E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act — legislation designed to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes — made it past its first procedural obstacle Monday evening when the Senate voted 74-20 to consider the proposal for debate and amendment. Some anti-tax activists have described the bill as a tax grab, potential bureaucratic nightmare and infringement on states’ rights, while others view it as a necessary step to save brick-and-mortar retailers. Continue reading E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

Meeting of the Minds: Discussion on Data-Driven Societies

A group of academics, business executives and journalists recently gathered at the MIT Media Lab to discuss the concept of Data-Driven Societies. Alex Pentland, a computational social scientist at the Media Lab and a leading mind in the area of Big Data, hosted the meeting and discussed how increasing amounts of important information are becoming readily available on vast scales and are often all about consumer behavior. Continue reading Meeting of the Minds: Discussion on Data-Driven Societies

Big TV Versus Big Telecom in Battle for Broadcast Spectrum

While some seem to think our nation is heading toward maximum capacity in broadcast spectrum because of the growing number of mobile devices and high data usage, others say those fears are exaggerated. Either way, as the government plans to auction off broadcast spectrum in an effort to expand wireless services, it pits Big TV against Big Telecom at the Federal Communications Commission and with Congress. Continue reading Big TV Versus Big Telecom in Battle for Broadcast Spectrum

U.S. Financial Institutions Become Targets of Cyberattacks

American Express confirmed that its website had come under attack last week. The assault, which took the site offline for two hours, marks the latest in a string of powerful digital attacks on American financial institutions that began this past September. JPMorgan Chase and others experienced a similar attack this month. The assaults collectively resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Continue reading U.S. Financial Institutions Become Targets of Cyberattacks

Facebook CEO Plans to Launch Political Advocacy Group

News that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly in the process of co-organizing a political advocacy group made up of top leaders in technology is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The group would push for federal legislation on issues like immigration and education, according to sources familiar with the matter. Zuckerberg plans to raise $50 million to launch the group with his former Harvard roommate Joe Green. Continue reading Facebook CEO Plans to Launch Political Advocacy Group

FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces His Resignation

Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who has served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission since 2009, announced he will resign his post in the coming weeks. His departure will open a second vacancy on the five-member agency, and he avoids leaving behind a 2-2 partisan tie, since Republican Robert McDowell also announced that he is set to resign in the coming weeks. Continue reading FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces His Resignation

Network Interconnectivity Could Lead to Massive Failures

Gene Stanley, a professor of physics at Boston University, and his colleagues discovered the mathematics behind what he calls “the extreme fragility of interdependency.” In systems of interconnected networks like the economy, city infrastructure or the human body, Stanley’s model indicates that a small outage in just one network can make waves through the entire system, resulting in a sudden, catastrophic failure. Continue reading Network Interconnectivity Could Lead to Massive Failures

Obama Seeks Corporate Support for Cybersecurity Initiative

President Obama met with a group of 13 corporate executives at the White House on Wednesday to discuss growing cybersecurity concerns and to enlist support for his proposed legislation to combat the threat of computer warfare and corporate espionage. Among the chief execs were Rex W. Tillerson of Exxon Mobil, Randall L. Stephenson of AT&T, Brian T. Moynihan of Bank of America and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase. Continue reading Obama Seeks Corporate Support for Cybersecurity Initiative

White House Demands China Put a Stop to Cyberattacks

The White House demanded this week that the Chinese government put an end to data theft involving American computer networks. The U.S. has called for China to agree to “acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.” The demand was made during a speech by national security advisor Tom Donilon to the Asia Society in New York and represents the first public confrontation with China regarding cyberespionage. Continue reading White House Demands China Put a Stop to Cyberattacks

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

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