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AI in the Courts: The Jury Is Out
February 20, 2020
A session on the role of emerging technologies in the courtroom was part of last month's New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City. "Emerging Technologies in Litigation" included a panel of local and federal judges as well as an e-discovery researcher and emerging technology attorney. The group discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the courtroom.
5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Amazon Vendor Negotiations
February 18, 2020
That time of year is upon us once again, and stress levels for Amazon vendors are starting to build. The arrival of spring means renegotiating your vendor terms with Amazon, which seem to grow stricter year-after-year. However, with more than 50 percent of all Amazon sales coming from third-party sellers, the pressure is also on for the other side of the table.
The Drones Are Coming
February 18, 2020
Spurred by everything from environmental concerns to the desire to avoid congested roads, companies are developing, testing, and beginning to implement a wide array of drone delivery systems. A number of practicalities need to be worked out before drone delivery becomes an everyday occurrence -- including regulations and drone technology itself -- but it's likely only a matter of time.
ACLU Blasts Clearview's Facial Recognition Accuracy Claims
February 14, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled criticisms against facial recognition tool developer Clearview for making misleading claims about the accuracy of its product. Clearview apparently has been telling law enforcement agencies that its technology underwent accuracy testing modeled on the ACLU's 2018 test of Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition tool.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Sprint T-Mobile Merger Gets Green Light
February 13, 2020
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers, can go forward with a $25 billion merger. The deal will not close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction, but clearing this latest hurdle moves the two companies one step closer to a merger that has been years in the making.
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
Oops - Google May Have Sent Your Embarrassing Private Video to a Stranger
February 5, 2020
Google misdirected a number of private videos that users of its Google Photos app intended to back up to Google Takeout, sending them instead to strangers' archives. The company emailed affected users to inform them that a technical issue caused the error. Google recommended that affected users back up their content again and delete their previous backup.
Fulfillment Cost-Cutting: Where, When and Why
February 1, 2020
E-commerce companies have seen phenomenal growth, thanks to the ease of starting a business in the digital sphere and to cost-effective processes. However, these firms often struggle with order fulfillment, which is a core aspect of business for online merchants. Customs, duties, shipping expenses, rerouting fulfillments -- these are just a few of the reasons online retailers are losing profits.
Feds Seek Restraining Orders in Robocall Cases
January 30, 2020
The DoJ has filed complaints in two landmark cases calling for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals alleged to have carried hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. "This is the first time the DoJ is taking legal action against anyone for facilitating fraudulent robocalls," said Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
COPRA May Be Coming, and It's Not Too Soon to Prepare
January 28, 2020
All eyes are on the West Coast as California reins in the unfettered collection, use and sale of the personal data consumers share as part of the bargain for "free" online services. For years this bargain has been explained in privacy policies that few people read, because there is not a lot of negotiating in the personal data market. The CCPA gives consumers revolutionary rights.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Could Ads Become Potent Weapons Against Streaming Piracy?
January 24, 2020
Though it no longer grabs many headlines, video piracy remains a major issue for pay-TV services, according to consumer research firm Parks Associates. If just 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers should discontinue paying for services by 2023, the loss in revenue to operators could approach $6 billion, according to the firm's report, "Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks, and Impact."
Grabbing the Cybersecurity and Privacy Problems by the Horns: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 3
January 23, 2020
Cybersecurity and privacy threats aren't confined to the tech world. They've cast their pall on the world in general. Computer viruses, malware and data leaks have become commonplace, personal privacy has become a bad joke, and cyberwar looms like a virtual mushroom cloud. What sometimes gets lost in the gloom are the many ways security professionals have been working to shore up cyberdefenses.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
Uber Tests Plan to Let Drivers Set Their Own Fares
January 22, 2020
Uber has launched a pilot program in California that lets drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento set their own fares for airport rides. Drivers can set a fare multiple on Uber's base, time, and distance rates for UberX and UberXL trips, according to the company. Drivers can increase the fare in 10 percent jumps up to five times Uber's base price.
Canonical Introduces Scalable Android-Based Cloud Platform
January 21, 2020
Canonical is deploying a scalable Android-based operating system for mobile and desktop enterprise applications from the cloud. The company just announced its Anbox Cloud containerized workload platform. Anbox Cloud allows apps to be streamed to any operating system or form factor. Its uses include cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing and mobile device virtualization.
Know Your Enemy: The Difficulty of Defining Deepfakes
January 21, 2020
Facebook recently promised that it would increase efforts to remove so-called "deepfake" videos, including content that included "misleading manipulated media." In addition to fears that deepfakes -- altered videos that appear to be authentic -- could impact the upcoming 2020 general election in the United States, there are growing concerns that they could ruin reputations and impact businesses.
Google CEO Adds His Voice to AI Regulation Debate
January 21, 2020
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, called for government regulation of artificial intelligence technology in a speech at Bruegel, a think tank in Brussels, and in an op-ed. There is no question in Pichai's mind that AI should be regulated, he said. The question is what will be the best approach. Sensible regulation should balance potential harm with potential good.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
Google Snaps Up Pointy to Help Main Street Stores Get Online
January 16, 2020
Google has inked a deal to acquire 6-year-old Ireland-based firm Pointy for $163 million. Pointy provides a $900 box with built-in cellular connectivity, which lets brick-and-mortar retailers list their stock online. It plugs into the retailer's barcode scanner and automatically obtains accurate product names and images for display on a Web page hosted by Pointy.
It's Crunch Time for California Consumer Privacy Act Compliance
January 15, 2020
The CCPA -- widely considered to be the toughest law in the U.S. regulating the collection, storage and use of personal information -- went into effect on Jan. 1. Rather than preparing for it, however, many businesses have taken a wait-and-see approach. This could be a serious mistake. The new law is similar in many respects to the EU's GDPR, which went into effect last spring.
'Black PR' Firms Line Their Pockets by Spreading Misinformation
January 9, 2020
PR companies long have been known for reshaping perceptions for their clients. Some now engage in "black PR" -- the calculated spread of misinformation online. Entrepreneur Peng Kuan Chin's company harvests online posts written in Chinese, reshapes them, and posts them on websites under its control. Thousands of fake social media accounts then spread this manipulated content across the Internet.
Few Households Have Taken the Gigabit Broadband Leap
January 7, 2020
Increasing numbers of connected devices in the home and greater consumption of streaming media are driving consumer demand for faster broadband speeds. In recent years providers have introduced greater service speeds, bundles and pricing models to address widespread consumer churn. The service speed average among U.S. broadband households has increased steadily over the last four years.
Is Privacy Possible in 2020?
December 27, 2019
The California Consumer Protection Act goes into effect in 2020, and other state and federal laws are on the horizon -- but is it possible that these state laws will really provide us privacy? How many readers take the time to read the privacy policy, or click agreement, when they download a new version of an app on their smartphone or tablet? Probably none. What are the consequences?
Using Technology to Fix the Flawed Impeachment Process
December 23, 2019
When the U.S. president was impeached last week, it surfaced the fact that impeachment, and particularly the removal of a U.S. president, is a process that doesn't work. Throughout U.S. history, there have been 45 presidents, and given that no one trains for that job, you'd figure several would have been removed for cause. However, impeachment has been attempted three times without a removal.
Tech Firms Join Forces to Create Smart Home Connectivity Standard
December 19, 2019
Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are teaming up on a new Internet Protocol-based standard for smart home device connectivity. Connected Home over IP will be an open source project. A working group will define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. The goal is to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services.
Providers Game System to Boost Broadband Speeds
December 17, 2019
A 10-year-old FCC program to ensure that ISPs deliver on their connection speed promises to consumers, has become unreliable. Companies including AT&T, Cox, Comcast and Verizon reportedly have been employing tactics to make their performance numbers look better than they actually are. "The FCC is friendly to operators currently," observed Parks Associates' Brett L. Sappington.
The Human Problems Underlying Intel's Diversity Report
December 16, 2019
When Intel released its diversity report last week, it got pounded for the lack of diversity in its executive staff. Intel is one of the few companies being transparent about diversity. Given that lack of diversity is the problem we want to solve, the bashing is stupid. It is only going to make it harder to address the problem. In effect, Intel did the right thing and was punished for it.
The Ever-Changing Face of E-Commerce: 1995-2020
December 12, 2019
E-commerce doesn't look the same today as it did in 1995. A company called "eBay" burst onto the scene that year, and Jeff Bezos shipped Amazon's first book order. That unleashed a flood of online shopping, and businesses and consumers never looked back. In the past two and a half decades, e-commerce revolutionized industries such as retail and supply chain.
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NICE inContact February 12 webinar
How worried are you about climate change?
I believe it will cause global catastrophe in my lifetime.
I'm very worried but I believe nations will come together to reverse it.
I'm very worried and I think the private sector is our best hope.
I'm somewhat worried but I don't think it will affect me much personally.
I've changed my own behavior to do what I can to help the planet.
I'm not worried -- it's a natural cycle.
I'm not worried -- it's a media hoax.
Amazon Advertising: Strategies to Drive Success
NICE inContact February 12 webinar
Salesforce is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2019 for Digital Commerce