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Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
Disney Debuts ESPN+ Streaming Sports Service
April 13, 2018
Disney has introduced EPSN+, an all-in-one, direct-to-consumer premium streaming service that offers thousands of live sporting events as well as original series and films. ESPN+ is the first such premium service from The Walt Disney Company's Direct-To-Consumer and International Group through a partnership with ESPN. The release of ESPN+ coincides with the release of the free ESPN App.
UC Has a Bright Future as the Next Generation of Business Communications
April 12, 2018
Unified communications is coming on strong and growing fast. It is positioned as the next big step forward in the communications industry, both wireline and wireless. In the past, companies of every size had to have telephone gear -- like an expensive and complicated private branch exchange -- that was paid for, installed and continually updated. The rise of UC has replaced that burden.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
The Power of Social Media and the Coming Repeal of the 2nd Amendment
April 2, 2018
One of the most powerful political organizations in the U.S. is the National Rifle Association. The president of the United States recently claimed he wasn't afraid of the NRA, only to have an NRA spokesperson -- not the president himself -- later announce that the president had changed his mind. It was painful to watch the most powerful man in the free world be treated like a small child.
Trump Rails at Amazon Over Taxes, USPS, Local Retail
March 30, 2018
President Trump fired off a tweet critical of Amazon, implying that the administration may be mulling some type of regulatory action. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, one of the top newspapers in the U.S. and a major thorn in the president's side. Trump recently has been "obsessing" over the company and exploring different regulatory possibilities, according to reports.
FTC Signals Tougher Stance on Mobile Privacy Protection
March 29, 2018
Mobile device makers and telecom service providers need to make significant privacy protection improvements for their customers, says the FTC. Its recent report could become the basis for agency enforcement actions -- not only for smartphones, but also for other mobile devices. "The report is a clear signal to the industry to focus on this issue," said Gerard Stegmaier, a partner at Reed Smith.
US Charges 9 Iranians in Massive Academic Research Theft
March 27, 2018
The DoJ has charged nine Iranian nationals for engaging in a massive phishing campaign on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The allegations include the theft of $3.4 billion in research and intellectual property from 320 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as from 47 foreign and domestic companies, plus several federal agencies, state governments, and the UN.
Women-Owned Firms More Active on Social Nets
March 27, 2018
Small businesses use social media extensively, suggest the results of a recent Clutch survey of 351 U.S. firms with fewer than 500 employees. Overall, 71 percent of the respondents used social media for business purposes, and those affiliated with firms owned by women reported heavier use. "By nature, women tend to be more social," observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Chaos Threatens Tech Takeover
March 26, 2018
The tech world experienced more insanity last week. We finally got confirmation from AMD that the CTS Labs security report was a tempest in a teapot, but the big question remained unanswered. A self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian, but we didn't ask the right questions. Facebook admitted that it gave our information to a bad actor, and we forgot what really would wake up Zuckerberg.
The Social Utility
March 24, 2018
If you study economic cycles, you can watch the evolution of a disruptive technology throughout its lifecycle, from a specific product to a competitive industry. The last phase in the evolutionary chain is the formation of a utility. For example, over a couple of centuries we've seen the evolution of electricity from a curiosity, to a business, to a group of public companies.
Brit Lawmakers Want Cambridge Analytica's Nix to Explain a Few Things
March 23, 2018
British lawmakers want Alexander Nix, the suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, to return to Parliament for additional questioning in its fake news inquiry. The Parliament's probe led to disclosures that Facebook had allowed Cambridge Analytica unauthorized access to up to 50 million user records, igniting a firestorm over user data privacy and possible U.S. voter manipulation.
Facebook Swelters in Cambridge Analytica Heat
March 22, 2018
CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke Facebook's mysterious silence following news of investigations into Cambridge Analytica's access to personal data belonging to 50 million Facebook users. Facing the wrath of everyone from U.S. and European regulators to shareholders, customers and employees, Zuckerberg conceded that Facebook must make several changes if it expects to be taken seriously in the future.
Facebook Faces Multiple Government Probes in Massive Data Scandal
March 20, 2018
EU, UK and U.S. officials have ratcheted up the pressure on Facebook over a user data scandal that threatens to engulf the company. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, summed up the stakes in a tweet on Tuesday: "Facebook needs to clarify before the representatives of 500 million Europeans that personal data is not being used to manipulate democracy."
California Weighs Tough Net Neutrality State Law
March 19, 2018
A California legislator has fleshed out the details in legislation that would provide comprehensive Net neutrality protection. Sen. Scott Wiener last week offered an amended version of a bill he introduced earlier this year, which essentially prohibits ISPs from engaging in any practice that would manipulate or hinder consumer access to certain content, devices or services.
Google to Weed Out Cryptocurrency Ads
March 15, 2018
Google has said it will stop serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content in June. The ban includes, but is not limited to, initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice. Google also will bar aggregators and affiliates from serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content. Facebook adopted a similar policy earlier this year.
German Court's Privacy Ruling Against Facebook Will Have Far-Reaching Effects
March 14, 2018
Facebook has millions of users in the European Union, and a German court recently ruled against the company in a case involving its Privacy Policy. Few ever read privacy policies except judges, who must examine them when challenges arise. The new EU General Data Protection Regulations, which go into effect on May 25, will make things even more complicated. If you have any customers who are EU residents, the new GDPR will impact you.
Data Storage, Privacy and Metaphysics: SC Weighs Arguments in MS Case
March 13, 2018
How far does the long arm of U.S. law enforcement extend when government agencies seek electronically processed information? The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed that issue in an intriguing session covering global electronic connectivity, the law, and the significance of national borders. The discussion came during last month's oral arguments in U.S. v. Microsoft.
Most Companies Have No Idea Where They Are Going
March 5, 2018
Dell recently collaborated with the Institute for the Future -- an interesting think tank largely driven by futurists, which focuses on helping firms ride future waves rather than being killed by them -- on a survey that creates a frightening view of 2030. It could be far closer to Terminator than the utopia we once hoped for. I think more companies should go through a process like this.
SC Justices to Hear Arguments in Microsoft, DoJ Data Privacy Face-Off
February 27, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments in a landmark case over whether federal law enforcement can force Microsoft to hand over email stored in an overseas data center as evidence in a drug-trafficking case. The case, United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation, which dates back to 2013, is viewed as a potentially groundbreaking showdown over data privacy.
FCC's Final Rule on Net Neutrality Sparks Legal Challenges
February 23, 2018
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially published its Net neutrality rollback order in the Federal Register, triggering a flurry of legal actions and Capitol Hill scrambling to stop it before it takes hold. The order, which goes into effect on April 23, reverses an Obama era rule requiring that broadband access be regarded as a utility.
Vendors Await $50B 'Tsunami' of US Telecom Contracts
February 20, 2018
The U.S. government has modernized telecom and supporting IT twice within the last 20 years -- but not without controversy, delays and costly project management. A third modernization currently is under way, under the direction of the federal GSA. The potential value of contracts issued to vendors under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program is $50 billion over 15 years.
Silicon Valley's Corrupt Underbelly: It's Far Worse Than We Thought
February 19, 2018
After addressing the topic of sexual harassment and misconduct in Silicon Valley last month, I finally got my hands on a copy of Brotopia, an eye-opening new book, and a lot of executives should be happy I did not pursue my career in law enforcement. Otherwise I would be working my butt off to get them off the streets behind bars. Everyone connected to tech should read this book.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
The 3 Faces of Customer Care
February 8, 2018
Companies are run by people. Some do a great job of putting the customer first and growing, which ultimately rewards investors. Others don't. Some first focus on investors and numbers, simply not caring about or taking care of the customer. That approach can have a serious and long-term negative impact on the company. Following are several examples of what some companies are doing right and wrong.
SEC, Senators Lean Toward Tighter Cryptocurrency Regulation
February 7, 2018
Federal securities regulators and Senate Banking Committee members on Tuesday signaled that additional regulation may be necessary in the rapidly growing area of virtual currency. "The cryptocurrency and ICO markets, while new, have grown rapidly, gained greater prominence in the public conscience and attracted significant capital from retail investors," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
Will 2018 Be the Year of Reckoning for Online Tax Collection?
February 6, 2018
The United States Supreme Court recently decided to revisit Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which basically allowed states to collect taxes on online sales only from sellers that had a physical presence within their boundaries. Brick-and-mortar retailers for years have argued that the ruling puts them at a competitive disadvantage. At least 35 states have been urging a reconsideration of Quill.
SAP to Forge Stronger Links With $2.4B Callidus Buy
February 2, 2018
SAP has agreed to acquire Callidus Software for about $2.4 billion to improve back-office to front-office links. The transaction is expected to close in Q2 2018, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. SAP will get Callidus Software's CallidusCloud, which offers a full suite of sales performance management and configure-price-quote solutions.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Resist: Don't Sign That AT&T Contract
February 1, 2018
This is a call for resistance that has nothing to do with politics. It's coming from someone who unwittingly walked into a virtual jail cell that was disguised as a DirecTV contract. I'll be behind bars for another 23 months, and I'm counting the days. Please don't take this as a rant or as an attempt to pressure AT&T, DirecTV's parent company, into appeasing me. That ship has sailed.
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