This week in cyberpunk we see Facebook making advances in virtual reality, criminal hackers are brought to justice, and just nominations for cyberpunk in the Golden Globes. Could we be seeing Cyberpunk 2077 in 2017 or will we have to wait until 2077? And a Blade Runner 2049 trailer next Friday?!
Facebook’s Plans for Virtual Reality
When the Oculus Rift was acquired in 2014, we began speculating about how Facebook would use virtual reality to expand their business. Now, two years later, we can see the beginning of their plans. Facebook has announced two new features that will be available through the Oculus Rift and connected to Facebook. The first is called “Parties,” and is essentially a VR phone call that will allow up to three different people to talk in a virtual reality environment. The second is called “Rooms,” and will allow people to hangout in a virtual living room together. We can expect this part in particular to expand significantly and allow for immense customization. This does sound cool, but we are wary of the privacy implications. Will Facebook be able to monetize any conversations had through this venue?
FBI Confirms CIA Finding That Russia Influenced US Election
FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. have announced that they are in agreement with the findings of the CIA that Russia did, in fact, hack the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention with the intent of affecting the US election in favor of Donald Trump. How exactly this information will be acted on by the US government is still to be determined. Trump, however, has consistently denied claims that Russia was involved and has disregarded the CIA findings, suggesting that a Trump administration will not follow up on this evidence.
US Government to Reveal How Many American’s Spied On
The US Intelligence Community has agreed to create an estimate (read not wholly accurate) of how many American citizens have been spied on under “Section 702, a provision that was added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008.” This report, which may be ready as soon as January 2017, will be part of an inquiry into reauthorizing Section 702 in 2017. This of course, will not be representative of the amount of surveillance conducted on American citizens under other authorities such as the Patriot Act.
Fugitive Hacker Apprehended at JFK Airport
Joshua Samuel Aaron is believed to be one of three hackers who orchestrated one of the largest hacks in history in 2013 compromising 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. He was apprehended at JFK National Airport in New York. The FBI redirected reporter to contact the Russian government for details concerning Aaron’s capture. Aaron’s accomplices were arrested by Israeli police in 2015.
Yahoo Discloses That One Billion People Affected in Hack
Continuing investigations into Yahoo‘s data breaches as it about to be taken over by Verizon have uncovered that a hack took place in 2013 (separate from the earlier revealed hacks that affected 500 million accounts) that may have affected as many as one billion accounts. This level of hack forces the rest of this years large hacks to pale by comparison. This kind of comprise of user data is unprecedented and paints Yahoo in a very negative light. If you have a Yahoo account, make sure that you change your password, or simply delete it entirely and find something more secure. We suggest Protonmail.
Florida Court Rules That Police May Coerce You For Phone Passcode
A Florida Appeals Court found on December 12th that police can force suspects to hand over passcodes to locked phones. The specifics of this case involve police asking a suspect, who fled a voyeurism incident, to unlock his phone so that the police could search it for the illicit photographs. The suspect originally granted the police permission to search the phone, but then refused to hand over the code. The Florida Court finding runs in contrast to the findings of other courts on this subject, where it was found that police could not coerce suspects into handing over phones passcodes. This case could potentially move up to Federal Court if appealed, giving us a more definitive finding in this current judicial gray area.
Virtual Revolution is a French cyberpunk film written and directed by Guy-Roger Duvert that has been picked up for distribution in Europe. The movie won “Best Special FX” at the Maverick Movie Awards. The film looks like it is going to be a cross between Blade Runner and Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon. The official synopsis is:
In a world where most of the population spend their time online, inside virtual worlds, Nash is a hybrid. Half of the time online, the rest of the time, in the real world, he is a private investigator/killer, hired to track down and eliminate the terrorists who threaten the system and who killed his girlfriend.
Torn between the past and the future, between virtual and real, Nash ends up having to take some decisions that will impact his life, but also the society he lives in.
Blade Runner 2049
We may be seeing the Blade Runner 2049 trailer very soon. It is rumored that the trailer will debut before the movie, Passengers, which comes out on Friday, December 23rd. In other fun news, apparently Harrison Ford punched Ryan Gosling with some force. The story is pretty funny and suggests that Deckard may be getting into fisticuffs with Gosling’s character in the movie.
Transience is a new series in development at the CW written by Thomas Brandon. The series is about a young musician who through the use of consciousness transference technology obtains the kind of body and life that he desires. Seeing as the show is on the CW and is being produced by Ian Somerhalder, of the Vampire Diaries, we can assume that the show is going to be heavy on the romance and drama.
There is some cyberpunk representation at the Golden Globes this year! Westworld has been nominated for “Best Television Series — Drama,” Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood has been nominated for “Best Performance by an Actress in A Television Series – Drama,” Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek has been nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama,” Mr. Robot actor Christian Slater has been nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television,” and Westworld actress Thandie Newton has been nominated for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.” We are hoping these wonderfully talented people are recognized for amazing work.
Take this rumor with a huge grain of salt: Cyberpunk 2077 may be coming out as early as February 2017 according to Swedish retailer Komplett. Gamezone has a good list about why this might be plausible and why it might not be, but one of the more interesting facts they list is that in 2020, supposedly there will be a new edition of the Cyberpunk Roleplaying Game coming out. They don’t cite their source, but based on our conversation with the game creator, Mike Pondsmith, we believe the tabletop game is coming.
Liquid Code is the new novel from independely published author,
Pipeline hacker Asher has his life turned upside down after his previous exploits and reputation catch up to him. He must embark on a journey into the unknown, and partner with a woman who makes a living as a border hacker and has connections to the underworld of the Outlands.
Forever On is the new book from the author of Year Zero, Rob Reid. The official synopsis is:
Meet Phluttr – a diabolically addictive new social network, and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever generated by, to, from, or about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers – and they don’t know the tenth of it.
But what’s the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to spawn a trillion-dollar market by becoming “The Uber of Sex?” Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school bully with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will?
Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it’s not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, VC’s, and engineers might be able to influence her.
If you are intrigued, you can read an excerpt over at io9. Forever On will be coming out May 2nd, 2017.
Extremity is a post-apocalyptic comic that appears to have cyberpunk elements. The story follows Thea, who has her hand chopped off during a raid of her village. Thea and he family embark on a mission of vengeance for this attack. It comes out March 1st, 2017.
Did we miss anything this week? What are you most excited about? Let us know down in the comments or on social media!
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