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Showing posts from April, 2013
Government Surveillance Is on the Rise, Says GoogleAlex FitzpatrickNov 13, 2012 Googlereleased its sixth Transparency Report on Tuesday, showing what it believes is a clear trend: around the world, government requests for user data is on the upswing. "As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report," wrote Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google, in ablog post. "In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts." Government requests for Google to remove content rose dramatically over the past six months, too. "In the first half of 2012, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content," noted Chou. Google's latestTransparency Reportcovers January to June of 2012. Newly added this time around are …
Google's Brin keeps spotlight on future technologies
25 APRIL 2013
AFP - Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Thursday outlined a vision for the future in which self-driving cars whisk care-free friends to verdant parks that were once paved lots.
"It's these kinds of ideas - which have the potential to transform lives and communities - that make me excited about coming to work every day," Brin said in an annual founder's letter.
"I am optimistic that if we choose important problems -- transportation in this case -- work in partnership with others, and have a vision we believe in, the odds are on our side."
Brin, who heads the clandestine Google X team research team, seemed to build on remarks by co-founder Larry Page last week on the "big bets" that the Internet search giant is making in the swiftly evolving world of technology.
During a quarterly earnings call with financial analysts last week, Page touted Google innovations ranging from Android…
Google Glass: we'll all need etiquette lessons - What happens when we can all record everything, asks Matt Warman
By Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor3:31PM BST 24 Apr 2013
Do you mind if I record you reading this article? Would you mind if I record you every time you read an article? The chances are, if you’re reading this on screen, I could quite easily. It’s likely there’s a webcam in your PC or laptop or mobile phone that could track what you’re doing, and maybe in due course I could change the adverts depending on how high your eyebrows arch. Digital etiquette, however, makes such invasive technology impossible. Hackers, however, do it all the time.
That vision of constant surveillance is the one raised by Google Glass, nonetheless. The wearable computer that Google hopes we will all be wearing like glasses comprises a tiny camera, a microphone and a screen. Our every sight will be augmented with extra information, and everything recorded.
It’s likely, of course, that …
CISPA bill in limbo after it passed House; Senate too busy Tuesday, April 23, 2013 April 23, 2013 (WASHINGTON) -- Pro-business legislation aimed at helping companies fend off sophisticated foreign hackers sailed through the House on Thursday despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that say it leaves Americans vulnerable to spying by the military.
The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn't taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration. The lack of enthusiasm in the Senate and objections by the White House mean that the legislation is in limbo despite an aggressive push by lobbyists representing nearly every corner of industry.
But supporters said they were gaining momentum: Despite the White House veto threat 92 Democrats voted for the measure, compared to only 42 for a similar bill last year.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection A…
White House Endorses Internet Sales Tax 3:26 PM, APR 22, 2013   • BY DANIEL HALPER      
The White House today endorsed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would be a tax hike for purchases made over the Internet. The White House claims the tax would "level playing field for local retailers."
"The Administration strongly supports S. 743, which will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies," reads the Obama administration's statement on the policy.
Although States presently have the authority to tax the sale of goods or services sold from out-of-state vendors, they are prevented under current law from requiring the collection of such duly-enacted taxes.  As a consequence, while local small business retailers follow the law and collect sales taxes from customers who make purchases in their stores, many big business online and catalog retailers do not collect the same t…
Supercomputers could generate warnings for stock crashesPOSTED:   04/22/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
UPDATED:   04/22/2013 02:01:11 AM MDT By Lisa M. Krieger
San Jose Mercury News
Powerful computers can wreak havoc on U.S. stock markets, creating hair-raising volatility and eroding investor confidence in the lightning-fast search for profit. But far more powerful computers could help save it. High-speed trading now dominates U.S. stock markets, buying and selling in a fraction of the time that it takes to blink. Computers detecting rapid swings in prices and instantly reacting builds volatility and more trades, generating a sea of chaotic data and a vicious feedback loop that can lead to nightmares far worse than May 2010's infamous "flash crash." Faster still is "Edison," a supercomputer tended by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory scientists in a former Wells Fargo Bank building in downtown Oakland, Calif. Edison-like computers could track ultrafast trading across the nation'…
Apple records and keeps users' Siri queries for up to 2 years
By Salvador Rodriguez April 19, 2013, 1:52 p.m.
Siri isn't just a pretty voice with the answers. It's also been recording and keeping all the questions users ask.
Exactly what the voice assistant does with the data isn't clear, but Apple confirmed that it keeps users' questions for up to two years. Siri, which needs to be connected to the Internet to function, sends all of its users' queries to Apple.
Apple revealed the information after Wired posted an article this week raising the question and highlighting the fact that the privacy statement for Siri wasn't very clear about how long that information is kept or what would be done with it.
Technically Apple keeps Siri user data for six months, associating that data with the user. After that time, the company will disassociate users from the data, meaning it will remove any identifiers for who input that particular query into Siri. But for the ne…
Smartphone innovation: Where we're going next (Smartphones Unlocked)Smartphone advancements are on the edge of transforming in some crazy ways, but it isn't like you think.
byJessica Dolcourt April 13, 2013 9:00 AM PDT o
HTC's One lead the way with a TV-controlling IR blaster built into the power button. (Credit: CNET)
TheHTC Onehas a gorgeous chassis and a ton of camera tricks, theSamsung's Galaxy S4pauses and unpauses video when you avert your gaze, and in theLumia 920, Nokia was one of the first to introduce wireless charging and an ultrasensitive screen you can control while wearing gloves.
Yet compared with the real meat of what you do with a phone -- things like communicating with people, browsing the Internet, snapping photos, and playing games -- today's top phones are mostly all on par. Software and hardware extras that extend beyond the basics, while impressive, convenient, likable, and even useful, still amount to fancy filler.
All of today's technology will…
Google adds 'digital estate planning' to its services
1 APRIL 2013 AFP - Google on Thursday began letting people plan out what is to be done with their digital photos, documents and other virtual belongings after they die or become incapacitated.
An "Inactive Account Manager" can be used to direct Google to pass on data from online venues such as Google Drive, Gmail, YouTube, or social network Google+ to particular people or be deleted after being dormant for too long.
"What should happen to your photos, emails and documents when you stop using your account?" Google said in a message at an account settings page.
"You might want your data to be shared with a trusted friend or family member, or, you might want your account to be deleted entirely," the message continued.
"Whatever the reason, we give you the option of deciding what happens to your data."
Google lets people specify how long to wait before taking action, and the California-…
IRS: We can read emails without warrant By Brendan Sasso  - 04/10/13 12:56 PM ET The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people's emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday.
In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users "do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy.
Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, government officials only need a subpoena, issued without a judge's approval, to read emails that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old.
Privacy groups such as the ACLU argue that the Fourth Amendment pro…
Google favours ‘in-house’ search results
April 9, 2013 6:18 pm
By Alex Barker in Brussels and Bede McCarthy in London
Google faces having to offer users in Europe more choice of other specialised search engines after Brussels investigators found its results were favouring its in-house services to the detriment of consumers.
One of the European Commission’s primary concerns, according to officials involved, is the visibility in search results of rival so-called “vertical search” services – in areas such as maps, finance or weather – that may provide more relevant results to a query.
This specific finding indicates that alongside widely expected concessions to more clearly label Google’s own services, the US group will also need to offer solutions that give more prominence to rival specialist search services and consumers clearer alternatives.
Google is this week submitting its final offer of concessions to the Commission, which aim to head off formal antitrust charges and a hefty fine.…
Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads By TANZINA VEGA Published: April 7, 2013
Articles in a series on Mashable.com called “What’s Inside” looked for all the world like the hundreds of other articles on the digital media site. But journalistically, they were something very different.
The articles, about technology topics in a wide variety of products, including modems and the Hubble Space Telescope, were paid for by Snapdragon, a brand of processor chip made by Qualcomm, and the sponsor of the series. Most were even written by Mashable editorial employees.
An article on Google Glass technology was shared almost 2,000 times on social media, indicating that readers may not have cared, or known, if it was journalism or sponsored content, although the series was identified as such.
Advertisers and publishers have many names for this new form of marketing — including branded content, sponsored content and native advertising. Regardless of the name, the strategy of having adve…