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How E-Commerce SMBs Can Weather Political, Social Firestorms
July 17, 2018
A national debate over civility erupted after Stephanie Wilkinson, a co-owner of a Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. That wasn't the only consequence of the incident, though. Restaurant owners in various parts of America whose businesses had the words "red hen" in their name were deluged with a storm of angry reactions.
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."
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.
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 Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
EU Edges Closer to Adopting Controversial Copyright Rules
June 22, 2018
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee has voted in favor of a directive on copyright in the digital single market, a proposal it has been wrestling with since its introduction in 2015. News of the vote kicked off a storm, as Article 13 of the directive effectively requires online content-sharing service providers evaluate all submissions to ensure they don't breach copyright.
Facebook Shores Up Its Position on Fake News Front
June 22, 2018
Facebook has announced new tactics to reduce the spread of fake news. Its efforts will include combining technology with human reviewers to identify and remove fake accounts; partnering with fact-checkers; and promoting news literacy. Facebook will expand its fact-checking programs to new countries, scrutinize photos and videos more closely, and increase the impact of fact-checking.
What the GDPR Means for Small US Etailers
June 21, 2018
Large corporations are not the only businesses governed by the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which became effective last month. Small and mid-sized businesses also are subject to its provisions. The regulation applies to the processing of personal data of individuals in the EU by an individual, a company or an organization engaged in professional or commercial activities.
New Study Group to Focus on Impact of Robo Vehicles
June 20, 2018
Some logistics and mobility industry heavyweights have formed a group committed to improving the lives and opportunities of working Americans through adoption of autonomous vehicles. The roster of the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity includes the American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Ford, Lyft, Toyota Motor North America, Uber and Waymo.
iOS 12 to Provide Stronger 911 Location Help
June 19, 2018
iOS 12 automatically will share location data for iPhones used to make emergency calls. The system will use an IP-based data pipeline developed by RapidSOS to share location data from iPhones with 911 centers. "Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Upcoming iOS Access Restrictions Could Stymie Law Enforcement
June 16, 2018
Apple plans to equip iOS 12 with USB Restricted Mode, which requires users to unlock their iPhone with their passcode before USB accessories can connect if the phone last was unlocked more than an hour earlier. The company included this feature in the developer versions of iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12. Apple will release USB Restricted Mode publicly in a future software update, it confirmed this week.
What Ever Happened to Google Fiber?
June 14, 2018
A couple of years ago, one of the hottest new technologies was Google Fiber. Everyone wanted access to it. Every city wanted to be the next on the list to get it, because it would attract new citizens and encourage existing residents to stay. It was thought there would be an advantage to early cities -- my home town Atlanta was one of them. Google Fiber is an ultra-fast Internet service.
What Microsoft's GitHub Deal Promises to Programmers
June 11, 2018
Microsoft sent tremors through the open source world last week, when it announced that it would acquire the popular developer platform GitHub for $7.5 billion in company stock. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. GitHub, one of the world's largest computer code repositories, is home to more than 28 million developers for collaboration and distribution of projects.
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.
Cryptocurrency Basics for E-Commerce Businesses
June 4, 2018
With all the talk about cryptocurrencies, you might be wondering whether your e-commerce business should start accepting them as a form of payment. There is no simple answer to that question. It all depends on the type of business you have and your tolerance for volatility and risk. In any case, it's a good idea to understand what cryptocurrencies are and how they work.
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.
Rhino-Saving Tech Also Could Protect Kids and Borders
May 21, 2018
Cisco has reduced the poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa by a whopping 96 percent. This success comes at a time when kids appear to be increasingly at risk from rogue school shooters and the United States government seems deadlocked on gun control. The focus of Cisco's tech is on catching the poachers who kill around 1,000 endangered rhinos a year, rather than on taking away their guns.
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."
Tech Career Checklist: Aggressive Diversity, Cold Cash
May 14, 2018
I've become convinced that too many of us don't prioritize our employment choices properly. What recently drew my attention to this was a conversation I had with Dell's CFO Tom Sweet at Dell Technology World. We were chatting about Dell's problem attracting employees. Because Dell is a private company, few employees get stock or stock options -- they get cash instead. It seems that has put Dell at a disadvantage when competing for top folks.
Spotify's New Anti-Hate Policy Muzzles R. Kelly
May 12, 2018
Spotify has announced a new policy governing hate content and hateful conduct. The service identified as hate content anything that expressly and principally promotes, advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual, based on characteristics including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.
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.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
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.
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.
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.
Planned Apple News Subscription Service Could Address Fake News, Pay Walls
April 18, 2018
Apple plans to launch a news subscription service within the next year. The new service reportedly will combine features from its recent Texture acquisition and Apple's existing news app. Texture's technology and its employees will be integrated into the Apple News team, which will build the new service. The company will split revenues with publishers.
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.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare, Suggests Mozilla Report
April 14, 2018
Mozilla has launched the first full edition of its Internet Health Report. The report is "an open source effort to explore the state of human life on the Internet," said Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman. It consists of research and analysis about the Internet compiled by researchers, engineers, data scientists, policy analysts and artists in Mozilla's extended community.
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How does the tech industry compare to other industries when it comes to diversity?
Tech firms have been working much harder than others to achieve diversity.
Tech is rife with sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
The tech industry would be more inclusive if there were more qualified applicants.
Tech firms have made superficial efforts but they're mainly for show.
The push for diversity is a cultural fad, and there is no real problem.