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Amazon Cracks Down on Review Freebies
October 5, 2016
In a bid to help bolster trust in its customer ratings, Amazon on Monday said that it no longer would allow most incentivized reviews -- that is, reviews written in exchange for receiving products free or at a discount. Such reviews comprise only a small percentage of the tens of millions of reviews of products sold on the site, maintained Amazon Vice President of Customer Experience Chee Chew.
Report: Apple Shares Unencrypted iMessage Metadata With Cops
October 5, 2016
Apple last week faced renewed scrutiny for its data-sharing practices, following news that it retains iMessage metadata and shares it with law enforcement when presented with a court order. The company has insisted that it would not share data that would jeopardize the privacy and trust of its millions of customers. Metadata includes contacts, IP addresses, and dates and times of conversations.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Incentives-Driven Disaster: Wells Fargo's Ethical Implosion
September 21, 2016
Anyone who works with sales people knows that their ultimate incentive is their commission check. Since the first time that "sales" was identified as a profession, we've been paying the people who sell based primarily on their results. This has worked well -- but things are starting to change. The drive for results at the expense of all other considerations is running smack dab into new realities.
DoT Refreshes Rule Book to Include Self-Driving Cars
September 20, 2016
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has introduced new federal guidelines for the emerging highly automated vehicle industry -- including self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles -- creating a framework that will help drive one of the most important new sectors in the national economy. Foxx was joined by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Steam Blows Off Aggrieved Indie Dev
September 19, 2016
Independent video game developer Digital Homicide Studios on Monday posted a response to its ban from Valve's digital distribution platform Steam. Valve banned the development studio this weekend, after Digital Homicide reportedly initiated legal action against 100 users who had posted negative reviews of its games. Digital Homicide accused the users of cyberbullying and other offenses.
Samsung Troubles Deepen Following Formal CPSC Action
September 19, 2016
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung last week announced a formal voluntary recall of about 1 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones, after the high-end flagship device was found to have overheated or caught fire in at least 92 incidents. Samsung was notified of 26 cases of people being burned by the defective 5.7-inch smartphones and 55 cases of property damage, according to the CPSC.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
Google's Russian Android Appeal Falls Flat
September 7, 2016
A Russian appeals court has rejected Google's appeal of a $6.75 million fine regulators imposed for anticompetitive behavior -- that is, for forcing mobile device vendors to put Google Play apps on the main screens of devices using the Android operating system. The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court handed down its ruling last month, confirming the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service.
Europe Duns Apple for $14.5B in Illegal Tax Breaks
August 31, 2016
The European Union on Tuesday nailed Apple with a $14.5 billion bill for back taxes. "The European Commission has today has adopted a decision that Apple's tax benefits in Ireland are illegal," said EC Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager. Tax breaks Ireland granted to Apple for more than two decades artificially reduced Apple's tax burden, in breach of European Union rules, she explained.
HPE, HP Sued for Elbowing Out Older Employees
August 30, 2016
HPE and HP are facing a potential class action lawsuit brought earlier this month by four former employees. The companies engaged in widespread age discrimination during a restructuring of the legacy computer and printer manufacturer, according to their complaint. HP from 2012 to 2015 made a series of discriminatory job cuts involving tens of thousands of workers, the suit alleges.
Lights Out for Gawker.com
August 19, 2016
Gawker Media owner Nick Denton has revealed that Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel and Deadspin will continue with their current writers and other staff members following the company's sale to Univision, but that neither he nor Gawker.com will be included in the transition. The Gawker sites will be joining The Onion, ClickHole and other Web properties in Fusion Media Group.
Russian Regulators Scoop Apple Into Price-Fixing Probe
August 12, 2016
A Russian regulatory authority earlier this week named Apple, along with more than a dozen Russian retailers, as a target for an investigation into price-fixing activities. The Federal Antimonopoly Service, or FAS, has seen signs of price-setting coordination among iPhone resellers in Russia, according to a notice published on the agency's website.
Gawker Founder Sets Personal Bankruptcy Wheels in Motion
August 5, 2016
Gawker founder Nick Denton earlier this week said that he filed for personal bankruptcy protection after exhausting his appeals to stave off collection of damages resulting from a defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit brought by professional wrestling icon Hulk Hogan. The filing followed a Florida court's rejection of Denton's appeal to block Hogan from collecting a $140 million jury award.
UK Greenlights Amazon's Drone Delivery Tests
August 2, 2016
Amazon, which has appealed to U.S. regulators for years for permission to test package delivery with aerial drones, last week announced a new partnership with the UK government to launch a pilot program there. A cross-government team, supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, has granted Amazon permission to begin testing three critical performance factors.
Clinton Campaign Latest Target of Hackers Linked to Russia
July 30, 2016
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is the latest possible victim of a series of hack attacks some cybersecurity experts have linked to the Russian government. Campaign officials reportedly acknowledged that an analytics program it uses, which is maintained by the DNC, was accessed in a breach discovered earlier this month.
KickassTorrents Owner Faces 20-Plus Years in Stir
July 26, 2016
Polish authorities last week arrested the alleged owner of pirate website KickassTorrents, or KAT, 30-year-old Artem Vauln of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Vaulin faces charges in the United States of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Conspiracy to commit money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Musk Plots Out Tesla's Next 10 Years
July 22, 2016
Elon Musk has unveiled a second master plan for Tesla, a follow-up to the vision he shared 10 years ago. The original master plan is now in the final stages of execution. The refresh sketches out a multiyear, four-pronged strategy that is about more than vehicles. Musk also plans to advance an integrated solar-roof-with-battery product and create a ride-sharing program, among other things.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
Valve to Close the Spigot on Gambling Operations
July 18, 2016
Valve last week announced it would take action against third-party sites that run illegal gambling operations. A number of gambling sites have been leveraging the Steam gaming platform -- in particular, the Counter-Strike game -- to create massive operations that convert virtual skins into cash, Valve said. Valve denied allegations that it has in any way profited from those illegal sites.
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
July 18, 2016
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
Apple Patents Tech to Foil Concert Pirates
July 16, 2016
A patent for an infrared system that could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at live performances is one of dozens recently awarded to Apple. The system could assist the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. It could have other applications as well -- for example, turning an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide.
EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
July 16, 2016
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Microsoft Wins Legal Victory in Fight Over Email Stored Abroad
July 15, 2016
Microsoft has won its nearly four-year battle against a warrant requiring it to turn over customer emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft had complied with demands to turn over account information stored on its servers in the U.S., but it had refused to give up the emails themselves, contending a U.S. judge did not have the authority to issue warrants for information stored abroad.
Music Industry Boos Google's Antipiracy Performance
July 13, 2016
Google on Wednesday released an update of its online antipiracy efforts. YouTube has generated more than $2 billion to content copyright holders by monetizing user-uploaded content through its Content ID rights management system, Google said, adding that more than 90 percent of all Content ID claims result in monetization. YouTube also paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
Parsing the Clinton Email Scandal
July 11, 2016
I've been watching the Clinton email scandal closely, because I not only have been in and out of law enforcement and security for much of my early life, but also was an internal auditor for IBM and one of the leading email experts in the 1990s. I think this is the only time I've seen an investigator channel a prosecutor and give someone a pass without addressing why crimes were committed.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
Facebook Live Video of Shooting Aftermath Triggers Anger, Anguish, Questions
July 8, 2016
Americans have expressed outrage at Wednesday's police shooting of Philando Castile, an African-American man, which happened in St. Paul, Minnesota, during a traffic stop for a broken tail light. Castile was shot in front of his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and their 4-year-old daughter, who were in the car. Reynolds used Facebook Live to stream video of the aftermath of the shooting.
Feds Probe Philanderers' Site Ashley Madison: Report
July 6, 2016
The United States Federal Trade Commission reportedly has launched an investigation into philanderers' dating site Ashley Madison. The company, which suffered a massive data breach last year that resulted in extortion attempts and ruined lives, as well as class-action lawsuits, earlier this week announced that it hired a new CEO and a new president in April.
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Is fake news a major problem?
Yes -- people don't know which news to trust.
No -- it's very easy to spot.
Yes -- it's propaganda warfare, and the U.S. is losing.
No -- people have always believed what suited them.
Yes -- but only temporarily, as people are catching on.
No -- much of it actually isn't fake.