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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.
Where Have All the Forests Gone?
November 23, 2013
Earlier this month, researchers published a report discussing global forest coverage, and supplementing their findings was a first-of-its-kind interactive mapping tool that was created in partnership with Google. In this TechNewsWorld podcast, we discuss the research with the study's lead author, geographer Matthew Hansen.
Big Data Spurs Big Collaborations
November 20, 2013
The U.S. government's Big Data initiative is sparking more investments in data management projects, especially those involving joint efforts between business and government. Under the sponsorship of the Obama administration initiative, the White House showcased more than 30 Big Data projects Nov. 12 at an event hosted by the federal Office of Science and Technology.
Dropbox Shoots for the Moon
November 19, 2013
Dropbox is not only planning to raise $250 million in the next few weeks but is also reportedly seeking a corporate valuation of $8 billion. That's more than double the valuation investors placed on the company the last time Dropbox hit the funding circuit back in 2011. The company has already raised $257 million in funding over the last five years.
Global Cyberheist Reels In $45M
November 19, 2013
Six people have been arrested for their involvement in a worldwide ATM heist that resulted in the theft of $45 million from two Middle East banks. Five men and one woman, all from the suburbs of New York City, were charged with being members of a cybercrime outfit that lifted debit card information from MasterCard. The six people were accused of being "cashers" in the crime ring.
Dropbox Drops In on the Enterprise
November 14, 2013
Dropbox began courting enterprise users with Wednesday's unveiling of Dropbox for Business. It's a paid cloud storage service that offers enterprise users the same features that have made Dropbox a popular file-hosting company among consumers, along with several security and efficiency-focused features tailored for businesses, such as sharing audit logs and efficiently transferring files.
Apple Lifts Veil of Secrecy in Transparency Report
November 06, 2013
Apple has published its first transparency report, highlighting the number of government requests it has received for customer data. However, government regulations prevented it from disclosing specific numbers of U.S. law enforcement requests. Facebook, Yahoo and Google issued similar transparency reports soon after they were implicated in the initial wave of NSA surveillance allegations.
How to Back Up Data on Your Android Smartphone
November 06, 2013
We all back up our PCs, right? Okay, well, we should back up our PCs, right? Well, smartphones and tablets have become so ubiquitous that we need to back them up now too. It's time. Important photos, videos, contacts and music are now strewn across small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-break, highly pilferable devices. Fail to back up this stuff at your peril.
The Latest Big Blue Sea Change
November 05, 2013
IBM's recent Enterprise 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., was the Systems and Technology Group's inaugural event focusing on high-end business solutions. So it was no surprise that the CIOs, partners and IT practitioners -- data center admins and managers -- who work with IBM's System z mainframe and Power Systems platforms were thick on the ground.
HGST's New Hard-Drive Isn't Full of Hot Air
November 04, 2013
Western Digital subsidiary HGST has found a novel way of packing more storage capacity into a standard 3.5-inch hard disc drive: filling it with helium instead of air. The 6-TB Ultrastar He6 HDD is the highest-capacity drive in the world, according to the company. HGST has achieved this by packing seven disk platters into the drive instead of the standard five.
NSA Caught Siphoning Data from Google, Yahoo Servers
October 31, 2013
The National Security Agency has reportedly tapped fiber-optic cables that connect Google's and Yahoo's overseas servers and accessed vast amounts of data including email and other personal information. Included in the data culled by the NSA is information on hundreds of millions of users, many of whom are American.
Mystery Barge Could Be Floating Google Showroom
October 28, 2013
There's a four-story barge floating on San Francisco Bay with a mysterious purpose but a fairly clear link to Google. Now docked near Treasure Island, the former U.S. naval base, the structure was generating no end of speculation on Monday, with suggestions that it could be anything from a floating data center to a brand-new store for Google Glass.
New Relic Analytics Aims to Speed IT Problem Solving
October 28, 2013
New Relic last week previewed Rubicon, a new software analytics tool that aims to let companies use live application data to provide clear, actionable business insights across an organization. "This isn't analyzing consumer data, sales data or anything like that," noted tech analyst Jim McGregor. "It's just analyzing how an IT system is running in terms of resources and data it's using."
Tungsten Discs Could Function as Million-Year Time Capsules
October 23, 2013
Jeroen de Vries, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Twente, has developed a prototype storage system that might last for up to 1 million years. This might be needed if the planet were devastated by a natural disaster, or as a reference for future intelligent life on Earth -- or for visiting aliens. "You must then think about archival storage of between 1 million and 1 billion years," he said.
AMD, Verizon Pump Each Other Up
October 22, 2013
Customer testimonials play an odd role in many IT industry announcements. At first glance, they offer proof that technologies are actually being used successfully as advertised, lending credence to vendors' sometimes lofty go-to-market claims. Even the most enthusiastic clients tend to guarded, though, for fear that they may injure relationships with other vendors or negate competitive advantages.
Huawei: No One Bothers Us for Data
October 18, 2013
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, long suspected of being in cahoots with Beijing authorities, said Friday that no government has ever asked it to divulge information about citizens. Translation: Anyone concerned about government meddling should be more concerned with Washington's connections to U.S. companies than Beijing's connection to Huawei. It called for global standards on security.
NSA Helps Itself to Americans' Online Address Books
October 15, 2013
The latest revelations by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden show the NSA is spying on Americans, despite repeated government assurances that it does not do so. The agency reportedly is collecting hundreds of millions of electronic address books and contact lists from people worldwide. Though it is collecting the data overseas, some of it comes from Americans.
Cloud Mate Makes iCloud a Breeze
October 15, 2013
For a company that prides itself on creating intuitive applications, Apple stumbled when it created iCloud. As a Dropbox user, I found little in iCloud that I needed. In fact, finding iCloud on a Mac can be adventurous, although it has a nasty habit of showing up as a default save location when I want to save a file from an app to my hard drive. Cloud Mate aims to take some of the mystery out of iCloud. It gathers up everything in your iCloud and displays it in a single Finder-like window.
Data and Its Derivatives
October 09, 2013
I took a trip in the Wayback machine last week when I attended DataWeek at the invitation of Dun & Bradstreet. As you might recall, D&B is a data company that collects copious amounts of information about individuals and firms and then sells it for use in filling out profiles for business purposes -- an oversimplification, but it will suffice. That data helps companies evaluate business risks.
Nielsen Sets Its Sights on Tweets About TV
October 08, 2013
Nielsen on Monday rolled out Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, a service it says is the first-ever measure of the total activity and reach of TV-related conversation on Twitter. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings measure not only "authors" -- or the number of people tweeting about TV programs -- but also the much larger audience of people who actually view those tweets.

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