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FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
YouTube Foists Deceptive Ads on Kids, Says Complaint
April 7, 2015
Child and consumer advocacy groups on Monday filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. In essence, the app includes ads in a way that takes advantage of children's developmental vulnerabilities, the complaint alleges.
EC Greases Its Google Antitrust Gears
April 2, 2015
The European Commission reportedly is preparing to file a Statement of Objections detailing specific antitrust charges against Google. The EC is collecting testimony from companies that have filed private complaints about Google's business practices to gather more firepower in moving forward in antitrust matters, reports indicate. The EC is rumored to be considering a penalty of $6 billion.
When Internet Speed Kills Reliability
April 2, 2015
What's more important when it comes to an Internet connection -- quality and reliability, or speed? This is a question I'm pondering as I sip a latte at Starbucks. I have come to the conclusion that while speed is sexy and sells, quality and reliability are more important. Like countless others, I spend an hour or two every day working in Starbucks -- just me, my latte and my laptop.
India's Tussle With Internet Freedom
April 1, 2015
The Supreme Court of India last week struck down a law that permitted arrests for posting "offensive" content online. It ruled that Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional, and said it had no hesitation in striking it down. The law was challenged after two women were arrested in 2012 for posting critical comments on Facebook.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
BlackBerry's Q4 Profit Small Comfort as Revenue Slips
March 30, 2015
BlackBerry last week reported fourth-quarter revenue of $660 million -- well under analyst expectations, but enough to put the company back in the black. Approximately 42 percent of that revenue came from hardware sales, about 47 percent from services, and about 10 percent from software. BlackBerry declined to comment on which areas of the accounting sheets reassured its leadership and investors.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
Lawyers Pull Out Stops in Pao Trial Closing Arguments
March 25, 2015
Attorneys on Wednesday advanced their closing arguments in the $16 million sex discrimination suit brought by Ellen Pao against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Final arguments in the trial, which has been ongoing in the Superior Court in San Francisco for about a month, began Tuesday with Pao's attorney, Alan Exelrod, laying out his client's case.
FAA's Sluggish Pace Frustrates Amazon's Drone Ambitions
March 25, 2015
For one brief shining moment, it appeared that Amazon and the FAA were in concert on outdoor drone testing in the U.S., but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing held Tuesday, Amazon put paid to that notion. Although the FAA last week granted Amazon permission to conduct outdoor tests, the unmanned aircraft system covered by the authorization is no longer in use.
Apple Execs Rave About Jobs' Bio They Helped Write
March 24, 2015
A new book about Steve Jobs hit store shelves Tuesday amid rave reviews -- from Apple executives. Apple execs not only praised the book, but also took the unusual step of providing interviews for it. The unauthorized biography -- Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli -- promises to reveal a more personal side of Apple's cofounder.
The Big Implications of the Google, FTC Antitrust Scandal
March 23, 2015
A 160-page report that was far more complete than the FTC no doubt wanted last week was leaked to the media, clearly showcasing that the FTC staff recommended action against Google for anticompetitive practices. The FTC commissioners then decided to let Google off the hook, apparently because it made some minor changes. That move gave the impression that the FTC was effectively in Google's pocket.
Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?
March 20, 2015
The Software Freedom Conservancy earlier this month announced that it was funding a lawsuit filed by Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig against VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Germany. The conservancy entered a grant agreement with Hellwig for the legal action. Its funding of the legal action is part of the program activity of its GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers.
Quosal Lets Salespeople Add Video Spiels to Quotes
March 20, 2015
Quosal has announced a new feature that lets salespeople record a personal explanatory video to go with their quotes and proposals. Videos can be posted directly to Quosal's proprietary Order Porter purchasing experience for clients. "If the video can take the load off of having to read all of a proposal -- or, more likely, explain some gray areas -- then great," said analyst Denis Pombriant.
En Garde, Apple! The Luxe Android Smartwatch Is Coming!
March 19, 2015
Apple fans won't be the only ones who can flash a smartwatch worth thousands of dollars on their wrist; Android aficionados will be able to do the same. Google, Intel and Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer on Thursday jointly announced plans to make a luxury Swiss smartwatch. They were skimpy on the details, but various leaks and media reports suggest that the device may look like the Tag Heuer Carrera.
Nintendo Makes the Leap to Smartphones and Tablets
March 18, 2015
Nintendo has reached an agreement that will see its beloved intellectual property finally arrive on mobile devices, CEO Satoru Iwata announced Tuesday at a hastily called briefing. Mobile publisher DeNA and Nintendo have entered a capital alliance, in which they'll trade a portion of their stock and develop games for smart devices. Nintendo will acquire 10 percent of DeNA's outstanding shares.
Banks' Arbitration Clauses May Hurt Consumers: Report
March 16, 2015
Tens of millions of American consumers use consumer financial products or services governed by predispute arbitration clauses that may put them at an unfair disadvantage, suggests a CFPB report released last week. In some cases, the arbitration clauses are mandatory. Larger banks often include arbitration clauses in their consumer checking account and credit card contracts.
FTC Goes to Bat for Duped DirecTV Customers
March 16, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission last week charged DirecTV with deceptive advertising practices in a complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. DirecTV, which has been in discussions over a potential merger with AT&T, currently has more than 20 million subscribers across the United States.
Lawsuit Challenges NSA Internet Dragnets
March 13, 2015
The ACLU earlier this week filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the NSA from indiscriminately snooping on U.S. Internet traffic. Using a technique called "upstream" surveillance, the NSA does a spinal tap of the Internet's U.S. backbone, which carries the communications of millions of Americans, the ACLU explained in its complaint filed with a federal district court in Maryland.
Astroturfing's Legality Is in the Weeds
March 13, 2015
We see it all the time: a glowing 5-star comment on Yelp about our favorite neighborhood restaurant. At first glance, it looks authentic. However, what if the review actually were purchased by the restaurant? Would that change your perspective on the review or the restaurant? Of course, paying for advertising is hardly new. Celebrities for years have endorsed products and restaurants.
FCC Drops Net Neutrality Rules on Dissection Table
March 12, 2015
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released the final version of its controversial open Internet rules. In the introduction to the some 400 pages of new rules, which cover both wired and wireless broadband, the commission stated its "carefully tailored rules" would prevent specific practices that are harmful to Internet openness, such as blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
Ellen Pao Airs Kleiner Perkins' Dirty Laundry
March 10, 2015
Ellen Pao on Monday testified in a San Franciso courtroom that she was passed up for promotions and sexually harassed by a partner during her employment at prestigious venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Pao said that after she broke off a relationship with former Kleiner Perkins partner Ajit Nazre, he made it difficult for her to do her job.
How Deep Can Watson Drill?
March 10, 2015
IBM last week announced the acquisition of AlchemyAPI, which uses deep learning to perform natural language processing. NLP consists of semantic text analysis, including sentiment analysis. IBM "has some of these capabilities already, and we continue to explore ways to expand and amplify them through our growing developer community," said IBM Watson VP Steve Gold.
We Done Good, Consumer Protection Chief Tells Lawmakers
March 5, 2015
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made great strides in carrying out its mission, which is to ensure consumers are fairly treated in the financial marketplace, Director Richard Cordray said Tuesday at a House Financial Services hearing. The bureau's qualified mortgage rule put new measures in place to prevent the sloppy underwriting that led to the subprime mortgage problem.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.
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