Analysts: counterfeit chips is a multi-billion dollar business The five most prevalent types of semiconductors reported as counterfeits that have widespread commercial and military use represent $169 billion in potential annual risk for the global electronics supply chain, according to information and analytics provider IHS. Nobody can credibly estimate the worth of the counterfeit semiconductor market, but it is easy to guess that it is a multi-billion dollar business. X-bit labs

Selling you on Facebook Not so long ago, there was a familiar product called software. It was sold in stores, in shrink-wrapped boxes. When you bought it, all that you gave away was your credit card number or a stack of bills. Now there are "apps" – stylish, discrete chunks of software that live online or in your smartphone. To "buy" an app, all you have to do is click a button. Sometimes they cost a few dollars, but many apps are free, at least in monetary terms. You often pay in another way. The WSJ

Just one more game ... In 1989, as communism was beginning to crumble across Eastern Europe, just a few months before protesters started pecking away at the Berlin Wall, the Japanese game-making giant Nintendo reached across the world to unleash upon America its own version of freedom. The new product was the Game Boy – a hand-held, battery-powered plastic slab that promised to set gamers loose, after all those decades of sweaty bondage, from the tyranny of rec rooms and pizza parlors and arcades. The NYT

Hacker jailed for stealing 8 million identities 23-year-old Edward Pearson of York, Northern England, will spend two years and two months behind bars for his hacking spree. The sentence would have been greater if he made more use of the huge amount of stolen data. The British hacker used the Zeus and SpyEye Trojans to steal confidential data...On his computers, police found 200,000 stolen PayPal accounts, 2,701 bank card numbers, as well as 8,110,474 names, dates of birth, and postcodes of U.K. residents. ZDNet

Hotel's free Wi-Fi comes with hidden extras Justin Watt, a Web engineer, was browsing the Web in his room at the Courtyard Marriott in Midtown Manhattan this week when he saw something strange. On his personal blog, a mysterious gap was appearing at the top of the page.After some sleuthing, Mr. Watt, who has a background in developing Web advertising tools, realized that the quirk was not confined to his site. The NYT

The NSA is building the country's biggest spy center (watch what you say) The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah's Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It's the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. Wired

Intel Z77 Panther Point chipset and motherboard preview – ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ECS and Biostar Well, today is a day that everyone was expecting but not the most exciting day of the month. Today, Intel officially releases the spate of 7-series chipsets for their 3rd generation Core microarchitecture processors (read – Ivy Bridge), despite the actual release of the processors being another three weeks away. AnandTech

A copyright first: bogus copyright takedown leads to Australian court awarding $150k damages We're so inured to hearing about unjustified claims of copyright infringement going unpunished that's it's good to come across a case where extensive damages were awarded for the harm caused. It concerns a film that the Australian artist Richard Bell made in New York, with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele... Tech Dirt

My piece on the history of facial recognition technologies Until last summer, hi-tech riots – broadcast on YouTube and organised by BlackBerry – were mostly the preserve of enterprising dissidents in Iran and China. But in June hordes of ice hockey fans in Vancouver, outraged by the local team's loss to a Boston rival, filmed themselves smashing cars and burning shops. Then it happened here. Evgeny Morozov

2012 update from Google CEO Larry Page Sergey and I founded Google because we believed that building a great search experience would improve people's lives and, hopefully, the world.  And in the decade-plus that's followed, we've been constantly delighted by the ways in which people have used our technology – such as making an artificial limb using old designs discovered online. Google

AT&T to begin unlocking off-contract iPhones this Sunday, April 8th (update) We've just received word of a spicy strategy change, to be enacted this Sunday, that's sure to please the AT&T iPhone-loving masses. On Easter, select Ma' Bell customers with iPhones – those off-contract with accounts in good standing – will be able to request a carrier unlock for their device. Engadget

Android economics Charles Arthur, writing for The Guardian, has noted that court filings seem to be revealing Google's Android revenues. If this is the case, we have a significant breakthrough in understanding the economics of Android and the overall mobile platform strategy of Google. Asymco