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Google Data Powers Real-Time Deforestation Alarm System
February 20, 2014
The World Resources Institute has launched Global Forest Watch, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system to help fight the massive deforestation of the planet. GFW will let governments monitor where forest clearing is occurring in near-real-time and track illegal forest logging almost immediately. Farmers can upload calls to action from mobile phones if their communities are endangered.
China Calls Kerry's Internet Comments 'Na´ve'
February 18, 2014
Maybe they aren't fighting words, but they sure aren't friendly. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks about Chinese Internet freedom were, shall we say, a bit base. Kerry had a half-hour-plus chat with bloggers Saturday in Beijing, during which time he expressed support for more online freedom in China.
Hackers Perfectly Time Largest DDoS Attack Ever
February 12, 2014
"Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year. Mitigating." That Monday evening tweet from Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, signaled what's being touted as the largest distributed denial of service attack ever launched on the Internet. The attackers leveraged a known vulnerability in the Internet's infrastructure.
Feds Struggle to Make Electronic Discovery Pay Off
February 12, 2014
Federal agencies spend considerable portions of their budgets on their legal offices. For example, the DoJ awarded a $1.1 billion multiyear contract in 2013 for a wide range of information technologies and legal support services. Yet legal staffs across the federal government are struggling to productively use many of these IT tools, especially e-discovery and electronically stored information.
Defense Contractors Shore Up Security Post-Snowden
February 10, 2014
Defense contractors have begun to bolster their cybersecurity practices in the wake of the massive leaking of government data by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Seventy-five percent of defense contractors said the Snowden Affair had changed security procedures for their employees in a recent survey. "I'm surprised that number isn't higher," said security researcher Dodi Glenn.
Will Data Localization Kill the Internet?
February 10, 2014
In the wake of revelations that the U.S. and UK governments regularly monitor private communications, a number of countries are considering a new type of law called "data localization." In the simplest of terms, data localization laws would require that businesses that operate on the Internet store that data within the country where the businesses are located.
Dems Introduce Bills to Bring Back Net Neutrality
February 04, 2014
Democratic members of Congress this week moved to replace by legislative means the Net neutrality rules that a court decision last month suddenly rendered defunct. Lawmakers introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act in both chambers. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last month changed the telecom and data landscape by striking down FCC rules that mandated ISPs treat all Internet data the same.
An SMB's Guide to PCI 3.0 Penetration Testing
February 04, 2014
By now, if you're an IT professional and you're in an organization that has PCI-DSS in your scope -- that is, you store, process or transmit credit card data -- you probably already know that an update to the standard, Version 3.0, was released late last year. With this update come a few changes to the technical measures that organizations handling credit card information must implement.
Managing Big Data: Audience Measurement and Ad Targeting
February 03, 2014
The interaction of connected consumer electronics and digital media is creating vast and limitless amounts of user data, now commonly coined "Big Data." Many new business models are forming around these data, but for advertising, data have always been at the core of its business. Data of all varieties and volumes enable stakeholders to invest proportionally to the value of their media assets.
DoJ Throws a Couple of Bones, Tech Firms Back Off
January 28, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced two new options for tech companies to report on government requests for information about their customers. In response, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo withdrew their lawsuits against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the issue. The five said they would "continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps."
Google Buys DeepMind to Dig Deeper Into Data
January 27, 2014
News that Google is purchasing artificial intelligence company DeepMind for between $500 million and $650 million surfaced Monday. The first commercial applications of DeepMind are in simulations, e-commerce and games. "These are the areas most likely to benefit from -- and generate revenue from -- AI," aid Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
Cloud Powers the Internet of Things
January 18, 2014
The Internet of Things is a key driver of accelerated growth of cloud-based alternatives to traditional on-premises systems and software, and as the new year begins to unfold, it is gaining momentum. The idea of the IoT evolved from the more narrowly focused concept of machine-to-machine communications, which has been floating around for a while and is now getting more attention.
Obama's NSA Reforms Draw Tepid Response
January 18, 2014
In a keenly anticipated speech, President Obama on Friday announced reforms to the NSA's surveillance activities, but his pronouncements failed to please just about everyone. "We heard nothing in his speech or proposal that will repair the damage that has been done to the tech industry and the future of the Internet," said Matt Simons, director of social justice at ThoughtWorks.
NoSQL, Part 2: Grappling With Big Data
January 14, 2014
Back in 2009, SQL databases began emerging, mainly to handle modern Web-scale databases. They could handle massive amounts of data; tackle the exponential growth of newly created digital content from social media sites and websites; and help build value around data by connecting the dots -- no small task when a plethora of data is continuously being created.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Number-Crunching Apps for Firefox
January 10, 2014
When you need to deal with numbers, nothing beats the old PC, along with its full-sized screen, keyboard and browser. Firefox is a robust PC browser with numerous add-ons that's well-suited to mathematics. This week, we look at the top five best and must-have add-on apps for crunching operations in that browser. First up: Status-Bar Scientific Calculator, a calculator that lives in your status bar.
NoSQL, Part 1: Coming of Age
January 07, 2014
Amadeus, which handles bookings for 95 percent of flights worldwide, uses a variety of NoSQL databases to deal with the massive amounts of data that it handles. Amadeus enables 3.7 million bookings on more than 700 airlines, 110,000 hotel properties, and 30 rental car agencies each day. "NoSQL databases are part of our technology stack to deal with Big Data," said VP Dietmar Fauser.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Cloud Storage Apps for Windows 8
January 03, 2014
Cloud storage is a fast-moving arena, with advancements including the ability to store files and folders in the cloud along with metadata on your PC replicating the actual file. The file isn't there and isn't taking up space, but you can see relevant attributes. Other cloud techniques include the ability to sync files only as you need them.
Surveillance Report Blasts NSA, Recommends Overhaul
December 19, 2013
A task force set up by President Obama to review the National Security Agency's surveillance activities has suggested a list of what it calls "significant" reforms, including restrictions on spying. Among the recommendations: changes in surveillance of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens to protect their privacy; and an overhaul of the NSA and the secretive FISA Court.
Big Data's Big Federal Potential
December 17, 2013
Innovation often comes slowly to the U.S. government. It has taken several years, for example, for federal agencies to get used to cloud technology -- and it will likely be several more before that technology is fully embraced at the federal level. That pace also seems to be the case for the federal adoption of Big Data and analytics, despite the significant amount of buzz over the past year.
Australian State Outlaws Non-Consensual Sexting
December 12, 2013
The Australian state of Victoria has made it illegal to distribute explicit images without consent. The new law specifically outlaws "non-consensual sexting," which generally takes place when lovers split and there is post-breakup payback in the form of intimate photos of the former partners. The law does exempt children in order to ensure that they aren't charged with child pornography.
Proceed With Caution: Big Data Requires Small Steps
December 11, 2013
The Obama administration's support of Big Data technology for more efficient and effective government operations was highlighted at a recent conference that featured presentations on more than 30 successful public and private sector projects. "Realizing the enormous potential of data requires a bold, comprehensive, national effort, said the National Science Foundation's Farnam Jahanian.
LexisNexis' Flavio Villanustre: Insurance and the Big Data Bonanza
December 10, 2013
Insurance companies have always been adamant about spotting and controlling risks. That, after all, is the basis for accepting policyholders and placing them into rate categories. Before the Big Data explosion, insurance companies crunched numbers like everybody else. Today, however, the insurance industry is fast becoming one of the biggest consumers of Big Data services.
Microsoft Cranks Up Security to Lock Out Government Spies
December 05, 2013
Microsoft is taking steps to make its customers' data more secure in the wake of revelations about government spying. The company was implicated in NSA snooping operations after former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents related to the agency's activities earlier this year. Government spying on Microsoft's servers constitutes a persistent threat, said General Counsel Brad Smith.
Top of the Funnel
December 04, 2013
The new customer era accepts that the direct contact between a vendor and customer or potential customer is being augmented by non-human intermediaries like websites, software robots that triage customer issues, e-commerce systems, social media, and who knows what else. The good news is that customers leave data trails like ants leave trails of pheromones to a candy bar on a sidewalk.

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