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Tech Briefing

The Week's top tech stories

A need-to-know round-up of the essential tech stories that broke this week

Technology
Computer hackers

British and American intelligence agents are undermining their colleagues' efforts to monitor and control the so-called "dark web" – a hidden zone of the internet where activities and identities are concealed – according to the developer of software designed to allow people to browse anonymously. In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Lewman, the Tor Project's executive director, says he believes NSA and GCHQ agents have told his software engineers about flaws they uncovered in the program's code. Lewman said that while he cannot prove who is giving him information, he has a strong "hunch" that the tips are coming from government cyberspies.

Technology
Microsoft's former CEO and chairman Steve Ballmer

The enthusiastic tech billionaire, Steve Ballmer, stepped down as chairman of Microsoft this week, leaving the company significantly diminished from its 1990s heyday, yet in an improving financial situation and with its digital fingers still in many pies. So should Ballmer's 14-year reign be seen as a success or a failure? He had success with Xbox and Windows XP, but missed the boat on smartphones and tablets, the BBC notes. Ballmer worked at Microsoft for 34 years. His shares in the company now exceed those of Bill Gates and amount to 3.99 per cent of the company – which makes him worth more than $15bn.

UK News
A Metropolitan police officer uses a smart phone

More than 800 police workers have been investigated for breaching police guidelines on social media in the last five years. Of the 828 cases in England and Wales, from January 2009 to February this year, nine per cent ended in resignation, dismissal or retirement, according to research by the Press Association. Various forces revealed that staff or officers were investigated for comments deemed homophobic, racist or "religiously aggressive".

Man jailed for filming in cinema

A man has been jailed for almost three years after filming Fast And Furious 6 in a cinema in Walsall. The recording, made by 25-year-old Phil Danks, was downloaded 700,000 times, the BBC reports. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) claimed that the film's distributor had lost "millions of pounds". Police said that even after his arrest, Danks had continued to illegally distribute movies online. The judge who sentenced him described Danks as "bold, arrogant and cocksure". 

iPhone 6

Reports suggest that Apple's new iPhone handset, expected to launch next month, will come with a "Lightning" cable that can be plugged into a USB port either way up. The latest leaked images and patent filings suggest that when Apple launches the iPhone 6, probably next month, it will introduce a cable that's reversible at both ends. The Guardian suggests that Apple has been working on the new cable for some time.