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Regulators Impose Caveats on Charter TWC Merger Approval
April 27, 2016
Federal regulators on Monday approved Charter Communications' $78 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks, but with a number of tough conditions. The Justice Department filed a settlement agreement to block the new company from enforcing any deal that makes it harder for online video distributors to get video content from programmers.
BMW, Daimler Steer Clear of Apple Car Project
April 25, 2016
BMW and Daimler have broken off talks about forming a partnership with Apple to develop an electric car, according to news reports published last week. Discussions stalled over issues that included which company would take the lead on the project and which would have ownership of the data. Apple apparently sought to develop a vehicle that would be integrated closely with its cloud-based software.
Apple's Books, Movies Fall Victim to Chinese Crackdown
April 25, 2016
The Chinese government ordered Apple to shut down its iBooks and iTunes Movies services in the country, according to news reports published last week. China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television reportedly called for the closure. The government in February announced a policy banning all foreign media from publishing in China without direct approval.
Treasury Department Examines Internet's Impact on Finance System
April 25, 2016
Information technology -- especially the Internet -- can have a positive impact on the U.S. financial system. Used improperly, however, such tools can wreak havoc on the financial sector and consumers. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a unit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has launched an initiative on the future of e-commerce finance in light of technology innovation.
Intel Pivots From PCs to Cloud
April 22, 2016
Intel this week announced that it would slash 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan to focus more on cloud-based computing and the Internet of Things and less on PCs. The cuts, which will involve about 11 percent of Intel's global workforce, will be achieved through voluntary retirements and layoffs, the consolidation of job sites, and a re-evaluation of existing and planned programs.
Red Hat Goes All-In on OpenStack
April 22, 2016
Red Hat on Wednesday announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Suite and OpenStack Platform 8. The offerings provide a complete, integrated hybrid cloud stack with a container application platform, massively scalable infrastructure and unified management tools, the company said. They are available individually or in a single solution with Red Hat Cloud Suite.
EFF Sues DoJ Over Secret Data Decryption Requests
April 22, 2016
The EFF has filed suit against the Justice Department seeking to learn whether the federal government secretly ordered technology companies to decrypt the private communications of their customers. Such orders could place millions of customers in harm's way, the complaint says. The suit seeks the release of records originally requested last fall under the Freedom of Information Act.
Fusion Launches Enterprise Cloud Contact Center Solution
April 21, 2016
Fusion this week launched Contact360, an enterprise cloud contact center solution developed in collaboration with Technology for Business, the partner it acquired earlier this month. "Fusion will be offering a clear migration path to the cloud for TFB's Fortune 500 enterprise and government customers, and will sell into our own base of 13,000 business customers," said EVP Jan Sarro.
Apple to Lawmakers: We'll Help but No Backdoors
April 21, 2016
Apple's top legal official on Tuesday appeared before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and reiterated the company's willingness to help law enforcement on active cases and cooperate on long-term solutions, despite its contentious legal battle with the FBI over the encrypted iPhone used in the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Apple works daily with law enforcement on a number of cases.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus Makes Its Debut
April 20, 2016
Canonical on Thursday launched Ubuntu 16.04, aka "Xenial Xerus," an upgrade that will be supported for the next five years. The latest version for all desktop, server and cloud editions will be available for download starting Thursday. Ubuntu 16.04 includes four major technology advancements geared toward multiplatform uses. Xenial Xerus is the sixth Long Term Support release for Ubuntu.
Zuora Moves to the Center
April 20, 2016
Zuora, the company that made its bones in subscription billing and payments, held its annual Subscribed user meeting last week and staked out some new turf. It always has been focused on the back office, but its latest messaging included elements of the front office. Perhaps it's no surprise given CEO Tien Tzuo's history as an early luminary at Salesforce, rising to the CMO position.
EU Levels Antitrust Charges Against Abusive Android
April 20, 2016
The European Commission has charged that Google breached EU antitrust rules by seeking to maintain and expand the dominance of its Android operating system. "A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe," said the EC's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager. "We believe that Google's behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps."
White House Call for Set-Top Competition Strikes Nerves
April 20, 2016
The Obama administration last week called on the Federal Communications Commission to open the cable TV set-top box market to competition. Doing so would let companies create innovative, high-quality and low-cost products, the White House said. "American families will have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want," wrote Jason Furman and Jeffrey Zients.
60 Minutes Shows How Network Flaw Makes Any Smartphone Easy Prey
April 19, 2016
An international team of cybersecurity experts hacked into an iPhone loaned to a U.S. congressman who sits on a key technology committee, in a 60 Minutes demonstration of how easy it is for a criminal to spy on callers by exploiting an international mobile phone network vulnerability. The hackers were able to listen in on a call by Rep. Ted Lieu just by getting the actual phone number he was using.
Amazon Offers Binge-Friendly Monthly Prime Subscriptions
April 18, 2016
Amazon on Monday began offering Prime Video as a standalone service with a monthly subscription option. Prime Video previously was offered only as part of a bundle with Amazon Prime, which is available for $99 a year. Amazon also offers a monthly Prime membership plan for $10.99, which includes all the benefits that come with the yearly Prime plan, including two-day free shipping.
Feds Prep for Cybersecurity Buying Spree
April 18, 2016
The U.S. government's objectives for improving cybersecurity are taking shape in updated contracting procedures, contracts and projected increases in spending. Recent developments have underscored the federal commitment to IT security. The GSA has asked vendors to respond by Wednesday to a research survey on what it should do to expedite federal acquisition of cybersecurity products and services.
Chatbots Drive Shopify's Kit CRM Deal
April 15, 2016
Shopify on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to purchase Kit CRM, whose Kit chatbot automatically sends out marketing text messages for online stores. It also lets businesses run targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, make recommendations based on store activities, post on social media and use functionality provided by other social media apps, Shopify CMO Craig Miller said.
Microsoft Sues DoJ Over Spying Gag Orders
April 15, 2016
Microsoft on Thursday filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the gag orders that accompany requests to access customers' private emails and other data. The orders prevent the company from notifying affected customers about the government's demands. The case is the fourth public lawsuit it has filed against the Justice Department in three years.
Senate Committee Hears Litany of IRS Cybersecurity Failings
April 15, 2016
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service's cybersecurity measures are woefully inadequate, according to testimony presented this week to the Senate Finance Committee. The hearing was convened to look into how the IRS is safeguarding taxpayer information this filing season and to determine improvements, said Sen. Orrin Hatch. Agencies, tax preparers and Congress have failed taxpayers, Sen. Ron Wyden said.
E2E Encryption Could Make WhatsApp a Spam Magnet
April 15, 2016
Facebook's WhatsApp last week announced it would roll out end-to-end encryption for its users, but the move could make the service more attractive to spammers. While encryption can safeguard information from data thieves, it also can block data protectors. The policy "will not stop the growth of spam on the platform and could make the problem worse," AdaptiveMobile's Simeon Coney said.
FBI Paid Hackers to Defeat Security of Shooter's iPhone
April 14, 2016
The FBI paid hackers to break onto the iPhone of the San Bernardino, California, shooter, according to a news report published Tuesday. The bureau obtained the services of gray hats, insiders said, and apparently did not get help from Cellebrite, as earlier reports had suggested. Gray hats are hackers who sell flaws to governments or companies that make surveillance tools.
Officials Named in Panama Papers Cower Behind China's Great Firewall
April 13, 2016
Chinese authorities have issued censorship instructions to the media following the release of the Panama Papers, according to news reports published last week. The leaked documents reportedly listed several top Chinese officials who used Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to set up offshore companies. The names include President Xi Jinping's brother-in-law Deng Jiagui.
CFPB Asserts Jurisdiction Over E-Commerce Privacy Regulation
April 12, 2016
Another federal agency has entered the arena for regulating e-commerce companies regarding the protection of consumer data. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has closed its first and so far only privacy case with a consent agreement between itself and an online payments processor. The CFPB charged that Dwolla misled consumers that its information was encrypted and stored securely.
Disrupting Software Development in an On-Demand World
April 8, 2016
The idea that software is eating the world has become a generally accepted dictum. Everywhere you look, industries and institutions are being disrupted by the unprecedented power of software. Now, the world is demanding a new way to develop software to keep pace with the pace of disruption. The greatest poster child for the brave new world of software-driven business is General Electric.
White House Takes a Pass on Encryption Debate
April 7, 2016
It appears that the Obama administration will refrain from giving its outspoken support to any legislation that aims to compel high-tech companies to help law enforcement agencies crack mobile phone encryption. On the other hand, it won't level any outspoken opposition either. Introduction of such a bill -- sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr -- is expected soon.
Volkswagen Picks Mirantis to Build Massive OpenStack Cloud
April 7, 2016
Mirantis on Wednesday announced that Volkswagen Group has selected Mirantis OpenStack to power its cloud applications. The selection process involved a series of cloud-to-cloud performance trials between Red Hat and Mirantis, one of the last pure-play OpenStack companies. It's ideally positioned to pursue and win large-scale deals like the Volkswagen project, analyst Charles King said.
Apple, FBI Tussle Puts Bull's-Eye on iPhone
April 7, 2016
The battle between the FBI and Apple over access to the iPhone of Syed Farook came to an abrupt end last week when the agency announced it no longer needed the company's assistance. Since the Department of Justice delayed a hearing on an order to force Apple to assist the FBI in brute-forcing the password, speculation has spread about how the agency planned to access the data.
White House Opens More Doors for Open Source
April 6, 2016
The U.S. government is picking up the pace in its efforts to use open source software as much as possible. Federal CIO Tony Scott last month released details of a proposed policy designed to allow customized software created for one agency to be openly available to other government agencies as well. Industry and government professionals may comment on the proposal by Monday.
HP Debuts Skinniest Laptop Ever
April 5, 2016
HP on Tuesday unveiled its latest challenger to Apple's laptops, touting it as the thinnest laptop in the world. At 10.4 mm, the HP Spectre's chassis is as thin as a triple-A battery, the company noted. The Spectre is powered by Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and weighs in at 2.45 pounds. It has a 13.3-inch Gorilla glass display, and stereo speakers from Bang & Olufsen.
FCC Labels Aim to Demystify Broadband Service Plans
April 5, 2016
The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced a plan to create label disclosures that would give consumers a clear picture of the pricing, speed and bandwidth they are paying for under high-speed Internet contracts. The FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee proposed the nutrition-like labels amid concerns that providers were not transparent enough.
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What best reflects your opinion on online privacy?
We need new laws to curb government spying.
It's dead -- Google, Facebook and others killed it.
Personalized advertising is the worst -- it's creepy.
It's achievable through encryption and other tech.
It's an overblown issue -- I have nothing to hide.