Alan Turing, WWII Codebreaker Who Was Persecuted for Being Gay, Is the New Face of England's £50 Note

Bank of England
Bank of England

The Bank of England has chosen a new person to grace one of its pound sterling notes, the BBC reports. Alan Turing, the computer scientist who lent his code-breaking expertise to the Allied powers in World War II, will soon be the new face of the £50 banknote.

Alan Turing's life story has been the subject of a play, an opera, and the 2014 Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Turing's biggest claim to fame was cracking the Enigma code used by the Nazis to send secret messages. By decrypting the system and interpreting Nazi plans, Turing helped cut World War II short by up to two years, according to one estimate.

Despite his enormous contributions to the war and the field of computer science, Turing received little recognition during his lifetime because his work was classified, and because he was gay: Homosexual activity was illegal in the UK and decriminalized in 1967. He was arrested in 1952 after authorities learned he was in a relationship with another man, and he opted for chemical castration over serving jail time. He died of cyanide poisoning from an apparent suicide in 1954.

Now, decades after punishing him for his sexuality, England is celebrating Turing and his accomplishments by giving him a prominent place on its currency. The £50 note is the least commonly used bill in the country, and it will be the last to transition from paper to polymer. When the new banknote enters circulation by the end of 2021, it will feature a 1951 photograph of Alan Turing along with his quote, "This is only a foretaste of what is to come and only the shadow of what is going to be."

Turing beat out a handful of other British scientists for his spot on the £50 note. Other influential figures in the running included Rosalind Franklin, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, Stephen Hawking, and William Herschel.

[h/t BBC]

A MoviePass Security Gaffe Leaves Tens of Thousands of Accounts Exposed

zhuzhu/iStock via Getty Images
zhuzhu/iStock via Getty Images

When MoviePass launched a $9.95 subscription service in 2017, it was heralded as nothing less than a revolution in the moviegoing experience. The monthly fee allowed once-daily admission to first-run theatrical films at all of the major chains. Roughly 1 million people signed up for the app in the first four months alone. But AMC and other exhibitors resisted the business plan, leading to dwindling benefits and bad press.

Now, MoviePass is dealing with another issue: Leaving the customer card numbers of at least 58,000 users, plus many credit card numbers, easily accessible on a server.

According to TechCrunch, the data was first discovered by Dubai-based security firm SpiderSilk and security researcher Mossab Hussein. The cards were left unencrypted and available to review on the server without the need for a password. MoviePass cards are issued by Mastercard and operate like conventional debit cards, with pre-loaded balances that pay the full admission price at theater chains. The unsecured server also had conventional credit card information for customers that are used to pay the MoviePass subscription. These records included billing addresses. TechCrunch stated that among the records they reviewed, some contained enough information to make fraudulent purchases.

The database was taken offline this week, but it’s believed it had been open and accessible for months. Security researcher Nitish Shah said he discovered the database earlier in the year, wrote MoviePass to warn them, but received no reply. In a statement, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said the company was looking into it and would notify affected customers. In the interim, it's probably wise for MoviePass subscribers to monitor affiliated credit cards for any suspicious charges.

[h/t Gizmodo]

If You Pay for Netflix or Hulu Through iTunes, You Could Be Saving 15 Percent Each Month

KellyISP/iStock via Getty Images
KellyISP/iStock via Getty Images

For prices ranging from $8.99 to $15.99 a month, streaming services like Netflix offer some of the best value in entertainment. But a growing number of platforms—including Amazon Prime, Hulu, and forthcoming services from Disney and Apple—means that viewers might be looking to cut costs. Fortunately, there’s a way to do that that requires only minimal effort. Is there a catch? Naturally. We’ll explain.

In a post for MoneyTalksNews, writer Donna Freedman points out that warehouse chains like Costco offer gift cards for iTunes at a 15 percent discount. A $100 card might cost just $85, for example. You can then use the card to pay for your Netflix or Hulu subscription if you currently pay for the service through iTunes.

Here’s the first of two wrinkles: Costco runs these deals only periodically, so you’ll have to catch the cards—which are usually limited to two per customer—during their window of availability. Second, Netflix is no longer using iTunes as a pay portal for new members. Members who use iTunes will be redirected toward Netflix’s own billing interface. That’s because Netflix was apparently tired of giving Apple a cut of membership revenue. However, existing Netflix members who are still tied into iTunes billing prior to the switch in late 2018 are able to apply the iTunes cards as payment. By purchasing them from a warehouse club, they’ll be able to save the 15 percent. So can new or existing Hulu members, who can opt to subscribe via iTunes.

Not a Costco member? There’s a workaround for that, too. Have a friend or relative purchase a Costco Cash Card, which can be used by non-members but tacks on a 5 percent surcharge, reducing the iTunes savings to 10 percent. Alternately, just have them buy the iTunes card on your behalf.

Does this seem like a lot of effort for minimal savings? For some people, it might. But if your streaming platforms are beginning to add up, knocking the price down by 15 percent might be worth the hustle.

[h/t MoneyTalksNews]

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