Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

In Washington DC, as Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey were concluding testimony on efforts to repel foreign interference ahead of the midterm elections, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped a bombshell. He stated plans to convene state attorneys general on September 25 to look at what the Justice Department said is the intentional “stifling [of] the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.” Google, which had been invited to testify, did not send a representative. Continue reading Facebook and Twitter Execs Answer Questions on Capitol Hill

Sanders’ Proposed Tax Bill Aimed at Amazon and Jeff Bezos

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) introduced a bill to tax big companies whose employees need federal benefits to stay afloat. In doing so, he targeted Amazon founder/chief executive Jeff Bezos, who, said Sanders, “could play a profound role” by ensuring his employees earn a living wage. “This would not only improve lives for thousands of people at Amazon; it would send a message to every corporation in America that that’s where we should be going as a nation,” said the senator, whose bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California). Continue reading Sanders’ Proposed Tax Bill Aimed at Amazon and Jeff Bezos

HPA Tech Retreat: Call for Proposals and Roundtable Topics

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) just called for proposals for the 2019 HPA Tech Retreat, which will take place February 11–15 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California. Proposals submitted during this process make up the main portion of the conference, which focuses on the intersection of creative media and technology. The HPA Tech Retreat is made up of the Tech Retreat Extra (TR-X), the Supersession, breakfast roundtables, an Innovation Zone, and the main conference. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Call for Proposals and Roundtable Topics

Amazon Briefly Worth $1 Trillion, Targets India With Hindi Site

Amazon’s shares rose to $2,050.50 on Tuesday, pushing the company’s value to over $1 trillion, making it the second U.S. firm to reach that pinnacle since Apple did so early last month. By the end of the day, shares fell to $2,039.51, below the $1 trillion mark. Amazon, which employs more than 550,000 people, generates more than $178 billion in annual revenue and captures 49 cents from every dollar spent on e-commerce. To continue its growth, Amazon is now offering its local Indian website and apps available in Hindi. Continue reading Amazon Briefly Worth $1 Trillion, Targets India With Hindi Site

New York Times Takes Multiple Steps to Authenticate Videos

The New York Times, which is now posting information explaining its journalistic practices, recently described how it reviews news-relevant videos from a wide variety of sources, including news agencies; social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat; and eyewitness videos via WhatsApp, witness contacts on the ground or “joining relevant groups.” The actual verification process is broken down into two steps. First, it determines whether a video is “really new.” The second step is to “dissect every frame to draw conclusions about location, date and time, the actors involved and what exactly happened.”  Continue reading New York Times Takes Multiple Steps to Authenticate Videos

Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Huawei, in partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), debuted the Kirin 980, the first mobile chip fabricated on a 7nm process. The Kirin 980 features 6.9 billion onboard transistors, about 1.6 times the number on the Kirin 970, while shrinking the die size down from 10nm. The result offers a 40 percent reduction in power consumption, and a 20 percent improvement in several processing metrics. That feat took 1,000 senior engineers three years and more than 5,000 prototypes to achieve success. Continue reading Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

Senate Intelligence Committee hearings will begin today to examine a host of issues regarding big technology firms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, and weigh whether the issues might be addressed by legislative or executive actions. Those companies already stand accused of not controlling the use of their platforms to disseminate misinformation and, in general, not taking enough responsibility for content. Meanwhile, conservatives accuse the platforms of bias in policing content. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

India Concerned Over Dominance of U.S. Internet Companies

Some Indian leaders are resisting the dominance of U.S. Internet platforms and services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, Google’s Android mobile operating system and Amazon’s e-commerce business, calling it a form of colonialism and vowing to regulate these foreign companies, especially regarding what they do with users’ personal data and how they might undercut prices offered by local businesses. India’s smartphone market, second largest in the world, is dominated by offerings from China, Taiwan and South Korea. Continue reading India Concerned Over Dominance of U.S. Internet Companies

Alexa Support Comes to Devices From Toshiba, Sony, Others

Toshiba revealed that many of its OLED, 4K and Full HD Smart Range TV sets will respond to Alexa voice control starting next year. Via Alexa, consumers will be able to change the channel or volume, offer movie recommendations, read the news or launch more than 45,000 Alexa skills. Toshiba also introduced its first Android TV, a 55-inch model, with Google Assistant voice, which became available last fall, to control smart home devices and the TV volume, search for movies, and launch apps. Bose, Marshall and Sony are among those also introducing Alexa-enabled products. Continue reading Alexa Support Comes to Devices From Toshiba, Sony, Others

Mozilla’s Upgraded Firefox to Block Tracking Codes by Default

Mozilla announced that future versions of its Firefox browser will automatically block tracking codes placed by advertisers, third parties or any other company that is not the website publisher. Also blocked will be trackers that take too long to load. Best of all for users, they will not have to download or install new software or change settings to enjoy this increased privacy. According to Mozilla, the new feature is already being tested and will be included in a Firefox version later in 2018. Continue reading Mozilla’s Upgraded Firefox to Block Tracking Codes by Default

Google Opens Titan Security Key Availability to All Consumers

At its Cloud Next 2018 conference, Google debuted the Titan Security Key, its version of a FIDO (Fast Identity Online) physical device to authenticate logins over Bluetooth. Now, only a few weeks after the announcement, Google has made it available for purchase at $50 in its Google Play Store. Google Cloud enterprise customers have been able to access the Titan Security Key for the past two months. The product comes with a USB key, a Bluetooth Low Energy key, and an adapter for devices with USB Type-C ports. Continue reading Google Opens Titan Security Key Availability to All Consumers

Mastercard Deal Provides Valuable Info for Google Advertisers

A behind-the-scenes deal between Google and Mastercard was just revealed, whereby Google paid “millions of dollars” for “a stockpile of Mastercard transactions” that most of the credit card company’s two billion users were unaware of. Over the past year, Google provided select advertisers with the ability to track whether online ads led to sales at physical stores in the U.S. While the deal could give Google leverage over rivals such as Amazon, it could also raise privacy concerns regarding how customer data is used and shared. Google says no personal data was shared about users. Continue reading Mastercard Deal Provides Valuable Info for Google Advertisers

New California Privacy Bill Leads to Concern Across Industries

Since California passed the consumer privacy bill known as AB 375, numerous tech companies, trade associations and lobbyists have been pushing for changes before it goes into effect in January 2020. The strict law was passed quickly to fend off an initiative from Californians for Consumer Privacy, which wanted to put the issue on the ballot. Now, with a few days left in the legislative session, lawmakers in California may vote on a replacement bill, SB-1121, that could substantially change the intent of the original law. Continue reading New California Privacy Bill Leads to Concern Across Industries

Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch

Google is readying the release of its new, third version of Wear OS, which has been updated to be a speedy, inconspicuous platform rather than “Android on a smart watch.” It doesn’t feature any obvious improvements to battery life, but that’s an overall problem in the industry, not a Google shortcoming. According to Wear OS director of product Dennis Troper, users who are connected all the time will be able to be more present in the real world, similar to the goals of the company’s Digital Wellbeing initiative. Continue reading Google Redesigns its Wear OS, Streamlines the Smart Watch

Newzoo Upbeat on eSports, Predicting Dominance of Gaming

Newzoo predicts that eSports will earn $1.7 billion in revenues by 2021 and every major U.S. media conglomerate will own at least some eSports rights. To buttress the latter prediction, Newzoo notes that Disney, Comcast and AT&T are “already looking into content rights for eSports,” in part, at least, to “entice younger consumers.” The research firm further predicts that eSports content will not only be featured on these media outlets’ linear platforms but also on their nonlinear live-streaming platforms. Continue reading Newzoo Upbeat on eSports, Predicting Dominance of Gaming

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