Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

A new Web application named Hola is bypassing copyright laws to deliver content to users who otherwise don’t have access to it. The app essentially unlocks international versions of Netflix so U.S. users can watch shows like “True Grit” or “Community” — only available overseas — whenever they want. By changing users’ IP addresses and making their devices act as routers, content is never copied illegally. Since beta testing began, the app has become incredibly popular, and it could alter the way the Internet operates. Continue reading Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to conduct its first major auction of wireless airwaves in six years today. Telecom analysts at New Street Research estimate that national wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile — along with satellite TV operator Dish Network — will spend at least $46 billion on spectrum over the next two years in a series of auctions. Next year, the government plans to sell coveted spectrum in the 600 megahertz band, used by TV stations, to be resold for wireless use. Continue reading FCC Scheduled to Begin Wireless Airwaves Auctions This Week

Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

President Barack Obama spoke about the National Security Agency last week at the Department of Justice in Washington. The President touched on allowing technology companies to disclose information to the public about the kinds of data the government requests from them. However, he did not address issues such as secret government taps on data centers located overseas and encryption standards, two issues of particular interest to technology and phone companies. Continue reading Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

Sprint Could Acquire T-Mobile to Better Compete with Rivals

Sprint, the third largest carrier in the U.S., may take over its smaller rival, T-Mobile. Sprint has received proposals from at least two banks on how to finance the acquisition. T-Mobile’s market value is reportedly around $26 billion, but the deal would likely cost $50 billion total, with approximately $20 billion going toward paying off T-Mobile’s debt. The potential takeover comes at a little more than a year from an expected government auction of wireless airwaves. Continue reading Sprint Could Acquire T-Mobile to Better Compete with Rivals

Samsung Releases Pricey 110-inch 4K TV on the Eve of CES

Samsung is releasing its 110-inch Ultra HD TV — first unveiled during last year’s CES — in South Korea, China, parts of Europe and the Middle East, starting at about $142,000 for the basic edition. The news follows December’s announcements that both Samsung and LG will demo 105-inch curved 4K TVs at next week’s CES in Las Vegas. While pricing and availability has yet to be announced for the U.S. market, details are expected to be revealed at CES. Continue reading Samsung Releases Pricey 110-inch 4K TV on the Eve of CES

Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

The “Snowden Effect” has caused a ripple among major tech companies trying to assure consumers that their personal information is secure and protected in data centers. Following the surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden, the question on everyone’s mind is whether their private and confidential data has been secured from prying eyes online. A number of companies, concerned by the National Security Agency’s actions, are working to protect their customers’ data.

Continue reading Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

Google to Announce Plan for Cloud Computing and Data Storage

For years Google has been evasive about plans for its public cloud for computing and data storage. However, the company is soon to announce pricing, features, and performance guarantees for both startup and multinational companies. Google’s efforts are part of an escalating battle amongst technology companies to control government and corporate computing through public clouds. This battle includes such companies as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon. Continue reading Google to Announce Plan for Cloud Computing and Data Storage

Apple Goes Social with $200 Million Purchase of Topsy Labs

Apple has reportedly acquired social media analytics firm Topsy Labs for more than $200 million. Topsy is one of four Twitter partners with access to the social network’s full stream of tweets, currently averaging about 500 million messages per day. The firm then analyzes the information and resells it to customers. Topsy markets itself as a global trendspotter and has helped Hollywood studios predict box office demand for movies based on social chatter. Continue reading Apple Goes Social with $200 Million Purchase of Topsy Labs

Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

According to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google, we may be close to a new “network age” in which Internet traffic will be protected with code, allowing users to communicate and organize socially without the fear of government censorship. Schmidt believes that Internet users will communicate via private channels that are shielded by encryption, scrambling data that can be decoded with a special digital key. Continue reading Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist for Google and co-creator of the Internet’s key networking technology, delivered the keynote address at the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet of Things workshop this week in Washington, DC. Cerf suggested that privacy is a relatively new development that may not be sustainable. “Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” he said while taking questions, noting that privacy was not even guaranteed just a few decades ago. Continue reading Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

The debate over National Security Agency surveillance tactics has come to Hollywood. Industry heavyweights such as Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack appear in a new video alongside Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan), Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, advocates and government whistle-blowers. The video addresses civil liberties, the right to privacy, and calls for bringing an end to mass NSA surveillance. Continue reading The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

Chinese Investor Envisions Movie Themed Real Estate Project

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and one of China’s wealthiest investors, announced his plans to build Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis. The project, estimated to cost from $4.9 billion to $8.2 billion, would include film studios, resort hotels, an indoor amusement park, movie theaters and a hospital. The metropolis is a sign of China’s efforts to become a world leader in the filmmaking industry. Last year, Dalian Wanda acquired AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion. Continue reading Chinese Investor Envisions Movie Themed Real Estate Project

SnapStream DVR Records Multiple Channels and Shares Clips

Houston-based SnapStream offers a line of DVR devices that are highly scalable and can go well beyond consumer DVR functionality. These devices have the ability to use 30+ channels to record a large collection of TV programming simultaneously, create clips and share via the cloud. SnapStream products are being used in the media industry in addition to other non-media industries that have a need to record and catalog video — for example: government, schools and the military. Continue reading SnapStream DVR Records Multiple Channels and Shares Clips

Amazon Web Services: Outage During Bid for CIA Contract

Amazon’s Web Services went down on Sunday due to a technical issue at a North Virginia data center. The outage was caused by a problem with a single networking device, and reveals that many companies do not distribute their Web services in different locations for service redundancy. This comes as Amazon is bidding on a CIA contract to manage their data services, and competitors are critical of whether Amazon can manage the demands of government data. Continue reading Amazon Web Services: Outage During Bid for CIA Contract

Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

A group of app developers, consumer advocates and others are agreeing to test a voluntary code of conduct for data privacy for mobile apps. The code would set requirements for participating developers to release notices regarding whether their apps collect certain types of personal information or share user specific data with third party groups or data resellers. The Obama administration favors consumer privacy laws, but has yet to release additional details. Continue reading Code of Conduct to Disclose What Data Mobile Apps Collect

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