Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K. are demanding answers from Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports surfaced over the weekend that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica was able to exploit the personal data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission — data that was reportedly used in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum. Facebook announced that it suspended Cambridge Analytica after learning Facebook policies specifying how third-party developers can deploy user data had been violated. Continue reading Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Company Offers Twitter Followers, Bots That Retweet for a Fee

Devumi is a company that sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, politicians, businesses, overseas governments and anyone else who wants to become a digital influencer. According to the results of a New York Times investigation, the company has an estimated stock of 3.5 million automated accounts and has provided its approximately 200,000 customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers. The revelation comes at a time when big tech companies are in the spotlight for deceptive news and outside manipulation. Continue reading Company Offers Twitter Followers, Bots That Retweet for a Fee

CES Offers Global Look at How to Compete in Tech Innovation

HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Business France’s Pascal Cagni, and IBM Global Technology Services CTO Bridget Karlin discussed how countries and companies around the world leverage capital, talent and the markets to gain an edge in today’s global innovations. In a conversation at CES 2018 led by Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray, both Europeans were quizzed on how their countries create an entrepreneurial culture. Prince Constantijn pointed to his country’s focus on tech education and open migration policies. Continue reading CES Offers Global Look at How to Compete in Tech Innovation

Roadmap Reveals European Progress in Quantum Computing

Both the U.S. and China have invested billions in quantum physics, which promises a new era of computing and communications. In 2016, Europe, which lagged behind in the race, made an effort to catch up by investing one billion euros in its Quantum Technology Flagship research project, to develop quantum communication, quantum simulation, quantum computing, and quantum sensing. Now, a year-and-a-half after the European Commission’s announcement, it’s published the European Quantum Technologies Roadmap that reveals its progress. Continue reading Roadmap Reveals European Progress in Quantum Computing

CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

For 20 years the quest and definition of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) has been the purview of think tanks and device manufacturers. Defined in the 1990’s by Eli Zelkha and a team at Palo Alto Ventures, the pursuit of pervasive presence for humans and responsive connection with the computed environment has been the goal of multinationals and government entities. Most recently, the concept of creating environments that are responsive to the presence of individuals is making its way into the consumer electronics and personal computing space, which we expect will make a compelling splash next month at CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading CES to Offer New Take on the Future of Ambient Experiences

Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Since 1995, European businesses and organizations have operated under data protection rules specific to an era of much less digital data. To update the rules, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will launch on May 25, 2018, and numerous GDPR experts are ready to profit off of their offer to help businesses get ready. U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham dubs much of the activity as “scaremongering,” saying that companies that complied with the older rules won’t have to deal with major changes. Continue reading Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

Qualcomm turned down Broadcom’s offer to acquire the company for $105 billion, with its board stating that the offer both significantly undervalues the company and could be beset by regulatory issues. Broadcom, which will seek other avenues to make the deal, says it is committed to the acquisition. Should Broadcom acquire Qualcomm, the merger of these two titans of chip manufacturing would create a single behemoth controlling chip production for everything from consumer devices to data centers. Continue reading Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Bitcoin supporters that wanted to double the number of transactions that run through Bitcoin-supported networks have lost the fight, at least temporarily, to do so. They were opposed by another camp composed of many programmers working on Bitcoin who worried that too rapid expansion would make it easier for a government or company to exert influence over a system prized for being decentralized. Those who wanted to expand Bitcoin wanted to switch to a new software version that would have created a split in the network. Continue reading The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt has always wondered what it would be like to apply all his company’s technology to a city. The company’s founders got excited about the idea, and now it’s about to become a reality. Plucked out of half a dozen proposals, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary, will work with Canadian government officials and other technologists to develop 800 acres of waterfront property in Toronto, creating a potential model of the smart city and licensing its technologies to other cities. Continue reading Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

FTC Approves Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Market

Federal antitrust regulators approved Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market yesterday, shortly after Whole Foods shareholders voted to approve the deal. The $13.4 billion acquisition “will give Amazon a major brick-and-mortar presence with more than 460 stores in a huge retail category where success has eluded the company,” reports The New York Times. “Amazon has run an Internet grocery business, AmazonFresh, for a decade, but it accounts for less than a 2 percent share of total grocery spending in the United States.” The Federal Trade Commission concluded that the proposed merger would not harm competition. Continue reading FTC Approves Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Market

In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are among those that have raised concerns regarding our pursuit of artificial intelligence, while Musk has recently gone so far to suggest that AI presents “more risk than North Korea” and should be regulated, like “everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc.) that’s a danger to the public.” Our colleague Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s Data & Analytics Project, published a compelling rebuttal on Medium this week, in which he clearly defines “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” in order to provide additional context regarding the evolution of AI applications and their numerous possibilities. Continue reading In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

China wants to become the most dominant nation in artificial intelligence, and it’s got three advantages that might help that become a reality. In addition to strong government support, which includes a willingness to share data about its citizens, China also has an immense number of engineers to write software and 751 million Internet users who can test out the work they do. As China seeks to gain market share, President Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen intellectual property laws to give its startups an advantage. Continue reading China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

Facebook Takes New Tack by Approving Social App in China

Facebook has made several efforts over the years to encourage China to lift the 2009 block against its social platform and many of its apps. In May, the company approved a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons that doesn’t have the Facebook name attached but is similar in look, function and feel to Facebook’s Moments app. According to an unnamed source, a local Chinese company debuted the app without any hint of a Facebook affiliation. China imposes strict censorship on the Internet, including on news websites and apps. Continue reading Facebook Takes New Tack by Approving Social App in China

SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

SenseTime Co., a Beijing-based startup founded in 2014 that sells its facial recognition systems to the Chinese police, just scored $410 million in new venture capital funding that values the company at more than $1.5 billion. The valuation, which makes the company a unicorn, underscores how such surveillance technologies are increasing in importance. Facial recognition breaks down a face into measurements that create a template, and SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to match faces against those in an image database. Continue reading SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

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