WhatsApp Chief Pledges to Safeguard Messaging Encryption

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart revealed that the app now has more than two billion active users; numbers were last released two years ago. Cathcart also emphasized that he will continue to defend the messaging app’s encryption, noting that, “for all of human history, people have been able to communicate privately with each other … and we don’t think that should go away in a modern society.” Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp for $21.8 billion, finds encryption a barrier to recuperating its investment. Continue reading WhatsApp Chief Pledges to Safeguard Messaging Encryption

FTC Reportedly Considering an Injunction Against Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission is contemplating a preliminary injunction against Facebook over antitrust issues related to its integration of apps and whether they work with competitors. The injunction could prevent Facebook from further integrating apps, and possibly reverse past integration as a step to breaking up the company. An injunction would require a majority vote of the five-member FTC. Prominent antitrust experts have presented a plan to separate Facebook from recent acquisitions Instagram and WhatsApp. Continue reading FTC Reportedly Considering an Injunction Against Facebook

Amazon Forms Coalition for Voice Assistant Interoperability

Amazon created the Voice Interoperability Initiative to achieve software compatibility among digital voice assistants, encouraging its widespread adoption. Although 36 companies have joined the initiative, Apple and Google have not. Their absence is a significant impediment to the initiative’s goals, since Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant software are installed by default in most of today’s smartphones. Amazon’s Alexa, meanwhile, has no presence on smartphones, although its Echo speakers are a hit with consumers. Continue reading Amazon Forms Coalition for Voice Assistant Interoperability

Facebook’s Dilemma: Achieving Data Portability and Privacy

Facebook is trying to make good on two key promises: to protect users’ privacy and to allow them to move their data elsewhere. But the two goals may not be compatible, and Facebook is looking outside the company to get ideas on how to deliver both. The European Union and California passed laws that require Facebook to make users’ social media profiles easy to move to a competing platform. At the same time, Facebook agreed to enforce data protections as part of a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading Facebook’s Dilemma: Achieving Data Portability and Privacy

DCI Examines HDR, Direct View Displays for Digital Cinema

At NAB in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. vice president of technology Michael Zink presented DCI’s perspective on two major technology changes in recent years: the advent of high dynamic range (HDR) and direct view displays. First Zink described how Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) was created in March 2002 as a joint venture of Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. Studios to “establish and document voluntary specifications for an open architecture for digital cinema … to achieve interoperability and compatibility.” Continue reading DCI Examines HDR, Direct View Displays for Digital Cinema

Mark Zuckerberg States Intent to Upend Facebook’s Basics

Mark Zuckerberg, who runs Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, stated his intent to focus on private and encrypted communications that can be deleted after a certain amount of time. This new goal is opposite the originally stated purpose of Facebook, which was built around public posts in what he said would resemble a digital town square. Zuckerberg said the first step towards this new goal for Facebook would be to integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, to enable cross-application messaging. Continue reading Mark Zuckerberg States Intent to Upend Facebook’s Basics

The Reel Thing: Academy Debuts Digital Source Master Specs

At The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, the Academy’s Science and Technology Council managing director Andy Maltz and Dr. Wolfgang Ruppel at Germany’s RheinMain University of Applied Sciences introduced the specifications of the Academy Digital Source Master, built on a suite of SMPTE standards. Maltz described the background that led to the Digital Source Master. “The Digital Dilemma published in 2007, identified open source software and digital file format standardization as key components to the solution,” he said. Continue reading The Reel Thing: Academy Debuts Digital Source Master Specs

Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google is at work creating consensus among every major global cellphone carrier to replace SMS with “Chat,” based on a standard dubbed the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services. Chat is the consumer name for RCS (Rich Communication Services) and is not actually a new texting app but rather a new set of features inside an app (Android Messages) already installed on most Android phones. Google is leading development to ensure interoperability of Chat on every carrier’s service. Continue reading Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

Snell Advanced Media (SAM), which is the rebranded combination of Snell and Quantel, outlined solutions for its broadcast/cablecast customers to adopt IP networks, 4K, HDR, software virtualization, monitoring and news/sports solutions, as described by chief executive Tim Thorsteinson. 2016 is looking up, said Thorstseinson at NAB in Las Vegas, adding that, “2015 was the worst year in the market I’ve ever experienced in this industry.” The company is also a founding member of a consortium, AIMS, to standardize the implementation of IP networks. Continue reading Snell Advanced Media Stresses Interoperable IP Solutions, 4K

ETC Publishes White Paper on C4 Cloud Production Framework

The Cinema Content Creation Cloud, or C4, an open-source framework for media production using globally distributed resources, is detailed in a new white paper published today by the Entertainment Technology Center@USC. C4 enables interoperability between humans, organizations, databases, software applications, and networks, and is essential to the globally distributed workflows of media production. The framework, written by Joshua Kolden, is a product of ETC’s Project Cloud, a collaboration between studios and technology companies to address key issues as the entertainment industry migrates production into The Cloud. Continue reading ETC Publishes White Paper on C4 Cloud Production Framework

MEMS and Sensors Power Wearables, the Internet of Things

Wearables are powered by MEMS (Microelectrical Mechanical Systems) and sensors, and the MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is focused on addressing the issues that will help catapult wearables and the Internet of Things to become more powerful market segments. The wearable sensor market is expected to expand seven-fold in five years, to be valued at more than $450M in 2018. At CES, MIG Executive Director Karen Lightman introduced a day-long conference devoted to MEMS and sensors. Continue reading MEMS and Sensors Power Wearables, the Internet of Things

Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability Launches

Key media organizations have announced the launch of the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability, which plans to work with manufacturers, broadcasters, ad agencies, standards organizations and trade associations to develop greater efficiencies and cost savings for the exchange of file-based content. The initial focus will be to collect and analyze requirements for a machine-generated and readable file interchange and delivery spec for the media industry. Continue reading Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability Launches