News

Ajit Pai Is Intentionally Delaying His Net Neutrality Repeal and No One Knows Why

2018.04.26 02

Despite claims that net neutrality officially died this week, the FCC has not officially posted the repeal yet.

More than four months after the Trump FCC formally voted to kill net neutrality, the rules remain on the books. And there’s every indication that the agency is intentionally delaying the final, killing blow—just to further help AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.

While numerous news outlets claimed net neutrality officially died this week, that’s not technically true. Before net neutrality rules can truly be scrubbed from the books, the repeal needs to not only be posted to the Federal Register, but the US Office of Management and Budget needs to sign off on the flimsy replacement protections proposed by the FCC.

But consumer advocates this week pointed out that the FCC appears to be intentionally delaying the final repeal via intentional, bureaucratic gridlock.

So why is the Trump FCC stalling on formally killing rules it professes were devastating to the telecom sector?

The most popular theory is that ISPs and the FCC wanted more time to garner support for their effort to pass a bogus net neutrality law. A law they promise will “solve” the net neutrality feud once and for all, but whose real intention is to pre-empt tougher state laws, and block the FCC’s 2015 rules from being restored in the wake of a possible court loss.

Ajit Pai Is Intentionally Delaying His Net Neutrality Repeal and No One Knows Why

As the net neutrality CRA deadline in Congress approaches, support continues to grow

2018.04.26 01

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last year to dismantle net neutrality rules, internet activists and lawmakers teamed up to tell millions of frustrated supporters that the fight was not over.

As the wave of immense public pushback against the FCC’s decision continued to grow, lawmakers and activists decided to wield a congressional tool to try and save net neutrality–the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The act allows Congress to overrule federal regulations issued by government agencies within a 60-day window, which internet activists say gives them time to try and rally the web once more to show their lawmakers that net neutrality, which ensures all internet traffic is treated equally, isn’t a niche topic. Instead, they hope to show it is something millions of people want to see saved.

As the net neutrality CRA deadline in Congress approaches, support continues to grow

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional Testimony

Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony from April 11, 2018 over the leak of data and Cambridge Analytica. The actual hearing begins at 32:20.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testimony | Day 1

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testimony | Day 2

 

What Happened To Google Image Search And Why You Can No Longer View Images Directly

2018.02.19 03

Yesterday, Google made a few changes to the way Image Search works, the biggest tweak being the removal of the “View Image” button they would take you straight to the image’s URL. Now, all you’ll see is “Visit”, which navigates to the page on which the image appears. So, why did Google do this? A legal settlement with Getty Images basically.

The “View Image” button wasn’t the only casualty; with Sullivan mentioning the demise of “Search by Image”. He clarified however that reverse image search is still available, you just can’t shortcut it any more when browsing search results.

Of course, killing “View Image” won’t stop anyone who wants the direct URL: it’s a simple matter of right-clicking the image and selecting “Open in new window / tab”, or whatever equivalent in your browser of choice, which does the same thing.

What Happened To Google Image Search And Why You Can No Longer View Images Directly

Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted?

2018.02.19 02

Millions of smart TVs from Samsung and some streaming devices from Roku recently were found to be vulnerable to cyberattacks, allowing intruders to take control and remotely change channels and volume settings, among other things, according to Consumer Reports research.

Vulnerabilities were discovered not only in Samsung televisions, but also in TVs from TCL and other brands that sell sets compatible with the Roku TV smart-TV platform and streaming video devices such as Roku Ultra, according to the report.

Further, the affected televisions and devices collect a wide range of personal data, Consumer Reports noted, and users who choose to limit that data collection would risk limiting the functionality of the TV.

The report is based on a wide ranging security and privacy review of major brands, including Vizio, LG and Sony.

“For many years, there was no reason to hack a television or a smart streaming media player,” he told TechNewsWorld.

It was only with the advent of subscription-based video services and transactional video that you started to see financial data, like credit card numbers, get stored online, Sappington noted.

Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted?

Silicon Valley’s Corrupt Underbelly: It’s Far Worse Than We Thought

2018.02.19 01

After addressing the topic of sexual harassment and misconduct in Silicon Valley last month, I finally got my hands on a copy of Brotopia, an eye-opening new book, and a lot of executives should be happy I did not pursue my career in law enforcement. Otherwise I would be working my butt off to get them off the streets behind bars.

Everyone connected to tech — especially investors, employees or customers of tech firms — should read this book. Specifically, for investors, it will give you insights into a level of extreme avoidable risk that has not been factored into the market — at least not yet.

If I were interested in developing a strategy either to ensure a Republican win in the mid-term elections or to move the center of tech to China, India, South Korea or Israel, this book would be invaluable.

That’s because it highlights how easily most of the men and some of the women in the book could be blackmailed (given the nature of China, North Korea and Russia, perhaps that’s already happening to some of them). That could be one of the reasons Russia’s fake news effort was so successful during the last election, and why its expected larger effort in the coming elections once again could succeed.

Silicon Valley’s Corrupt Underbelly: It’s Far Worse Than We Thought

Google’s Big Ad-Blocking Update Comes to Chrome Tomorrow: Here’s What We Know

2018.02.15 01

It’s been in the works for nearly a year and Google’s great ad-pocalypse is now upon us. On Thursday, the Chrome browser will begin to automatically filter out ads that don’t meet certain quality standards. Your browsing experience is about to change a little bit. Here’s what you need to know.

In April of last year, the news first broke that Google planned to integrate some form of ad-blocking into its browser that would be on by default. Since then we’ve seen a gradual rollout of the feature, beginning with the ability to mute autoplay videos with sound on the sites of your choosing. Now, Google going all-in with a set of criteria for what ads will be kosher in Chrome.

Along with its fellow ad giant Facebook, Google is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that has performed research on what forms of web advertising annoys people the most. It’s created a list of the 12 types of web experiences that should ideally be avoided by advertisers. Now Google is going to enforce that list with Chrome, which is used by over half of all people accessing the web with a browser.

Google’s Big Ad-Blocking Update Comes to Chrome Tomorrow: Here’s What We Know

Intel’s Smart Peepers Look Smart, Too

2018.02.13 01

Intel has designed a pair of smart glasses that won’t make you look like a hopeless geek.

Called “Vaunt,” the peepers, which are still in the prototype phase, look like ordinary glasses, save for a faint, red glimmer that occasionally appears on the right lens.

Information sent to the glasses appear to be displayed on a screen but in reality is beamed to the retina of a wearer’s eye.

“The prototypes I wore in December also felt virtually indistinguishable from regular glasses,” Dieter Bohn wrote in a hands-on review published Monday in The Verge.

“They come in several styles, work with prescriptions, and can be worn comfortably all day,” he added.

Intel’s Smart Peepers Look Smart, Too

WiFi Routers Riddled With Holes: Report

2018.02.09 03

Most WiFi router vendors have not patched numerous firmware vulnerabilities discovered more than two years ago, according to a report Insignary released on Tuesday.

OEM firmware built into WiFi routers use open source components that contain numerous known security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, it notes.

Insignary, a startup security firm based in South Korea, conducted comprehensive binary code scans for known security vulnerabilities in WiFi routers. The company conducted scans across a spectrum of the firmware used by the most popular home, small and mid-sized business and enterprise-class WiFi routers.

Insignary conducted the scans during the last two weeks of November 2017. Its research and development team scanned 32 pieces of WiFi router firmware offered in the U.S., Europe and Asia by more than 10 of the most popular home, SMB and enterprise-class WiFi router manufacturers: Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, Cisco, D-Link, EFM, Huawei, Linksys, Netis and TP-Link.

 

WiFi Routers Riddled With Holes: Report

Facebook Is Gobbling Less of Users’ Time

2018.02.09 02

The social media industry may have to struggle to rehydrate in light of some surprising and troubling metrics Facebook released on Wednesday. In addition to a pause in user growth, there have been signs that user engagement may have reversed course.

The decline may have something to do with Facebook’s efforts to recover from accusations that it has provided fertile ground for fake news. CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month promised to steer the company toward refocusing on the user experience.

Facebook Is Gobbling Less of Users’ Time