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

Apple’s Plans for Photos App Will End Aperture Development

Apple unveiled a new Photos app during its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month in San Francisco. Now it seems that the app will serve as a new platform for the upcoming OS X Yosemite. As a result, Apple will no longer develop its Aperture pro photography application, and iPhoto will be replaced by the new Photos app. The transition is designed to provide a more seamless experience, since users will be able to edit and search their Photo Library in the cloud on any Apple devices. Continue reading Apple’s Plans for Photos App Will End Aperture Development

Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

This week, publishing executives, technology leaders, and public interest groups gave testimony regarding ownership of purchased digital goods. The “first sale” rule currently allows people to resell or lend out physical goods like music and books, while this law does not cover digital goods, such as those sold by Amazon and Apple. Post-testimony, the House Judiciary Committee remained skeptical that property rights of physical goods should extend to the digital world. Continue reading Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

File Sharing Not in Decline, U.S. Consumers Lead the Charge

Despite those who claim a drop in P2P activity, legal pressure and growing popularity of paid services have not led to a decline in file sharing. According to Tru Optik, 300 million users swap files via BitTorrent each month. Tru Optik estimates that more movies and TV shows are downloaded by file sharers than are sold via iTunes, Google Play and Amazon combined. The U.S. accounts for more downloaded media and software than any other country, with the exception of video game downloads in Brazil.

Continue reading File Sharing Not in Decline, U.S. Consumers Lead the Charge

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Later this year, Samsung is reportedly planning to announce a virtual reality headset that will work with Galaxy phones and tablets. The headset with OLED screen is designed to provide gamers with a more immersive experience for Android-based video games. Facebook and Sony have been developing their own VR headsets with the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but Samsung hopes to offer its product before the competition and at a lower price. Continue reading Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Energous and Witricity have developed new ways to charge smartphones, tablets and other small devices without needing wires to plug them into an outlet. Energous’ WattUp technology allows users to recharge phones in special cases or receivers that can pick up signals from a transmitter that is plugged in more than 10 feet away. Toyota and TDK are already planning to utilize Witricity’s wireless charging technology in upcoming hybrid and electric cars, and car batteries. Continue reading Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

New data from analyst IDC finds that shipments of 4K televisions have reached over one million per month and are projected to reach upward of 15.2 million for 2014. Consumer adoption is on the rise as the average selling price has dropped 85 percent worldwide in the last two years, from $7,851 in 2012 to $1,120 in 2014. A new report from BI Intelligence predicts a faster adoption curve than HDTV, with 4K TVs to be found in more than half of North American homes within 10 years. Continue reading Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

Google Tablet Prototype Touts Advanced Vision Capabilities

The team behind Google’s Project Tango research initiative has reportedly developed a tablet with advanced vision capabilities. The tablet is said to have a 7-inch screen, two back cameras, infrared depth sensors, and advanced software that can capture precise 3D images. Google expects to produce 4,000 prototype tablets beginning next month. Similar to its recent introduction of a smartphone with advanced vision capabilities, Google plans to initially offer the prototype to developers. Continue reading Google Tablet Prototype Touts Advanced Vision Capabilities

Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

Major retailers continue to downsize as a result of poor earnings, which could lead to the elimination of thousands of store locations. Most experts agree that much of the problems experienced by retailers can be attributed to Amazon’s success, with annual sales approaching $100 billion. Best Buy, Office Depot, RadioShack, Sears and Staples are among the major companies that have already announced the planned closing of multiple locations.  Continue reading Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

In order to accommodate consumers’ increasing desire to shop on mobile devices, home shopping pioneer QVC plans to launch a new tablet app that will feature content related to its television broadcasts. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching television. Leveraging this trend, QVC’s app will accompany its TV programming in order to help drive sales.  Continue reading Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things produces significant amounts of data from objects embedded with sensors and machine-to-machine communications. According to Verizon’s VP of Connected Solutions Mark Bartolomeo, the Internet of Things is growing over 100 percent a year. Companies are using this technology to improve the management of supply chains, equipment and customer demands. The energy, transportation and digital cities units are the fastest growing sectors in Verizon’s Connected Solutions. Continue reading Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

The following is on the schedule for the Federal Communications Commission: whether to approve or block AT&T’s newly announced $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, whether to allow Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, establish rules for next year’s auction of TV airwaves to wireless carriers, and determine whether and/or how to regulate the way broadband providers treat traffic over networks (and possibly face a busier calendar if Sprint makes a bid for T-Mobile). Continue reading FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

As part of its effort to streamline the process of addressing counterfeit goods, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has begun to automatically remove from its biggest shopping site products that certain brands have deemed as fake. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site is one of the busiest in the world, and counterfeit goods have been a concern ahead of the company’s IPO. Its expedited take-down process will initially apply to products identified by less than two dozen brands participating in the program. Continue reading Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

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