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Taken to Extremes, 'Right to Be Forgotten' Is Like Burning Virtual Books
August 31, 2015
The highest court in the EU last year ordered Google to allow individuals there to request that certain specific information not be reported in Google search engine results, citing their "right to be forgotten." Since that court ruling, hundreds of thousands of EU residents have requested that Google eliminate certain information, and Google routinely has complied with many of those requests.
Apple TV May Finally Grab the Spotlight
August 31, 2015
The next version of the Apple TV set-top box could be ready for prime time in October, priced at either $149 or $199, based on rumors circulating Monday. The current version goes for $99. With the higher price could come a seriously upgraded device: It will include support for Siri, a new touchscreen remote control, and a new and more intuitive interface.
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.
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.
Samsung to Ask SC to Reverse Tide in Apple Case
August 24, 2015
Samsung last week filed a motion to stay the U.S. Court of Appeals' order in its multiyear patent war with Apple, indicating that it plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung reportedly will ask the Court to hear its appeal of a 2012 federal jury's verdict that it violated Apple's iPhone patents. Samsung has received support for its position from several large tech firms.
Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Mum Robot Goes Darwinian on Her Kids
August 21, 2015
A "mother" robot has demonstrated natural selection and the process of evolution in action, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Scientists typically have to go back in time to study evolution -- it's rarely observable over the course of a human lifetime. However, for robots and artificial intelligence, it's a different story.
Ashley Madison Hackers: Catch Them if You Can
August 20, 2015
The Ashley Madison hacker gang will be tough to apprehend. The hackers this week dumped nearly 10 gigabytes of stolen personal data onto the Web -- details gleaned from accounts established on the site, which is dedicated to matching up people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. It's "nearly impossible" to track down attackers, noted Bit9 + Carbon Black's Ben Johnson.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Ashley Madison World
August 19, 2015
Hackers have dumped personal data of about 37 million members of the Ashley Madison website onto the Dark Web. The data was stolen in an attack on the site, which aims to hook up people who want to cheat on their spouses. Parent company "Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men," the Impact Team wrote in a post online. ... Now everyone gets to see their data."
Truth May Be Wiggly in Wikipedia's Hot-Button Science Articles
August 18, 2015
Users should take extra care when exploring Wikipedia's science topics, because many articles on controversial issues such as global warming and acid rain have been targeted for editing by revisionists who reject scientific findings, new research has found. Due to its crowdsourced model, academics widely regard Wikipedia as a starting point for research -- a compass more than a map.
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.
Bezos Rebuffs Expose of Amazon's Cold-Blooded Culture
August 17, 2015
CEO Jeff Bezo on Sunday refuted contentions that Amazon has a draconian workplace culture. "The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems," Bezos wrote in an email sent to Amazon employees following the article's publication.
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.
The Best Videos on Facebook Could Be Stolen Property
August 11, 2015
Facebook has stolen videos for display on its site, alleged Hank Green of VlogBrothers. A whopping 725 of the 1,000 most popular videos on Facebook in Q1 were freebooted -- that is, re-uploaded to the social media network without authorization -- he said, citing a report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs. Those 725 videos accounted for about 17 billion views in the quarter, Green noted.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
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.
Report: Apple Is Kicking the MVNO Tires
August 5, 2015
Apple is in discussions to become a mobile virtual network operator in both Europe and the United States, where it's already running a trial of its service, according to a media report. The MVNO idea may not advance beyond the test phase -- and if it does, it likely won't happen for some time -- at least five years. However, Apple on Tuesday issued a denial that it has held MVNO discussions.
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.
Apple Leaves Nest Thermostat Out in the Cold
July 24, 2015
Apple reportedly has pulled the Nest smart thermostat from both its online and brick-and-mortar stores, possibly paving the way for its own line of smart home appliances. The thermostat disappeared from Apple's product offerings earlier this month. Apple's stores now are selling the Ecobee 3, a thermostat that works with Apple's HomeKit, an Internet of Things platform that's part of iOS.
Twitch Yanks Player Controls From Flash
July 24, 2015
Game-streaming service Twitch on Thursday joined Apple and other tech companies in swearing off its dependence on Adobe's Flash. The move away from Flash will happen in stages, but Twitch has promised its community that the gradual rollout will advance at a steady pace. Twitch began the transition to the more secure HTML5 and JavaScript by hybridizing its streaming video player.
OPM Director's Resignation Draws Mixed Reactions
July 23, 2015
The resignation of U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta is drawing mixed reactions from the cybersecurity community. Archuleta's departure on July 10, in the wake of a massive data breach resulting in the theft of the personal information of more than 22 million people, is being characterized by security pros as everything from "necessary" to "unfair."
The Emperor Is Naked and We're All Idiots
July 20, 2015
An old fable keeps running through my mind about the scam artist who convinced an emperor that he had created clothing only smart people could see. Everyone says they see the clothing because they don't want to look stupid. Walking around in clothing stupid people can't see doesn't sound enticing anyway, but lately it has seemed clear to me that the folks reporting the news think we are idiots.

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