Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

In the wake of recent hacking incidents, Hollywood companies have become more concerned about protecting their communication and content. Hollywood is turning to various services from companies such as WatchDox, IntraLinks and Varonis to better monitor the activity involving work files being accessed by employees on their personal mobile phones. Using these new services, companies not only protect their most sensitive files, but also manage how to share them with others.  Continue reading Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Despite the failure of several live streaming apps in recent years, Twitter and other investors are betting that consumers are now ready to live stream their experiences. Twitter recently acquired live streaming app Periscope for $100 million and now Twitter users can broadcast live from the social network. Meerkat, Camio, YouNow, Justin.tv, and Livestream offer similar services. With more access to streaming, people may be more inclined to share video of themselves through this model. Continue reading Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Google is working on a project called “Pony Express,” which plans to enable Gmail users to receive and pay bills within their email. The service — whether it is named Pony Express or something else — is reportedly slated to launch in the fourth quarter. Google is working with vendors that provide billing services for insurance and telecom companies, utilities, etc. It is not clear whether the company plans to monetize the service, but it could provide Google with data for entering new industries and targeting advertisements. Continue reading Google Developing New Service for Paying Bills Within Gmail

Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Mattel plans to release Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi connected doll with voice recognition software that allows users to engage in basic conversations with the doll. The tech enabled Barbie, which will be available later this fall for $74.99, is connected to the cloud so that once it records a user’s dialogue, it transmits the information to a server, which then aggregates appropriate responses for the doll. Hello Barbie’s voice recognition software comes from San Francisco startup ToyTalk. Continue reading Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

The Obama administration has proposed new legislation, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act that intends to fill in the gaps between current federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Video Privacy Protection Act to provide consumers with added control over how companies use the personal data they collect about individuals. However, some privacy advocates are already arguing that the proposed legislation does not go far enough and provides too much control to companies. Continue reading President Obama Introduces Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

The FCC voted 3 to 2 yesterday to approve regulation of broadband Internet service as a public utility. The new rules, recently proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, are designed to ensure net neutrality by discouraging content blocking and the introduction of “fast lanes” for Internet and media companies and “slow lanes” for others. Wheeler said the FCC was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers.” He added that Internet access is “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.” Continue reading FCC Rules in Favor of Regulating Broadband Internet as Utility

Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

The European Union drafted a new data-privacy policy that it hopes will be adopted around the world. The policy would require companies to include the “right to be forgotten” option so that people could ask for their links to be removed and to ask users for explicit consent to use their personal data. Europe is looking to have more influence on the Web, which is currently dominated by U.S. companies. Representatives from the EU are lobbying other countries to institute the policy. Continue reading Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Consumers criticized Samsung for recording users through its smart TVs and sending the data to a third party, but other companies reportedly take a similar approach. Many of the audio recordings come from devices with voice recognition, like LG’s smart TVs or Amazon Echo. Such recording of unknowing users is not limited to the living room. Automobiles from companies such as GM and Chevrolet can record and send information about a driver’s speed, location, and their route to work. Continue reading Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

GigaPower by AT&T, the company’s 1 gigabit-per-second service, was introduced in 2013 in Austin, Texas — and this week it rolled out in Kansas City, Missouri. While customers can enjoy ultrafast fiber-optic Internet access for $70 per month, AT&T also tracks their online activities. Those who prefer to keep their browsing habits private can pay an additional $29 a month. Since opting out of sharing such data is typically offered free of charge, some are questioning whether AT&T’s model will discourage people from doing so. Continue reading AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

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

Samsung Clarifies its Policy Regarding TV Voice Recognition

Samsung updated its privacy policy to explain that the company would not be eavesdropping on viewers when they use the voice controls on their Samsung smart TVs. The previous version of the policy suggested that recorded audio could be transmitted to a third party through the television’s voice recognition software. Samsung clarified that only words spoken into the remote would be recorded and sent to the outside company. Users can also opt to turn off the voice recognition feature. Continue reading Samsung Clarifies its Policy Regarding TV Voice Recognition

White House Creates Cybersecurity Agency to Combat Threats

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will establish a new agency tasked with protecting the U.S. from cyberattacks. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will gather intelligence from both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency to help prevent hackers from stealing information. This announcement comes on the heels of a major security breach last week, when hackers broke into the system of health insurance company Anthem. Continue reading White House Creates Cybersecurity Agency to Combat Threats

Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

Last week, we reported that Verizon would offer users the ability to opt out of the company’s mobile ad-targeting program, which tags customers with unique codes to track online activity. The move followed complaints from privacy advocates regarding the use of the alphanumerical customer codes known as “supercookies.” Now, three Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation are calling for a formal investigation into Verizon’s tracking practices of its wireless subscribers. Continue reading Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

Verizon Users Will Be Able to Opt Out of Mobile-Ad Targeting

Verizon users concerned with their online privacy will soon have the ability to opt out of the company’s mobile ad-targeting program, which tags customers with “supercookies” — or undetected code that can be used to track a consumer’s online activity. Verizon’s recent announcement to allow customers to remove themselves from being targeted or tagged with code follows a number of complaints from privacy advocates in regards to the company’s tracking practices and privacy standards.  Continue reading Verizon Users Will Be Able to Opt Out of Mobile-Ad Targeting

Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Numerous tech giants, startups and telecoms have recently introduced new smart home products, hubs, sensors and apps, yet consumer adoption has been comparatively slow, as people take their time getting comfortable with the concept. However, that did not slow manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Whirlpool from demonstrating new connected appliances at CES. And while major players including Google, Lowe’s, Apple and others continue to push various smart home solutions, progress of the digital home has so far been incremental. Continue reading Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

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