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JEDI Mind Games
August 15, 2018
During the same week it was sued by irate investors over progress moving its customer base to the cloud, Oracle protested a procurement process for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The lawsuit will take a long time to resolve, and it's difficult to see how the plaintiffs can prove their case -- but in comparison, the Department of Defense's procurement will run at light speed.
Def Con Voting Machine Hacks Ruffle Feathers
August 14, 2018
Hackers cracked into a wide array of voting equipment Def Con's Voting Village, an event held Friday at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, conference goers hacked five machines and an e-poll book of registered voters. This year, in addition to voting machines, tabulators and smart card readers were available for hacking. Websites weren't off limits, either.
What Can Chrome 68 Teach Us About Election Security?
August 13, 2018
If you're a technologist, you've probably noticed a few new things associated with Chrome 68's release last month. One of the more notable changes is that it now uses a "not secure" indicator for any site not using HTTPS. So instead of providing a notification when a site is HTTPS, it now provides the user with a warning when it isn't. One of those groups is users of government websites.
Homeland Security Unveils Center to Combat Cyberthreats
August 1, 2018
DHS has announced the National Risk Management Center, part of a new effort to combat cyberthreats to the U.S. The new agency's mission will be to defend the critical infrastructure through greater cooperation between the public and private sectors. The center will bring together government experts and industry partners to work out ways that the government can support the partners.
DoD Launches JEDI Program Amid Cloud Provider Criticism
August 1, 2018
The U.S. Department of Defense has decided to bet on the cloud for much of its future information technology operations -- presenting significant opportunities for cloud service providers and related IT suppliers. However, DoD's latest foray into cloud technology has stimulated significant criticism. DoD released its final RFP for the JEDI program last week.
Russian Hackers Have Invaded Hundreds of US Utilities: Report
July 25, 2018
Hundreds of U.S. utilities were penetrated by Russian hackers who could have disrupted the nation's power grid. The attacks were launched last year by threat actors sponsored by the Russian government, according to a report. The hackers used Black Hat tools such as phishing and waterhole traps to obtain credentials from legitimate users and leverage them to gain access to the utilities.
Feds Seem to Favor 'Light Touch' IoT Regulation
July 24, 2018
The Internet of Things may be in its infancy, but the U.S. government has been gearing up to determine what the proper federal role should be, both for encouraging and for regulating the use of IoT technology. Two recent developments have underscored the government's interest in IoT. On the regulatory front, the CPSC has launched an initiative to determine a framework for regulation.
Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments?
July 16, 2018
Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I'm not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations. There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft's suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an IoT host.
A Trade War in the Cloud?
July 14, 2018
So far, the looming trade war is limited to actions and reactions related to durable things that trade throughout the global economy. Will that remain the battleground? Or should we expect greater contentiousness around services -- specifically, SaaS, and CRM in particular? Retaliation for U.S. trade initiatives so far has been aimed at things produced by Trump-leaning industries and states.
Will MVNO Worries Complicate T-Mobile, Sprint Merger?
July 12, 2018
T-Mobile and Sprint have embarked on the road to a merger, creating some consternation among competitors. One concern that the combined company would have too much power as a mobile virtual network operator -- possibly controlling as much as 40 percent of the MVNO marketplace. The question is, should regulators require the new company to do something about this prior to approving the deal?
US Lawmakers Eye Apple, Alphabet Data Privacy Practices
July 11, 2018
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has written Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook demanding information on their companies' practices with regard to third-party access, audio and location data collection. "This is a huge issue," said Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson. "People are becoming aware of how much data about them is being sucked up by their smartphones."
Polar Flow Fitness App Exposes Soldiers, Spies
July 10, 2018
A popular fitness app provided a convenient map for anyone interested in shadowing government personnel who exercised in secret locations, including intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world. The fitness app, Polar Flow, publicized more data about its users in a more accessible way than comparable apps, investigators found.
EU Watchdog Accuses Facebook, Google of Privacy Shenanigans
June 29, 2018
Facebook and Google have manipulated users into sharing data using so-called "dark patterns," according to a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council. The practices nudged users toward accepting privacy options that favored the tech companies rather than themselves, the NCC found. Facebook and Google have no intention of providing users with an actual choice, the NCC has claimed.
Trump Promotes Technology Business Management for Federal IT Acquisitions
June 28, 2018
Vendors seeking to crack the largest single global customer for information technology -- the U.S. government -- should keep a sharp eye on the ever-changing contract landscape. One of the recent changes initiated by the Trump administration for managing federal IT contracting focuses on the use of technology business management to improve the IT acquisition process.
What Net Neutrality's Repeal Means to E-Commerce SMBs
June 27, 2018
E-commerce SMBs are likely to be hit hard by the United States Federal Communications Commission's repeal of Net neutrality earlier this month. The move will let Internet service providers block and manipulate Internet usage and discriminate against users at will, according to critics. Various public interest groups have challenged the FCC's repeal of Net neutrality in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The CLOUD Act's Dramatic Impact on International Privacy Laws
June 7, 2018
Just when the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, was about to go into effect, the United States Congress created the CLOUD Act. Without any public hearings, review or public comment, Congress passed the legislation as part of the $1.3 trillion government spending bill. The CLOUD Act changed the privacy provisions that previously were in effect.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Feds Open Probe Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation: Report
May 25, 2018
The DoJ and the CFTC have opened a joint criminal investigation into price manipulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a report. The illicit tactics reportedly being investigated include spoofing and wash trading. Bitcoin's share prices have been fluctuating wildly over the past year, ranging from $1,800 to almost $20,000, leading to rumors of price manipulation.
FBI Declaws Russian Fancy Bear Botnet
May 25, 2018
The FBI has disrupted a network of half a million routers compromised by the group of Russian hackers believed to have penetrated the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 elections, according to reports. The hacker group, known as "Fancy Bear," has been using a malware program called "VPN Filter" to compromise home and small office routers.
Cloud Providers Look for Legal Loopholes to Protect Customer Data
May 17, 2018
U.S.-based providers of e-commerce resources, including cloud services, must release foreign-held customer information to law enforcement agencies under a new law. Providers have strongly objected to releasing customer information residing outside the U.S. for fear of violating the privacy laws of other countries. The providers noted a potential "staggering" loss of international customers.
SCOTUS Opens Stalls for Online Sports Bettors
May 16, 2018
Hundreds of millions of dollars soon could start flowing into online betting emporiums due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to regulate sports wagering. "Right now there's a tremendous black market for illegal, offshore sports book being offered to U.S. citizens," said Matthew Kalish, CRO of DraftKings. "We think it's in the range of $150 billion being waged that way right now."
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies, Part 2
May 15, 2018
Several countries -- including the United States, France and Germany -- have pointed a finger at Russia for meddling in their elections. Russia used social media as a big part of that effort. Facebook has been scrambling to win back the public's trust since the Russia and Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it's not clear what exactly hostile nation states have been up to on social media.
Senate Action on Net Neutrality Could Change the Debate
May 11, 2018
All 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have expressed support for a resolution to save Net neutrality, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, under the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is a legislative tool that lets Congress reverse federal regulations via a simple majority vote. For the resolution to become law, it also would need support from a majority of House members as well as the president's signature.
Publishers Protest Google's 'Troubling' GDPR Policy
May 2, 2018
Four trade groups representing 4,000 publishers have blasted Google's approach to compliance with Europe's upcoming GDPR. The new rules are set to take effect at the end of the month. Under its new GDPR-compliant policy, Google, as a provider of digital advertising services to publishers, will have sole control over data sent to it by publishers or collected from publishers' websites.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
What's Next With Facebook?
April 27, 2018
Facebook and other social networks appear to have crossed the line with respect to privacy and censorship. Facebook has been accused of helping one side while hiding the other side in many important debates. It has been accused of exposing the personal information of its users, violating their privacy. These perceptions are problems that must be fixed. What's the next step?
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Federal Programs to Spur Private Sector IT Engagement
April 20, 2018
The U.S. government has launched two new programs designed to modernize and upgrade IT performance at federal agencies. Each program will involve significant participation of private sector providers as both advisors and contractors for IT equipment and services. The first program involves the creation of a federal Information Technology Modernization Fund to facilitate IT investments.
Facebook Rolls Out European-Style Privacy Protections
April 19, 2018
Facebook has unveiled a comprehensive series of privacy enhancements designed to extend protections required by the European Union's GDPR to all of the social media company's users around the world. The updates, which include major changes to the company's terms and data policies, fulfill promises CEO Mark Zuckerberg made to House and Senate members in Washington D.C., Facebook officials said.
The Electronics Industry: A Pawn in the US vs. China Chess Game
April 19, 2018
Rising tensions between China and the United States have led to growing concerns that a tariff war will have a negative impact on the electronics industry. Amazingly, the industry has been spared thus far, and with good reason. However, even if tariffs aren't imposed, there is a silent battle between the two countries that already has impacted the global electronics ecosystem.
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