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Smartphone Kill Switch Gets Breath of Life
April 16, 2014
CTIA and major mobile manufacturers, providers and operating system makers have entered a voluntary agreement to include antitheft measures in smartphones. The security and safety of mobile users is the top priority for the industry, according to CTIA, and the agreement is intended to protect consumers from smartphone theft while providing companies' with the ability to innovate.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
FBI May Pick Out Your Face in a Crowd
April 16, 2014
The FBI is planning to have a fully operational facial recognition system in place by this summer and may be well on its way to reaching that goal. The system will be able to query a database of photos to identify individuals based on their appearance even if they do not have a criminal record, reported Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Google Clarifies Gmail Snooping in Updated ToS
April 16, 2014
Google this week updated its terms of service with new language that more clearly spells out how it scans and analyzes user content, such as emails, to match it with targeted ads. "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it says.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.
Internet Leeches Drawn to Heartbleed
April 14, 2014
It's been more than a week since news of the Heartbleed flaw launched a frantic scramble on the Web, but security professionals' palpitations haven't subsided. The OpenSSL Software Foundation has issued a fix, and Google, Cisco, and hordes of other companies have begun patching their products. Predictably, scammers and spammers have climbed onto the Heartbleed solution bandwagon.
T-Mobile Ditches 'Greedy, Predatory' Overage Fees
April 14, 2014
T-Mobile has decided to end overage fees for its mobile customers. The company is abolishing overage charges for customers on every consumer plan, and its chief executive, John Legere, has laid down the gauntlet to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to kill off such charges as well. Twenty million Americans saw punitive overage charges on their bills in 2013.
Amazon to Investors: The Sky's the Limit
April 11, 2014
Amazon has released its annual letter to shareholders, revealing a smattering of tidbits about what's happening in the company now and what's in store for the future. The running theme throughout the letter is innovation. The entire company innovates with the customer in mind, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote, touching on its ethos of failing early while inventing and iterating to perfect a project.
Icahn, eBay Kiss and Make Up - for Now
April 11, 2014
eBay and corporate raider Carl Icahn on Thursday ended their months-long acrimonious battle with metaphorical hugs and kisses. eBay's board accepted an Icahn nominee -- CVS Caremark Chairman David Dorman -- as one of its 10 independent directors, and the disputants sang each other's praises. "Extremely pleased about agreement," Icahn tweeted. "Believe it's a win-win for all shareholders."
Consumers Can't Stanch Heartbleeding
April 11, 2014
Consumers can do little to protect themselves from the catastrophic Heartbleed bug. "Catastrophic is the right word," wrote security guru Bruce Schneier in his blog this week. "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11." Heartbleed is an extension of the SSL/TLS protocol used to encrypt data in transit on the Internet. Heartbleed is used to keep a secure connection alive.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Car-Tippers Rage Against the Machine
April 10, 2014
While Smart cars may be good for the environment and financially beneficial to owners, those benefits are wiped out when a gang of vandals tips one over. A group of as many as eight people dressed in black tipped over four of the cars in a San Francisco residential area this week. One of the cars was upended onto its rear, one was on its roof, and the others were on their sides.
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
Speed of Technology Confounds Wall St. Regulators
April 08, 2014
Michael Lewis did not do the securities industry any favors with the publication of his new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. His portrayal of how investment banks use high-frequency trading to leverage the few additional milliseconds this technology provides to grab stocks at optimal prices appears to have been a factor behind federal agency decisions to investigate this activity.
Lessons Learned from Mozilla's Edgy Eich Episode
April 07, 2014
It seems fair to say that we here in the Linux blogosphere are no strangers to difficult topics, but over the past few weeks FOSS fans have been struggling with what may be one of the trickiest yet. It is, of course, the matter of Brendan Eich. Cofounder of Mozilla, creator of JavaScript, Mozilla CTO for years and then CEO for just 10 days, Eich's term at the helm was cut short as a result of a firestorm of protest.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Eich Falls on Sword for Mozilla
April 04, 2014
Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich -- whose recent appointment as CEO of subsidiary Mozilla Corp. sparked an uproar -- on Thursday stepped down from the post in a bid to keep the company viable. Foundation cofounder and CEO Mitchell Baker painted the move as a return to the foundation's core principles, noting that Eich made the decision "for Mozilla and our community."

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