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Facebook Reveals Details of U.S. Data Requests

Facebook revealed Friday it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data from U.S. authorities in the second half of last year, as it seeks to shield itself from a growing scandal.

The requests covered issues from child disappearances to petty crimes and terror threats and targeted between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts, the social networking site said, without revealing how often it complied with the requests.

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U.S. Prosecutors Want Smartphone 'Kill Switch'

U.S. law enforcement officials are demanding the creation of a "kill switch" that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, New York's top prosecutor said in a clear warning to the world's smartphone manufacturers.

Citing statistics showing that 1 in 3 robberies nationwide involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday announced the formation of a coalition of law enforcement agencies devoted to stamping out what he called an "epidemic" of robberies.

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Most Parents Monitor Kids on Facebook

Some two-thirds of American parents monitor their children's Facebook activities, but a large percentage say they trust their youngsters to manage on their own, a study showed Thursday.

The survey by the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California found 70 percent of parents keep tabs on their kids' Facebook accounts. Some 46 percent had passwords.

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Microsoft Opening Mini-Shops in Best Buy Stores

Microsoft on Thursday announced that it is expanding its real-world retail push with mini-shops inside 600 U.S. and Canadian stores operated by consumer electronics chain Best Buy.

Each "store-within-a-store" will feature devices powered by Windows operating systems as well as the U.S. technology titan's Xbox videogame consoles and packaged software offerings.

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Tablets, Smartphones Steal Scene at Tokyo Toy Show

A toy helicopter created from cannibalized smartphones was among the main attractions at a huge toy show in Tokyo on Friday, where producers were targeting the young and the young-at-heart.

The motor that makes a telephone vibrate provides the power for the rotor blades on the Nano-Falcon, which its makers say is the world's smallest radio-controlled helicopter.

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Survey: Many in U.S. Worry about Online Privacy

More than half of Americans polled in a survey released Thursday said they agreed with the statement "We are really in the era of Big Brother."

The survey from the University of Southern California was conducted last year, before recent revelations of large-scale, secret U.S. government surveillance programs. It found that some 35 percent of respondents agreed that "There is no privacy, get over it."

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Facebook Adds Twitter-Style Hashtags for Topics

Facebook on Wednesday added Twitter-style hashtags to help the more than one billion members of the social network tune into topics of interest at the leading social network.

"To date, there has not been a simple way to see the larger view of what's happening or what people are talking about," Facebook product manager Greg Lindley said in a blog post.

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Video Game Hacks Straight into U.S. Surveillance Storm

A video game with a protagonist who controls the world around him by hacking into systems is generating growing buzz, for its eerie parallels with the current storm about U.S. surveillance.

Games typically use weapons ranging from guns and swords to zappers to special powers to defeat enemies, overcome obstacles or simply score points, and hundreds are on display at the E3 gaming industry conference in Los Angeles.

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Google Warns of Password-Stealing Campaign in Iran

Google on Wednesday said that it has been battling what appeared to be politically targeted efforts to steal the passwords of tens of thousands of account holders in Iran.

"The timing and targeting of the campaigns suggest that the attacks are politically motivated in connection with the Iranian presidential election on Friday," Google vice president of security engineering Eric Grosse said in a blog post.

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Google Grabs Maps App Waze in Billion-Dollar Deal

Google on Tuesday announced a deal reported to worth over $1 billion for crowd-sourced map app Waze in a move to stay ahead of Apple and Facebook in lifestyles centered on smartphones and tablets.

The U.S. Internet search giant did not reveal the price it is paying for Israel-based Waze, but Israeli news outlets Globes and Calcalist over the weekend estimated the deal's value at $1.3 billion.

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