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Facebook Lets Members Prepare for the Digital Beyond
February 13, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a new feature for members who want to plan for their passing into the digital beyond. The feature allows Facebook members to appoint a "legacy contact" to administer their account when they die. Legacy contacts will, among other powers, have the authority to download an archive of the deceased member's public information, including photos, posts and profile information.
BitTorrent's Original Content Deal Makes Bid for Reputability
February 11, 2015
BitTorrent will begin to offer a series of original movies, dubbed "BitTorrent Originals," in a bid to enter the content entertainment space later this year. BitTorrent inked a deal with Rapid Eye Studios to handle original video content for its BitTorrent Bundle platform, which launched in May 2013. More than 10,000 publishers have joined the platform, according to company officials.
Box to Let Enterprises Bring Their Own Keys to the Cloud
February 11, 2015
Box on Tuesday raised the curtain on a new offering that allows its enterprise customers to control the digital keys used to encrypt their data stored in the storage provider's cloud. Box is working with Amazon Web Services and Gemalto to bring to market "Box Enterprise Key Management," and give its most security-minded customers total control over the keys used to encrypt data they store on Box.
Bug Bounties Entice Researchers to Don White Hats
February 10, 2015
Bug bounty programs are used by individual software makers to improve the quality of their products, but they can have incidental benefits for all software makers, too. One of those is to encourage bug hunters to wear a white hat instead of a black one. When you make it easy for hackers to do the right thing, the majority will," noted Alex Rice, CTO of HackerOne.
Federal 'Internet of Things' Report Triggers Debate, Senate Inquiry
February 10, 2015
Just how close is 'too close for comfort' in the unprecedented connectivity of people, products and electronic communication that lies ahead with the Internet of Things? Should the providers of electronic devices be allowed to know when you set your house thermometer, or how often and how long you go for a jog using a 'wearable' electronic exercise sensor?
Report: Connected Vehicles Vulnerable to Hack Attacks
February 09, 2015
Motorists in the United States are increasingly at risk of cyberattacks and violations of privacy, as more and more technology is added to their cars. A report released on Sunday by the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) listed a number of key findings that are based on responses from 16 auto makers to a letter sent to them by Markey's office.
Concerns Emerge About Samsung Smart TVs 'Bugging' Owners
February 09, 2015
The feature in question may transmit some voice commands, along with information about the device, to a third-party service that converts speech to text, Samsung's global privacy policy warns. If voice recognition is going to be on all the time, "that seems like really poor design, and certainly represents a privacy risk," said Justin Brookman, director of the consumer privacy project at the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Dish Network Slings New TV Service
February 09, 2015
Dish Network on Monday officially launched Sling TV, its widely anticipated US$20 per month streaming service, and further announced that customers could sign up for a "Sports Extra" add-on pack for $5 per month. The service, which is available now via a one-week free trial, can be accessed via Roku devices, and through Android, iOS, Mac and PC devices -- with support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick coming soon.
Is an Apple Maps Upgrade in the Works?
February 09, 2015
The ad on Apple's job site is innocuous enough, seeking an engineering project manager for Apple Search. However, that raises questions about whether Apple has plans to further improve its Maps app, possibly by strengthening local listings, which are increasingly important to businesses. "Apple may well revamp its street maps, as that application has far more value in an increasingly mobile world," noted Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Group.
FCC Chair Submits New Approach for Net Neutrality
February 06, 2015
Some proposed rules that the Federal Communication Commission maintains will prevent content discrimination on the Internet drew fire on Thursday from two policy interest groups. A four-page "fact sheet" on the rules was released Wednesday by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. In it, the chairman outlined what he's proposing to the full commission, which is expected to vote on the rules February 26.
FTC Argues Against IoT Law, For Now
February 05, 2015
The global "installed and connected base" of IoT units will reach approximately 30 billion in 2020, noted IDC in a November 2014 report. Yet now is not the time to enact privacy or security laws aimed directly at the impact of the IoT, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission says. The FTC argues that such specific legislation could stymie the development of IoT technology.
IoT Risky Business for Enterprise Networks
February 05, 2015
There were 9 billion Internet of Things units installed at the end of 2013 -- and analysts expect the figure to hit 28 billion by 2020. That's going to make life difficult for IT security admins. A Tripwire survey found that employed consumers who took work home had an average of 11 IoT devices on their home networks, and 24 percent of them had connected at least one of these devices to their enterprise network.
Promoted Tweets Fly the Coop
February 04, 2015
With Wall Street breathing down its neck for growth, Twitter on Tuesday launched a new advertising initiative that aims to boost revenues and add to its more than 284 million members. The initiative aims to expand the reach of "Promoted Tweets" on Twitter. Promoted Tweets are ads that Twitter inserts into its members timelines. Now, the company wants them to be seen elsewhere, too.
YouTube Halftime Show Sets Stage for Cross-Channel Ads
February 03, 2015
On Sunday evening, as a record 114.4 million people watched Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott rock out during the Super Bowl's halftime show, another show was under way, as well. For the first time, Google's YouTube hosted its own version of halftime on Super Bowl Sunday during roughly the same time slot.
Is the FTC Jumping the Gun on IoT Security?
February 03, 2015
For months, the security community has been waving a red flag about how the nascent Internet of Things could become a cyber criminal's paradise. Last week, those admonitions were given some credence when the Federal Trade Commission recommended that the makers of IoT gadgets adopt some "best practices" to protect consumers from potential violations of their privacy and security.
Gadget Ogling: A Touchless Thermometer, Flashing Audio, and a Mesmerizing Mattress Cover
January 31, 2015
JoyWing's Wishbone is a fancier thermometer than what you or I will have seen on any trip to the doctor. It's a smartphone attachment that gives temperature readouts within a couple of seconds without even having to touch the person or material it's examining, thanks to an infrared sensor. It's inexpensive, at $26-35 for those pledging to the crowdfunding drive.
Gamergate Bleeds Into Wikipedia
January 30, 2015
The Gamergate controversy, which centers on sexism and sexual violence in the video game industry, has made things hot for Wikipedia, whose arbitration committee has taken punitive action against some of the people involved in the debate. The committee decided to impose a complete site-wide ban on one male editor, with the handle "Ryulong," said Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson Juliet Barbara.
Amazon WorkMail Lifts Back-End Email Burden From IT's Shoulders
January 30, 2015
Amazon is making a play for the enterprise email market. Offered by Amazon Web Services, WorkMail targets companies that want to move their on-premises email services to the cloud. WorkMail reduces complexity and cost. With all mail infrastructure relocated to Amazon's cloud, a company no longer need be concerned with buying hardware, installing patches, and installing mail backup systems.
Twitter Adds Cliques and Flicks
January 28, 2015
Twitter on Tuesday announced two new offerings that could bolster its efforts to compete with Facebook. The new group functionality will let them direct message up to 20 members of a group simultaneously. They also will be able to shoot, edit and share video from within Twitter's mobile app. Twitter will be rolling out the new features in the coming weeks.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Quinn's Crash Override Combats Cyberbullying
January 22, 2015
Crash Override made its official debut last week, promising a new way to support targets of online bullying and harassment. Cofounder Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, is one of the better-known people on the receiving end of such abuse. For her, it started when an ex-boyfriend alleged in a blog post that Quinn had traded sex for favorable reviews from a journalist for a video game news site.
Ubuntu Aims to Make the IoT Snappy
January 21, 2015
Canonical on Tuesday unveiled Snappy Ubuntu Core, a new rendition of Ubuntu targeting the Internet of Things. Snappy Ubuntu Core offers a minimal server image with the same libraries as "traditional" Ubuntu, but Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core can be upgraded automatically and rolled back if necessary. Snappy runs on any device with an ARMv7 or Intel x86 processor and at least 256 MB of RAM.
Report: Dumb Password Use on the Decline
January 21, 2015
Millions of Net surfers use obvious passwords to log on to websites, but their numbers appear to be declining. SplashData on Tuesday published its annual list of the top 25 most common -- thus worst -- passwords leaked online. In the top spot was "123456," followed by "password" and "12345." Both "123456" and "password" claimed the top spots in 2013, too.
Google Buys In on Musk's Space Internet Plans
January 21, 2015
SpaceX, the space transport services company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity Investments. Together, they will together own almost 10 percent of SpaceX. Musk last November confirmed that SpaceX was developing advanced micro-satellites operating in large formations and would make an announcement in two to three months.

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