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NSA headquarters in Fort Meade

The National Security Agency may present a united front when it defends against criticism of its bulk phone data collection, but it's now clear that there has been at least some doubt within the ranks. Associated Press sources have revealed that there was an internal proposal to kill the phone surveillance program in early 2013, not long before Edward Snowden's leaks made it public. Reportedly, some NSA officials were concerned that the initiative was not only expensive to run, but ineffective. It wasn't "central" to catching terrorist plots, and it wasn't capturing most cellphone calls. Not surprisingly, the critics were also worried about outrage if the truth came out -- which, of course, is exactly what happened.

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Life with the Moto 360: has Motorola's smartwatch turned a corner?

When the Moto 360 first hit the scene, its reception was... mixed. That round display was eye-catching, but it couldn't make up for the smartwatch's all-too-short battery life and undercooked software. Times have changed, though. Motorola trotted out updates that addressed the 360's early problems, and the Lollipop upgrade gave Android Wear a new lease on life through custom watch faces and a few other useful tweaks. But does that mean it deserves a second chance, especially now that rivals like LG's G Watch R are vying for your wrist?

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Final Fantasy XV's playable demo confirmed suspicions that the long-awaited game's core playable characters are all, well, men. For those wondering, even just a bit, why the creators came to that decision when previous main titles featured mixed-gender teams, well here's your explanation. FFXV director Hajime Tabata sat down for an interview with GameSpot, where he revealed his reasons and shed light on the issue. Apparently, he wanted characters whose actions make you think "boys will be boys." He also believes that "an all-male party feels almost more approachable for players," and that even "one female in the group will change their [the four best bros'] behavior."

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Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green

Fans of green cars are eagerly awaiting the release of the Tesla Model X, but you won't have to wait to see what it looks like on the road -- a YouTube user spotted the new car cruising down the freeway in Palo Alto, California. The electric vehicle, which was originally supposed to be released in 2013, is now set to launch in the third quarter of 2015. In other automotive news, Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to release 10 new plug-in hybrid models by 2017. The new models will be designated with a simple "e" instead of the longer "plug-in hybrid" branding. Toyota is currently testing its i-Road three-wheeled electric vehicle in France. The i-Road is seen as a "last-mile" vehicle, and Toyota wants to see how it can integrate with public transportation to decrease traffic gridlock.

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Just like that, HTC has quietly -- well, maybe unintentionally -- unveiled its latest phablet on its China website. With some minor differences, the One E9+ is pretty much what we saw on the certification database earlier this month. The biggest selling point of this half metal, half plastic device is perhaps its 5.5-inch Quad HD (534 ppi) display, making it the sharpest screen ever used on an HTC phone. Oddly, though, the website's spec sheet states a 1080p resolution, which we'll assume is actually meant for a lesser E9. Likewise with the 2GB of RAM instead of 3GB, as well as the 13-megapixel main camera instead of the 20-megapixel version mentioned on the product page.

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European Union flag

Think regional locks on movie streaming and other digital goods are silly? So does the European Commission. It's outlining a new strategy (the Digital Single Market) that would prevent companies from geo-blocking online services when it's not truly necessary. This kind of arbitrary limit "cannot exist" in a single European Union-wide digital marketplace, officials argue. It's not clear what rules will be involved (you'll likely hear more about that when the full strategy is due in May), but the implication is that you wouldn't be forced to download or stream from a country-specific service. If you wanted to watch French Netflix from Germany, for example, you could.

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Uber vs. taxi... fight!

Uber is only willing to bend German law so far, it seems. The ridesharing outfit tells Wirtschafts Woche that it'll get around a court-ordered ban on its unlicensed services (such as UberX) by creating a new service that both pays for the drivers' taxi licenses and registers them as companies. While it's not clear whether this paperwork will lead to higher prices, the new tier is expected to keep the UberX name and should be ready to roll by the summer. It's hard to imagine the conventional taxi industry being especially happy with this workaround, but it may not have much say in the matter if all of Uber's services are legal.

[Image credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images]

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Volvo Life Paint

Want to feel nervous? Try riding a bike at night alongside a busy road. Even if you're festooned in lights and reflectors, there's a real chance that a less-than-attentive driver will smack into you. Volvo may have a better way to keep cars at a distance, however. Its new LifePaint spray is invisible during the day, but reflects car headlights in the evening. You can coat your bike, your clothing or most anything else and provide a heads-up to motorists, who'll see bright white as they get close. It only lasts for 10 days at a time, but you can wash it off -- just don't ride during a heavy rainstorm and you'll be fine. The biggest challenge is simply getting some cans for yourself. Volvo is only offering LifePaint in six London- and Kent-area bike shops right now, and availability will depend on how it fares in these test areas.

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Native Instruments' upcoming DJ deck

Native Instruments has a full-fledged DJ deck and mixer combo, but it can be a big hassle -- do you really want to lug a giant controller with you on tour, especially if you already have a preferred mixer? You won't have to make that sacrifice for much longer, it seems. The company is teasing an upcoming Traktor Kontrol system (likely to be called the Kontrol D2) that is essentially the deck half of the Kontrol S8, complete with a display and touch-sensitive faders, knobs and track controls. In other words, you have a a proper, modern deck (more than a basic controller) that's both easier to carry on the road and lets you use a different mixer. NI hasn't said when this machine will ship or what the price will be, but it's safe to say that it'll cost less than the $1,299 S8.

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Hillary Clinton

Members of the US House of Representatives hoping to get a look at Hillary Clinton's personal email server just got a big disappointment. Clinton's attorney has confirmed to a House committee on Benghazi that, after handing over work-related email to the State Department, the politician both "chose not to keep" personal messages and set a 60-day limit on what the server retains. In short, she effectively wiped it clean. There's no going back to mail from her Secretary of State days beyond the 30,490 messages on the record, or roughly half of what the server held during the period.

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