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FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Internet Pioneers Urge Cancellation of Net Neutrality Repeal Vote
December 13, 2017
A group of 21 leading technology pioneers, including Apple Computer cofounder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, signed an open letter to key congressional leaders asking them to pressure FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel Thursday's planned vote to repeal Net neutrality. The process is severely flawed, they argued, and a rules repeal poses an imminent threat to the Internet.
Feds: Cloud Cybersecurity Benefits Now Outweigh Risks
December 11, 2017
Many federal government IT managers used to be wary of the shortcomings of migrating to cloud technology because of potential data security problems affecting email, business systems, personal data records and, especially, national security operations. However, after the federal "cloud first" initiative's six-year effort, there are signs that federal IT managers have changed their assessment.
Net Neutrality Battle Lines Drawn as FCC Vote Looms
December 5, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's long-brewing plan to repeal Net neutrality has the broadband, telecom and entertainment worlds at loggerheads. The commission's expected Dec. 14 vote could result in a complete rewrite of the script for the Internet's competitive landscape and consumer protection models. The repeal of Net neutrality would end restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015.
Trump Puts Federal Cloud Investments on Front Burner
November 22, 2017
One of the few policies that President Donald Trump's administration has carried over from his predecessor is that the federal government needs to make vast information technology performance upgrades -- especially to cloud-based platforms. That should comfort vendors seeking business in the federal market at all levels of cloud offerings -- hardware, software or services.
BlackBerry: The Most Important Mobile Company of the Future?
November 20, 2017
If you are like many, when you saw this headline you likely were surprised BlackBerry was still around. As BlackBerry phones left the market, the company fell out of sight. However, behind the scenes it has been moving into industries like automotive. Also, it remains the leading vendor providing mobile security to our politicians, military personnel and major corporations.
Dilbert vs. Trump: Why False Facts Have Power
November 6, 2017
We've been having a lot of interesting weeks since the presidential election, making more than a few of us wish for simpler times. One of the most interesting things I've read of late is by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who predicted the election outcome and tied it to Trump's brilliant use of intentional false facts, which he used to dominate the news up to the election.
Oil Patch CRM
October 31, 2017
A recent story chilled me to the bone. The headline supplies all the reasons: "Saudi Arabia's Grand Plan to Move Beyond Oil: Big Goals, Bigger Hurdles." At first glance, this doesn't ring any CRM bells, but maybe it should. Why would any business or business-state contemplate moving out of its sweet spot if it weren't required to? What happens to the customers that have become dependent?
Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Report: Russian Hackers Penetrated Elite NSA Hacking Division
October 7, 2017
Russian hackers reportedly exploited a vulnerability in Kaspersky Lab's software to steal sensitive cyberdefense data from a National Security Agency contractor. The incident, which occurred in 2015, involved a contractor who loaded classified information onto his personal computer in order to work at home. The information included hacking tools and other sensitive NSA data.
HPE Gave Russia Deep Dive Into Security Software Used by Pentagon
October 6, 2017
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has allowed experts working with Russia to review the source code of cybersecurity software that is used by the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon uses HPE's ArcSight software to protect sensitive computer networks. The review of its code was conducted by Russian firm Echelon on behalf of a Russian defense agency that deals with cybersecurity issues.
FTC Confirms Probe Into Equifax Data Breach
September 15, 2017
In a rare move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the data breach at Equifax that compromised the sensitive personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. The FTC announcement came less than a week after Equifax revealed that an unknown party had gained access to names, addresses, Social Security Numbers and other data belonging to nearly half the U.S. population.
IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market
September 14, 2017
Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.
Putin: Whoever Rules AI Rules the World
September 12, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
Next US Elections: Open Source vs. Commercial Software?
September 7, 2017
San Francisco could become the first U.S. city to adopt open source software to run its voting machines. City officials last month authorized consulting group Slalom to prepare a report on the benefits and challenges involved in using an open source voting machine platform. Officials hope a move to open source will make San Francisco's voting software more transparent and secure.
Global Cyberattack on Energy Sector Stokes Deep Fears
September 7, 2017
The hacker group known as "Dragonfly" is behind sophisticated wave of recent cyberattacks on the energy sectors of Europe and North America, Symantec reported. The attacks could provide the group with the means to severely disrupt energy operations on both continents. Dragonfly launched a simililar campaign from 2011 to 2014, but it entered a quiet period in 2014 after its activities were exposed.
Has Google Become a National Threat?
September 4, 2017
The idea that Google might be becoming a national threat is what struck me when I read a column by Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University. She makes a compelling argument that Google has reached a point where it no longer allows dissent outside the company -- though, given the recent firing of a Google engineer, that may be true inside the firm as well.
Congressional App Challenge Director Rachel Décoste: Get on Board the Tech Train
August 30, 2017
"Coding is one of the most in-demand skills. There's a myth out there that you need to have this skill only if you work with computers, but as society develops, you're going to see coding in every field. This is a skill that's needed in all job sectors," said Rachel Décoste, director of the Congressional App Challenge. "The jobs of tomorrow will require, if not coding, at least an understanding of how it works."
Tech Leaders Urge UN to Ban AI-Based Lethal Weapons
August 23, 2017
A group of the world's top technology leaders have published an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the use of AI in weapons systems, amid growing concerns that autonomous killer robots could wind up taking control. The group of 116 companies, most of which specialize in robotics or AI, argued that its growing use could revolutionize modern warfare in irreversible ways.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
T-Mobile Starts Building Low-Band Wireless Network in the Sticks
August 22, 2017
T-Mobile last week announced that it has begun the long-anticipated rollout of its new 600-MHz LTE premium low-band spectrum network in Cheyenne, Wyoming, kicking off a massive rollout designed to provide wireless coverage to rural communities across the U.S. T-Mobile also plans to use the low-band spectrum to accelerate deployment of next-generation 5G mobile service.
Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?
August 8, 2017
Increased use of open source software could fortify U.S. election system security, according to former CIA head R. James Woolsey and Bash creator Brian J. Fox. The two made their case for open source elections software after security researchers demonstrated how easy it was to crack some election machines at the recent DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts
August 1, 2017
Onvia on Tuesday launched a new service for companies selling to the public sector. The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency's scoring criteria. Onvia "helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts," said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon's Discount Pricing Practices
July 25, 2017
The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon's discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company's pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. "Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process," observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
New Cybersecurity Policy Will Impact Federal IT Market
July 24, 2017
Federal agencies already under the gun to modernize their information technology capabilities have a new set of standards to meet as a result of an executive order President Donald Trump issued this spring. The directive not only will affect agency managers in their IT operations and acquisition activities, but also will have a significant effect on IT vendors.
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What is the most consequential impact of social media on society today?
It has opened up valuable new channels for civil discourse.
It has destroyed the meaning of "truth" and "fact."
It has made people stronger by facilitating grass roots activism.
It has deepened divisions among groups with opposing views.
It has made it easier for people to support and help each other.
It has made it easier for people to humiliate and hurt each other.