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No More Smartphones, Nokia Vows
April 27, 2015
Nokia has kinda, sorta asserted that it's not returning to the smartphone business, in the wake of persistent reports that it's been eyeing a comeback. Nokia "currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets," reads a company statement. "The reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive."
Modders Steamed over Valve's Revenue-Sharing Plans
April 27, 2015
Valve last week announced that it was allowing players to sell video game mods on its digital distribution platform, Steam, starting with mods of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but its plans for policing the marketplace and sharing revenue with creators have become points of contention. Skyrim developer Bethesda Softworks is the only company participating in the initiative so far.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable Deal Undone
April 23, 2015
Comcast has decided to abandon its plan to merge with Time Warner Cable, according to multiple press reports. The company is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday. About a week after reports emerged indicating the DoJ was leaning against Comcast's $45.2 billion dollar bid to absorb TWC, reports surfaced that the FCC was leaning in the same direction.
The Growing Robocall Menace
April 23, 2015
Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them? Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
China's Great Cannon Could Point Anywhere When Next Fuse Is Lit
April 16, 2015
China, which censors the Internet with its Great Firewall aka the "Golden Shield," has a new censorship tool that is causing alarm. It's known as the "Great Cannon." The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab identified the tool in a report released last week. The Great Cannon was first used in March, to launch a large-scale DDoS attack on GitHub and GreatFire.org, Citizen Lab said.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
Ransomware Perps Put the Squeeze on Police
April 14, 2015
Five police departments in Maine, whose networks are linked together so they can share files, recently deposited bitcoins worth 300 euros into a Swiss bank account as ransom for their records. The departments' management system was locked down by ransomware that scrambled their data and rendered it unusable. The police decided to pay up after their experts failed to crack the ransomware code.
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
YouTube Foists Deceptive Ads on Kids, Says Complaint
April 7, 2015
Child and consumer advocacy groups on Monday filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. In essence, the app includes ads in a way that takes advantage of children's developmental vulnerabilities, the complaint alleges.
John Oliver Tackles Surveillance in Surprise Snowden Scoop
April 6, 2015
Comedy talk show host John Oliver boldly went where few journalists from the mainstream media have dared to tread, grilling whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his leaking of thousands of NSA documents to the press. He raked Snowden over the coals for not having read every one of the documents, insisting there's a difference between understanding what's in documents and reading them.
Apple TV Won't Go Out on 4K Limb
April 6, 2015
The fourth generation of the Apple TV set-top box won't support 4K video when it arrives later this year, according to a Monday report on Buzzfeed News, which cited unnamed sources in a position to know. This is a bit of a surprise, given that the third-generation Apple TV incorporated the higher-resolution 1080p video standard and included HDMI-video outputs.
Fiorina's and Clinton's Presidential Runs: The Irony Is in the Analytics
April 6, 2015
There will be a lot of irony in the U.S. presidential primaries and general election as campaigns ramp up later this year. Last time, with Mitt Romney, we saw a business multimillionaire and ex-governor get schooled in how to use analytics by a guy who wasn't even that experienced in politics. It was kind of like watching Jon Stewart beat Tiger Woods at golf.
The Apple Watch as Bullsh*t Filter? We Can Only Hope
April 3, 2015
In "iPhone Killer: The Secret History of the Apple Watch," David Pierce doesn't reveal any serious secrets -- because Apple never does -- but he does illuminate the early days of the Apple Watch, centering on an interview with Kevin Lynch, Apple's vice president of technology. It's an interesting read for sure -- an easy recommend for any Apple enthusiast.
EC Greases Its Google Antitrust Gears
April 2, 2015
The European Commission reportedly is preparing to file a Statement of Objections detailing specific antitrust charges against Google. The EC is collecting testimony from companies that have filed private complaints about Google's business practices to gather more firepower in moving forward in antitrust matters, reports indicate. The EC is rumored to be considering a penalty of $6 billion.
Obama Draws Cyber Line in Sand
April 2, 2015
President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order that gives the Secretary of Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on entities found responsible for or complicit in carrying out a cyberattack harmful to U.S. interests. The Secretary of Treasury will have to consult with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General before enacting the powers granted under the order.
India's Tussle With Internet Freedom
April 1, 2015
The Supreme Court of India last week struck down a law that permitted arrests for posting "offensive" content online. It ruled that Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional, and said it had no hesitation in striking it down. The law was challenged after two women were arrested in 2012 for posting critical comments on Facebook.
The Futility of the Strong Password Solution
March 31, 2015
After experiencing a data breach, most companies take a number of measures to strengthen security, including advising users to change their passwords and to make them strong. Although it stopped short of confirming anything, Amazon-owned Twitch last week notified users that its network might have been hacked and that some user account information might have been exposed.
GitHub Defenses Hold in 4-Days-and-Counting Battle
March 30, 2015
After battling a DDoS attack for four days, GitHub has restored normal service levels. The primary target of the assault is GreatFire.org, which is hosted on GitHub. GreatFire has attracted the ire of the Chinese government for offering anticensorship tools. "Very clearly, the Cyberspace Administration of China is behind both of the recent DDoS attacks," said GreatFire Co-founder Charles Smith.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
Ford Tech Could Put an End to Speeding Tickets
March 26, 2015
Ford Motors on Tuesday unveiled a new technology that can scan traffic signs and automatically adjust a vehicle's speed accordingly. The Intelligent Speed Limiter was demonstrated in Germany, but it will be available worldwide in the newest edition of Ford's S-Max cars. The technology features a camera mounted on the windshield that works with a recognition system that can read roadside signs.
Google Glass Should Stay Gone
March 26, 2015
Here we go again. Most everyone who thought Google Glass crossed the privacy line was happy when it appeared the new technology was being shelved. Not so fast. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says Google is not giving up on Glass. Like everyone else, I love new technology. However sometimes companies and their tech staff cross over the line and don't see it the way the rest of the world sees it.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.
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