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How to Rein In Powerful Companies Without Ruining the US Tech Industry
March 18, 2019
Elizabeth Warren's desire to curtail Facebook, Amazon and other companies that have misused their massive power -- or may do so in the future -- is well founded. The U.S. appears to be trending toward civil war, and I'd place social media in general on the wrong side of this trend. However, we need a plan that will cure the problem without killing the patient.
Can Facebook Solve Its Worsening Privacy Problem?
March 14, 2019
The good news is that of the many troubles Facebook has, privacy seems to be front and center for both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. The question is, will the actions they take to address the company's privacy issues be enough? If not, this is the kind of problem that can and will cause long-term damage to the Facebook brand. Its leaders need to come up with an immediate fix.
Amazon Drops Lowest-Pricing Rule for Third-Party Sellers
March 13, 2019
Amazon reportedly has removed the price parity contract clause that barred third-party vendors on its platform from selling their products at a lower price elsewhere. The company long has been accused of anticompetitive behavior and has come under considerable political pressure because of its use of the price parity, also known as "most favored nation," restriction.
US Government Forging Ahead With Airport Facial Recognition Plans
March 12, 2019
Plans to bring facial recognition to major U.S. airports by 2021 are on a fast flight path, despite concerns about the new technology's readiness. President Trump in 2017 issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing U.S. borders. It stipulates that facial recognition identification be used in the top 20 U.S. airports.
Warren Dons Tech-Buster Mantle
March 12, 2019
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple would be broken up under a proposal from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "Today's big tech companies have too much power -- too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy," the Democratic presidential hopeful wrote in an online post. Warren has called for legislative remedies to address the problems.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
Microsoft Defends Jumping in AR Bed With Military
February 27, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens.
Will Congress Override State Net Neutrality Laws?
February 21, 2019
Way back in the dark ages in May 2011 -- about 2,345 Internet years ago -- I wrote a column about Net neutrality, which was in court at the time. For those of you who are not sure, "Net neutrality" is short for "Internet neutrality" or "network neutrality." The concept addresses user access to the Internet, and the debate around Net neutrality centers on whether ISPs can limit, tier, block or otherwise affect Internet performance.
JPMorgan Chase Rolls Out Digital Token
February 15, 2019
JPMorgan Chase on Thursday announced that it has created and successfully tested a digital coin. Each JPM Coin represents $1 in funds held in designated accounts at JPMorgan Chase N.A. The token was created using Quorum, a variant of Ethereum developed by JPMorgan Chase, to enable instantaneous payment transfers between its clients' institutional accounts.
Trump Order Gives Artificial Intelligence a Boost
February 12, 2019
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at boosting artificial intelligence R&D in the U.S. The order sets up the American AI Initiative, which instructs federal agencies to move projects involving artificial intelligence to the top of their priority lists. No funding is proposed in the order, but the initiative directs federal agencies to focus on five areas.
5G Is Key to T-Mobile, Sprint Merger
February 11, 2019
Over the last several quarters, I have heard opinions of the pending T-Mobile, Sprint merger from every corner. Those who are pro-merger focus on all the benefits it woud bring. Those who are anti-merger focus on what would be lost and how it would harm different segments. Amid the chaotic debate, what really matters is whether the regulators are going to say yes or no.
How IBM'S Project Debater Could Fix the State of the Union
February 11, 2019
Last week, like a lot of you, I imagine, I watched the State of the Union and tried to figure out what was true and what was fiction. Tied into several of the live-streamed press fact-checking streams, I found that the comments validating or invalidating what the president said came in so far after the comment was made that it would have been better to wait until the next day.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
FTC v. Qualcomm: What Really Is Going On
February 4, 2019
I've been watching antitrust cases actively since the 1980s. I had to study historical antitrust cases going back to Standard Oil and RCA, in order to ensure compliance with a related consent decree When I worked at IBM. Each of the other cases had one thing in common: Both of the companies being charged were massively and obviously monopolies. There were many questions.
DoL Seeks $400M for Oracle Workers Underpaid Due to Discrimination
January 24, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a court action against Oracle for underpaying non-white male employees by as much as $400 million. "Oracle suppressed starting salaries for its female and non-White employees, assigned them to lower level positions and depressed their wages over the years they worked for Oracle," states a filing by the DoL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Is Facebook's Five-Point Fix-It Plan Enough?
January 22, 2019
Many faithful Facebook users had the rug pulled out from under them during the last year. Both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the U.S. Congress and spilled the beans on how the company had betrayed its members. I don't think the company's leaders realized that Facebook was doing the wrong thing until recently. Now they have a five-point fix-it-plan. Will it work?
Facebook Adds Petition Feature to Global Community-Building Effort
January 22, 2019
Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature that's bound to charm political activists. Community Actions lets Facebook members create a page where they can describe what they'd like done, and set up a button that like-minded members can click to show their support. The page will show the government agencies and officials notified about the action, as well as the number of its supporters.
Apple's Self-Destructive Qualcomm, China Strategies
December 17, 2018
Why would Apple want to put Qualcomm out of business? It'is because Apple uses a lock-in strategy, where once on an Apple platform it is painful to get off. Most of the smart Apple iPhone users I know actually use Google apps and Google's infrastructure and other third-party tools on their iPhones, so if they want to move to an Android phone they can move almost seamlessly.
Oracle and the JEDI Contract
December 13, 2018
Oracle has filed a suit in federal court over the $10 billion Pentagon JEDI contract to be awarded to a single vendor. Oracle claims that the single-vendor award is unfair and illegal, a claim it first filed with the GAO, or Government Accountability Office. The suit followed the GAO's denial of Oracle's claim. My first instinct was to call this legislative entrepreneurship.
Supermicro: Our Motherboards Are Clean
December 12, 2018
Supermicro CEO Charles Liang has informed the company's customers that a leading third-party investigations company found "absolutely no evidence of malicious hardware" on its motherboards. The investigation was undertaken in response to a recent claim that bad actors had inserted spy chips in the firm's motherboards on behalf of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
Pichai Puts Kibosh on Google Search Engine for China
December 12, 2018
Google is not working on a bespoke search engine that caters to China's totalitarian tastes, and it has no plans to develop one, CEO Sundar Pichai told lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "Right now, we have no plans to launch in China," he told members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at a public hearing on Google's data collection, use and filtering practices.
Who's Winning the Latest Tech Industry Battles?
December 10, 2018
December has become consistent with the Chinese curse, "May You Be Born In Interesting Times." We are up to our armpits in wars. Qualcomm and Intel are fighting for 5G control, and Intel is tearing itself apart. Microsoft passed Apple in valuation, largely because it has not been focusing on Apple. The Huawei founder's daughter has just been arrested, at the request of the U.S.
DoJ Takes Down Online Ad Fraud Ring, Indicts 8
November 29, 2018
The DoJ has revealed an unsealed indictment of eight defendants for crimes related to their involvement in widespread digital advertising fraud. The DoJ alleges the eight individuals were behind two global schemes, 3ve and Methbot, which stole tens of millions of dollars through a scam that used fake Web traffic and fake websites to reap ad view revenue from unwitting advertisers.
Reining In Social Media Without Crippling It
November 23, 2018
Earlier this year, in response to reports that Russian actors had used Facebook to disrupt the 2016 election, I wrote a few pieces about how one might go about fixing the problem. I am not sure I have solutions for everything, but what motivates me is the sagging feeling that settles in whenever society throws up its hands and punts. We can do better.
10 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Retirement to a Scam
November 19, 2018
Several years ago, my wife and I invested in a project called "Sanctuary Belize" and, like many of the investors, we were incredibly excited about the prospect of retiring in paradise. After a time, things just weren't adding up. The company supposedly put controls in place to reverse course, but we exited the project. As it turned out, those controls either were not put in place or failed.
It Is Well Past Time for Elections to Be Online
November 5, 2018
Tomorrow a minority of those who are eligible will take time off, drive through traffic, and wait in lines to take part in one of the most artificially annoying obligations of United States citizenship: voting. Many who make that inconvenient trek will treat the process like a multiple choice test they haven't studied for, either voting the party line or guessing at the right answers.
Former White House CIO Theresa Payton: 'There Are Grave Concerns About Election Interference'
October 26, 2018
Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions, is one of the most influential experts on cybersecurity and IT strategy in the United States. She is an authority on Internet security, data breaches and fraud mitigation. She served as the first female chief information officer at the White House, overseeing IT operations for President George W. Bush and his staff.
How AI Could Fix What Seems Unfixable
October 1, 2018
I watched last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and I was struck by the fact that they seemed to be more about the Democrats fighting with Republicans to see which party could corrupt the Supreme Court more effectively than they were about senators doing their jobs. What bothers me most about that is if you corrupt the highest court in the land you effectively destroy the country.
See More Articles in Government Section >>
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Has technology made transportation more or less safe?
Traveling by all modes of transportation has become riskier with each passing year.
In general, transportation safety has been improving steadily, despite some failures.
Some modes of transportation have been improving while others have become less safe.
We may have reached a tipping point where more tech means less safety.
Don't blame the tech -- greedy companies haven't done adequate testing.
Government regulators have not been playing a strong enough oversight role.
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide