IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

According to an annual report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), music streaming is continuing to rise, with 86 percent of respondents ages 16-64 in 20 top global markets opting for streaming. The report notes that 57 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds use a paid audio service. While nearly half of the time consuming on-demand music is via YouTube, the report finds that terrestrial radio is still relevant. And even though popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have brought growth to the industry, piracy still remains a problem. Continue reading IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

Given compelling issues of privacy breaches and data hacks, Senator Nancy Pelosi became convinced that a set of principles that everyone in the tech industry agreed to would be a good step toward adhering to values. She asked Democratic legislator Ro Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley, to create such a list. He consulted with Apple, Facebook, Google, think tank Center for Democracy and Technology and individuals including Nicole Wong and Tim Berners-Lee, and just recently released the resulting Internet “Bill of Rights.” Continue reading Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

D-Wave Offers Free Real-Time Quantum Computing For All

Canadian company D-Wave Systems launched the Leap Quantum Application Environment, a web portal that aims to offer public access to quantum computing for “any and all developers.” D-Wave R&D executive vice president/chief product officer Alan Baratz says Leap will provide such developers “immediate, free, real time access to a live quantum computer.” Quantum computing, which is expected to dramatically improve the ability to manipulate and analyze data, has thus far had a very limited user base. Continue reading D-Wave Offers Free Real-Time Quantum Computing For All

Senators Ask FTC to Examine Kids Apps’ Privacy Violations

Two Democratic senators — Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — sent a letter on Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into whether the thousands of “child-friendly” apps in the market are actually collecting children’s personal information. To do so would violate a federal law protecting children’s online privacy, since it requires sites and apps targeting persons under 13 years old to obtain verifiable parental permission before collecting data. Continue reading Senators Ask FTC to Examine Kids Apps’ Privacy Violations

Microsoft Introduces Updated Surface PCs, New Headphones

At a New York City event, Microsoft unveiled updated Surface Pro, Surface Laptop and Surface Studio computers, and debuted Surface-branded wireless headphones with Cortana capabilities. Microsoft is one of several big tech companies holding hardware-related events this fall; Apple held its smartphone reveal in September and Google will hold its event on October 9. The Microsoft event mainly showed off updated existing products and made it clear the company is committed to manufacturing its own computers. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Updated Surface PCs, New Headphones

Right to Be Forgotten Case Could Affect Borderless Internet

In early 2019, the European Union’s highest court will likely rule on a dispute between Google and French regulators on the right to be forgotten. In 2015, French regulators ordered Google to respect this right on all its sites worldwide — in other words, not just google.fr but also google.com. Google’s argument (and that of many other tech companies) is that this “right” not only menaces free speech but is an onus for private companies, encroaches on sovereignty and creates a range of other risks. Continue reading Right to Be Forgotten Case Could Affect Borderless Internet

Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

As artificial intelligence-based tools become more widespread in the business industry, cloud service companies are debuting tools that explain the artificial intelligence algorithms they use to provide more transparency and assure users of their ethical behavior. That’s because regulated industries are demanding it. Capital One and Bank of America are just two such companies interested in using AI to improve detection of fraud, but want to know how the algorithms work before they implement such tools. Continue reading Accounting, Finance Industries Demand Explainable AI Tools

Tech Execs Address Concerns About Data Privacy Regulation

In a hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed on the need for legislating privacy for online users, but not everyone is on the same page as to what such laws should cover. Amazon and Google executives, whose companies depend on user data for revenue, warned that some kinds of regulation could have the unintended consequence of limiting the services they’re able to provide. What has become clearer is that hammering out the details of the legislation could take a long time. Continue reading Tech Execs Address Concerns About Data Privacy Regulation

Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

Oculus’ prototype wireless VR headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, is now a product. The new Quest headset is slated to debut this coming spring for $399. At its annual developer conference, the Facebook-owned company showed off the Quest headset, which joins the $199 Oculus Go and $400 Oculus Rift (that requires a dedicated PC). The standalone Quest offers 6DOF (six degrees of freedom). In his keynote address at the event, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his goal to have one billion people using VR. Continue reading Quest: Oculus Demonstrates its $399 Standalone VR Headset

State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

In a meeting of nine state officials and representatives of five other states led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the market dominance and privacy practices of large tech companies were discussed, as well as the possibility of a joint investigation of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and others. Attorney General Doug Peterson (R-Nebraska) said his state is examining just such a multi-state inquiry into antitrust and consumer protection issues. Potential political bias, a previously raised topic, was barely touched. Continue reading State Officials Consider a Joint Investigation of Tech Players

Gen Y and Gen Z Are Increasing Their Time on Social Apps

According to a recent survey by social video marketing agency VidMob, younger Internet users in the U.S. — especially those in the Gen Z demo (ages 16-24) — are spending more time on social apps. The study found that 59 percent of Gen Z turn to YouTube more than they did last year, 56 percent spend more time using Snapchat, and 55 percent have increased their time on Instagram. Meanwhile, millennials are also increasing their time on social apps; about 50 percent use Instagram more, 46 percent have increased YouTube viewing, and 40 percent are on Snapchat more than they were in 2017. Continue reading Gen Y and Gen Z Are Increasing Their Time on Social Apps

Google Shares New Vision for Search: Keeping Users Closer

At an event on the “Future of Search,” Google unveiled what’s next for its search engine. The Google homepage will start highlighting a user’s frequently searched topics before she begins searching, in response to a finding that one in eight queries per month are repeats. Google Feed is being rebranded as “Discover,” and will be placed underneath the Google.com search bar on all mobile browsers, highlighting news, video and information Google believes the user is interested in. Visuals will be more prominent on the site. Continue reading Google Shares New Vision for Search: Keeping Users Closer

Google, Vehicle Alliance Partner on Next-Gen Media Systems

Google has partnered with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to provide its Android operating system for next-generation infotainment systems that will integrate Google’s maps, app store and voice-activated assistant, all from the dashboard. The alliance is the biggest car vendor, having sold 106 million vehicles worldwide last year. Google has been trying for 10 years to replicate its smartphone success in the arena of car manufacturing. The alliance plans to debut cars with the new Google-powered system in 2021. Continue reading Google, Vehicle Alliance Partner on Next-Gen Media Systems

California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

The California State Legislature recently passed a bill called “Information Privacy: Connected Devices” that creates regulations for IoT devices sold in the United States. SB-327, which applies to all devices that connect to the Internet and include an Internet Protocol or Bluetooth address, would require that security audits be conducted on components purchased overseas. The bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. and has been forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. While some have criticized the bill for not being specific or thorough enough, it could place pressure on manufacturers to offer better device-level protection against cyberattacks. Continue reading California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

FTC Ponders New Antitrust, Consumer Protection Regulations

The Federal Trade Commission has begun a series of 15 to 20 hearings scheduled over the next few months to address whether companies based on new technologies should spur changes in its competition and consumer protection policies. FTC chair Joseph Simmons noted that the “broad antitrust consensus” in existence for 25 years is now being challenged, and that he will approach the topic with an open mind. The Justice Department may also start investigations into whether Google and other social media sites are biased against conservative voices. Continue reading FTC Ponders New Antitrust, Consumer Protection Regulations

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