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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.
German Court's Privacy Ruling Against Facebook Will Have Far-Reaching Effects
March 14, 2018
Facebook has millions of users in the European Union, and a German court recently ruled against the company in a case involving its Privacy Policy. Few ever read privacy policies except judges, who must examine them when challenges arise. The new EU General Data Protection Regulations, which go into effect on May 25, will make things even more complicated. If you have any customers who are EU residents, the new GDPR will impact you.
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.
SC Justices to Hear Arguments in Microsoft, DoJ Data Privacy Face-Off
February 27, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments in a landmark case over whether federal law enforcement can force Microsoft to hand over email stored in an overseas data center as evidence in a drug-trafficking case. The case, United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation, which dates back to 2013, is viewed as a potentially groundbreaking showdown over data privacy.
FCC's Final Rule on Net Neutrality Sparks Legal Challenges
February 23, 2018
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially published its Net neutrality rollback order in the Federal Register, triggering a flurry of legal actions and Capitol Hill scrambling to stop it before it takes hold. The order, which goes into effect on April 23, reverses an Obama era rule requiring that broadband access be regarded as a utility.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
SEC, Senators Lean Toward Tighter Cryptocurrency Regulation
February 7, 2018
Federal securities regulators and Senate Banking Committee members on Tuesday signaled that additional regulation may be necessary in the rapidly growing area of virtual currency. "The cryptocurrency and ICO markets, while new, have grown rapidly, gained greater prominence in the public conscience and attracted significant capital from retail investors," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.
Will 2018 Be the Year of Reckoning for Online Tax Collection?
February 6, 2018
The United States Supreme Court recently decided to revisit Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which basically allowed states to collect taxes on online sales only from sellers that had a physical presence within their boundaries. Brick-and-mortar retailers for years have argued that the ruling puts them at a competitive disadvantage. At least 35 states have been urging a reconsideration of Quill.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
AT&T Raises Eyebrows With Call for Internet Bill of Rights
January 25, 2018
In an open letter and a series of full-page ads in major newspapers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to enact an Internet Bill of Rights and to bring the Net neutrality debate to an end. Although AT&T supported the FCC's December vote to repeal its Net neutrality rules, the company has called on legislators to establish new laws to regulate the Internet.
Feds to Ramp Up Online Purchasing Presence
January 22, 2018
Online retail has been booming, with consumers flocking to the Internet to shop for almost anything. Online retail revenues in the U.S. would reach a projected $445 billion in 2017 and jump to $600 billion by 2020, according to FTI Consulting. The U.S. government has begun developing a program that would allow agencies to utilize e-commerce portals for purchases of COTS products.
Germany Cracks Whip Against Hate Speech on Social Media
January 3, 2018
Germany on Monday began enforcing its new Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG, which imposes a fine of up to $60 million on social media networks that fail to remove hate-inciting posts promptly. The controversial law, adopted in mid 2017, is designed to help combat hate and fake news at a time when ISIS-linked terror and anti-immigrant extremism have been on the rise in Germany.
Consumers Win Some, Lose Some in Privacy Legal Tussles
January 3, 2018
The Walt Disney Company's recent decision to purchase major assets of 21st Century Fox in a transaction valued at $52 billion underscores the huge potential for distributing information and entertainment via the Internet. The deal will allow the company to improve its direct-to-consumer offerings, Disney said when it disclosed the transaction early last month.
The FCC Screwed Up! My Firsthand Experience Without Net Neutrality
December 19, 2017
As a high-tech industry analyst, I have worked from home for more than a decade. As someone who tracks new technology and is always on the lookout for a better communications solution, I migrated to a Voice over Internet Protocol service through Vonage early after its introduction. The service was great. I had great call quality and the flexibility to take the service anywhere.
FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Net Neutrality Battle Lines Drawn as FCC Vote Looms
December 5, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's long-brewing plan to repeal Net neutrality has the broadband, telecom and entertainment worlds at loggerheads. The commission's expected Dec. 14 vote could result in a complete rewrite of the script for the Internet's competitive landscape and consumer protection models. The repeal of Net neutrality would end restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015.
Major Players Roll Up Sleeves to Solve Open Source Licensing Problems
November 30, 2017
Four big tech players this week moved to improve their handling of open source software licensing violations. Red Hat, Google, Facebook and IBM said they would apply error standards in GNU GPLv3 to all of their open source licensing, even licenses granted under older GPL agreements. "This will make everything consistent with GPLv3," said IP attorney Lawrence Rosen.
E-Commerce Firms: Get Ready for New Privacy Laws
October 24, 2017
The Federal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the United States, and under the FTC rules, a website need not have a privacy policy at all. However, a website must comply with and not violate its policy if it has one. ifeLock learned that lesson the hard way when " target="_blank">the FTC sued it for failing to abide by its privacy policy. How do other countries' privacy laws apply to U.S. businesses?
Linux Foundation Launches Open Data Licensing Agreements
October 23, 2017
The Linux Foundation has introduced the Community Data License Agreement, a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes. CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code. The agreement could help foster an increase in data sharing across a variety of industries.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
FTC Tightens Screws on Social Media Influencers
October 12, 2017
Social media influencer advertising has become a major factor in e-commerce. Marketers of both big and small brands long have committed large chunks of their advertising budgets to endorsements by well-known personalities. Social media influencer campaigns are based on that tried-and-true formula, but the implication is that the endorsements are voluntary.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Red Hat Enlarges Its Open Source Patent Promise Umbrella
September 22, 2017
Red Hat on Thursday announced major enhancements to the Patent Promise it first published 15 years ago, with the intention of providing new protections to innovation in the open source community. In its 2002 Patent Promise, Red Hat vowed not to pursue patent infringement actions against parties that used its covered Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS, subject to certain limitations.
Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism
September 6, 2017
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, has accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices. Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data were published this spring, he said.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
Consumers Gain More Power to Seek Data Breach Damages
August 21, 2017
There are no good outcomes of an electronic data system breach. At best, companies dealing with e-commerce technologies face the formidable task and the resulting cost of repairs. In addition having to fix information technology systems, companies suffering breaches may be increasingly vulnerable to legal action taken by customers whose personal data was affected.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.