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Amazon Clears FCC Hurdle to Satellite Network
August 6, 2020
Amazon has cleared a major regulatory hurdle in its quest to deliver Internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the earth. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved, with some conditions, Amazon's Kuiper Project, a US$10 billion low-orbit constellation made up of more than 3,000 satellites.
Congress vs. Big Tech: Breaking Up Is Hard (and Stupid) to Do
August 3, 2020
Like a lot of you, last week I watched the congressional testimony from the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google -- and there were a lot of apparent things that were problematic. One is that there are folks in Congress that likely shouldn't be in Congress, and another is that each company has some serious issues they haven't dealt with.
US Makes $57B Available to Small and Disadvantaged IT Providers
July 30, 2020
U.S. government agencies will remain active in the information technology market, despite the impact of COVID-19 on agency operations. In fact, there is evidence that the occurrence of the virus has spurred agencies to improve IT resources. For example, the General Services Administration in early July launched a new contracting vehicle offering a potential US$50 billion in federal acquisition of IT products and services.
New DoD Security Regulations Have Ramifications for IT Contractors
July 7, 2020
With billions of dollars of federal contracts at stake, information technology providers are being swept up in the tide of a new U.S. Department of Defense information security requirement that will become mandatory for IT providers and other companies doing business with DoD. While IT companies already incorporate data protection elements in the products and services they provide to DoD, the department is raising the bar on the way vendors should handle information security.
DHS Brings Web App to Coronavirus Fight
July 7, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security, through its Science & Technology Directorate, has released a web app to help predict the decay rate of coronavirus in the air. The tool, entitled "Estimated Airborne Decay of SARS-CoV-2," accounts for the ambient temperature, relative humidity, and UV index in an outdoor environment to determine how much exposure time is required to "inactivate" certain proportions of aerosolized coronavirus.
The Strange, Meandering Journey to Online Speech Regulation
June 12, 2020
There has been a lot of debate in the public sphere around the degree and kind of legal regulation a society should apply to online speech. While the dialogue has become more intense and urgent in the last few years, the effort to impose limits on Internet speech has been contentious from the start. At present, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is undergoing reconsideration.
Verint Automates Management of Return-to-Work Health Practices
June 10, 2020
Verint has announced new capabilities within its workforce management solution that automate compliance with CDC guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection as employees transition back to the workplace. New workflows automatically create a comprehensive schedule that is prescriptive, while including traditional workforce management criteria such as skill level, channels and peak hours.
'New Normal' Security Era Begins for US Agencies, Cloud Providers
June 4, 2020
U.S. government agencies and cloud technology providers are heading toward a reset in how they cooperate on cybersecurity challenges. The expected growth of cloud use will create a more complex federal security landscape, according to a report from Thales. Federal agencies actually have moved ahead of businesses in cloud adoption, with 54 percent of agency data already embedded in the cloud.
Jack Dorsey and the End of Twitter
June 1, 2020
I'm a member of what is likely a reasonably sizable informal group of people who trained to be a CEO but declined the job -- in my case, several times. So I don't envy the position that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in as he tries to figure out a way to do the right thing concerning the spread of false information and defend his company against an attack by the designated leader of the free world.
Influx of E-Com Sales? Now's the Time for 2021 Tax Planning
May 29, 2020
Consumer spending has shifted even more heavily from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic. Many retailers are pivoting to e-commerce shops for the first time, and established online retailers are experiencing sizable growth. Businesses that are seeing the highest uptick are those selling "essentials" -- including groceries, office supplies and more.
Apple-Google Contact Tracing App Gets First Trial in Switzerland
May 29, 2020
Switzerland has launched a pilot program for SwissCovid, a contact tracing app based on Apple and Google's jointly developed APIs. The APIs will work with iOS 13.5 and devices running Android 6.0 or higher. The pilot involves several thousand workers at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, ETH Zurich, the Swiss Army, and staff at some hospitals and cantonal administrations.
Necessity May Give Us a Virtual Court System
May 25, 2020
One of the exciting things that came out of Microsoft Build was that the company has been working to create virtual court solutions. If done right, a virtual system could fix a lot of court-related problems. It would allow judges to work around their schedules better and give attorneys improved access to online resources. It also might provide a way for jurors to improve their understanding.
Apple Gingerly Sets More Stores to Reopen
May 19, 2020
Apple has reopened nearly 100 of its retail outlets around the world and plans to open another 25 in the U.S. and 12 in Canada. All of its retail stores previously were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we're confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores," noted Apple SVP of Retail Deirdre O'Brien.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 4: Fighting the Power
May 15, 2020
Category 2 adversaries are nothing to sneeze at, but their resources are finite. If you armor up enough, they will give up, and move onto an easier comparable target. In confronting the threat of category 3, everything you have learned ratchets up to a whole new level of paranoia. Category 3 adversaries have functionally unlimited resources for pursuing top targets.
Facebook Sets Up Political Advocacy Group as High-Tech Teeters on Edge
May 13, 2020
Facebook has set up American Edge, a political advocacy group for the high-tech industry, which is drawing scrutiny from United States lawmakers. American Edge will fund ad campaigns and studies by academics to push its efforts. Facebook is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to build support for the tech industry. It formed American Edge as a nonprofit organization in December.
IBM's Strategic Approach to Diversity
May 11, 2020
IBM's outgoing CEO Ginni Rometty gave a compelling talk at IBM Think last week on how the company is fighting strategically for diversity. I know of only one other company, Cisco, that is taking a genuinely holistic, strategic view of the problem, resulting in a broad positive impact. The reason I can name only two companies is that most are taking a tactical approach.
Far-Right Spreads COVID-19 Disinformation Epidemic Online
May 5, 2020
Far-right groups and individuals in the United States are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to promote disinformation, hate, extremism and authoritarianism. "COVID-19 has been seized by far-right groups as an opportunity to call for extreme violence," states a report from ISD, based on a combination of natural language processing, network analysis and ethnographic online research.
We're the Adults in the Room
April 15, 2020
The U.S. Postal Service recently has been battered by a decline in the number of packages it delivers, partly caused by the coronavirus situation. It reportedly is losing $2 billion each month and will be "illiquid" by Sept. 30. The USPS is chartered to do the hard and often unprofitable work no one else wants to do, but the White House has rejected talk of a bailout for the service.
USPS Collapse Could Be Nightmare for Some Businesses
April 15, 2020
As a result of the pandemic, USPS, which has run at a loss for years, is even more cash-strapped. It expects to lose $2 billion each month during the pandemic. That prompted Postmaster General Megan Brennan to ask Congress for $50 billion in funds -- $25 billion to offset lost revenue from declining mail volume due to the pandemic, and another $25 billion for modernization.
The Pandemic's Toll on Privacy Laws
April 6, 2020
Life as we knew it before the coronavirus is gone forever, and many changes will manifest in the pandemic's aftermath. How will it impact privacy laws around the globe? No one knows for sure, and we will not know until after the coronavirus is behind us. Cybercriminals long have been taking advantage of the Internet, and now the spread of COVID-19 has sped up their evil work.
Government COVID-19 Responses: 3 Massive Mistakes, 1 Huge Success
April 6, 2020
People don't trust their governments for a good reason. Governments lie to them regularly. In the ongoing COVID-19 event, we in the U.S. initially were told that there was little risk. The first 15 people who came to the U.S. with the virus soon would get well. We were advised to go about our day -- and many people did. They got on planes, departed for cruises, and went about their lives.
Coronavirus Threat Sparks Revolt at Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart
April 2, 2020
Amazon has promised to check temperatures and provide surgical masks for workers at its fulfillment centers and Whole Foods grocery stores starting next week. Instacart workers have not received similar promises. The news came in the midst of brewing turmoil among employees. Some full-time and contract workers at Whole Foods, Amazon and Instacart walked out or called in sick on Monday and Tuesday.
Fast Coronavirus Test Gets Emergency FDA Approval
March 31, 2020
Abbott will deliver 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day to healthcare workers, starting Wednesday, using its modified ID NOW testing process. Bringing rapid coronavirus testing capacity to the medical front lines is crucial in the battle to flatten the rising death and infection curve worldwide. The FDA issued emergency authorization for the point-of-care test.
COVID-19 Outbreak: Thoughts From the Stay-at-Home Front
March 23, 2020
Steps can be taken to mitigate the threat of spreading the coronavirus to folks who are sheltering at home. In many cases delivery drivers don't seem to have any protection, and if it's necessary to sign for something, customers are expected to touch a stylus or a screen that has been used by others. Drivers should be practicing social distancing, setting down packages at least six feet away.
Shop Safe Act Targets E-Commerce Counterfeiters
March 4, 2020
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation that aims to protect online shoppers from purchasing counterfeit goods. The proposed Shop Safe Act would establish trademark liability for companies that sell counterfeits that pose a risk to consumer health and safety. It also would impose requirements online platforms to curb counterfeiting.
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.
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.
Viewing the 2020 Presidential Race Through a Competitive Analysis Lens
February 17, 2020
Back in the 1980s, I was a competitive analyst for IBM, and it was one of the most interesting jobs I ever held. The practice largely has died out, but at the time we were like the corporate version of the CIA. Since I'd been an internal auditor as well -- which is somewhat like the corporate version of the FBI -- I was a rarity. Few people serve in both agencies.
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.
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Women in Tech
Which Big Tech CEO that testified at the Congressional Antitrust Hearing on July 29 is the most trustworthy?
Jeff Bezos of Amazon
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
Sundar Pichai of Google
Tim Cook of Apple
All of them are equally trustworthy to some extent.
None of them are trustworthy whatsoever.