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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2014-07-07

Ordinary Americans caught up in NSA data sweep

In this edition: the Washington Post's latest investigation into the NSA's data sweep; bald Barbie dolls for kids with cancer; and a fireworks display as seen by a drone.

ORDINARY AMERICANS CAUGHT UP IN NSA DATA SWEEP

An investigation carried out by American daily the Washington Post has found that ordinary citizens far outnumbered legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the NSA. The Post reviewed around 160,000 emails and instant message conversations intercepted between 2009 and 2012 and leaked by former CIA consultant Edward Snowden. 

The data sweep did lead to the capture of terrorists but the majority of accounts investigated by the NSA belonged to ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else. And in theory, the NSA does not legally have the right to target American nationals. 

Digital advocacy group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has responded to these latest revelations over the extent of the spying with an appeal to lawmakers, urging them to restrict the NSA`s authority. The group has launched the “Stand against Spying” platform which tracks US Congress activity and voting relating to government surveillance programs. 

And web giants including Google, Mozilla and Twitter recently joined forces for the “Reset the Net” anti-surveillance campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the National Security Agency`s vast spying programs. The campaign also provides tips and tools so citizens can protect their telephones and computers from intrusive government surveillance. 

BALD BARBIE DOLLS FOR KIDS WITH CANCER

Melissa Bumstead used the "Ella" Barbie doll to help explain to her daughter Grace who is battling cancer, that she would lose her hair. Ella is exactly the same as other Barbie dolls, except that she is bald and was made to provide support for children undergoing chemotherapy. When Melissa Bumstead heard that there was only a small number of these dolls available, she petitioned Mattel, the toy manufacturer behind Barbie, to make some more. 

Her petition drew strong support with over 100,000 web users adding their signature. And little Grace`s mum has also started a Facebook page and a blog, with news and updates on her daughters time and progress in hospital. 

The American firm has since announced it will be producing more "Ella" dolls to distribute to hospitals around the country. “Ella” is an extremely rare Barbie doll, originally created as a limited edition back in 2012, after an online campaign. 

A campaign started by cancer survivor Jane Bingham who set up a Facebook page in 2012 for children suffering from cancer. The aim was to get Mattel to produce a Barbie that looked like them, a doll they could relate to. The campaign proved successful and the toy manufacturer produced 10,000 limited edition bald Barbie dolls to donate exclusively to U.S. children`s hospitals. 

REAL-TIME CYBERATTACK MAP

This heat map was put together by Norse Corporation – a company that monitors global spyware and malware, and it depicts cyber warfare as it happens around the world. We learn for example that the major sources of - and destinations for - cyber-attacks are from the United States and China … For some years now, Washington and Beijing have accused each other of cyber espionage.

SELF-PORTRAITS MIXING PHOTO AND ILLUSTRATION

For this collection, French photographer and artist Sébastien Del Grosso has blended photography and illustration to produce some astonishing selfies and other portraits. He starts drawing part of his body onto a piece of paper and then merges it with a picture using image processing software. You can take a closer look at the series on his Facebook page

NOW TRENDING ON SOCIAL NETWORKS

American astronaut Reid Wiseman, who is currently on board the International Space Station, has been sharing his experience with short video clips posted to social network Vine. Spectacular, fascinating images showing the Aurora Borealis for example, a violent lightning storm and also the experiments carried out in orbit around earth… his videos are proving hugely popular, his account has over 10,000 followers and counting. 

VIDEO OF THE DAY

This YouTube video provides a close up view of a 4th of July fireworks display in Oregon, in the US. It was filmed using a drone. It is actually a somewhat dangerous method, as the drone could interfere with the rockets` path, but it does produce stunning results… 

By Electron Libre

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