreams."
28-year-old Autumn Radtke was found dead in her apartment on Feb. 28. Radtke was the CEO of First Meta, a Bitcoin currency exchange firm.
Radtke’s body was found in her Singapore apartment. Local media outlets are calling the death a suicide, but the cause of death will not be official until a toxicology report is released.
Radtke’s last Facebook post lends some credibility to the suicide theory, though. On Feb. 10, Radtke posted an article on her Facebook titled “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship.” Above the article, she wrote “everything has its price.”
First Meta posted a message on its website regarding Radtke's death.
"The First Meta team is shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke," the message reads. "Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed."
Radtke was a successful entrepreneur who worked in the past with Apple and other Silicon Valley firms on digital payment technologies. Radtke described First Meta as a company that takes “virtual currencies and pays out real $ via paypal.”
Her death marks the eighth apparent suicide of a prominent financial sector figure this year.
The U.S. government is suing Sprint for invoicing excessive reimbursement figures as the company complied with court-ordered wiretapping, according to a story on Cnet.com.
The federal government claims the nation’s third-largest cellular provider overcharged government agencies, including the FBI and DEA, by as much as $21 million.
"Sprint inflated its charges by approximately 58 percent," the complaint reads. "As a result of Sprint's false claims, the United States paid over $21 million in unallowable costs from January 1, 2007 to July 31, 2010.”
Sprint claims it acted within the law. In an email quoted by Bloomberg News, Sprint spokesman John Taylor argued, "‘Under the law, the government is required to reimburse Sprint for its reasonable costs incurred when assisting law enforcement agencies with electronic surveillance.”
’‘The invoices Sprint has submitted to the government fully comply with the law,’’ Taylor wrote.
According to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, telecommunications companies can bill law enforcement agencies for expenses when they provide assistance for surveillance under court orders.
However, according to a story on Cellular-News.com, Sprint was not allowed to charge the government for systems upgrades. That rule came in 2006 when the FCC told telecommunications providers they had to pay for their own upgrades to some infrastructure in order to make it easier for government agencies to surveil suspect lines. Sprint and other cellular providers had been seeking clarification on that matter since the upgrades were ordered in 1994.
The Department of Justice, though, alleges that Sprint continued to bill for the disallowed upgrade charges between 2007 and July of 2010.
"Because Sprint's invoices for intercept charges did not identify the particular expenses for which it sought reimbursement, federal law enforcement agencies were unable to detect that Sprint was requesting reimbursement of these unallowable costs,” the lawsuit says.
The government is suing for three times the overbilled amount — $63 million — and other civil fines. The suit was filed at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday.
Taylor has said Sprint plans to defend the matter “vigorously.”
A senior advisor who helped craft the U.K.’s proposed internet pornography filters has been arrested on allegations that he possesses images depicting child sexual abuse.
The adviser is Patrick Rock, 62. Prime Minister David Cameron brought Rock to Downing Street in 2011. Rock has been involved with the country’s conservative party for over 30 years.
Over the past three years, Rock has been involved in a number of home policy issues, the most notable of which is the conservative party’s push to restrict access to internet pornography.
Rock resigned yesterday after being questioned by police about his alleged possession of images showing children being sexually abused.
“The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter. Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant. This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”
Teenagers in California will now have a chance to reset their public persona before applying to jobs or colleges. Governor Jerry Brown signed in to law Senate Bill 568 on Monday. The new law, called the “eraser button” law by some, requires social media sites to allow users under 18 years of age to delete posts and photos that may damage their reputation, according to a Fox News story.
"Kids and teens frequently self-reveal before they self-reflect,” the CEO of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, told the Huffington Post. "In today's digital age, mistakes can stay with and haunt kids for their entire life. This bill is a big step forward for privacy rights, especially since California has more tech companies than any other state.”
While popular sites like Facebook and Twitter already allow any user to delete posts or tweets, the law will make it a requirement for all websites to extend the privilege to underage California users. Such a broad law will burden sites, who will now have to determine which users are based in California, opponents say. Many proponents concede the point but hope that the law will spread to the other states.
"This is a good business practice that should filter through the industry,” said Rhys Williams, spokesman for the bill’s author, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Democrat. "These companies are keen to avoid bad press just as parents are keen to avoid bad attention toward their children.”
A similar bill was proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011. Titled the Do Not Track Kids Act, it was introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. The bill never made it out of committee.
The law is part of a larger package of laws that will also prohibit youth-oriented social media sites from advertising products that are illegal for minors like alcohol, guns and tobacco. The new rules go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The Bitcoin community is used to drastic fluctuation. That’s the nature of the deregulated digital currency. Still, Bitcoin owners were shocked when Mt. Gox, one of the world’s most popular bitcoin exchanges, was robbed.
The company initially reported that it had lost a total of 850,000 Bitcoins, 750,000 of which belonged to users and investors. The Star estimates that number translates to around $480 million.
Although the incident immediately rattled concerned Bitcoin users, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles has remained relatively silent on the issue. The Tokyo-based French CEO was recently forced to make public statements when he appeared in court, filing for civil rehabilitation, or the Japanese equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Although Mt. Gox has promised that it was working to fix the issue, most members of the Bitcoin community speculate that the stolen coins are gone forever.
In his court statement, Karpeles indicated that he stands by Bitcoin despite his company’s recent incident.
“First of all, I’m very sorry. The Bitcoin industry is healthy and it is growing. It will continue, and reducing the impact is the most important point,” Karpeles said.
Karpeles’s apology serves as an admission of guilt for his role in what many believe to threaten the future of the digital currency. It’s likely, however, that Bitcoin will continue to operate despite the loss of its once dominant exchange.
In response to the incident, Mt. Gox has opened a call center in order to answer any customer’s questions regarding the significant loss of money, Mashable reports.
A state appeals court in California ruled that while it may be illegal to text-message or talk on a mobile phone while driving, it is not illegal to use the mobile phone as a navigation device. A Fresno driver was pulled over and given a $165 ticket after a highway patrol officer observed him using his smartphone to look at a map. According to SFGate.com, this marks “the first appellate interpretation of a 2006 state law that restricts handheld uses of a mobile telephone while driving.”
The law was passed before the smartphone revolution that made the device much more than a phone, although there were some rudimentary navigation services on older devices. However, the law does allow for hands-free use of the phone, via headset or Bluetooth interface, so limits to the kinds of distractions that are illegal were written in at the start.
One does not need quantitative statistics to reach the conclusion that if a driver becomes distracted, he or she is more likely to be involved in an accident. However, some distractions are unavoidable, while others are simply calculated risks. For example, driving while talking on the phone is a distraction because no matter how one does it, some part of one's attention will be off of the road. Hands-free conversations allow the driver to keep both hands on the wheel, limiting the distraction but not removing it completely.
To try to legislate against all distractions would be counterproductive and might sour the public against the idea of any such regulation. Blanket bans against the usage of mobile devices seem to be over-cautious at best, with many critics identifying them as another example of the “nanny state.” Since looking at a paper map is perfectly legal while driving, it makes sense that looking at a digital map should be treated in the same way, especially considering the audio features of many navigation applications.
Instead, it seems laws like “Jake’s Law” in Maryland have gotten it right. According to WBAL, the law’s main goal is "to create tougher penalties for drivers who cause crashes as a result of using their cellphone while driving.” This treats device-related distracted driving much like drunk driving, wherein the penalties come as a result of recklessness on the road and do not rely on officers to actively police the inside of motorists’ vehicles.
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo on Friday reports USA Today. The filing came after the exchange shutdown earlier in the week fearing a breach of security that resulted in the loss of 750,000 bitcoins.
Mt. Gox was once the worlds largest exchange for the controversial, virtual currency. At its height it claimed to handle nearly 80 percent of all bitcoin transactions, according to a NBC News story.
Appearing in court on Friday, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles confirmed that a hacking attack resulted in the loss of 750,000 users’ bitcoins as well as 100,000 of the company’s. At current prices that would amount to about $425 million. Such a loss puts Mt. Gox’s debt at $65 million, a figure which surpasses its assets said Teikoku Databank, a firm that monitors bankruptcies, in an AP story carried by ABC News.
Bitcoins were developed in 2009 as a virtual currency that allowed users to make transactions across international borders without using third parties such as banks or credit cards. The use of the currency had been catching on recently as sites like Overstock.com began accepting it. Such acceptance had spurred speculation and values of bitcoins had begun to fluctuate wildly.
The failure does not come as a surprise to many officials. "No one recognizes them as a real currency," said Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso. "I expected such a thing to collapse.”
Last year China banned the currency and Vietnam recently followed suit amid the troubles at Mt. Gox.
Proponents of the currency, though, are hopeful that Bitcoin can survive the recent troubles and emerge stronger.
Yang Weizhou, analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo said the bankruptcy filing highlights the need for government regulations to stabilize virtual currencies. Weizhou predicted there would be lawsuits from users who suffered losses in the recent hack and further predicted that such virtual currencies are here to stay.
“It is undeniable," she said. "One must separate the Mt. Gox problem from the overall concept."