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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.
Facebook Phone-Scraping Takes Users by Surprise
March 27, 2018
Facebook on Sunday confirmed that its Messenger and Lite apps for Android smartphones routinely collect call and text histories. The call and text history logging are opt-in features for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android devices, the company said in a post. The feature is designed to help users stay connected, and it improves the Facebook experience, according to the company.
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.
Fake News Has Become an Existential Threat
March 19, 2018
The scene in A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson going off on handling the truth has been coming to mind way too often of late. Sadly, this is the world we are living in right now, and social media is at the heart of it. I recently noticed a headline that implied a lot of people had taken exception to something Gal Gadot tweeted about Stephen Hawking.
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.
White House Video Game Violence Discussion Fails to Move the Needle
March 9, 2018
President Donald Trump on Thursday met behind closed doors with several top video game industry executives, association representatives, politicians and others to discuss video game violence in the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among the scheduled attendees were Strauss Zelnick, CEO of TakeTwo Interactive Software.
Amazon Courts Medicaid Recipients With Deep Prime Discount
March 8, 2018
Amazon this week expanded its discounted Prime membership program, already available to EBT card holders, to include Medicaid recipients. Eligible customers can become Prime members for $5.99 a month, less than half the regular $12.99 monthly fee. The move -- another step in Amazon's efforts to reach underserved economic communities -- ratchets up its competition with Walmart.
Russians Pose as Americans to Steal Data on Social Media
March 8, 2018
Americans have been targeted on social media by Russian agents on a mission to harvest personal information. The agents pretended to work for organizations promoting African-American businesses as a ruse to obtain personal information from black business owners during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Using names like "BlackMattersUS," the agents set up hundreds of social media accounts.
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.
Cleveland-Chicago Hyperloop Line Gets Feasibility Study
February 16, 2018
HTT has announced an agreement with an Ohio agency to launch a study on creating its first interstate hyperloop project in the U.S., connecting Chicago and Cleveland. The agreement with the Northern Ohio Area Coordinating Committee puts in motion a regional feasibility study, to be carried out in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Microsoft to Use Blockchain to Create Decentralized ID System
February 14, 2018
Microsoft has announced a plan to use blockchain technology to develop decentralized identities, or DIDs. Microsoft formally joined the ID2020 Alliance last month as a founding member. The Alliance aims to develop a blockchain-based identity system for vulnerable populations -- one that can operate across various blockchains, cloud providers, government agencies and other organizations.
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.
Amazon's Soaring Healthcare Ambition: The Promise and the Problem
February 5, 2018
Healthcare is a mess in the United States. Consumers pay more and get less than in most other developed countries. Strong comprehensive healthcare is unaffordable for most without substantial help, which is why putting the burden on the government really does not work. If people cannot afford something, individually aggregating it under what amounts to a tax is not really any better.
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.
AT&T Raises Eyebrows With Call for Internet Bill of Rights
January 25, 2018
In an open letter and a series of full-page ads in major newspapers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to enact an Internet Bill of Rights and to bring the Net neutrality debate to an end. Although AT&T supported the FCC's December vote to repeal its Net neutrality rules, the company has called on legislators to establish new laws to regulate the Internet.
Feds to Ramp Up Online Purchasing Presence
January 22, 2018
Online retail has been booming, with consumers flocking to the Internet to shop for almost anything. Online retail revenues in the U.S. would reach a projected $445 billion in 2017 and jump to $600 billion by 2020, according to FTI Consulting. The U.S. government has begun developing a program that would allow agencies to utilize e-commerce portals for purchases of COTS products.
Barcelona Opts for Breath of Open Source Fresh Air
January 20, 2018
Barcelona city officials have voted to shut the door on Microsoft Windows in favor of the Linux operating system and open source technology. The city hopes to save money from proprietary software license fees and to build a specialized library of open source applications targeting the needs of government workers. Its goal is to encourage specialized open source solutions throughout governmental agencies in Spain.
Study: Community-Owned Broadband Beats Commercial ISPs on Price
January 16, 2018
Community-owned fiber-to-home broadband networks generally charge less for entry-level service than private providers, according to Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Despite lower "teaser rates" private providers offer during the first year of service, publicly-owned fiber-to-the-home networks in 23 of 27 communities examined offered lower-priced service.
The End of Silicon Valley
January 8, 2018
A recent article on the institutionalized sexual exploitation going on in tech companies is eye-opening. It comes on top of the realization that social media companies like Facebook are destroying the U.S., and former Facebook executives have been dissociating themselves from the company. Further, news recently broke of a big, industry-wide security problem.
US Fingers North Korea for WannaCry Epidemic
December 20, 2017
The United States on Tuesday accused North Korea of responsibility for a global ransomware attack that locked down more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries earlier this year. The U.S. now has enough evidence to support its assertion that Pyongyang was behind the WannaCry attack in May, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert told reporters at a White House press briefing.
The FCC Screwed Up! My Firsthand Experience Without Net Neutrality
December 19, 2017
As a high-tech industry analyst, I have worked from home for more than a decade. As someone who tracks new technology and is always on the lookout for a better communications solution, I migrated to a Voice over Internet Protocol service through Vonage early after its introduction. The service was great. I had great call quality and the flexibility to take the service anywhere.
FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Internet Pioneers Urge Cancellation of Net Neutrality Repeal Vote
December 13, 2017
A group of 21 leading technology pioneers, including Apple Computer cofounder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, signed an open letter to key congressional leaders asking them to pressure FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel Thursday's planned vote to repeal Net neutrality. The process is severely flawed, they argued, and a rules repeal poses an imminent threat to the Internet.
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