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Trump Hauls Out Google Conspiracy Theory for Another Airing
September 30, 2016
Perhaps still reeling from what's widely viewed as the bruising he took in a debate watched by more than 80 million people on TV earlier this week -- countless more online -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday opened a campaign rally with a previously discredited attack. Google's search engine was biased in favor of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, he claimed.
GE, Bosch Combine Resources to Bolster IoT
September 30, 2016
GE and Bosch Software Innovations have partnered to jump-start the development of an open source Internet of Things platform. Open source will encourage greater interoperability and application development, the companies said. Both firms have sought help from the Eclipse Foundation to speed up the process. The companies will create a core IoT stack comprised of open source software.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Abuse of Trust, Lack of Transparency: HP Shows How to Kill the IoT
September 26, 2016
There's been a lot of virtual ink spilled about the glorious future promised by the Internet of Things: just-in-time service, data-assisted performance optimization for devices, automatic software upgrades, and a host of other hands-off solutions that make life easier for customers and results better for businesses. Over the last 18 months, many have come to see the IoT as an inevitability.
Tech Big Shots Rumored Lining Up for Twitter
September 26, 2016
Twitter shares remained strong Monday after Friday's sharp rise on reports that it was considering a possible sale, with Google parent Alphabet and Salesforce emerging as two of the most likely buyers. Twitter has faced enormous pressure, both internally and from investors, to consider a major shakeup. It has struggled to find ways to monetize its core 140-character microblogging property.
Music Industry Rebounds on Streaming Subscription Surge
September 23, 2016
The music industry is showing its best surge in revenue in nearly two decades, led by a major shift toward streaming subscription services by Apple, Spotify and others firms, according to a new mid-year report the RIAA released this week. The report shows an 8.1 percent gain in retail revenue to $3.4 billion during the first half of 2016, the strongest growth since the late 1990s.
Social Networks Prep for Key Role in Presidential Debates
September 23, 2016
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York.
Senate Leadership Rebuffs Cruz's Shutdown Threat Over Internet Control
September 23, 2016
It appears that the Senate is poised to quash a government shutdown threat from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in spite of presidential candidate Donald Trump lending his support to his former primary opponent's cause. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday filed a continuing resolution to fund the government without any language geared toward blocking the administration's IANA transition.
Opera's Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
September 22, 2016
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
Pandora Plus Trades Ad Views for Extra Features
September 16, 2016
Pandora on Thursday launched Pandora Plus, a replacement for its $5-a-month Pandora One streaming music service. The 4 million Pandora One subscribers will be switched over to Plus, which will continue to offer ad-free listening at the same price. However, Pandora Plus also offers an opt-in video advertising feature that lets users skip or replay songs. Plus also has an offline mode.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
Nation States May Be Plotting Internet Takedown, Warns Cybersec Pro
September 14, 2016
Unknown attackers have been testing the defenses of companies that run critical parts of the Internet, possibly to figure out how to take them down, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier warned. Large nation states -- perhaps China or Russia -- are the likely culprits, he suggested. "Nation state actors are going to probe to find weaknesses in all of our technologies," said Tripwire's Travis Smith.
Alphabet Think Tank Spearheads Online Counterterrorism Campaign
September 14, 2016
Alphabet think tank Jigsaw and startup Moonshot CVE last week demonstrated a new counterterrorism technology tool. The groups have been collaborating to steer social media users away from terrorist propaganda. They have developed sophisticated algorithms to target potential ISIS sympathizers with counter narratives when they search for certain terms online or through social media.
Attack-for-Hire Teens Collared in Israel
September 14, 2016
At the FBI's request, Israeli authorities last week arrested two teens for operating vDOS, a DDoS-for-hire service that raked in more than half a million dollars in two years. DDoS attacks flood websites with garbage data in order to disrupt their operation and deny users access. The pair were questioned and released after posting bond of about $10,000 each.
Facebook's Sandberg Expresses Regret Over Deletion of Historic Vietnam War Photo
September 12, 2016
COO Sheryl Sandberg has acknowledged that Facebook was wrong to delete posts showing an iconic image of a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war. The admission came in a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Facebook last week repeatedly deleted the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, "The Terror of War," on grounds that it violated its nudity restrictions.
Google Fiber's Long, Tough Road Is Full of Twists and Turns
September 6, 2016
Alphabet has been facing significant roadblocks in expanding Google Fiber into new U.S. cities, in part due to significant competitive and legal challenges from incumbent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast. The companies currently are embroiled in a dispute over access to utility poles in Nashville, Tennessee, and the city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal.
Can Apple Beat Snapchat and Instagram at Their Video Game?
September 1, 2016
Snapchat and Instagram, look out. Apple has you in its sights. The company reportedly is working on a video-sharing app with features similar to those found in Snapchat and Instagram. The app, possibly slated for release in 2017, will allow users of Apple devices to record a video, apply filters and draw on it, then share it with others on a variety of social networks.
Echo Owners May Get Their Own Kind of Music
September 1, 2016
Amazon is planning two music subscription services, according to rumors that began circulating last week. One is a $10 a month offering that is similar to Spotify and Apple Music, and the other is a $4-$5 a month cut-rate service available only on Amazon's Echo device. Amazon reportedly wants to launch both in September, but it has yet to finalize deals with major music labels and publishers.
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Nextdoor Tackles Racial Profiling at Street Level
August 30, 2016
Nextdoor last week rolled out to all 110,000 of its neighborhoods a new form-based process for making crime and safety reports. Implementation of the tool reduced incidents of racial profiling by 75 percent in areas where it was tested, according to CEO Nirav Tolia. Some Nextdoor members had begun using the site to post problematic messages targeting racial minorities.
#StandWithLeslie and Obliterate Internet Trolls
August 29, 2016
I think there's a legitimate argument for removing one category of folks from the gene pool, because they spend the little time they are given on Earth making other folks' lives miserable. Back when I was playing MMOs, some twisted folks -- known as "griefers," would lie in wait to mug lower level characters and find creative ways to destroy the fun in a game, often eventually killing it.
Innocents Exposed as WikiLeaks Gushes Information
August 27, 2016
WikiLeaks reportedly has leaked sensitive personal information belonging to hundreds of innocent individuals worldwide, including some residing in several highly repressive countries. The organization has revealed private credit card data, medical information, personal addresses and other data of various individuals, including the identification as gay of a Saudi Arabian who had been arrested.
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
Instagram Opens Snappy New Events Channel
August 26, 2016
Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events. The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users' individual interests. The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
In a Political Season
August 24, 2016
Many, if not most, people I know don't want to talk about it -- the election, that is. Lots of them have views but they don't want to share them, based on a dislike of contentiousness. Who likes conflict? There is an article floating around the Internet that I lost track of that says nobody's mind ever changes in a heated debate about something so vital, so why engage?
Google Cracks Down on Intrusive Mobile Ads
August 24, 2016
Google has announced that it soon will downgrade mobile pages in its search rankings if they carry ads that obscure content. Such ads "provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible," explained Doantam Phan, a product manager at Google. Techniques that reduce the accessibility of content include showing users a popup that covers the main content.
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.