Thursday Morning Cyber Corner

IN THE NEWS: FTC SAYS COMPUTER RENTAL FIRMS SPIED ON USERS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ever rented a computer? If so, the Federal Trade Commission says you may have been taken advantage of by the companies who leased them to you. The federal agency says a software design company and seven computer rental firms have agreed to settle charges that they secretly gathered confidential and personal information about renters. The FTC says software installed on the computers captured Social Security numbers, medical records as well as financial information -- and even web cam pictures of couples having sex. The commission says the software was licensed to the rental stores so they could track rented computers that hadn't been returned in time or had been stolen. The settlement bar the companies from doing any more spying -- and collecting information from its customers.

IN THE NEWS: BLACKBERRY MARKET IN AFRICA STRONG

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Blackberry's fortunes may be waning in the United States and elsewhere. But the company that owns the mobile phone service says business is booming in parts of Africa. Officials with Toronto-based Research In Motion says its handsets are the number-one choice among those using smartphones in Nigeria and South Africa. For example, in Nigeria alone, the half of the mobile units in service are Blackberry phones. An official with RIM says the company hopes to build on that popularity -- even though the phone maker faces similar problems in parts of Africa that have damaged its business model in the West.

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Online:

Research In Motion site: http://www.rim.com

ON THE WEB: WORDS WITH FRIENDS -- THE CELEBRITY EDITION

CYBERSPACE (AP) -- Words with Famous Friends? Well, you may not get to challenge Snoop Dogg or Edward Norton to a game of the popular Zynga game for smartphones and tablets. But you can see how they do in head-to-head battles against each other. Several stars will be playing a tournament for charity. Norton says he will win it -- in part because he's addicted to the game. He says he has gone through phases in life when he realizes the game is taking "too much of my day."

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Online:

Words With Friends Celebrity challenge site: http://www.wordscelebritych allenge.com

WWF Charity site: http://www.crowdrise.com

/wordswithfriends

IN STORES: NEW NOOK

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet. And in doing so, they join the battle to see which tablet will be able to get the biggest piece of the holiday sales pie. The new Nooks feature new hardware and a sharper HD screen. The Nook HD will have two sizes -- one with a 7-inch screen, the other with a 9-inch screen. Both screens are measured diagonally. The smaller Nook will start at $199 and the larger one will be $269. Barnes & Noble goes up against Apple and its iPad and Amazon.com's Kindle. Again this year, tablets are expected to be hot items this holiday season.

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Online:

Barnes and Noble site: http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Amazon site: http://www.amazon.com

Apple site: http://www.apple.com

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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