NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

After the Senate declined to reauthorize the bulk collection of phone records, the National Security Agency began shuttering its controversial counter-terrorism program over the weekend. The Senate failed to reach an agreement to extend the program beyond May 31, when the law used to authorize it will expire. Some intelligence and law enforcement officials have argued that the program is crucial to tracking terrorists. While the Senate rejected two bills that would have continued the program, some believe an agreement could still be reached before the deadline. Continue reading NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

Tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft joined Internet security experts and civil liberties organizations this week to draft a letter to President Obama warning that a “backdoor” for U.S. law enforcement could also serve as a backdoor for hackers and other governments. The Obama administration has been considering whether companies should only be allowed to use encryption that provides law enforcement with unscrambled access (or a “backdoor”). Critics are concerned about weakening encryption tech that protects Internet communications. Continue reading Tech Industry Urges President to Not Weaken Encryption Tech

Twitter Launches “Quality Filter” to Help Combat Cyberbullies

Twitter wants to put an end to cyberbullying on its popular social platform. CEO Dick Costolo recently addressed the issue in an internal memo and mentioned plans to intervene against abusive Twitter users whenever possible. Among those plans is the “quality filter,” a feature designed to help verified users remove inappropriate, offensive and abusive Tweets from their notifications timeline. As of now, the new feature is only available to iOS users with verified Twitter accounts.  Continue reading Twitter Launches “Quality Filter” to Help Combat Cyberbullies

FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

Over the weekend, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules for the commercial use of small drones (unmanned aircraft weighing up to 55 pounds), that could have an impact on future film and television production, still photography, sports coverage, product deliveries, and much more. The proposed regulations call for operator certification, daylight flights only, and keeping aircraft in sight. The rules would not apply to recreational drones, growing in popularity with hobbyists, which have their own regulations. Continue reading FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

NATO, MPAA Update Anti-Piracy Policy to Include Wearables

The National Association of Theatre Owners, which currently maintains 32,000 U.S. screens, and the Motion Picture Association of America announced in a joint statement yesterday that their anti-piracy policies would now include powering off wearable devices. “As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters,” the groups explained, “we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown.” Continue reading NATO, MPAA Update Anti-Piracy Policy to Include Wearables

Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

Apps and other products that enable encrypted communication are on the rise. Even tech giants like Google and Yahoo have promised to give encrypted sites a higher ranking in search results and to start encrypting emails. However, the creators of encryption apps, such as ProtonMail or Bleep, are still looking for mainstream users, not just gadget enthusiasts or security-conscious professionals. These companies are targeting mainstream users concerned about their privacy. Continue reading Encrypted Communication Tools Seeking Mainstream Users

FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?

As the price of small drones decreases, the popularity of these tiny unmanned aircraft increases for aerial wedding photographers and gadget enthusiasts alike. In New York City in particular, the proliferation of these devices has state officials and law enforcement officers worried. There is no required training for the amateur pilots operating these drones. In terms of regulations, the Federal Aviation Agency currently permits drones to be flown under 400 feet. Continue reading FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?

Liquid Hard Drives Capable of Storing One Terabyte of Data

Researchers at the University of Michigan and New York University have been successful in storing data in a liquid containing suspended clusters of nanoparticles. These 12-particle clusters can reconfigure, similar to the way a Rubik’s Cube can, to represent up to eight million unique states. In a tablespoon of the nanoparticle clusters, the liquid can reportedly store up to one terabyte of data. Liquid hard drives could possibly be used in medicine, law enforcement and other fields. Continue reading Liquid Hard Drives Capable of Storing One Terabyte of Data

FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may lift current restrictions that prohibit the use of drone aircraft for commercial purposes. Seven companies in the film industry filed requests with the help of the Motion Picture Association of America to be able to use small drones at a low altitude in a limited airspace for aerial photography. Drones have already been used in the movie industry despite the ban, but this step could lead to further relaxation of the FAA’s policy. Continue reading FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

While some consumers have been skeptical of Google Glass since it was first announced, it looks like the wearable tech is finding initial interest in the workplace, including areas such as law enforcement, medicine, manufacturing and athletics. In contrast, bars in San Francisco have already banned patrons from wearing Google Glass. Google is making the product available to the public later this year, but critics are skeptical of how it will be received by general consumers. Continue reading Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace