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A Secret Strategy That Could Be Apple's Fatal Self-Inflicted Blow
December 9, 2019
Both Intel and a bunch of professors connected to Apple and the FTC came out in support of the Judge Koh verdict against Qualcomm, even though it had been shown that the foundational evidence was manufactured contrary to the wishes of the DoJ, DoD and other major government agencies. That was well after Qualcomm was identified as a critical part of the U.S. defense against Huawei's 5G dominance.
Your Smart TV Could Give Hackers a Window on Your World
December 6, 2019
Cybercriminals have discovered ways to compromise smart TVs, the FBI recently warned. Smart TV owners should do their due diligence to secure the devices, the bureau urged. Smart TVs are just as accessible to unauthorized parties as computers or other Internet-connected devices. Because many TVs now feature microphones and cameras, predators could commit serious privacy intrusions.
Twitter Sets Up Privacy Center but Moves to Skirt GDPR
December 4, 2019
Twitter's new Privacy Center will give users more clarity on what it does to protect the information people share. The center will host everything relevant to Twitter's privacy and data protection work, including initiatives, announcements, new privacy products and communication about security incidents, noted Twitter Data Protection Officer Damien Kieran and Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour.
EU Digital Czar to Probe Facebook's and Google's Data Wrangling
December 3, 2019
The European Union has launched a probe into how Google and Facebook gather, process, use and monetize data for advertising purposes. The European Commission has begun distributing questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google's and Facebook's data practices. Facebook and Google join Amazon as targets of the EU's "digital czar," Margrethe Vestager.
Thanks, Analysts, for Doing a High Risk, Low Reward Job
November 25, 2019
I'd like to dedicate this column to the analysts out there who are fighting the good fight -- who are risking their careers, reputations, and sometimes even their lives to do the right thing, often without credit, and knowing that doing the right thing can exact incredible personal costs. Being an analyst, I'm often reminded that other jobs depend on my doing my job right.
You Might Owe Cryptocurrency-Related Taxes
November 20, 2019
Got your attention? We thought so. In a recently published Notice, the IRS seems to be offering some cautionary advice about the legal risks associated with using cryptocurrencies to avoid capital gains taxes. Likely displeased by the use of cryptocurrencies to avoid reporting capital gains, the IRS may be signaling its intent to crack down on cryptocurrency trading activity.
Banishing Bias From the Leadership Selection Process
November 18, 2019
I'm spending a lot of time these days looking at the evolving market for artificial intelligence and the problem of bias. I think the problem in part is due to confirmation bias -- the need to look only at the information that agrees with a position already set. Another contributing factor is the lack of a set of metrics that we can apply consistently. AI systems will face similar problems.
Apple Card Algorithm May Tilt Favorably Toward Men
November 12, 2019
New York regulators have initiated an investigation into a tech entrepreneur's complaint that credit limits for the new Apple Card are based on gender-biased algorithms. The investigation, announced by DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell, apparently stems from a series of tweets David Heinemeier Hansson posted, revealing that his Apple Card credit limit was 20 times higher than his wife's.
Tech Company Standouts for Giving Veterans Their Due
November 11, 2019
Today is Veterans Day. I got a note last week from Joe Sestak, one of the shrinking field of United States presidential candidates, reminding me that we should observe a moment of silence in recognition of our veterans today. We've asked these people to put their lives on the line for us, and we get a day to offer our thanks. Giving our thanks is the least we can do.
Data Brokers' Secret Scores Can Cripple Consumers
November 6, 2019
Many businesses have been using secret scores created by data brokers to determine how much to charge consumers, whether to allow purchase returns, and what level of service to offer, among other things. "Most consumers will never know when they are the victim of a secret surveillance score," noted Laura Antonini, policy director at the Consumer Education Foundation.
The Force May Be With Microsoft
November 2, 2019
The Pentagon has awarded its $10 billion contract for cloud computing to Microsoft. The program -- which goes by the acronym "JEDI" for "Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure" -- has been attracting vendors like a dog attracts fleas for several years. It has been marked by fierce litigation too, so the award may not be the end of it. Oracle sued over the process, claiming it was unfair.
Getting Sustainability Right
October 28, 2019
It seems strange to me that our governments haven't been more aggressive about protecting the environment, given that the cost of not doing so poses an existential risk to the human race. It seems insane to me as we watch parts of the country burn and other parts of the country drown that we're still arguing about climate change rather than coming together to do something about it.
Threat From Above: How to Stop Hostile Drones
October 24, 2019
Unmanned aerial vehicles -- or "drones" as these flying objects more commonly are known -- pose a growing danger, cybersecurity expert Kevin Townsend recently warned. The drone category is broad -- it includes toys for hobbyists, tools for commerce, and devices used for a variety of military purposes. They range in size from massive military drones to small hobbyist devices.
FTC Targets Fake Influencer Metrics, Fake Reviews
October 23, 2019
The FTC announced settlements of a series of fraudulent marketing charges against two high-profile firms. The actions taken make it clear that anyone who engages in similar illegal behavior will face enforcement action, the FTC said. In the first case, Devumi agreed to settle the FTC's first-ever complaint challenging the sale of fake indicators of social media influence.
New Tech Vetting Law in SF Could Fuel Regulatory Trend
October 17, 2019
San Francisco officials want to get ahead of the emerging technology curve by prequalifying and regulating startup tech proposals before products become available to consumers. That approach is a developing trend in the U.S., according to Arle Lommel, senior analyst at CSA Research. If approved, the creation of a city-controlled regulatory office would invert the historical norm.
New Trade Deal Provisions Give US Tech Firms Legal Shields
October 9, 2019
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into trade agreements to shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits. That move could help lock in America's tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being questioned at home. The legal protections are included in the administration's two biggest trade deals.
The CCPA May Affect You, So Get Ready
October 3, 2019
Although not every United States business will be affected, the new California Consumer Protection Act almost certainly will have implications for many businesses outside of California. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, qualifying businesses will be subject to data privacy and security standards currently required only by the 28 member states in the European Union.
Leaked Audio Reveals Zuckerberg Spinning Hard
October 2, 2019
An attendee at a two-hour question-and-answer session during a Facebook company meeting held in July leaked a recording of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments that reveal deep insights into his thinking. Zuckerberg apparently decided the Q&A format would be an effective way to rally Facebook employees against rising criticism from competitors and the U.S. government.
Congress Eyes Google's Chrome Encryption Plans
October 1, 2019
Google's plans to test an encrypted Internet DNS protocol reportedly have spurred some members of Congress to consider opening an antitrust investigation. They are concerned that the new technology could give Google an edge over competitors by making it harder for them to access consumer data. Google is experimenting with new ways to enhance online privacy.
Spotlight on Cybersecurity Awareness: Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT
September 27, 2019
Cybersecurity should be a concern for all businesses -- large and small. Cybersecurity also should be a concern for consumers, government agencies, and basically anyone who relies on the Internet in our increasingly connected world. Among efforts to focus attention on the threatscape is designating October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Google's 'Right to Be Forgotten' Approach Wins Nod From EU Court
September 25, 2019
Google need not comply with the right to be forgotten outside of the European Union, according to a European Court of Justice ruling. A global de-referencing would meet the EU's data protection objectives, the court said, but it found that numerous third states do not recognize the right to de-referencing or have a different approach to that right.
Tech Approaches to Offsetting the Ecological Disaster of Deforestation
September 23, 2019
Watching Brazil's rain forest burn is causing a lot of us to freak out a bit. Referring to it as "the world's lungs" may be an overstatement, but the rain forest is a critical global resource, and its destruction undoubtedly will worsen global warming. Given that the U.S. government has dismantled many environmental protection rules, companies are beginning to step up to work on offsets.
California Applies Brakes to Galloping Gig Economy
September 12, 2019
California Assembly Bill 5, which would require many businesses to hire workers as employees rather than independent contractors -- and reclassify their existing workforces accordingly -- has passed its second reading. The State Assembly will vote on amendments in a third reading and then send it to Governor Gavin Newsom, who has indicated he will sign it into law.
50 AGs Gun for Google in Antitrust Offensive
September 11, 2019
The attorneys general of 48 states, plus those from United States territory Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have joined in an investigation into whether Google stifled online advertising and search competition. The only holdouts are the attorneys general of Alabama, where Google is building a $600 million data center, and California, where Google has its headquarters.
Taking the AI Approach to US Problem-Solving
September 9, 2019
At an IBM briefing on its joint AI project with MIT, it struck me that some of the training concepts could improve the quality of political decisions to shift attention more to fixing problems rather than using them as weapons against opponents. I'm not talking about using artificial intelligence systems directly. I'm suggesting we apply methods similar to those used to train them.
The High Stakes of Oracle's Appeal
August 31, 2019
Now Oracle is appealing the Pentagon's award to Amazon of its $10 billion JEDI contract to provide cloud computing solutions. "The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle's purported lack of standing," said Dorian Daley, general counsel for Oracle.
Verizon Steps Up Fight Against Rampant Robocalls
August 29, 2019
Verizon, the No. 1 mobile carrier in the United States, this week introduced a free version of its robocall-blocking app, which will be standard on all new Android devices. The company further announced that it will auto-enroll eligible Android users to its Call Filter service and block what are seen as "high-risk" calls. This includes calls from numbers that have been reported as fraudulent.
Report: Chinese Hackers Eye US Cancer Research
August 27, 2019
Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have been making a concerted effort to steal medical research, particularly cancer research, from U.S. institutions. The step-up in medical research theft by Chinese APT hacker groups appears to be linked to China's growing concern over cancer mortality rates and increasing healthcare costs. Cancer in the leading cause of death in China.
Major Browsers Block Kazakhstan Government's Fake Safety Cert
August 22, 2019
Google, Mozilla and Apple have blocked a fake root certificate issued by Kazakhstan's government to spy on its citizens' online activities. The government provided separate installation instructions for Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and IE Web browsers. When those who installed the certificate attempt to access website using Chrome, Firefox or Safari, they now will see an error message.
US Backs Off Huawei Export Ban for 90 Days
August 20, 2019
The $11 billion export component of the business American companies do with Chinese electronics giant Huawei is safe for at least 90 days. The U.S. Commerce Department has extended the Temporary General License for Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliates to buy goods from American companies. The license is needed because the Commerce Department has blacklisted Huawei and its affiliates.
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