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How to Rein In Powerful Companies Without Ruining the US Tech Industry
March 18, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's desire to curtail Facebook, Amazon and other companies that have misused their massive power -- or may do so in the future -- is well founded. The U.S. appears to be trending toward civil war, and I'd place social media in general on the wrong side of this trend. However, we need a plan that will cure the problem without killing the patient.
Can Facebook Solve Its Worsening Privacy Problem?
March 14, 2019
The good news is that of the many troubles Facebook has, privacy seems to be front and center for both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. The question is, will the actions they take to address the company's privacy issues be enough? If not, this is the kind of problem that can and will cause long-term damage to the Facebook brand. Its leaders need to come up with an immediate fix.
New Chrome Extension Aims to Make the Web Less Toxic
March 14, 2019
Jigsaw has released Tune, an experimental Chrome extension that lets users hide comments its algorithms identify as toxic. It is available for Mac, Windows, Linux and the Chrome OS. Tune builds on the same machine learning models that power Jigsaw's Perspective API to rate the toxicity of comments. Tune users can adjust the volume of comments from zero to anything goes.
US Government Forging Ahead With Airport Facial Recognition Plans
March 12, 2019
Plans to bring facial recognition to major U.S. airports by 2021 are on a fast flight path, despite concerns about the new technology's readiness. President Trump in 2017 issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing U.S. borders. It stipulates that facial recognition identification be used in the top 20 U.S. airports.
Warren Dons Tech-Buster Mantle
March 12, 2019
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
Google Taps ML to Boost Wind Farm Output
February 28, 2019
Predicting the power output of wind farms has been challenging, but it's becoming less so with the use of machine learning. Google and British AI company DeepMind have been using ML algorithms to improve predictions of the wind power output at Google's wind farms in the Midwest. The farms use the algorithms to predict wind power output 36 hours ahead of generation.
Microsoft Defends Jumping in AR Bed With Military
February 27, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens.
Will Congress Override State Net Neutrality Laws?
February 21, 2019
Way back in the dark ages in May 2011 -- about 2,345 Internet years ago -- I wrote a column about Net neutrality, which was in court at the time. For those of you who are not sure, "Net neutrality" is short for "Internet neutrality" or "network neutrality." The concept addresses user access to the Internet, and the debate around Net neutrality centers on whether ISPs can limit, tier, block or otherwise affect Internet performance.
Google Reveals Its Game Plan for Fighting Disinformation
February 20, 2019
Google has unveiled its game plan for fighting disinformation on its search, news, YouTube and advertising platforms in a 30-page document presented at a security conference in Europe. "Providing useful and trusted information at the scale that the Internet has reached is enormously complex and an important responsibility," noted Google Vice President for Trust and Safety Kristie Canegallo.
JPMorgan Chase Rolls Out Digital Token
February 15, 2019
JPMorgan Chase on Thursday announced that it has created and successfully tested a digital coin. Each JPM Coin represents $1 in funds held in designated accounts at JPMorgan Chase N.A. The token was created using Quorum, a variant of Ethereum developed by JPMorgan Chase, to enable instantaneous payment transfers between its clients' institutional accounts.
Apple's Plans for Subscription News Service Irk Publishers
February 14, 2019
Apple plans to launch a subscription news service at an event next month. Described as "Netflix for news," it would let customers access an unlimited amount of content from publishers for a single monthly fee. It will be based on a reworked version of Texture, the media subscription service Apple purchased last year. The monthly fee for the service is expected to be about $10.
5G Is Key to T-Mobile, Sprint Merger
February 11, 2019
Over the last several quarters, I have heard opinions of the pending T-Mobile, Sprint merger from every corner. Those who are pro-merger focus on all the benefits it woud bring. Those who are anti-merger focus on what would be lost and how it would harm different segments. Amid the chaotic debate, what really matters is whether the regulators are going to say yes or no.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
Zuckerberg's Take on Facebook's History Raises Eyebrows
February 6, 2019
Musing about Facebook's first 15 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg positioned it as a David confronting a Goliath composed of hierarchical institutions. Facebook gives the masses a voice, he wrote. It brings communities together and provides businesses with low-cost outreach. Progress has been made in addressing the new social and ethical issues raised, including protection of privacy, he said.
FTC v. Qualcomm: What Really Is Going On
February 4, 2019
I've been watching antitrust cases actively since the 1980s. I had to study historical antitrust cases going back to Standard Oil and RCA, in order to ensure compliance with a related consent decree When I worked at IBM. Each of the other cases had one thing in common: Both of the companies being charged were massively and obviously monopolies. There were many questions.
Apple Banishes Facebook Data Reaper From iPhones
January 31, 2019
Apple has blocked a Facebook app that paid users for total access to all network data. The controversy over use of the Facebook Research app erupted earlier this week, with a report that revealed Facebook was paying users $20 a month for root network access to their phones. Facebook was on-boarding users of the program, which included teenagers, through Apple's Enterprise system.
Crypto Support in Samsung Galaxy S10 Could Fall Flat
January 30, 2019
The Samsung Galaxy S10, scheduled for launch on Feb. 20, likely will incorporate a cryptocurrency wallet. "Samsung has a long history of throwing everything it can think of, technology-wise, into its flagship Galaxy S series smartphones," remarked Ken Hyers, research director at Strategy Analytics. Most users aren't fully aware of their Galaxy S phone capabilities, he noted.
DoL Seeks $400M for Oracle Workers Underpaid Due to Discrimination
January 24, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a court action against Oracle for underpaying non-white male employees by as much as $400 million. "Oracle suppressed starting salaries for its female and non-White employees, assigned them to lower level positions and depressed their wages over the years they worked for Oracle," states a filing by the DoL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Dutch Doc Wins 'Forget My Suspension' Case
January 23, 2019
Google must remove search results about medical regulators' conditional suspension of a Dutch physician in the first "right to be forgotten" case of its kind in the European Union. After Google and Dutch data privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens rebuffed the doctor's initial attempts to get disciplinary actions purged from online search results, a district court in Amsterdam sided with the surgeon.
Verizon Trying Its Hand at Cloud Gaming
January 17, 2019
Verizon has a new cloud-based gaming service that is in the alpha testing stage, being tested on Nvidia Shield set-top boxes. The Shield devices, which were unveiled in 2015, were updated two years ago when Nvidia rolled out its own streaming service. Verizon Gaming will give greater software support to the Nvidia Shield, but it also will be opened to Android smartphones in the near future.
Court: Cops Can't Compel the Use of Body Parts to Unlock Phones
January 16, 2019
Authorities can't force people to unlock their biometrically secured phones or other devices, ruled a federal judge in California. "The Government may not compel or otherwise utilize fingers, thumbs, facial recognition, optical/iris, or any other biometric feature to unlock electronic devices," Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore wrote. Passcodes already are protected by the Fifth Amendment.
Rumors Roil Ahead of Next Month's Galaxy Unpacked Event
January 15, 2019
Samsung is expected to unveil its new lineup of flagship smartphones on Feb. 20 at a Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, and the rumor mill has been operating on overtime. It's believed three new Galaxy S10 models will be announced at the event, as well as a folding phone. Banners promoting Unpacked are using the phrase "Unfolding the Future" as a tagline.
Sex Tech Maker Cries Foul After CES Retracts Innovation Award
January 14, 2019
At last week's International CES, the CEO of woman-run sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo called out the Consumer Technology Association for rescinding its CES Innovation Award. The company received the award for its first-ever product, the Osť personal massager, only to have the CTA backpedal and retract it. Furthermore, the company was not even allowed to exhibit at CES 2019.
The Smartest Tech Products of 2018
December 31, 2018
Picking a product of the year is anything but trivial because the products I cover every week range from headphones to laptops to books, cars and more. So, I thought I'd try something different this year and pick six products that each deserve the title and then name a winner that stands out from the rest. This allows me to simplify the task and get around a bit of a writer's block I've been having on this subject.
2018: The Year of Fighting for Positive Change
December 24, 2018
When I think of corporate responsibility, one company tends to float to the top, and that is Cisco. With massive efforts to train people all over the world in the critical networking skills needed to secure and expand global communications, Cisco has been taking a major chunk out of joblessness. It has invested millions to reduce homelessness near its headquarters, for example.
Abusive Tweets Hurled at Women Every 30 Seconds: Report
December 20, 2018
Women are abused on Twitter every 30 seconds, and minority women are harassed more often, according to Amnesty International. Volunteers for Troll Patrol, a crowdsourcing project set up by Amnesty International to process large-scale data about online abuse, sorted through 288,000 tweets sent to 778 woman politicians and journalists in the UK and the United States last year.
Chinese Scammers Game Amazon to Boost Sales
December 18, 2018
Chinese sellers have been using a number of underhanded techniques to boost their global rankings and profits on Amazon, according to a report. Grabbing the high ground on a search results page is critical for any seller trying to rise above the din created by the more than 500 million products offered on Amazon, which is why some sellers feverishly search for ways to get an edge in the rankings.
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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Has technology made transportation more or less safe?
Traveling by all modes of transportation has become riskier with each passing year.
In general, transportation safety has been improving steadily, despite some failures.
Some modes of transportation have been improving while others have become less safe.
We may have reached a tipping point where more tech means less safety.
Don't blame the tech -- greedy companies haven't done adequate testing.
Government regulators have not been playing a strong enough oversight role.
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