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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.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
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.
Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers' Paywalls
October 2, 2017
Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called "first click free" policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.
Twitter to Test Drive Double-Wide Tweets
September 28, 2017
Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters.
Behind-the-Scenes Cryptocurrency Mining Discovered on Showtime Sites
September 27, 2017
Showtime Networks apparently has mined the websites of online viewers using the same Coinhive technology that The Pirate Bay recently used in a test run on its site. A subsidiary of CBS, Showtime is a premium television network that offers professional boxing, feature films, original scripted television shows like Ray Donovan and other programming.
Red Hat Enlarges Its Open Source Patent Promise Umbrella
September 22, 2017
Red Hat on Thursday announced major enhancements to the Patent Promise it first published 15 years ago, with the intention of providing new protections to innovation in the open source community. In its 2002 Patent Promise, Red Hat vowed not to pursue patent infringement actions against parties that used its covered Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS, subject to certain limitations.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
The Pirate Bay Takes Heat for Testing Monero Mining
September 19, 2017
The Pirate Bay has come under fire for testing a Monero javascript miner as a possible means for generating new revenue to replace its current model of making money through advertising on the site. It reportedly hijacked the processing power of its own users to help generate revenue. Monero is an open source digital currency, like bitcoin, with one important difference.
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.
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."
Apache Mounts Strong Defense, Equifax Retreats
September 12, 2017
The Apache Software Foundation has responded to accusations that the massive data breach Equifax disclosed last week resulted from a flaw in Apache's open source code. One of the largest financial data breaches in U.S. history, it exposed names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, driver's license numbers and other sensitive information belonging to 143 million U.S. consumers.
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.
Credit Agency Equifax Cracked, 143 Million Consumers Exposed
September 8, 2017
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax suffered a major criminal data breach that exposed personal information of as many as 143 million consumers in the U.S. between mid-May and July of this year. The attack exposed a range of sensitive personal data, including names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases driver's license numbers, Equifax said.
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.
Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism
September 6, 2017
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, has accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices. Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data were published this spring, he said.
Amazon Takes 1st Steps Toward Whole Foods Pricing Makeover
August 28, 2017
Amazon kicked off the completion of its acquisition of Whole Foods Market with steep price cuts on some products. Among those now available at lower prices are Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85 percent lean ground beef, and organic Gala and Fuji apples.
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.
Consumers Gain More Power to Seek Data Breach Damages
August 21, 2017
There are no good outcomes of an electronic data system breach. At best, companies dealing with e-commerce technologies face the formidable task and the resulting cost of repairs. In addition having to fix information technology systems, companies suffering breaches may be increasingly vulnerable to legal action taken by customers whose personal data was affected.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
Report: Apple to Funnel Megabucks Into Original TV Content Development
August 17, 2017
Apple reportedly has decided to put more than $1 billion toward the acquisition and development of original programming, part of a long-awaited rollout of a new television and film experience. The investment will leverage Apple's thus far underwhelming Apple TV business, bolstering its core video and music library to fulfill the promise of disrupting traditional television and film studios.
The War Room: Experiential Security Planning
August 16, 2017
Ask any security practitioner about ransomware nowadays, and chances are good you'll get an earful. Recent outbreaks like Petya and WannaCry have left organizations around the world reeling, and statistics show that ransomware is on the rise. For example, 62 percent of participants surveyed for ISACA's recent "Global State of Cybersecurity" survey experienced a ransomware attack in 2016.
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.
Facebook Takes Another Stab at Neutralizing Fake News
August 4, 2017
Stung by charges that it allowed fake news stories to proliferate during the 2016 election cycle, Facebook on Thursday began rolling out broadly a feature meant to regain the trust of its members. The tool effectively will surround questionable stories with related news stories offering different perspectives -- a strategy intended to help readers discern where the truth lies.
Few Jobs Safe From Robotics, AI Advances
August 1, 2017
The age of connected and intelligent systems has been a subject of intense media coverage and hot debate, but the implications will be much greater than many have forecast. Most predictions paint a rather bleak picture for lower-income blue collar jobs. Many will be replaced with automation resulting from the combination of advanced sensor, connectivity, processing, robotics and AI technologies.
HomePod Devs Stumble Upon Next iPhone Design Clues
July 31, 2017
Developers combing through the code for the Apple HomePod have found clues to what appear to be features in the next generation of iPhones, and they tweeted their discoveries on Sunday. The firmware for HomePod, Apple's $349 smart speaker expected in December, apparently contains much of the codebase for future iPhones. One of the goodies in the HomePod's code is a new biometric method for unlocking an iPhone.
Amazon's Secret 1492 Health Team Sets Sail
July 28, 2017
A secret Amazon team, dubbed "1492," reportedly has been working on a skunkworks project devoted entirely to healthcare. The unit has been developing hardware devices and software applications related to electronic medical records, telemedicine and other health-related issues. Amazon's aim is to cover the bases in the healthcare arena, likely a bid to cash in on its massive profit potential.
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.
Who's Right About AI? Musk's Dire Warnings Meet Zuckerberg's Cheerful Optimism
July 26, 2017
Two of Silicon Valley's most influential visionaries, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, this week engaged in a public spat over the future of artificial intelligence and whether the government should take the wheel to counter the threat this emerging technology might pose to mankind. Musk, a longtime advocate of AI, has expressed fears that intelligent machines could pose a risk to civilization.
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Amazon
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Facebook
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IBM
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