The most read Switch posts of 2013

January 2

(Photo by Lockheed Martin)

Happy New Year! The Switch launched in July 2013. We've enjoyed our first six months and are looking forward to the coming year.

Here are the five most popular Switch posts of 2013, as measured by the number of unique visitors.

5. Comcast is donating heavily to defeat the mayor who is bringing gigabit fiber to Seattle. On the eve of the Seattle mayoral election, Andrea Peterson wrote about Comcast's donations to opponents of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who had promoted a municipal broadband plan that could compete with the cable firm. McGinn lost his reelection bid.

4. Research shows how MacBook webcams can spy on their users without warning. Ashkan Soltani and Timothy B. Lee broke the news that the camera on some MacBooks can be activated without turning on the warning light. The discovery has a number of alarming privacy implications.

3. Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet. In the midst of ongoing civil war in Syria, Andrea Peterson broke the news that Aleppo, the hotly contested largest city in the country, lost Internet access. The Aug. 30 outage first reported by The Switch was one in a series of such incidents with a curious history of occurring at times that were convenient for the Assad regime.

2. NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking. Ashkan Soltani, Andrea Peterson and Barton Gellman reported on National Security Agency documents revealing how the intelligence agency piggybacks on the tracking mechanisms of tech companies to identify targets for exploitation and inform their location tracking programs.

And drum roll, please....

1. This is the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird, and it is gorgeous. The Switch's top post in 2013 was a Brian Fung's reporting on the SR-72, the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird -- featuring stunning mock ups of the spy plane.

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Brian Fung · January 2