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FCC Denies Desertion of Net Neutrality
April 25, 2014
Reports that the FCC is abandoning its support of Net neutrality are incorrect, insisted FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. The reports appeared just prior to the release by the FCC of a notice that it is proposing some new Open Internet rules. The old rules were rejected by a federal court in January and tossed back to the FCC for a rewrite. There has been "a great deal of misinformation," Wheeler wrote.
Google Rolls Out Time-Traveling Maps
April 24, 2014
Google has launched a new feature on Street View that enables users to browse through images dating back as far as 2007, as well as images from different seasons and at night. Street View users have long pined for the ability to look at shots from the past, according to Google Maps Street View Director of Engineering Luc Vincent. How neighborhoods used to look. That sort of thing.
Popular UK Sports File-Sharing Site Shuttered
April 22, 2014
The Sports Torrent Network, a brazenly named file-sharing site, shut down after UK police threatened to put its operators behind bars for up to 10 years. TSTN was a hotbed for illicit broadcasts of European soccer, the National Hockey League, Formula 1 races and more. The site reportedly had about 20,000 members, making it "possibly the largest site of its type."
IT Providers Stew Over Big Data Privacy Regulation
April 18, 2014
With the emergence of the Big Data era, technology developers see major benefits in the ability to manage huge volumes of information. However, with an onslaught of data breaches such as the recent hacking of the Target retail chain, consumers and their representatives in government are increasingly nervous about bigger threats to privacy. The White House is conducting a review of the issue.
German Media Mogul Rips Google in Open Letter
April 18, 2014
The head of one of Germany's biggest media companies penned an open letter criticizing Google, saying that his company is afraid of Google and its ever-swelling power. The letter, written by Mathias Dopfner, the chief executive of media giant Axel Springer, opines that Google's technology platforms spread more quickly and more efficiently than anything in the world -- save "biological viruses."
A Dream of America's Forefathers
April 18, 2014
Last week marked the 224th anniversary of the U.S. patent system, an institution designed and brought forth to promote progress in the fledgling nation. Despite its value for more than two centuries, that system is under attack. Until the late 18th Century, innovative colonists in the Americas relied on British-based patent laws to obtain colonial patents.
Chinese Company Creates 3D-Printed Houses
April 17, 2014
Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Shanghai-based company, has created 10 3D-printed houses. Each house reportedly cost less than $5,000 and took less than 24 hours to construct. The printer used to create the homes was about 100 feet long, 33 feet wide and more than 20 feet tall. The "ink" was made from high-grade cement and glass fiber.
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.
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
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.
Comcast Argues TWC Merger Would Level Playing Field
April 09, 2014
Comcast on Wednesday pulled out all the stops in a "public interest" statement on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, one day before it has to appear before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill for questioning about the deal. Hot buttons such as Net neutrality, consumer choice, better and lower-cost services for business, and competition were touched on.
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."
Microsoft's Nokia Deal Clears China Hurdle
April 09, 2014
Microsoft's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business is moving closer to the finish line, having just won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce. It is a key milestone for the transaction, which sailed through the U.S. and European approval processes with little difficulty or delay. The deal is expected to close this month.
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.
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?
Record Labels Slam Russian Social Net With Piracy Suit
April 04, 2014
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music on Thursday filed legal proceedings against vKontakte, or VK, charging that the Russian social network operates a music service that deliberately facilitates widespread copyright infringement. VK operates an unlicensed music service involving a large collection of copyright-infringing tracks, the companies charge.
Money Talks in Smartphone Kill Switch Debate
April 02, 2014
The notion of a smartphone kill switch has received considerable attention in recent months, but new research spells out in plain financial terms some fresh arguments in favor of the idea. A kill switch essentially is technology built into a smartphone that would allow it to be deactivated if it were lost or stolen, thereby safeguarding the legitimate owner's data.

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