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House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears
April 24, 2015
Two cybersecurity bills approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives pose a threat to citizens' privacy, according to opponents of the measures. Both bills aim to improve sharing of cybersecurity information between businesses and government agencies. "'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable Deal Undone
April 23, 2015
Comcast has decided to abandon its plan to merge with Time Warner Cable, according to multiple press reports. The company is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday. About a week after reports emerged indicating the DoJ was leaning against Comcast's $45.2 billion dollar bid to absorb TWC, reports surfaced that the FCC was leaning in the same direction.
The Growing Robocall Menace
April 23, 2015
Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them? Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems.
Google's Low-Fee Fi: Ho-Hum
April 23, 2015
Google carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile with more than 1 million free, open WiFi hotspots Google has verified as fast and reliable. Users' devices will move automatically to the fastest connection -- 4G LTE being the standard in the United States, accessing 3G or 2G if only those speeds are available. The program will work in more than 120 countries.
VCs Cough Up $100M for Cybersecurity Startup Illumio
April 23, 2015
Illumio, a 2-year-old cybersecurity startup, last week announced it had raised $100 million in a Series C round of financing, bringing its total funding over the past 27 months to more than $142 million. Illumio will use the fresh funds to meet demand for its Adaptive Security Platform software, to invest in R&D, to grow sales and marketing efforts, and to fuel international expansion.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
Big Data Drives Change if You're Ready to Be Driven
April 20, 2015
In an earlier chapter in my career, I had the seemingly lofty title of "software and intelligence editor" at a telecom trade magazine. Even back in 1996, telecom was experiencing a "big data" problem. It wasn't a problem of collection -- no, telephone companies collect more data than almost any other industry, recording call times and durations, as well as the numbers their customers dialed.
Your Lawyer Is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
April 20, 2015
Lawyers help their clients as they negotiate confidential business transactions, hold intellectual property, manage funds and litigate disputes, among many other business activities. In the ordinary course of business, lawyers also maintain numerous confidential documents and data of and about their clients. Lawyers therefore have a big bull's-eye drawn on their backs, visible to cybercriminals.
Mayer Wins Concessions in Rejiggered Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
April 17, 2015
Microsoft and Yahoo on Thursday said they were altering a search partnership that has been in place since 2009. Under the amended agreement, Yahoo no longer will exclusively serve Bing ads and search results for its desktop traffic. That means Yahoo can sell some of that desktop traffic to another party. "Yahoo has an opportunity for greater revenue from the deal," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
GE Catches the Industrial Internet Wave
April 16, 2015
General Electric made some important news last week, when it announced it was leaving the finance industry. It attributed its decision to recent changes that it characterized as less cyclical and more transformational. At the same time, GE is focused on newer ideas like its "Industrial Internet." If it executes this the right way, it could be a blueprint for growth going forward.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
Investors Squirm as Zynga Founder Takes Back Reins
April 13, 2015
News last week that Zynga founder Mark Pincus had replaced Don Mattrick as CEO, less than two years after vacating the position, sent the company's shares tumbling. The sharp reaction was a clear indicator of investors' concern over the management change. Pincus' return to the helm sparked concern from investors worried about the company's lackluster earnings.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
LinkedIn Links Up With Lynda
April 9, 2015
LinkedIn on Thursday announced its intent to complete the acquisition of online business school Lynda.com by the close of 2015's second quarter. The deal, about 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock, is valued at around $1.5 billion. The terms are subject to adjustments, however, and there was still plenty of time left to make them when the agreement was announced.
Comcast Joins Ultra-High-Speed Internet Race
April 9, 2015
Comcast has joined the ultra-fast Internet race, starting with the rollout of its Gigabit Pro service. It looks like ultra-high-speed Internet services are really starting to catch on. The trend started a few years ago with Google Fiber and AT&T Gigapower, and it is spreading among carriers and locations from coast to coast. Comcast's new 2-Gb service is starting in the Atlanta area next month.
FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
YouTube Foists Deceptive Ads on Kids, Says Complaint
April 7, 2015
Child and consumer advocacy groups on Monday filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. In essence, the app includes ads in a way that takes advantage of children's developmental vulnerabilities, the complaint alleges.
EC Greases Its Google Antitrust Gears
April 2, 2015
The European Commission reportedly is preparing to file a Statement of Objections detailing specific antitrust charges against Google. The EC is collecting testimony from companies that have filed private complaints about Google's business practices to gather more firepower in moving forward in antitrust matters, reports indicate. The EC is rumored to be considering a penalty of $6 billion.
When Internet Speed Kills Reliability
April 2, 2015
What's more important when it comes to an Internet connection -- quality and reliability, or speed? This is a question I'm pondering as I sip a latte at Starbucks. I have come to the conclusion that while speed is sexy and sells, quality and reliability are more important. Like countless others, I spend an hour or two every day working in Starbucks -- just me, my latte and my laptop.
India's Tussle With Internet Freedom
April 1, 2015
The Supreme Court of India last week struck down a law that permitted arrests for posting "offensive" content online. It ruled that Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional, and said it had no hesitation in striking it down. The law was challenged after two women were arrested in 2012 for posting critical comments on Facebook.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
BlackBerry's Q4 Profit Small Comfort as Revenue Slips
March 30, 2015
BlackBerry last week reported fourth-quarter revenue of $660 million -- well under analyst expectations, but enough to put the company back in the black. Approximately 42 percent of that revenue came from hardware sales, about 47 percent from services, and about 10 percent from software. BlackBerry declined to comment on which areas of the accounting sheets reassured its leadership and investors.

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