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Showing posts from May, 2014

Google Opens Privacy Web Form For 'Right To Be Forgotten' Requests

Google Opens Privacy Web Form For 'Right To Be Forgotten' Requests First published May 30th 2014, 2:06 am
LONDON - Google began accepting requests Friday from Europeans who want who want to exercise the 'right to be forgotten' in results produced by the world's dominant search engine.
Demands can be submitted on a Web form that Google opened in response to a landmark ruling issued two weeks ago by Europe's highest court.
“We will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information,” the organization said in a statement.
Anyone submitting the form will need copy of a valid form of photo ID.
“We're working to finalize our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible. In the meantime, please fill out the form below and we will notify you when we start processing your request. We appreciate your patience.”
The …

New federal database will include 227 million Americans' SSNs, entire credit history...

New federal database will track Americans' credit ratings, other financial information
BY RICHARD POLLOCK | MAY 30, 2014 | 6:00 AM
As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives -- including their Social Security numbers -- in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy.
FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.
FHFA officials claim the database is essential to conducting a monthly mortgage survey required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and to …

'Mind pilots' steer plane flight simulation with thoughts alone

'Mind pilots' steer plane sim with thoughts alone
Seven test pilots demonstrate an X-Men-like ability to steer an airplane through a flight simulation with surprising accuracy.
by Michael Franco  @writermfranco May 27, 2014 12:47 PM PDT
Electrodes attached to a cap convert brain waves into signals that can be processed by the flight simulator for hands-free flying.
Thanks to her kick-butt skill of telekinesis (my secret superhero power wish), longtime X-Men alum Jean Grey can move things with her mind. And she's not the only one.
New research out of the Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany is hinting that mind control might soon reach entirely new heights -- even by us non-mutants. They've demonstrated that pilots might be able to fly planes through the sky using their thoughts alone.
The researchers hooked study participants to a cap containing dozens of electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes, sat them down in a flight simulator, and told them to steer th…

Apple sees the light in push for Jetsons-style home automation

May 26, 2014 3:33 pm
Apple sees the light in push for Jetsons-style home automation
By Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco
Apple is readying a new software platform that would turn the iPhone into a remote control for lights, security systems and other household appliances, as part of a move into the “internet of things”.
Apple plans to take on rivals Google and Samsung and make a “big play” in the world of smart home technology at its Worldwide Developer Conference on June 2 in San Francisco, according to people familiar with the matter.
This will reinforce the view, held by some in Silicon Valley, that Jetsons-style home automation is the next frontier in technology as growth in smartphone sales begins to slow in developed markets.
Apple’s coming move follows Google’s $3.2bn acquisition in January of Nest Labs, makers of internet-connected thermostats and smoke alarms, and Samsung’s recent debut of its Smart Home range of refrigerators, washing machines and TVs that can be controlled fr…

Google says it plans to build self-driving cars

Google says it plans to build self-driving cars Published May 28, 2014
LOS ANGELES –  Google will build a car without a steering wheel.
It doesn't need one because it drives itself.
The two-seater won't be sold publicly, but Google said Tuesday it hopes by this time next year, 100 prototypes will be on public roads. Though not driving very quickly -- the top speed would be 25 mph.
The cars are a natural next step for Google, which already has driven hundreds of thousands of miles in California with Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with a combination of sensors and computers.
Those cars have Google-employed "safety drivers" behind the wheel in case of emergency. The new cars would eliminate the driver from the task of driving.
No steering wheel, no brake and gas pedals. Instead, buttons for go and stop.
"It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable," Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told a Southern …

Microsoft Unveils Near-Real Time Language Translation For Skype

TECH 5/28/2014 @ 1:17AM
Microsoft Unveils Near-Real Time Language Translation For Skype
Skype hopes to make its international connections easier — though perhaps still a little awkward — with a new feature that automatically translates conversations almost in real time.
Parent company Microsoft unveiled the new technology at the Code technology conference on Tuesday, where Skype vice president Gurdeep Pall made small talk in English with a German-speaking Skype manager in Europe.
After saying a sentence in English, an automated voice translated his words into German. (You can watch the video here.)
It’s not quite the real-time universal translator that characters on “Star Trek” used to speak to alien life forms. And inevitably for a technology built on the still-tenuous foundations of speech recognition and machine translation, it’s not 100% accurate.
Pall’s demonstration with his colleague ended with this awkward exchange at the very end:
Pall: “So what brings you to the United Sta…

Brokers use ‘billions’ of data points to profile Americans

Brokers use ‘billions’ of data points to profile Americans
By Craig Timberg, Tuesday, May 27, 8:59 AM
Data brokers that quietly gather billions of pieces of data on Americans should be required to operate more openly, so that those categorized as “financially challenged” or possibly suffering from serious medical conditions have the ability to check and challenge those characterizations, a federal report said Tuesday.
The data broker industry, which is lightly regulated, develops profiles of hundreds of millions of people using online and offline sources, such as magazine subscriptions, visits to Web sites, posting on social networking services and purchase histories, the Federal Trade Commission reported. The information sold to marketers can list race, income and homeownership.
Categories used to label consumers include “Bible Lifestyle,” “Smoker in Household” and “New Age/Organic Lifestyle,” the report said. One category, called “Rural Everlasting,” describes people of retirement …

iPhones frozen by hackers demanding ransom

iPhones frozen by hackers demanding ransom
People around the world have found their iPads and iPhones frozen by hackers who are demanding cash ransoms to unlock their devices
By  Matthew Sparkes
11:13AM BST 27 May 2014
Owners of iPhones and iPads have been targeted by a hacker who is freezing iOS devices and demanding a ransom of up to £55 to unlock them.
The majority of the attacks have taken place in Australia although there are also reports of Britons being affected.
It appears that the hacker, who goes by the name Oleg Pliss, has managed to exploit the Find My iPhone feature which can track and remotely lock stolen devices.
Users have been told to send ransoms of between $50 and $100 Australian dollars (up to £55) to a PayPal account in order to have their devices unlocked.
Those affected have taken to Apple's support forums to seek help. One user, veritylikestea from Melbourne, said: "I was using my iPad a short while ago when suddenly it locked itself.
"I we…

Technology Companies Are Pressing Congress to Bolster Privacy Protections

Technology Companies Are Pressing Congress to Bolster Privacy Protections
By ELENA SCHNEIDER MAY 26, 2014
WASHINGTON — A Reagan-era law that allows the government to read email and cloud-stored data more than six months old without a search warrant is under attack from technology companies, trade associations and lobbying groups, which are pressing Congress to tighten privacy protections. Federal investigators have used the law to view content hosted by third-party providers for civil and criminal lawsuits, in some cases without giving notice to the individual being investigated.
Nearly 30 years after Congress passed the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, cloud computing companies are scrambling to reassure their customers, and some clients are taking their business to other countries.
Ben Young, the general counsel for Peer 1, a web hosting company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, said his customers were keeping their business out of the United States because the c…

E.U. Debates Which Nation Will Regulate Web Privacy

E.U. Debates Which Nation Will Regulate Web Privacy
By MARK SCOTTMAY 26, 2014
LONDON — The new European Parliament that was voted into office over the weekend, despite having a different political makeup, is widely expected to reach a final agreement this year on stricter online privacy rules that have long been in the works.
The rules, which have been discussed since 2012, would be stricter than those in the United States. They would create one law across the European Union to protect several aspects of online privacy, which is enshrined as a fundamental right in Europe, including restrictions on what information could be shipped overseas. And they would impose multimillion-dollar fines on any company that misuses Europeans’ data.
Still, a crucial question remains: Which European regulator will have the final say in enforcing the rules?
Under the proposals, companies will be able to operate throughout the region if they fulfill the requirements — and the interpretation — of European…

Did Regulators Break the Internet or Did They Save It? Yes.

State of the Art
Did Regulators Break the Internet or Did They Save It? Yes.
By FARHAD MANJOO  May 16, 2014 5:04 pm   
Ten years from now, we’ll look back on this week as the moment federal regulators broke the Internet as we know it.
Or we will look back on it as just another time they managed to push through a fragile, hodgepodge compromise that kept the Internet just barely functioning fairly, at least until the next telecommunications giant initiates a court case that once again casts the future of the network in doubt.
In other words, whatever happens, it’s hard to see a really great outcome to the proposal on so-called network neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission moved to adopt this week.
Network neutrality is the most important sleep-inducing topic around. At its heart is a question that anyone who uses the Internet ought to care about: Will the future of the Internet resemble that of cable television, a service in which business deals between content…

A Restaurant Claims Google 'Glassholes' Hurt Its Reviews

A Restaurant Claims Google 'Glassholes' Hurt Its Reviews
MEGAN ROSE DICKEY MAY 24, 2014, 2:53 PM
New York-based restaurant Feast says that Google Glass owners are hurting its business, following a slew of one-star reviews posted to Google.
Toward the end of last month, a customer wearing Google Glass walked in for brunch. As the story goes, one of the managers asked her to take them off before sitting down to eat. The manager didn't think it'd be a problem because one Glass wearer had complied in the past. But this time, the woman refused and left.
After the incident happened, Glass wearer Katy Kasmai wrote about it on Google+.
"For the first time ever this place, Feast, in #NYC just asked that I remove +Google Glass because customers have complained of privacy concerns in the past," Kasmai wrote. "Never has happened to me before in the one year I've had Glass. I left."
Over 100 people commented on her post — some whom said they would've…

Google developing 3-D depth-sensing tablets...

Google Developing Tablet With Advanced Vision Capabilities
Tech Company Plans To Produce About 4,000 Prototype Tablets Beginning Next Month
By LORRAINE LUK in Hong Kong and ROLFE WINKLER in San Francisco CONNECT
May 22, 2014 10:02 p.m. ET
What will the next-generation Google tablet do? WSJ's Rolfe Winkler discusses the souped-up cameras and sensors expected from Google on the News Hub with Sara Murray.
Google Inc. is developing a new, cutting-edge tablet as it continues to experiment with advanced vision capabilities for mobile devices.
The company plans to produce about 4,000 of the prototype tablets beginning next month, according to people briefed on the company's plans. The device would come with a 7-inch screen and will be equipped with two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advanced software that can capture precise three-dimensional images of objects, said these people.
The tablet is being developed as part of a Google research effort dubbed Project Tango, accord…

AMAZON Flexes Its Muscles in Fight Against Publishers... Books Vanish

As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish By DAVID STREITFELD and MELISSA EDDY  MAY 23, 2014 7:24 AM
As of Friday morning, the paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — was listed as “unavailable.”
Amazon’s power over the publishing and bookselling industries is unrivaled in the modern era. Now it has started wielding its might in a more brazen way than ever before.
Seeking ever-higher payments from publishers to bolster its anemic bottom line, Amazon is holding books and authors hostage on two continents by delaying shipments and raising prices. The literary community is fearful and outraged — and practically begging for government intervention.
“How is this not extortion? You know, the thing that is illegal when the Mafia does it,” asked Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, echoing remarks being made across social media.
Amazon is, as usual, staying mum. “We talk when we have someth…

Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas

Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas By Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras19 May 2014, 12:37 PM EDT
The National Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.
According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.
SOMALGET is part of a broader NSA program called MYSTIC, which The Intercept ha…