Commercial Discrimination: China Critical of Android OS

A Chinese government research institute has accused Google of using its Android mobile OS dominance to discriminate against local companies. The report suggests that China is too reliant on the platform and Google has delayed sharing code in recent versions of Android. This serves as a reminder of the ongoing tensions between China and Google, after the tech giant said it would not comply with Chinese Internet restrictions three years ago. Continue reading Commercial Discrimination: China Critical of Android OS

President and FCC Back Consumer Right to Unlock Phones

According to the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission, customers should be able to switch cellular carriers and keep their own phones while doing so. With that support, it could soon be easier for consumers to take advantage of lower rates from competing carriers once the initial contract is fulfilled, and could also mean more price competition and added choices for cellphone users. Continue reading President and FCC Back Consumer Right to Unlock Phones

Industry Responds to Upswing in Online Privacy Concerns

As Internet users become more aware of online privacy issues, Internet companies are working to prove that consumer data is safe and under control. Some companies are even trying to gain advantage in the market by promoting themselves as more privacy-friendly than their rivals. Mozilla recently took this approach when it announced it would allow users to disable third-party tracking software. Others have taken similar tacts. Continue reading Industry Responds to Upswing in Online Privacy Concerns

Samsung Preps Android to Take On BlackBerry in Enterprise

Samsung Electronics has another target in its ever-growing sights: the BlackBerry. Until recently, Samsung has marketed its smartphones very successfully to consumers worldwide, but never to businesses. That’s been changing over the past year, as the South Korean manufacturer has been beefing up the Google Android software that runs its phones, in an effort to give businesses a phone with increased security. Continue reading Samsung Preps Android to Take On BlackBerry in Enterprise

Media Companies to Launch Campaign on Parental Control

In response to criticism about their violent content, major media companies are initiating a campaign to make parents more aware of the ways they can limit exposure to controversial entertainment. In a joint news release on Wednesday, representatives for the companies said they are planning to roll out a national multimedia campaign for these parents. Continue reading Media Companies to Launch Campaign on Parental Control

Petition Hopes to Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Again

An online petition to the White House regarding the locking of mobile phones has gathered more than 100,000 signatures, the milestone at which the U.S. government is required to issue an official response. The petition is intended to make unlocking phones legal again. The signature-gathering campaign has largely generated followers via social networks including Twitter and Reddit. Continue reading Petition Hopes to Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Again

China Denies Cyberattack Allegations from Mandiant Report

After U.S. computer-security firm Mandiant Corp. accused China of stealing large swaths of data from U.S. companies, China flatly denied the accusation. In a 74-page report, the firm claims a group attached to China’s People’s Liberation Army stole data from 141 companies since 2006, 115 of which were in the U.S., spanning industries like information technology, telecommunications, aerospace and energy. Continue reading China Denies Cyberattack Allegations from Mandiant Report

CISPA Reintroduced: Activist Groups Fuel Online Response

After Congress reintroduced the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a collection of Internet freedom activists quickly jumped into action. “Among them have been Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, who this week helped 300,000 citizens send a petition against CISPA to the lawmakers behind it,” reports Mashable. Continue reading CISPA Reintroduced: Activist Groups Fuel Online Response

Wireless Industry Responds to FCC Proposal of Public Wi-Fi

The Federal Communications Commission is looking to develop powerful Wi-Fi networks across the country. The proposed networks would be so broad in reach that consumers could potentially make calls or surf the Internet without having to pay a cellphone bill every month. The FCC proposal, which could undermine phone and Internet service providers, has resulted in the wireless industry launching a campaign to persuade reconsideration. Continue reading Wireless Industry Responds to FCC Proposal of Public Wi-Fi

Government To Fund Research On Video Game Links To Violence

One component of today’s national gun control debate involves the impact of violent video games, as emphasized by President Obama’s announcement that the government will allocate funds to “study the link between video games and violent behavior.” Other lawmakers have introduced plans to tax video games above a certain rating and to put warning labels on ones that contain violent content.  Continue reading Government To Fund Research On Video Game Links To Violence

Surveillance Catalog: Government Uses New Monitoring Techniques

  • Take a look at the toolkit for governments to legally monitor what people are doing on the Web. It’s an impressive catalog that includes hacking, intercept, data analysis, Web scraping and anonymity products. It makes one aware that nothing is safe from surveillance.
  • Hacking tools use techniques commonly used in malware.
  • Intercept tools can filter all traffic from the Internet backbone and determine which to forward to law enforcement.
  • Data analysis sorts, stores and analyzes information from a variety of sources including wired and wireless networks, surveillance, domestic and foreign agencies, tactical operations, etc. to build a complete profile of suspects or identify patterns across data sets.
  • Web scraping gathers and analyzes data from publicly available sources.
  • Anonymity hides the identity of investigators.
  • If governments are already using these tools, how long will it be before anyone can obtain them? WIll this imperil the confidence people have online?

QR Codes Proliferating: Are You Ready to Become a Human Hyperlink?

  • Quick Response (QR) codes are beginning to resonate with a variety of users. Retailers, publishers, art institutions, musicians, government organizations and charities are all using QR codes to direct customers to a variety of online opportunities (contests, information, party invites and more).
  • The QR codes are square, checkered symbols that can be scanned with smartphones by downloading free scanner apps.
  • Starbucks used QR codes for a scavenger hunt, the Red Cross used them to direct people to a relief donation page, ABC included codes in magazine ads for the new series “Pan Am” and now every 2013 vehicle in dealer showrooms will be required by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to have QR-coded fuel economy labels.
  • A company called Skanz now sells silicone braceletes with QR codes so anyone can scan your wrist and access a Web page with your contact information, social media links, and more. You can create different “Skanzsites” for professional and personal use and if you don’t want to wear a bracelet, you can instead buy iPhone4 cases with codes on them or QR decals.

Federal Agency Cuts Costs by Moving Email to the Cloud

  • U.S. General Services Administration (that oversees the bulk of purchasing and acquisitions for the federal government) is the first federal agency to migrate its email systems completely into the cloud.
  • Unisys recently completed moving GSA’s 17,000 employee email accounts into the Google Apps for Government email client.
  • According to Digital Trends, “Unisys claims the move should save the GSA about 50 percent over the infrastructure, maintenance and personnel costs of an in-house email system. The change is part of a federal effort to save around $3 billion over the next five years by shutting down 40 percent of the federal government’s costly data centers.”
  • Nextgov.com reports an additional 15 agencies — including the USDA, NOAA and the Army — have plans to move into the cloud.

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