News Byte

Venezuela Offers Snowden Asylum

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden — whom the U.S. government is trying to arrest for revealing classified information about its spying programs — has been offered asylum by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. “He is a young man who has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the United States spying on the whole world,” said Maduro. It’s not clear if Snowden, who is reportedly still in the transit area of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, has accepted the offer, but he has made appeals for asylum to several countries.

Whistleblowing 101

It will always be the case that much is classified that need not be classified. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is how much is classified that needs not to be classified if we want to be a democracy.

Daniel Ellsberg, in conversation with investigative journalist Brad Friedman on KPFK/Pacifica Radio


How Spies May One Day Predict the Future

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a little-known U.S. government organization, is developing analytic programs for the National Security Agency that could make recent revelations about the NSA’s activities look antiquated by comparison. Rather than reviewing archival data, it may use current data to predict the future.


Firms Aided Libyan Spies

On the ground floor of a six-story building here, agents working for Moammar Gadhafi sat in an open room, spying on emails and chat messages with the help of technology Libya acquired from the West.

2010 Was the Year the Internet Got Scary. Get Used to It.

The year just ending started with an attack on Google by China and ended with the WikiLeaks affair. In the meantime, the Stuxnet worm showed the way toward a world where skilled hackers can cause serious real-world damage. Scared yet?

Viral Video: Julian Assange Is a Samantha (But a Charlotte to the Swedish Police)

How much are we loving these Julian Assange spoofs on “Saturday Night Live”? Here–a day late–is the WikiLeaks leader commenting on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently beating him out for Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

Exclusive: Chegg Buys Cramster

According to sources close to the situation, online textbook rental company Chegg has acquired Cramster, a social online homework help platform. The Cramster purchase is one in a series of start-up buys that Chegg has been making of late, part of a strategy to be a central place for student needs.


Website for Leaked Data Shines Spotlight on WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks publishes top-secret documents about government and corporate intrigue. Then there is John Young, who publishes documents about WikiLeaks. From his apartment on New York City’s Upper West Side, the 70-something architect, computer buff and self-described “cypherpunk” runs a website,, that seeks to hold accountable the site that boasts of holding others to account.

Exclusive: Chegg Raises $75 Million in Additional Funding from Asian Firm

Chegg, the online textbook rental service, has raised another $75 million from Asia-based Ace Limited, according to sources. Ace seems to be nonexistent on the Internet, although sources said it is a Hong Kong-based investment firm. The round comes after a huge Series D investment in late 2009, which already brought Chegg’s funding to a whopping $144 million.

Craigslist CEO Seeking Anderson Cooper Type for Non-Trashing (And Maybe Coffee?)

Craiglist CEO Jim Buckmaster let one fly yesterday at CNN reporter Amber Lyon for a report on child sex trafficking she did that focused on the role played by the online-classified giant. It included using a May interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark that Buckmaster characterized as an ambush. He ended by noting that if “[CNN anchor] Anderson Cooper would like to come out to SF and sit with us for an interview worthy of CNN’s viewers, we’ll consider it.”

The End of Newspapers, in Chart Form

Great … More Money for Google