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Federal Programs to Spur Private Sector IT Engagement
April 20, 2018
The U.S. government has launched two new programs designed to modernize and upgrade IT performance at federal agencies. Each program will involve significant participation of private sector providers as both advisors and contractors for IT equipment and services. The first program involves the creation of a federal Information Technology Modernization Fund to facilitate IT investments.
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.
The Electronics Industry: A Pawn in the US vs. China Chess Game
April 19, 2018
Rising tensions between China and the United States have led to growing concerns that a tariff war will have a negative impact on the electronics industry. Amazingly, the industry has been spared thus far, and with good reason. However, even if tariffs aren't imposed, there is a silent battle between the two countries that already has impacted the global electronics ecosystem.
Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle Among 34 Firms to Join Cybersecurity Tech Accord
April 18, 2018
Microsoft, Oracle and Facebook, along with 31 other companies, have signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, an agreement aimed at defending against cyberattacks, whether coming from rogue hackers or nation-states. The 34 tech firms committed to stronger defenses, no offensive attacks, capacity building and collective action. Security remains a major issue in the tech world.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies
April 16, 2018
Facebook has been in seriously hot water for its data monetization model almost from the firm's beginning. The Cambridge Analytica, election meddling and fake news scandals have turned up the heat. Facebook's problems aren't limited to the public and government backlash that spans several countries; the firm faces potentially devastating legal threats too.
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.
Lawmakers Lean In on Facebook
April 13, 2018
Following two days of often contentious exchanges between members of Congress and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the focus in Washington and Silicon Valley has shifted from how Facebook plans to change its data practices to how to implement some of those plans. The company already has taken steps to give its 2 billion monthly active users more control over their data.
House Critics Grill Zuckerberg Over Political Bias, Privacy
April 12, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday endured a second day of congressional criticism during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His appearance followed an intense session with two Senate Committees a day earlier. Some members of the House committee questioned whether Facebook tracked users offline. Some blasted what they claimed were repeated instances of censorship.
Zuckerberg Bobs, Weaves at Senate Hearing
April 11, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company failed to inform the FTC that Cambridge Analytica had gained improper access to personal data belonging to millions of Facebook members, despite its 2011 settlement with the commission over earlier complaints of unauthorized data sharing. Zuckerberg made the admission at a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Researchers to Put Facebook's Role in Elections Under Magnifying Glass
April 10, 2018
A group of nonprofits have agreed to fund an initiative to study Facebook's role in elections and democracy. The organizations will pay the expenses of researchers, and Facebook will give the scholars access to proprietary data that has met the company's new standards for heightened user privacy protection. "This is a critical first step," said Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation.
Mysterious Disappearance of Zuck Posts Rings Another Facebook Alarm Bell
April 9, 2018
Facebook reportedly allowed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives to delete messages from recipients' inboxes and chat threads, but it did not disclose the practice or offer the same capabilities to users. Facebook began using the tool after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures to protect executive communications. Facebook later said it would make the feature available to all users.
Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan
April 6, 2018
Facebook has announced an update to its policies for restricting data access on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed some of Facebook's new efforts to shore up user privacy protections in a 45-minute long Q&A with members of the media on Wednesday. Facebook will implement nine changes, which will allow users to set privacy levels and limit automatic data sharing.
Facebook Declares Open Season on Russian Trolls
April 5, 2018
Facebook has taken down more than 270 pages and accounts operated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday. IRA trolls and ads were involved in Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 United States presidential elections, and the trolls have published hate speech and incitements to violence on their Facebook pages.
The Power of Social Media and the Coming Repeal of the 2nd Amendment
April 2, 2018
One of the most powerful political organizations in the U.S. is the National Rifle Association. The president of the United States recently claimed he wasn't afraid of the NRA, only to have an NRA spokesperson -- not the president himself -- later announce that the president had changed his mind. It was painful to watch the most powerful man in the free world be treated like a small child.
Trump Rails at Amazon Over Taxes, USPS, Local Retail
March 30, 2018
President Trump fired off a tweet critical of Amazon, implying that the administration may be mulling some type of regulatory action. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, one of the top newspapers in the U.S. and a major thorn in the president's side. Trump recently has been "obsessing" over the company and exploring different regulatory possibilities, according to reports.
Atlanta Works to Break Ransomware Hold
March 30, 2018
Nearly a week after it became the target of one of the largest ransomware attacks to date, the City of Atlanta has made progress toward recovery, but it is still far from business as usual. Hackers encrypted many of the city government's vital data and computer systems. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms characterized the ransomware attack as "a hostage situation."
Facebook Takes Baby Steps Toward Rebuilding Trust
March 29, 2018
Facebook has introduced a set of changes designed to empower members to protect their account information. The company has been at the center of an unrelenting firestorm following revelations that it allowed Cambridge Analytica to mine private data belonging to 50 million of its users without permission, which Cambridge Analytica then leveraged for political purposes.
FTC Signals Tougher Stance on Mobile Privacy Protection
March 29, 2018
Mobile device makers and telecom service providers need to make significant privacy protection improvements for their customers, says the FTC. Its recent report could become the basis for agency enforcement actions -- not only for smartphones, but also for other mobile devices. "The report is a clear signal to the industry to focus on this issue," said Gerard Stegmaier, a partner at Reed Smith.
US Charges 9 Iranians in Massive Academic Research Theft
March 27, 2018
The DoJ has charged nine Iranian nationals for engaging in a massive phishing campaign on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The allegations include the theft of $3.4 billion in research and intellectual property from 320 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as from 47 foreign and domestic companies, plus several federal agencies, state governments, and the UN.
Facebook Phone-Scraping Takes Users by Surprise
March 27, 2018
Facebook on Sunday confirmed that its Messenger and Lite apps for Android smartphones routinely collect call and text histories. The call and text history logging are opt-in features for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android devices, the company said in a post. The feature is designed to help users stay connected, and it improves the Facebook experience, according to the company.
Chaos Threatens Tech Takeover
March 26, 2018
The tech world experienced more insanity last week. We finally got confirmation from AMD that the CTS Labs security report was a tempest in a teapot, but the big question remained unanswered. A self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian, but we didn't ask the right questions. Facebook admitted that it gave our information to a bad actor, and we forgot what really would wake up Zuckerberg.
The Social Utility
March 24, 2018
If you study economic cycles, you can watch the evolution of a disruptive technology throughout its lifecycle, from a specific product to a competitive industry. The last phase in the evolutionary chain is the formation of a utility. For example, over a couple of centuries we've seen the evolution of electricity from a curiosity, to a business, to a group of public companies.
Brit Lawmakers Want Cambridge Analytica's Nix to Explain a Few Things
March 23, 2018
British lawmakers want Alexander Nix, the suspended chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, to return to Parliament for additional questioning in its fake news inquiry. The Parliament's probe led to disclosures that Facebook had allowed Cambridge Analytica unauthorized access to up to 50 million user records, igniting a firestorm over user data privacy and possible U.S. voter manipulation.
Facebook Swelters in Cambridge Analytica Heat
March 22, 2018
CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke Facebook's mysterious silence following news of investigations into Cambridge Analytica's access to personal data belonging to 50 million Facebook users. Facing the wrath of everyone from U.S. and European regulators to shareholders, customers and employees, Zuckerberg conceded that Facebook must make several changes if it expects to be taken seriously in the future.
Facebook Faces Multiple Government Probes in Massive Data Scandal
March 20, 2018
EU, UK and U.S. officials have ratcheted up the pressure on Facebook over a user data scandal that threatens to engulf the company. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, summed up the stakes in a tweet on Tuesday: "Facebook needs to clarify before the representatives of 500 million Europeans that personal data is not being used to manipulate democracy."
California Weighs Tough Net Neutrality State Law
March 19, 2018
A California legislator has fleshed out the details in legislation that would provide comprehensive Net neutrality protection. Sen. Scott Wiener last week offered an amended version of a bill he introduced earlier this year, which essentially prohibits ISPs from engaging in any practice that would manipulate or hinder consumer access to certain content, devices or services.
Fake News Has Become an Existential Threat
March 19, 2018
The scene in A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson going off on handling the truth has been coming to mind way too often of late. Sadly, this is the world we are living in right now, and social media is at the heart of it. I recently noticed a headline that implied a lot of people had taken exception to something Gal Gadot tweeted about Stephen Hawking.
Data Storage, Privacy and Metaphysics: SC Weighs Arguments in MS Case
March 13, 2018
How far does the long arm of U.S. law enforcement extend when government agencies seek electronically processed information? The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed that issue in an intriguing session covering global electronic connectivity, the law, and the significance of national borders. The discussion came during last month's oral arguments in U.S. v. Microsoft.
White House Video Game Violence Discussion Fails to Move the Needle
March 9, 2018
President Donald Trump on Thursday met behind closed doors with several top video game industry executives, association representatives, politicians and others to discuss video game violence in the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among the scheduled attendees were Strauss Zelnick, CEO of TakeTwo Interactive Software.
Amazon Courts Medicaid Recipients With Deep Prime Discount
March 8, 2018
Amazon this week expanded its discounted Prime membership program, already available to EBT card holders, to include Medicaid recipients. Eligible customers can become Prime members for $5.99 a month, less than half the regular $12.99 monthly fee. The move -- another step in Amazon's efforts to reach underserved economic communities -- ratchets up its competition with Walmart.
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Why is Facebook taking so much more heat about data privacy than Google?
Google actually manages personal data more responsibly.
It's Facebook's turn now -- Google is next.
Google's data collection and sharing activities are less obvious.
Facebook is a scapegoat for the entire tech industry.
Google is more powerful than Facebook.