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ISPs Put the Squeeze on Content Distributors, Level3 Charges
May 06, 2014
Six major ISPs providing residential broadband services are refusing to augment their networks unless content providers pay more, according to Level3. Five of them are in the U.S. and the last in Europe. While Level3 has not named them, it has repeatedly mentioned writing to AT&T about broadband throttling. The six "are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers.
Mobile CRM May Widen the Big Data/Privacy Divide
May 06, 2014
The White House last week added to the ongoing national discussion about online privacy and tracking with the release of a review counselor John Podesta conducted on Big Data and privacy issues. Among other things, privacy advocates hope the findings will spotlight the role of mobile in the gathering of consumer data by companies. Mobile technologies have a particularly voracious appetite.
British Supermarket Chain to Launch Its Own Smartphone
May 06, 2014
Tesco, a British-born multinational grocery store chain, plans to launch its own smartphone later this year. The device will reportedly run on Android software and have specs comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S5. Of course, the Galaxy doesn't come equipped with preinstalled Tesco services; the new phone will. Tesco has been electronically progressive, at least as far as supermarkets are concerned.
The Tangled Web of IoT Security
May 06, 2014
The Internet of Things, or IoT, consists of "uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure," according to Wikipedia. The IoT is "the network of physical objects accessed through the Internet," according to Cisco Systems. In addition to there being no clear definition of the IoT, estimates vary widely about the number of unique devices it includes.
Facebook's $2B Baby Oculus Denies Rival's Rights Claims
May 06, 2014
A simmering conflict between Oculus, a virtual reality startup Facebook bought last month for $2 billion, and ZeniMax Media began to boil Monday. ZeniMax las week claimed one of its former employees, John Carmack, improperly shared some of its tech with Oculus for use in its Rift virtual reality headset, which is touted as having the power to bring VR to the masses.
Feds Weigh In on Cybersharing Antitrust Issues
May 01, 2014
The use and scope of information technology has grown dramatically since 2000 -- and along with that growth have come ever greater cybersecurity threats to businesses, government agencies and consumers. The need to counter actual threats, as well as to prevent potential cybersecurity problems, calls for sharing information among vulnerable parties.
France Mulls Banning GPS-Enabled Driver-Finding Apps
April 25, 2014
The French government is considering a ban on GPS-enabled apps that allow would-be passengers to track down nearby drivers. The issue is being fueled by irked taxi unions that increasingly are frustrated with -- and helpless against -- ride-sharing apps. Thus has the government drafted recommendations that include banning services that display maps showing available cars.
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.

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