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Volkswagen Aims to Clear the Air With $15B US Settlement
June 28, 2016
Volkswagen on Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement to settle claims arising from the emissions scandal that has plagued the company since its discovery two years ago. The company has agreed to set up a $10 billion funding pool to buy back or terminate leases of diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen had used software to cheat on emissions tests.
Senate Falls Short on Expansion of FBI Surveillance Authority
June 27, 2016
The United States Senate last week rejected a Republican-backed amendment that would have given the FBI expanded authority to access the browser histories and other electronic records of targets of terrorism and other national security investigations without first obtaining a warrant. The Senate voted 58-38 for the amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr and John McCain.
Gun Control and Learning to Make Data-Driven Decisions
June 27, 2016
We live in an unprecedented age of information and computing power -- yet whether publicly or privately, we still make decisions largely on how we feel rather than based on hard information. With this massive influx of data and computing power, when it comes to issues like global warming or gun control, we are more likely to decide based on how we feel rather than figuring out the facts.
Microsoft Sees Fertile Ground in Cannabis Compliance
June 21, 2016
Microsoft has entered a partnership with Kind Financial to create an entity that will obtain government contracts to track seed-to-sale compliance in the legalized marijuana business. The new entity, Kind Government Solutions, will provide state, county and local municipalities with tracking information on marijuana sales to keep them in compliance with government regulations.
Feds Seek to Cut Software Costs and Expand Licenses
June 16, 2016
Software vendors who sell their wares to the U.S. government soon will face a significantly different marketing environment in terms of how federal agencies acquire the programs and technologies that keep IT systems going. Federal agencies spent nearly $9 billion in 2015 on software, and the OMB has directed them to adopt practices that will simplify and streamline software acquisition.
FCC Wins Huge Net Neutrality Victory Over Big Telecom
June 14, 2016
An appellate court on Tuesday handed a major victory to the FCC by upholding the Open Internet Order, which ensures equal access to the Internet. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the FCC's right to impose Net neutrality rules that essentially prevent big telecom and broadband companies from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking service.
The Tricky Business of Crafting Solid Cloud SLAs
June 10, 2016
In the five years since the U.S. government put a clear emphasis on utilizing cloud technology, federal procurement offices have engaged in seemingly endless tinkering of contracting vehicles to promote cloud adoption. The core element of virtually every type of federal cloud procurement contract is the service level agreement, upon which billions of dollars of cloud investments are based.
Snowden and the NSA Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
June 8, 2016
Edward Snowden made a greater effort than originally believed to raise his concerns within the NSA before releasing thousands of classified documents detailing programs that allowed the agency to spy on U.S. citizens. The truth is more complex than the NSA let on, according to a report based on documents secured through two years of Freedom of Information Act litigation.
Supreme Court Snubs Google's AdWords Appeal
June 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Google's appeal of a lower court ruling in a suit alleging the company used deceptive practices in the sale and placement of advertising through its AdWords program between 2004 and 2008. Google, a unit of Alphabet, sought to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals September 2015 ruling that the lawsuit could go forward as a class action case.
Yahoo Publishes NSLs Following Freedom Act Reforms
June 6, 2016
Yahoo last week published the text of three National Security Letters it received from the FBI in 2013. The letters demand the names, addresses, length of service, and electronic communications transactional records -- existing transaction and activity logs and all email header information -- of the targets. However, they do not ask for any content -- either the subject lines or bodies of emails.
Silicon Valley Debates Thiel's Money Man Role in Gawker Suit
May 31, 2016
The digital media world was abuzz last week when news surfaced that billionaire Peter Thiel had provided financial backing for a defamation lawsuit against Gawker Media. The suit stemmed from Gawker's publication of a sex tape involving ex-WWE superstar Terry Bollea, better known as "Hulk Hogan." A Florida jury awarded Bollea $140 million in March.
Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Facebook Tweaks Trending Topics Out of Abundance of Caution
May 26, 2016
Facebook this week said it would make several procedural changes to its Trending Topics feature to quell concerns that the results could be steered in a particular political direction, even though it has found no evidence of bias. The company will retrain workers in the Trending Topics department and institute additional oversight and control to make sure trending stories are selected fairly.
Vendors Gain Congressional Support on IT Pricing
May 23, 2016
Selling information technology to the U.S. government is never easy, and it's even harder when a vendor cannot highlight the qualitative differences it believes separates its competencies from other providers competing for the same work. Yet a major contracting tool federal agencies use in seeking IT products and services tends to smother those differences in skills and competencies.
Google Patents Tech to Limit Injuries in Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents
May 20, 2016
The United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week granted Google a patent for "Adhesive Vehicle Front End For Mitigation of Secondary Pedestrian Impact." The patent application, filed a year and a half ago, credits Google employees Alex Khaykin and Daniel Lynn Larner as the inventors of the new technology. This latest patent grant is for "a system for protecting a colliding object from a secondary impact."
Google Challenges Right to Be Forgotten in French High Court
May 20, 2016
Google on Thursday filed an appeal with France's supreme administrative court over an order from a privacy regulator requiring it to scrub certain search results around the world under a law called "the right to be forgotten." The March order from the CNIL requires Google and other search engines to delist the information of Europeans that shows up in searches for their name.
Google Boots Ads for Predatory Payday Lenders
May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.
Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints
May 12, 2016
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.
Tweet Tracker Spurns US Intelligence Agencies
May 10, 2016
Twitter reportedly has blocked U.S. intelligence agencies from accessing information from Dataminr, a firm that tracks tweets in real time to provide actionable information for financial, media, security and other types of institutional clients. The block suggests Twitter is unwilling to cooperate with government agencies on intelligence gathering. Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr.
India Rejects Apple's iPhone Retread Plan
May 4, 2016
India's telecommunications ministry has rejected Apple's proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Officials apparently based their rejection of the proposal on rules that prohibit importing used electronics. The country's environmental ministry nixed a similar request last year. With smartphone sales starting to stall, India could become an important market for Apple.
WhatsApp Goes Through Judicial Revolving Door in Brazil
May 3, 2016
A Brazilian court on Tuesday overturned a different court's Monday order that blocked WhatsApp, the messaging site owned by Facebook, amid a criminal investigation into drug trafficking in the state of Sergipe. The earlier judicial demand that WhatsApp provide data considered critical to the investigation came soon after a ramp-up in the level of encryption built into the app.
Law Affords More Protection to PINs Than Prints
May 3, 2016
A federal magistrate in Los Angeles ordered the girlfriend of an alleged gang member to open her phone using her fingerprint so prosecutors could look at the data on it for a case they were working on, according to a news report published last week. After Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan pleaded no contest to identity theft, a judge issued a warrant to force her to press her finger to her iPhone to open it.
Supreme Court Grants Federal Agents Broader Surveillance Authority
May 3, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has approved a series of amendments to the federal rules of criminal procedure that would let judges issue search warrants for computers located outside their jurisdiction. Chief Justice John Roberts announced the changes in the Court's interpretation of the rules. They would allow a judge to issue warrants to search for electronic evidence at remote sites, for example.
Getty Images Takes Google Grievances to EU
April 29, 2016
Getty Images on Wednesday filed a competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission. The company last year filed an "interested third party" submission in support of the EC's investigation into Google's anticompetitive business practices. Getty's complaint, in essence, is that Google Images facilitates piracy of high-res copyrighted content.
FBI Says Its Hands Are Tied on Revealing iPhone Crack Details
April 28, 2016
The FBI on Wednesday confirmed its decision not to inform Apple of how it hacked into the encrypted iPhone used in last December's San Bernardino terrorist attack. The bureau was investigating the possibility that deceased shooters Syed Farook, who used the iPhone, and his wife may have had links to other terrorist plots. It also was searching for evidence tying the two to ISIS.
IT Execs Join Federal Cybersecurity Panel
April 28, 2016
Key components of the Obama administration's multipronged cybersecurity initiative keep falling into place. One of the most recent developments was the formation of a federal Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Another was the formal introduction in Congress of the administration's information technology investment plan, which is heavily tilted toward cybersecurity protection.
Tech, Auto Honchos Join Forces to Push Self-Driving Cars
April 27, 2016
Some major players in both the new and old economies on Tuesday announced an alliance to pave the way for self-driving cars in America. Ford, Google, Lyft, Uber and Volvo raised the curtain on their Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, which will work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to raise awareness of the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.
Regulators Impose Caveats on Charter TWC Merger Approval
April 27, 2016
Federal regulators on Monday approved Charter Communications' $78 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks, but with a number of tough conditions. The Justice Department filed a settlement agreement to block the new company from enforcing any deal that makes it harder for online video distributors to get video content from programmers.
Apple's Books, Movies Fall Victim to Chinese Crackdown
April 25, 2016
The Chinese government ordered Apple to shut down its iBooks and iTunes Movies services in the country, according to news reports published last week. China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television reportedly called for the closure. The government in February announced a policy banning all foreign media from publishing in China without direct approval.
Volkswagen Agrees to Fix or Buy Back Dirty Diesel Cars
April 22, 2016
Volkswagen has reached an agreement to repair or replace about 500,000 diesel cars in the U.S., according to court documents released Thursday. The cars were equipped with software designed to deceive emissions tests. Under the agreement, announced Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Volkswagen will pay back an undetermined amount of money to owners of the affected vehicles.
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Code42
About Russia's possible involvement in Democratic Party hack attacks:
It's highly unlikely that Russia orchestrated the attacks.
Russia is behind them, and they're a threat to U.S. democracy.
Blaming Russia is just a distraction from damaging leaks.
Russia's meddling won't have much effect.
If they can expose Clinton, more power to the Russians.
Trump's encouragement of Russian cyberspying was irresponsible.