Gmail Blocked in China; New Microsoft Browser; Stealing Fingerprints

Topping tech headlines on Monday were reports that Gmail is blocked in China.

Activity on Google’s free email service dropped off significantly in the region over the weekend; a Google spokesperson said that nothing was wrong on their end. The shutdown was first reported by, an organization that monitors online censorship in China, and it appears the blockade has also extended to Google Search. On Tuesday, however, the FT reported that Gmail access appeared to be returning in China.

In other news, Microsoft is reportedly working on a brand new browser for Windows 10 with an experience similar to Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome. Forget Internet Explorer 12; this will be something entirely new, according to ZDNet, which first reported the news. Expect more details at Redmond’s Jan. 21 press event.

Meanwhile, the Chaos Computer Club presented at the Chaos Communication Congress (31C3) this weekend, during which Jan Krissler (known online as Starbug) outlined how he reproduced the fingerprint of Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s Federal Minister of Defense. Basically, Krissler photographed the minister during a public presentation, and was able to get high-quality snaps of her fingers as she gesticulated during her talk.

Check out other stories that made the rounds yesterday in the links below.

Apple Expands Return Policy in EU: In line with new EU guidelines, Apple now offers a 14-day return window for iTunes, App Store, and iBooks purchases.

NSA Docs Reveal Spy-Proof Encryption Tools: New material leaked by Edward Snowden shows which Internet security protocols the NSA had beaten as of 2012 and which encryption tools were still stymying cyber spies.

Facebook Apologizes for Year in Review Gaffe: The app is meant to serve up warm fuzzies, instead it reminded one father of the daughter he’d lost in 2014. Aereo Allowed to Auction Off Assets: The now-defunct streaming startup is allowed to action off its assets, a New York court has ruled. Who Got an iPhone for Christmas? Everyone, Apparently: It’s clear that Santa is no longer into cookies – he prefers Apples, according to analytics firm Flurry. VIDEO: Grandma Not Excited About Her New ‘iPhone’: One grandmother wasn’t too excited when she thought she received an iPhone for Christmas. ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ Multiplayer Beta Goes Live: The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta started Monday on Microsoft’s Xbox One. Apple Offers Discounted ‘Lucky Bags’…in Japan: These Lucky Bags – or Fukubukuro – are a Japanese New Year’s custom. Report: Apple Pay Headed to the U.K.: Apple is reportedly in talks with Britain’s “top banks” to launch Apple Pay in the U.K. next year.

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