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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.
Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle Among 34 Firms to Join Cybersecurity Tech Accord
April 18, 2018
Microsoft, Oracle and Facebook, along with 31 other companies, have signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, an agreement aimed at defending against cyberattacks, whether coming from rogue hackers or nation-states. The 34 tech firms committed to stronger defenses, no offensive attacks, capacity building and collective action. Security remains a major issue in the tech world.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies
April 16, 2018
Facebook has been in seriously hot water for its data monetization model almost from the firm's beginning. The Cambridge Analytica, election meddling and fake news scandals have turned up the heat. Facebook's problems aren't limited to the public and government backlash that spans several countries; the firm faces potentially devastating legal threats too.
Facebook and Google Could Be Nationalized in 5-10 Years
April 16, 2018
After I considered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Senate and House committee hearings last week, it became very clear to me -- and I expect many in Congress -- that social media companies need to be regulated. However, I think this is only a step in the path that governments -- and I do mean more than the U.S. -- will take to ensure their effectiveness and protect their people.
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.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
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Does it matter to you if products you purchase are manufactured in another country?
Yes, and I will pay more for a domestically produced product.
Yes, but my shopping decisions won't change anything, so I do what's best for me.
I care, but it's impossible to keep track of where everything is made.
I want the best quality and price, regardless of country of origin.
It depends on the country. Some are OK, some aren't.
It depends on the company. I'll buy from a reputable non-domestic brand.