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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.
Germany Cracks Whip Against Hate Speech on Social Media
January 3, 2018
Germany on Monday began enforcing its new Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG, which imposes a fine of up to $60 million on social media networks that fail to remove hate-inciting posts promptly. The controversial law, adopted in mid 2017, is designed to help combat hate and fake news at a time when ISIS-linked terror and anti-immigrant extremism have been on the rise in Germany.
Consumers Win Some, Lose Some in Privacy Legal Tussles
January 3, 2018
The Walt Disney Company's recent decision to purchase major assets of 21st Century Fox in a transaction valued at $52 billion underscores the huge potential for distributing information and entertainment via the Internet. The deal will allow the company to improve its direct-to-consumer offerings, Disney said when it disclosed the transaction early last month.
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.
Net Neutrality Battle Lines Drawn as FCC Vote Looms
December 5, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's long-brewing plan to repeal Net neutrality has the broadband, telecom and entertainment worlds at loggerheads. The commission's expected Dec. 14 vote could result in a complete rewrite of the script for the Internet's competitive landscape and consumer protection models. The repeal of Net neutrality would end restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015.
Major Players Roll Up Sleeves to Solve Open Source Licensing Problems
November 30, 2017
Four big tech players this week moved to improve their handling of open source software licensing violations. Red Hat, Google, Facebook and IBM said they would apply error standards in GNU GPLv3 to all of their open source licensing, even licenses granted under older GPL agreements. "This will make everything consistent with GPLv3," said IP attorney Lawrence Rosen.
E-Commerce Firms: Get Ready for New Privacy Laws
October 24, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the United States, and under the FTC rules, a website need not have a privacy policy at all. However, a website must comply with and not violate its policy if it has one. ifeLock learned that lesson the hard way when " target="_blank">the FTC sued it for failing to abide by its privacy policy. How do other countries' privacy laws apply to U.S. businesses?
Linux Foundation Launches Open Data Licensing Agreements
October 23, 2017
The Linux Foundation has introduced the Community Data License Agreement, a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes. CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code. The agreement could help foster an increase in data sharing across a variety of industries.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Red Hat Enlarges Its Open Source Patent Promise Umbrella
September 22, 2017
Red Hat on Thursday announced major enhancements to the Patent Promise it first published 15 years ago, with the intention of providing new protections to innovation in the open source community. In its 2002 Patent Promise, Red Hat vowed not to pursue patent infringement actions against parties that used its covered Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS, subject to certain limitations.
Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism
September 6, 2017
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, has accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices. Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data were published this spring, he said.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
Consumers Gain More Power to Seek Data Breach Damages
August 21, 2017
There are no good outcomes of an electronic data system breach. At best, companies dealing with e-commerce technologies face the formidable task and the resulting cost of repairs. In addition having to fix information technology systems, companies suffering breaches may be increasingly vulnerable to legal action taken by customers whose personal data was affected.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon's Discount Pricing Practices
July 25, 2017
The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon's discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company's pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. "Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process," observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
New Cybersecurity Policy Will Impact Federal IT Market
July 24, 2017
Federal agencies already under the gun to modernize their information technology capabilities have a new set of standards to meet as a result of an executive order President Donald Trump issued this spring. The directive not only will affect agency managers in their IT operations and acquisition activities, but also will have a significant effect on IT vendors.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
Free AI Chatbot Goes to Bat for Beleaguered Consumers
July 17, 2017
DoNotPay, an AI-based chatbot app created to help fight parking tickets in the UK, now addresses roughly 1,000 consumer concerns and is available throughout the U.S. as well as across the pond. The app's creator, Stanford student Joshua Browder, announced the expansion last week. Powered by IBM Watson, DoNotPay has about 1,000 bots capable of tackling a variety of legal and service issues.
Google Gives Up Scanning Personal Gmail
June 30, 2017
Google recently announced the end of its policy of scanning user emails for targeted advertising purposes -- a controversial practice that riled privacy advocates and spurred legal challenges. Gmail is the world's most widely used email provider, with more than 1.2 billion users. Google attributed its decision to gains it has made in the enterprise.
Will Record Fine Cramp Google's Style in Europe?
June 29, 2017
The European Commission has walloped Google unit with a record $2.7 billion for giving its own shopping comparison site preference above smaller competitors, and thus abusing its dominant position as a search engine. Google must end the conduct within 90 days or face penalties of 5 percent of its average daily global revenue, the EC said. Google expressed disagreement with the EC's findings.
Chastened Uber CEO Takes Leave of Absence to Work on Self-Improvement
June 14, 2017
Uber Technologies CEO Travis Kalanick said he will take a leave of absence, as a company review led by Eric Holder was made public. The review sketches out a plan to make radical changes to diversify Uber in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Kalanick accepted responsibility for widespread company problems that led to the investigation.
New Stem Cell Treatment Offers Dramatic Burn-Healing Potential
June 13, 2017
A med-tech startup has developed a novel way to treat burn wounds. RenovaCare harvests a variety of cells, including stem cells, from a healthy area of skin on a patient. Those cells are then suspended in a water-based solution and sprayed onto the wound using the company's SkinGun. "The sprayer allows us to have a generous distribution of cells," explained RenovaCare's Roger Esteban-Vives.
SC Ruling Signals New Era for Software Patent Enforcement
May 30, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court once again has changed the landscape for software infringement litigation. In a decision released last week, the court severely undercut the ability of plaintiffs to seek out courts that have a track record of being "friendly" to the plaintiff's position -- a practice called "forum shopping." Legal analysts disagree on the impact of the decision, however.
Data Watchdog Cautions Google and UK Health Partner
May 19, 2017
A British data watchdog has raised questions about whether it was appropriate for a healthcare trust to share data on 1.6 million patients with DeepMind Health, an AI company owned by Google. The trust shared the data in connection with the test phase of Streams, an app designed to diagnose acute kidney injuries. However, the sharing reportedly was performed without an appropriate legal basis.
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Will Facebook be able to fix social media's biggest problems?
Yes, its return to emphasizing close relationships is a good start.
No, its efforts aren't sincere -- it only cares about its bottom line.
Yes, but only through a huge, sustained education effort.
No, people -- not the platform -- are the problem.
Yes, the problems are wildly exaggerated -- there's not much to fix.
No, and it's too big to fail, so the problems will only get worse.