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The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, January 13

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, January 13

U.K. threatens chat app ban ... Obama suggests immunity for breach reporters ... ISIS takes down a Twitter account ... and more

Uber's mobile app.

Uber's mobile app.

Britain's Prime Minister says chat apps should be banned if they can't be spied on

With tensions particularly high over the terror threat in Europe, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he will work to ban encrypted messaging services such as SnapChat and WhatsApp if intelligence services can't get easy access to communications on those channels.

Can immunity get U.S. businesses on the side of a data breach law?

On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama will announce a plan to protect businesses from liability if they share data breach information with the government. And as expected, he previewed new legislation on Monday that targets consumers' concerns about data privacy. All these initiatives will be part of the State of the Union address on Jan. 20.

Islamists claim credit for hacking US military social media accounts

A hacked Twitter account is hardly an attack on critical infrastructure, but supporters of the extremist Islamic State got plenty of publicity on Monday when they apparently took over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. Central Command.

IBM still dominates at winning patents, but Google is creeping up

IBM is still the undisputed king of the patent hill in the U.S.: it actually won 10 percent more patents last year than it did in 2013. It was miles ahead of number two Samsung, but the real story was in the bottom half of the top ten, where Google broke into the ranking for the first time (its 2,566 patents were about a third as many as IBM's and half as many as Samsung's).

China beefs up Net backbone

China disclosed Monday that it has added seven new access points to the global Internet, taking the pressure off the three (in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) that had previously carried all its traffic. It has the world's largest online population, at over 600 million users.

Google may be leaving 60 percent of Android phones vulnerable

A security researcher says Google has stopped patching a core component of Android in versions older than v. 4.4. Tod Beardsley, the engineering manager at security vendor Rapid7, says Google's security team won't craft fixes for flaws in WebView in the older mobile OS versions -- and adds that "WebView is the attack vector for Android."

Uber's peace offering to city officials: its data

What does Uber have a lot of that might help urban planners? Data. And that's what it's offering to the city of Boston, the Wall Street Journal reports. It may also share data with New York City. The moves might help repair relationships: Uber has butted heads with officials in locales all around the world where it's been seen as flouting regulations on car services.

Don't call it a comeback, but PC market decline is slowing

Market research firms IDC and Gartner put out their numbers on the global PC market for 2014, and it looks like things are slightly better than the year before, when it declined by 10 percent. Both put the 2014 decline at just two percent, Re/Code reports.

Watch now

Hybrid technology has truly arrived: Martyn Williams is at the Detroit Auto Show and impressed by Acura's high-end entrant into the energy-efficient niche.

One last thing

Stop worrying about this June's leap second! So says Linus Torvalds to Bob McMillan at Wired.


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