Twitter Roiled by Layoff Talk as Deadline for Musk Deal Looms

Employees at Twitter are reeling following revelations that the workforce may face massive cuts in the year ahead regardless of who owns the company. According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, Twitter’s current management plans to trim the payroll by about $800 million, representing nearly 25 percent of the company’s staff. However, Twitter denies that report. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, who is being sued to force consummation of his $44 billion Twitter purchase, is said to be contemplating elimination of three times as many jobs. Continue reading Twitter Roiled by Layoff Talk as Deadline for Musk Deal Looms

EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen signaled the bloc is preparing the implement a regulatory framework for the metaverse, writing in her annual Letter of Intent for the State of the Union address that the Commission will in 2023 advance an “initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse.” The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expanded on that in a blog post that Europe’s “way to foster the virtual worlds” will be threefold, focusing on “people, technologies and infrastructure,” with speculation bubbling that the third prong will involve some sort of carrier tax. Continue reading EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

The global cloud storage market is white hot, and the big keep getting bigger while indies lose ground, according to a study by Synergy Research Group that says the top three companies — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google — account for 65 percent of what was in the first quarter of 2022 assessed as a $53 billion worldwide market. That’s up from a combined 52 percent of worldwide sales four years ago, Synergy notes, explaining the trio’s slice of this rapidly growing market is expected to expand as their efficiencies of size make them better equipped to continue investing and wooing new clients.  Continue reading AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

The White House has issued a warning about hackers attempting to disrupt the energy grid and other industrial control systems with “a Swiss Army knife” of custom-coded malicious software. A joint bulletin issued by the FBI, NSA, DHS and Energy Department cautioned businesses to be on the lookout for “advanced persistent threat actors,” or APTAs, a commonly used way to describe state-backed hackers. Specific reference was made to devices from Japanese electronics firm Omron and the French firm Schneider Electric, suppliers of industrial automation equipment. Continue reading Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

Chinese Drone Maker DJI Suspected of U.S. Data Harvesting

China’s SZ DJI Technology, a leading global producer of unmanned aerial vehicles, has come under scrutiny as a national security threat. The Shenzhen-based company is suspected of turning unwitting Americans into surveillance operatives by harvesting data about U.S. infrastructure from their drones. Last week, the Biden administration imposed a U.S. investment ban against DJI and seven other companies for enabling China’s military-industrial complex. Although the Treasury Department says human rights violations are behind the ban, reports say the FCC wants DJI’s products completely removed from the U.S. market. Continue reading Chinese Drone Maker DJI Suspected of U.S. Data Harvesting

New Google Chip Streamlines Video Transcoding on YouTube

Google’s YouTube infrastructure team has built a Video (trans)Coding Unit (VCU) to streamline the transcoding of videos into the many versions required for a bandwidth-efficient and profitable website. Google software engineer Jeff Calow said the Argos chip offers “up to 20-33x improvements in compute efficiency compared to our previous optimized system, which was running software on traditional servers.” The VCU package is a full-length PCI-E card with two Argos ASIC chips under an aluminum heat sink. Continue reading New Google Chip Streamlines Video Transcoding on YouTube

UCL Researchers Claim Internet Transmission Speed Record

At the Electronic & Electrical Engineering department of University College London (UCL), Dr. Lidia Galdino and her research team worked with Xtera and KDDI Research to achieve an Internet transmission rate of 178 terabits per second (178,000,000 megabits per second). This speed represents double the capacity of any other system operating today and would enable a user to download the entire Netflix library in less than one second. UCL and its partners achieved this by transmitting data through a much wider range of wavelengths than typically used in optical fiber. Continue reading UCL Researchers Claim Internet Transmission Speed Record

Coronavirus Unites Washington Over Affordable Broadband

As Americans stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are revisiting the issue of closing the digital divide, as part of an effort to spur economic recovery and improve the U.S. competitive edge. House communications and technology subcommittee chair Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) noted that, “having affordable broadband — it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” Both parties have stated interest in pushing legislation, noting that the pandemic gave impetus to the issue. Continue reading Coronavirus Unites Washington Over Affordable Broadband

Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

An increasing number of cities, hospitals and businesses are being attacked by ransomware, by which bad actors shut down the victim’s computer network until a ransom is paid. Up until now, these attacks have been hard to measure since many of those impacted quietly paid the ransom without notifying any authorities. Security firm Emsisoft just reported a 41 percent increase in ransomware attacks between 2018 and 2019, with 205,280 businesses and other groups submitting evidence of such intrusions in 2019. Continue reading Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

CES 2020: Location-Based AI is Enabling an Efficient Future

Location-based data is key to many of the efficiencies promised in smart, AI-enabled cities. HERE Technologies got its start in location data in 1985 when, as Navteq and later Nokia, its goal was to digitize mapping and pioneer in-car navigation. In 2015, HERE was sold to a consortium of German automakers and currently has nine direct and indirect shareholders. The company now creates 3D maps and other location-based solutions. During CES, HERE senior VP development & CTO Giovanni Lanfranchi described how the company ran a hackathon in Istanbul that challenged ordinary citizens to come up with new location-based solutions. Continue reading CES 2020: Location-Based AI is Enabling an Efficient Future

Walmart Offers Next-Day Delivery to Compete with Amazon

This week, Walmart announced that it will start offering free, next-day delivery on select online orders over $35 without any added membership fee. This announcement comes after a similar one from rival retailer Amazon just last month. Amazon, the lucrative e-commerce giant, announced that it is investing $800 million in its warehouses and delivery infrastructure with the goal of cutting the speed of its Prime deliveries from two days to just one. For now, Walmart’s quicker deliveries will only be available in select markets.

Continue reading Walmart Offers Next-Day Delivery to Compete with Amazon

CES Panel: Public Policy, Regulations for 5G and Self-Driving

The Internet of Things and 5G are just two areas impacting self-driving and connectivity, said CTA senior director of government affairs Jamie Boone, who noted the sector’s public policy challenges. Verizon VP public policy Melissa Glidden Tye said that her company launched 5G in October 2018 and has “big plans for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and smart cities” this year. “5G has been dubbed the fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said. “Everything that can be connected will be.” Waymo just passed 10 million miles, another significant milestone. Continue reading CES Panel: Public Policy, Regulations for 5G and Self-Driving

A Debate Over Most Effective Strategy to Fight Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks could potentially disrupt U.S. infrastructure, from the electric grid to the financial system. In July, the Department of Homeland Security reported that Russian hackers gained access to the control rooms of electric utilities. Now, analysts and policymakers are debating the best way to protect our critical infrastructure. While many believe that federal and state government regulation, funding and oversight are necessary, others argue this tack may actually cause harm and we should consider alternative approaches. Continue reading A Debate Over Most Effective Strategy to Fight Cyberattacks

Seattle to Lead Cities’ Fight Against FCC’s 5G Rollout Order

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan and city attorney Pete Holmes plan to sue the FCC over its decision to preempt local rules on 5G deployment — and will also coordinate with other cities on that lawsuit. The Portland City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the lawsuit, reported The Oregonian, which added that there is a growing list of cities preparing to join the fight. Although most of those cities are on the West Coast, others including New York City, Boston and rural areas have also been vocal against the FCC’s move. Continue reading Seattle to Lead Cities’ Fight Against FCC’s 5G Rollout Order

Experian Uses Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance

The credit reporting company Experian is adopting machine learning to get a jump on identifying problems and predicting application behavior more reliably. Machine learning tools can help such Experian tools as ServiceNow, which monitors infrastructure performance and spots unusual, potentially threatening behavior. With machine learning, Experian hopes to head off and/or fix problems that could impact, and potentially lose, customers. The company also now mandates that monitoring be built into all new applications. Continue reading Experian Uses Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance