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Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
August 28, 2015
Police in North Dakota can use drones armed with what are optimistically called "nonlethal weapons," thanks to the passage of House Bill 1328, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this spring. The new law gives police the authority in a roundabout way: Section 5 states a law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with lethal weapons.
Intel Pumps OpenStack Up
August 27, 2015
As part of a new strategic collaboration, Intel will lead a $100 million funding round in Mirantis, the companies announced earlier this week. Intel is a long-time investor in Mirantis. This round includes existing investors August Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Ericsson, Sapphire Ventures and WestSummit Capital, as well as new investor Goldman Sachs.
Cyber-Posse Aims to Round Up Ashley Madison Hackers
August 25, 2015
The Toronto Police Service on Monday reported on the progress of Project Unicorn, the official investigation into the hack attack on Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting website. The Toronto police are working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the RCMP, the FBI, and the Ministry of the Attorney General's criminal law office in carrying out the investigation.
Spredfast Gets Something to Shout About
August 25, 2015
Spredfast last week announced its acquisition of Shoutlet, a social data aggregator. Shoutlet has been a "huge innovator" in the social CRM space, said Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron. "With this acquisition, Spredfast gains that technology as well as the team that built it. It's a game changer. ... Customers will have more ways to understand their audiences and impact the customer journey."
Samsung to Ask SC to Reverse Tide in Apple Case
August 24, 2015
Samsung last week filed a motion to stay the U.S. Court of Appeals' order in its multiyear patent war with Apple, indicating that it plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung reportedly will ask the Court to hear its appeal of a 2012 federal jury's verdict that it violated Apple's iPhone patents. Samsung has received support for its position from several large tech firms.
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Legislation Aims to Bring Product Warranties Into the Internet Age
August 17, 2015
The process of "checking the fine print" always has been an important aspect of consumer behavior. For product manufacturers, providing important transaction information to consumers also has been a challenging part of business operations. Take the fine print of warranty information, for example. In the world of e-commerce, how should sellers and buyers approach the warranty issue?
The Pichai Era: Google's New Age of Innocence?
August 13, 2015
"A" is for new Google parent company "Alphabet," for Sundar Pichai's "ascension" to CEO, and for a slimmed-down search engine company that seeks to become more "agile." Consumers may wonder if that "A" also stands for "altruism." Pichai's work ethic and congeniality helped drive his ascension to the top, and he'll need both to redirect the mounting mistrust of Google -- his greatest challenge yet.
Will Google Win the Alphabet Game?
August 13, 2015
Google suddenly announced something much bigger. It is splitting itself into several different companies under one master brand called "Alphabet." Splitting up is what Google has needed to do for several years. The idea of creating a master brand makes enormous sense for a company like Google, which is an octopus with many arms. However, it is only right if it is done correctly.
Feds Break Up Hacker-Powered Insider Trading Ring
August 12, 2015
In two indictments unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., nine people were charged in federal court with carrying out an international scheme to hack into three business newswires, steal yet-to-be published press releases, and use them to make trades that generated approximately $30 million in illegal profits.
Now Google Knows Its ABCs
August 11, 2015
Google on Monday announced a restructuring that will make it a wholly owned subsidiary of a new umbrella company called "Alphabet." Product Chief Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of Google, while Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergei Brin will be CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet. Pichai "is ... the right person to lead the core Google search effort," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
The Best Videos on Facebook Could Be Stolen Property
August 11, 2015
Facebook has stolen videos for display on its site, alleged Hank Green of VlogBrothers. A whopping 725 of the 1,000 most popular videos on Facebook in Q1 were freebooted -- that is, re-uploaded to the social media network without authorization -- he said, citing a report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs. Those 725 videos accounted for about 17 billion views in the quarter, Green noted.
Google on Universal Right to Be Forgotten: Fuhgeddaboudit
August 7, 2015
Google last week asked French regulators to withdraw a demand to universally delist from search results links to information about French citizens who wish to be forgotten on the Internet. Any European can ask to have certain links about them removed from search results that appear in Europe, and Google will grant those requests if they meet specific criteria.
Sprint Sinks to 4th Place, T-Mobile's Legere Gloats
August 6, 2015
Sprint continued to make progress in its turnaround during Q1, it said Tuesday. However, it apparently wasn't enough to keep the company from slipping to fourth place among major wireless carriers, exchanging places with T-Mobile, which climbed up to third. Among other things, Sprint cut postpaid customer losses in the quarter to 12,000 -- the lowest ever.
The Transformational AT&T, DirecTV Merger
August 6, 2015
AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV is more than a merger -- it is a transformational event that could change the entire television space. It has the potential to create such intense competition that it very well could transform the entire television space -- meaning cable TV, satellite TV and IPTV -- and blend it with wireless. It means more choice and more innovation.
AT&T to DirecTV Customers: Let's Stick Together
August 3, 2015
AT&T on Monday announced its first-ever nationwide package of TV and wireless services. The new bundle, which is being offered for US$200 per month, will be available beginning Aug. 10. It will include HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, along with unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines. Subscribers to the plan will get 10 GB of shareable wireless data.
Commerce Dept. Caves on Security Export Rules
July 30, 2015
Some proposed federal rules on the export of security tools created a tumult in cybersecurity circles -- a tumult that's pushed the rules into limbo. The comment period for the rules, which the U.S. Department of Commerce first aired in May, ended July 20 -- and although the regulations have noble intentions, they also could have dire consequences.
As Wireless Changes, So Must Marketing
July 30, 2015
We have just seen quarterly earnings reports from AT&T and Verizon, and they continue to grow at a healthy pace. Sprint and T-Mobile also have started to grow once again. However, the larger wireless marketplace is splitting into smaller segments. Understanding this is one of many keys to success for any wireless carrier going forward. The larger wireless marketplace is changing.
Major Tech Firms Join White House in Climate Change Pledge
July 28, 2015
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other senior White House officials on Monday met with a group of executives who pledged their companies' support for the administration's efforts to reach a strong climate change agreement in Paris this December. Thirteen major companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, signed the American Business Act on Climate Change.
Amazon Reaps What It Sowed
July 27, 2015
Amazon's market capitalization on Friday reached $270 billion, surging past Walmart, following a surprisingly strong second quarter earnings report. That amounted to a $46 billion boost in investor confidence, with shares hitting a record high of $580.57. Analysts had projected that Amazon would take a hit in its second quarter. Instead, it reported a profit of $92 million.
Citibank Dinged $700M for Scamming Credit Card Customers
July 27, 2015
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week ordered Citibank and its subsidiaries to pay about $700 million in relief to eligible consumers and a $35 million civil penalty for, in essence, scamming consumers into paying for unwanted credit card add-on products and services. This is the 10th action the bureau has undertaken against banks for deceiving consumers.
Apple's Tumble: Trouble in Paradise?
July 22, 2015
Apple's stock slid on Wednesday following the company's fiscal Q3 earnings report late Tuesday. Shares opened at $122.05 -- more than $8 down from Tuesday's closing price of $130.75 -- but inched upward to close the day at $125.22. Analysts were atwitter over the quarterly results, some implying they heralded big trouble in little doses for Apple. Others insisted there was no basis for the fuss.
PayPal Flies Solo on Nasdaq
July 21, 2015
PayPal on Monday returned to the Nasdaq as an independent company, no longer tethered to eBay. PayPal debuted at a market value 1.4 times its former parent -- $46.6 billion -- while eBay's capitalization shrunk to $34 billion. The companies agreed to split in September due to market pressures and some nudging by corporate raider turned shareholder value advocate Carl Icahn.

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