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BRITAIN SPY BOOK

Remember when the EU's Data Retention Directive, a requirement for all telecoms companies to record everyone's web and phone activity, was declared illegal by the European Court of Justice? As expected, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he'll pass emergency legislation that'll override the court's decision and restore this requirement, at least in the short term. The action has been taken since telecoms networks and ISPs were about to begin deleting this data, which the government believes would have harmed serious criminal investigations concerning sexual exploitation and counter-terrorism.

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Despite arriving nearly a year after the TiVo Roamio launched, this update looks to be one worth waiting for. To address the age old problem of choosing what to watch, TiVo has two new features that make that much easier. The first is a new third column added to the My Shows view that makes it possible to browse recorded shows by category (movies, kids, sports, etc). You can easily choose which categories are shown -- who watches kids shows anyway? -- and in what order, or revert to your old ways completely (check the demo video embedded after the break to get a feel for how it works). The other new feature is in the same vein, bringing on-demand and web app options to the traditional guide and giving us flashbacks of Windows Media Center's similar option. TiVo Premiere owners will also be very happy with their version of the update since it adds the aforementioned new features but doesn't stop there. As Zatz Not Funny points out, users are reporting much needed speed improvements with an "updated, modern design" that brings it closer to the Roamio experience.

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Silent Circle's mobile apps have helped make calls, messages and storing contacts more secure, but to enjoy its encryption benefits other people would need to use the same service. That could no longer be a problem for some, after the company announced its expanding its Silent Phone service to let users make truly private calls to non-Silent Circle members worldwide. While some users have been able to use the iOS and Android apps to make calls to standard mobile and landlines, like you would with Skype or Viber, Silent Circle's encrypted "Out-Circle" calling service was limited to users in a select number of countries. From today, subscribers enrolling in the service will be given a unique ten-digit Silent Phone number to make and receive calls in 79 countries without a roaming charge in sight. If you've ordered the Blackphone, you will, of course, be pre-subscribed to Silent Phone (although you'll have to set up Out-Circle separately) and the company's other anti-surveillance services. Starting at $12.95 for 100 minutes, Out-Circle isn't the cheapest package out there, but you can't put a price on privacy, right?

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Facebook is prepared to drop a cool $19 billion in cash and stock to buy Whatsapp, but it won't actually get to until both companies gone through a regulatory rigmarole. Part of that process involves getting the blessing of Europe's antitrust crusaders and according to the Wall Street Journal, the European Commission wants to know just what sort of impact the merger will have on the companies' competitors. Its plan to find out? Sending them, erm, questionnaires. The list of rivals that have been asked for input hasn't been disclosed, but c'mon -- does anyone expect them to say "Oh yeah, the merger's cool, we'll be totally fine"?

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The New York Times is reporting that Chinese hackers penetrated a US government network, likely going after the files of thousands of workers who applied for top-secret security clearances. The hackers accessed the Office of Personnel Management databases in March before they were detected and blocked, though there's no word on how deep the breech went. Officials did say, however, that they hadn't "identified any loss of personally identifiable information." Though the hacking originated in China, it's not clear if the People's Liberation Army (PLA) or other government spy agencies were responsible. The FBI recently took the unusual step of charging PLA officials (who aren't likely to be tried) because of several brazen attacks. Still, the Chinese have their own beefs against US spies, who are clearly pretty good at hacking too.

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Don't worry, that green hue around Yahoo Screen's gills isn't seasickness, Marissa Mayer's video service is just taking on the color of its newest platform, the Xbox 360. That's right, as soon as the sixth season of Community debuts (or other original content, whichever comes first), you'll be able to watch it via Microsoft's last-gen gaming console. Until that happens, well, there's always some 38 years of Saturday Night Live clips to peruse -- assuming you haven't burned through them all on your AppleTV or Roku already.

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Spotify on the desktop

Canada is used to being jilted by online media providers that avoid the country like the plague, but that era may be nearing an end -- just weeks after Google Play Music got the all clear, Spotify has confirmed that it's coming to the True North Strong and Free. While the internet music service isn't officially ready yet, it's taking sign-ups for pre-launch invitations; the company tells iMore that it's gradually expanding access over the "coming months" to make sure that it doesn't choke on the inevitable flood of new users. That will undoubtedly feel like an eternity if you want to join non-Canuck friends who've been listening for years. However, you don't have to sit idle while you're waiting to stream some Arcade Fire or Metric. Spotify has already posted both its Android and iOS apps, and they should start working as soon as you have an account -- grab 'em early if you want to be ready.

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It's been a while since we've seen any new curved or flexible displays following LG's G Flex and Samsung's Galaxy Round smartphones. LG Display is thinking bigger now. It's announced that it's been able to create an 18-inch OLED panel that has enough give and flexibility to roll into a tube that's a mere 3cm across. The prototype currently has a resolution of 1,200 x 810, while it's a new polyamide film on the back of the panel (instead of the typical plastic) which offers the panel substantially more flexibility -- and it's also even thinner.

Alongside the flexible demo, LG's also crafted a transparent OLED panel which has triple the transmittance of existing see-through LCD displays -- that means the picture looks much better and less hazy. According to LG Display's SVP and Head of R&D, In-Byung Kang, he's confident that "by 2017, we will successfully develop an Ultra HD flexible and transparent OLED panel of more than 60 inches." Crank up that resolution and bring on the roll-up TVs.

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When a country is essentially cut off from the rest of the world, peculiar things can happen. In Cuba, the half-century-plus trade-embargo means antique Chevy Bel Airs roam the streets like pigeons, and apparently North Korea's communist ideology translates to some pretty interesting views of the future. A tourism firm in the region gave a state-employed architect free reign to imagine how the mountains of Myohyangsan would appear with a high-rise bridge connecting them in one instance, and what a floating house/hovercraft hybrid (seriously) or a hotel and gondola in Nampo's port would look like in others. The whole of the idea was to experiment with what a "sustainable tourism model" might resemble, according to CNN. And, if you ask us, the four-year project has a certain pulp sci-fi vibe to it. The concept drawings will be on display at Venice's Architecture Biennale until November if you'd like a first-hand look, otherwise hit the source if you can't make it to Italy by then.

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Sure, your favorite weather app might look good, but can you really tell how accurate it is? Instead of relying on just one weather source to provide you with an overview of the week's weather, Climendo wants to do things a little differently. It compares and combines data from the most popular and/or accurate providers to give you the most precise forecast possible. On top of that, it'll also match predictions with historic data from professional weather stations, letting you know exactly which provider you can trust.

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