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Netflix Ponies Up for Better TWC Net Connection
August 21, 2014
Netflix on Tuesday announced that it has signed an interconnection agreement with Time Warner Cable, marking the fourth such deal the content provider has signed with a major Internet service provider. Netflix in recent months has signed similar agreements with Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. News of the agreement has raised fresh concerns about the future of Net neutrality.
Banks Bemoan Feds' Plan to Publish Complaining Consumers' Stories
August 20, 2014
The banking industry is up in arms over the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan to publish consumer complaint narratives about financial institutions on the Web. Consumers would have to opt in to have their complaints published. The CFPB would strip out all personally identifiable information. The idea is to expand the existing database to include the customer's narrative.
Google May Start Grooming Little Googlers
August 19, 2014
Google may soon allow kids under 13 to have their own personal accounts on services such as YouTube and Gmail. Under the new system, parents would be able to set up accounts for their children, control their use of those accounts, and regulate the information collected about them. "You could say that Google is just recognizing reality," said the Local Search Association's Greg Sterling.
Twitter Experiment Elicits Howls of Disapproval
August 18, 2014
Twitter's latest tinkering with its members' timelines appears to be ticking off more than a few tweeters. The experiment opens timelines to tweets members' followers have tagged as favorites, as well as to some popular tweets gleaned from their followers' timelines. "Changing the rules of engagement for users without notice is very Facebookian of you Twitter," tweeted Peter Singer.
Apple Lays Down Law on Toxic Chemical Use
August 14, 2014
Apple on Thursday reiterated its commitment to safe working conditions in its supply chain, and announced stricter rules for the use of benzene and n-hexane, two toxic chemicals. It also published its Regulated Substances Specification, pointing out that it sets occupational exposure limits for the two toxic chemicals that follow standards bodies' recommendations.
Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector at Risk for Spy Program Costs
August 14, 2014
A recent U.S. Senate proposal to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the NSA could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. However, major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data still will be vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.
Snowden Blows NSA's MonsterMind
August 13, 2014
The NSA is working on a new program codenamed "MonsterMind" that will automate the monitoring of traffic patterns on the Internet to look for attacks, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. When it detects an attack, MonsterMind will automatically block it from entering the U.S. cyberinfrastructure. It also will automatically fire back at the server from which the attack was launched.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
Amazon Gives Disney a Swift Kick in the Shins
August 11, 2014
Amazon, which has for some time been locked in a battle with publishing giant Hachette over the pricing of e-books, has broadened the battlefield to take on Disney. It has stopped taking preorders of Disney DVD and Blu-ray discs. Amazon earlier this year stopped taking preorders for Hachette books. It also lengthened delivery times and reduced discounts for books published by Hachette.
Flailing Barnes & Noble Turns to Google to Help Fend Off Amazon
August 08, 2014
Some Barnes & Noble customers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day delivery of their purchases through Google Shopping Express, according to media reports that surfaced Thursday. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby described the teamup as a test and a way to increase book sales both online and from its brick-and-mortar stores.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
DoT May Rule Out In-Flight Cellphone Talking
August 06, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking that could restrict consumers' ability to talk on their cellphones during airplane flights. The DoT earlier this year issued an invitation for comment as to whether it should adopt a rule to restrict voice communications on passengers' mobile wireless devices on scheduled flights within, to and from the U.S.
Hotel Bites Internet - Internet Bites Back
August 04, 2014
Online reviews are a modern-day fact of life for any company operating in the hospitality industry, but an Internet maelstrom erupted when one hotel's surprising response to that reality was brought to light. Namely, the Union Street Guest House in upstate New York threatened to charge those who booked wedding parties at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by any of their guests.
Cops Snag Child Pornography Suspect, Thanks to Gmail Scan
August 04, 2014
A routine scan of a Texas man's Gmail by Google has led to his arrest on child pornography possession and promotion charges. John Henry Skillern, 41, of Houston was arrested by police July 30 following a tip by Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has been charged with one count each of child pornography possession and child pornography promotion.
Microsoft May Put an Attractive Price Tag on Win 9: Free
August 04, 2014
The "free Windows 9" rumor once again is making the rounds. The buzz over Microsoft's supposed plan to offer users of Windows XP, Win 7, Win Vista and Win 8 a free upgrade to Windows 9, which began in June, has been amplified -- once again, by unnamed sources. The second Windows 8.1 update will be delivered Aug. 12, which is Patch Tuesday, but it's expected to be a low-key offering.
Federal Judge Unswayed by Microsoft's Objections to Data Demands
August 04, 2014
Microsoft's objections to a court order requiring it to turn over a customer's emails held on a server in Ireland have been rejected. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week issued an oral ruling in the case, reportedly saying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 authorizes such extraterritorial collections of data.
When It Comes to Technology, Humans Are Idiots
August 04, 2014
There are a lot of things going on at the moment. Israel is tactically defending itself against Hamas -- winning the battles but losing the war, because the Israeli government can't see the big picture. The U.S. is still blaming Snowden for leaks, even though Russia clearly is able to pull damaging information pretty much anytime it wants without Snowden's help.
Facebook Staring at Fresh Privacy Class Action
August 01, 2014
Facebook is set for another legal battle over privacy, with a fresh class-action lawsuit fired up against the company. The legal action is the brainchild of Austrian law student Max Schrems, a noted campaigner against Facebook's treatment of user privacy. Schrems called on adult Facebook users around the world to join his suit after he filed a complaint in Vienna's commercial court.
'The Apple iTime Is Destined to Fail' - Seriously?
August 01, 2014
I try hard to ignore the really dumb things people say when they talk out their backsides about tech, and I personally know how hard it is to come up with excellent tech focused opinions -- as opposed to rehashing the day's latest news with an ironic or humorous spin. And here's the "but"... I was absolutely floored by John C. Dvorak's iTime post.
Oracle's Pricey In-Memory Database Feature Triggers a Row
August 01, 2014
Oracle is taking flak over the in-memory database option in Oracle Database 12c, released publicly on Wednesday. The trouble began when Kevin Closson, formerly the performance architect in Oracle's Exadata development group, pointed out that the option is turned on by default. Oracle has denied his assertion. However, the option is easy to turn on by accident, Closson maintained.
Russia Cites Surveillance Concerns in Apple, SAP Source Code Demands
July 31, 2014
Russia wants Apple and SAP to turn over their source code in yet another instance of fallout resulting from leaks about NSA surveillance activities. The suggestion reportedly came last week, when Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with executives of the two companies: Peter Nielsen, Apple's general manager in Russia; and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in Russia.
Internet.org Hands Out Free Samples in Zambia
July 31, 2014
The Internet.org collective's mission of bringing the entire planet online took a step forward Thursday with the release of an app affording limited free mobile Internet access to users in Zambia. While around 85 percent of the world's people are located in areas with cellular network connectivity, only 30 percent access the Internet. In Zambia, just 15 percent have online access.

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