US House of Representatives votes to end bulk data collection by the NSA on Americans, ChangeTip comes to Soundcloud, and more top stories for May 14.

US House of Representatives ends NSA bulk spying

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill aiming to end the bulk collection of data by the NSA. Called the USA Freedom Act, its contents stop what whistle-blower Edward Snowden has called the NSA Dragnet. Although those in the US might now be free from their data being collected, the bill continues to allow the collection of data on people outside of the US. The USA Freedom Act now needs to be passed by the US Senate.

“The USA Freedom Act is seen as a big victory for privacy and civil rights advocates. The White House backs the reforms, saying the bill protects privacy while preserving essential national security authorities. The measure now heads for a vote in the Senate, where the clash between reformists and supporters of the intelligence community, coming within the context of warnings on the increasing digital reach of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, transcends party lines.”

Soundcloud now lets you tip musicians in bitcoin

Popular music sharing service Soundcloud has integrated bitcoin tipping via Changetip’s API. The new tool was announced in a blog post yesterday:

“Fans can engage deeper with each other by replying to a comment or mentioning a specific user along with @ChangeTip and an amount in SoundCloud comments.

Artists can use ChangeTip to consistently connect with fans on SoundCloud, live events, and social channels, and fans now have new ways to appreciate and support their favorite musicians from anywhere in the world.”

Critical bug Venom VM ‘perfect’ for stealing bitcoins and passwords

A bug in the software that allows “virtual machines” to run on another computer is perfect for the NSA, as well as stealing passwords and bitcoins, according to researchers. The flaw allows attackers to directly target a machine and search through its host files and data. A patch is now available for affected computers.

“Rob Graham, CEO of security firm Errata Security, has indicated that the bug is still worth taking seriously. For one thing, he suspects it will be easy for attackers to exploit the flaw. For another, he said exploits could yield highly valuable assets on vulnerable machines.”

Sendchat launches a crowdfunding campaign

A messaging app that hopes to boost digital currency's exposure to mainstream users has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its development. The SendChat app allows users to send a receive bitcoin, litecoin, darkcoin, and sendcoin, alongside their normal messages. The system works on top of Telegram's open source software. Read our article about SendChat here.

"SendChat will have access to the 50 million Telegram users. Coins still have to be sent through a separate app, SendChat, but it will be great for tipping and small fees. I believe that this is a new beginning of easy to use money transfers."

Users petition against North Carolina’s ‘anti-bitcoin’ bill

The US state of North Carolina is looking at a new bill that could make many digital currency transactions illegal. The “money transmitters act” is designed to improve how normal money transmission services do business, but the bill doesn't consider the decentralized nature of Bitcoin. A campaign has been started by enthusiasts looking to stop the bill from becoming law.

“I humbly request that you vote no on House Bill 289 – the N.C. Anti-Bitcoin Act. H289 amends North Carolina’s Money Transmitters Act by regulating Bitcoin processors as money transmitters through state statute. North Carolina would be the first state in the U.S. to regulate Bitcoin in statute.”

ApplePay competitor LoopPay sold to Samsung for $250 million

Purchasing the mobile payments system earlier this year, it has emerged that electronics giant Samsung closed the deal for around the US$250million mark. The move places that back in competition with Google's Wallet, ApplePay, and PayPal's mobile platform, in the growing mobile payments sector.

LoopPay's offering works on NFC, meaning that users can place their mobile device next to an NFC reader for OTC purchases.

“The big tech companies and carriers seem convinced that our phones will eventually replace our wallets. For phone makers like Samsung, that could make mobile wallet technology table stakes over the next few years as they compete for consumers. Retailers like Walmart are also taking notice, creating a consortium that is developing its own mobile payments app called CurrentC.”

Business Cost of Cybercrime to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019

Marketing analysis firm Juniper Research has released findings that losses incurred to businesses by cybercrime will reach US$2 trillion annually by 2019.

The study titled The Future of Cybercrime & Security: Financial and Corporate Threats & Mitigation states that data breaches and other compromises will incur costs roughly four times the figure expected for 2015:

“[T]he majority of these breaches will come from existing IT and network infrastructure. While new threats targeting mobile devices and the IoT (Internet of Things) are being reported at an increasing rate, the number of infected devices is minimal in comparison to more traditional computing devices.”

Popular TV crime show CSI features Bitcoin

Popular US TV crime and detective show CSI is featuring an entire episode themed around Bitcoin. In the episode, the police team tracks down a killer through evidence left on the blockchain. The killer's crime? Torturing another Bitcoin user to reveal his passphrase.