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EU Data Transfer Ruling Leaves Tech Companies in Quandary
October 6, 2015
Europe's highest court has ruled that a 15-year-old agreement regulating electronic data transfers with the U.S. was invalid, potentially striking a blow to thousands of U.S. technology companies that rely on a uniform legal standard do business overseas. The European Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. Safe Harbor agreement was inadequate to protect the privacy rights of ordinary citizens.
Federal Cybersecurity Performance Gets Mixed Reviews
October 6, 2015
The spectacular database breach that affected nearly 21 million people highlighted the continuing vulnerability of U.S. government information technology systems, despite the expenditure of billions each year on cybersecurity. The breach resulted in the departure of the head of the agency and triggered widespread questioning about the adequacy of federal IT security by members of Congress.
OPM's Latest Bad News: 5.6 Million Fingerprints Lifted
September 25, 2015
The Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday revealed that the hackers who penetrated its records system stole 5.6 million fingerprints of federal employees -- five times the 1.1 million originally reported. The cyberattack, which came to light this spring, compromised the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of 21.5 million people.
Feds Award $500M Credit-Monitoring Contract Following OPM Breach
September 23, 2015
The U.S. government spends millions of dollars on IT systems designed to prevent cybersecurity attacks, but they still occur. Government agencies are hopeful that the learning curve will improve dramatically, and breaches will be reduced. In the meantime, what happens to people affected by a breach after an attack succeeds? This year, the OPM was hit with one of the biggest hack attacks ever.
Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves
September 22, 2015
Researchers at Xerox PARC have developed a self-destructing mechanism for microchips embedded on a hardened glass surface. The glass can self-destruct upon command and could be used to secure personal data such as health and banking records. It also can be used to destroy encryption keys stored on memory chips in standard consumer, enterprise and government electronic devices.
Tests, Lies and Volkswagen
September 21, 2015
German automaker Volkswagen on Sunday admitted that it installed software that doctored the pollution tests for diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen stock, which is listed in Europe, fell more than 20 percent Monday morning on the announcement. The company apparently was concerned that meeting the federal emissions standards would require it to degrade the vehicles' engines.
Carly Fiorina vs. Donald Trump: The Fascinating Difference
September 21, 2015
Watching the Republican debates has been a fascinating experience, because I started following Carly Fiorina when she first took over HP. I thought then and I still think that Steve Jobs was the only one to match her on-stage presence and skill set. History has proven her assertion that it was HP's board, not it's CEO, that was the primary problem that needed to be fixed while she was there.
The Unsinkable Kim Dotcom?
September 18, 2015
Someone perhaps even more flamboyant than Donald Trump may be getting involved in the U.S. presidential race -- and not on the Republican side. Notorious Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is not running for office, but as his extradition case heats up in New Zealand, a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency -- mild-mannered Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig -- has come to his defense.
NYC Schools to Teach Kids to Code
September 17, 2015
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced his computer learning initiative, requiring that every student in the city's public schools be exposed to computer literacy training at every grade level within 10 years. The program will cost some $81 million over the next decade. The mayor expects to receive at least half of that from private sources, including the initiative's founding partners.
IoT Can Open Doors to Cybercriminals, FBI Warns
September 16, 2015
The FBI has warned businesses and consumers to be careful when deploying devices that connect to the Internet of Things. As more companies and consumers use IoT devices to improve efficiency and convenience, their connection to the Internet creates opportunities for cybercriminals, the FBI said. The "Internet of Things" is a broad term that encompasses myriad devices that connect via cyberspace.
Court Bolsters FTC's Authority to Regulate Cybersecurity
September 16, 2015
Companies that experience data security breaches have a lot to worry about -- but their problems encompass much more than responding to irate consumers. The business community also has to worry about the U.S. government, which can penalize e-commerce companies for failing to provide adequate protection for consumers' personal data. A recent federal court ruling could give the FTC more muscle.
Hackers Home in on Health, Education, Government Sectors
September 16, 2015
A New York healthcare provider, California's higher education system and the Department of Energy have become the latest targets of data bandits. The latest massive data breach at a healthcare provider reportedly took place at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which last week revealed that the personal data of more than 10 million people was at risk due to an attack that dates back to December 2013.
US Agencies Getting the Hang of Doing More With Less
September 9, 2015
U.S. government agencies are gradually learning to deal with budget constraints in the management and procurement of IT. The emphasis on productivity comes from the Obama administration, the ripple effects of budget sequestration, and congressional pressure for efficiency. "Agencies continue to face budget constraints while trying to modernize IT systems," noted Deltek market analyst Angie Petty.
Google's Rebuttal Against EU May Be in Vain
September 3, 2015
Google has responded to the EC's statement of objections regarding its search practices by rejecting outright the Europeans' argument that its innovations were anticompetitive. The SO, published in April, doesn't support the claim that the company's displays of paid ads diverted traffic away from shopping services, Google said. Nor does it counter major advantages to consumers and advertisers.
White House Wants Feedback on IT Contract Security
September 2, 2015
Cybersecurity is a key component of all contracts between U.S. government agencies and information technology vendors. Yet cyberbreaches continue to occur -- some of them with alarming scope and depth. The White House is seeking input from private sector vendors and others on how to improve the cybersecurity elements involved in federal government purchases of IT equipment and services.
Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
August 28, 2015
Police in North Dakota can use drones armed with what are optimistically called "nonlethal weapons," thanks to the passage of House Bill 1328, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this spring. The new law gives police the authority in a roundabout way: Section 5 states a law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with lethal weapons.
Vendors Should Keep a Weather Eye on Defense IT
August 26, 2015
DoD is seeking vendors to participate in a multiyear IT support program with a total contract value of $12 billion. DoD has indicated it will release a Request for Proposals for the Encore III program, which covers a wide range of IT services, by the end of this month. The amount of the tech support contract is a reminder that DoD spends more money on IT by far than any other government entity.
Cyber-Posse Aims to Round Up Ashley Madison Hackers
August 25, 2015
The Toronto Police Service on Monday reported on the progress of Project Unicorn, the official investigation into the hack attack on Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting website. The Toronto police are working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the RCMP, the FBI, and the Ministry of the Attorney General's criminal law office in carrying out the investigation.
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Legislation Aims to Bring Product Warranties Into the Internet Age
August 17, 2015
The process of "checking the fine print" always has been an important aspect of consumer behavior. For product manufacturers, providing important transaction information to consumers also has been a challenging part of business operations. Take the fine print of warranty information, for example. In the world of e-commerce, how should sellers and buyers approach the warranty issue?
Study: Chinese Hackers Are Savvy, Surgical
August 13, 2015
A clandestine group of sophisticated Chinese hackers have infected scores of sites on the Web and stolen documents from industrial and government organizations with surgical precision, according to a Dell SecureWorks study released last week. Dubbed "Threat Group 3390," the cybergang has used infected websites of some 100 organizations across the globe.
Feds Break Up Hacker-Powered Insider Trading Ring
August 12, 2015
In two indictments unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., nine people were charged in federal court with carrying out an international scheme to hack into three business newswires, steal yet-to-be published press releases, and use them to make trades that generated approximately $30 million in illegal profits.
Chinese Hackers May Have Burrowed Into Airlines
August 11, 2015
The China-based hacking team that has been infiltrating U.S. government and business computer systems appears to be behind two newly discovered attacks -- this time on travel reservation processor Sabre and American Airlines. Sabre confirmed that its systems -- which contain sensitive records on as many as a billion travelers -- recently were breached. American Airlines is investigating.
Google on Universal Right to Be Forgotten: Fuhgeddaboudit
August 7, 2015
Google last week asked French regulators to withdraw a demand to universally delist from search results links to information about French citizens who wish to be forgotten on the Internet. Any European can ask to have certain links about them removed from search results that appear in Europe, and Google will grant those requests if they meet specific criteria.
US House Opens Up to Open Source
July 31, 2015
Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of representatives and House committees are added to the total. Certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House have been clarified.
Commerce Dept. Caves on Security Export Rules
July 30, 2015
Some proposed federal rules on the export of security tools created a tumult in cybersecurity circles -- a tumult that's pushed the rules into limbo. The comment period for the rules, which the U.S. Department of Commerce first aired in May, ended July 20 -- and although the regulations have noble intentions, they also could have dire consequences.
AI, Robotics Wonks Urge Autonomous Weapons Ban
July 28, 2015
Leading artificial intelligence and robotics experts have issued an open letter arguing against the development of autonomous weapons. Its publication coincides with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which ends Friday in Buenos Aires. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is "virtually inevitable," the letter says.
Major Tech Firms Join White House in Climate Change Pledge
July 28, 2015
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other senior White House officials on Monday met with a group of executives who pledged their companies' support for the administration's efforts to reach a strong climate change agreement in Paris this December. Thirteen major companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, signed the American Business Act on Climate Change.
Citibank Dinged $700M for Scamming Credit Card Customers
July 27, 2015
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week ordered Citibank and its subsidiaries to pay about $700 million in relief to eligible consumers and a $35 million civil penalty for, in essence, scamming consumers into paying for unwanted credit card add-on products and services. This is the 10th action the bureau has undertaken against banks for deceiving consumers.
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Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
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