CES 2014: Public and Private Cloud Solutions to be Featured

At the Consumer Electronics Show next week, we expect to see a host of companies, large and small, offering backend cloud integration services. These range from the startup Active Video, with its signature HTML5-powered Cloud TV app, to the publicly-traded prime mover Akamai, offering its Terra enterprise solution. In recent months, we have reported significant cloud-related news from major players such as Amazon, Google, Oracle and Verizon. We anticipate this wave to continue in Las Vegas. Continue reading CES 2014: Public and Private Cloud Solutions to be Featured

Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

A report by a panel of outside advisers has urged President Obama to place a number of restrictions on the NSA. Commissioned by President Obama back in August, the report is a response to the outrage inspired by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the agency’s spying methods. The advisers are calling for greater congressional oversight and presidential approval for spying on national leaders. They also want to see the agency give up its cyber-spying on American hardware and software. Continue reading Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google has released a Glass software update that includes some substantial new features. Update XE12 provides users with the ability to snap a photo with a discreet wink, adds a lock screen function for improved security, offers options for uploading Glass-shot videos directly to YouTube, and intros Hangouts integration for messaging and chatting with friends. Additionally, the Google Play Music app is available and the long-awaited MyGlass app for iOS is being rolled out. Continue reading Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

CES 2014: ETC Coverage Begins with Preview Series, Key Trends

In anticipation of the upcoming 2014 International CES, January 6-10, the ETC@USC will have a team of more than a dozen writers, reporters and support staff onsite in Las Vegas to provide comprehensive coverage throughout the show on emerging products and trends in the consumer electronic space that are relevant to ETC member companies, and to the entertainment industry as a whole. ETCentric will publish articles, updates via social media, and video content throughout the show. Continue reading CES 2014: ETC Coverage Begins with Preview Series, Key Trends

Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

Twitter is testing a new timeline for its mobile app based on location, called “Nearby,” which shows users recent tweets that originated in the user’s vicinity. The Nearby feature has occasionally appeared on the smartphones of users who allow the service to use their location (users can also opt out of location sharing). Twitter has yet to comment on the feature, which some suggest could be attractive to advertisers, but says it experiments regularly to provide a better user experience. Continue reading Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

Will iBeacon Revolutionize Interactions in the Physical World?

Apple’s iBeacon and its Bluetooth Low Energy technology may soon revolutionize the way we interact in the physical world — and it’s already built into most iPhones. The technology is growing as more retail stores install sensors to track shoppers. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to install. And instead of people having to launch an app or whip out a credit card when they’re out and about, their phones will do it for them — automatically. Continue reading Will iBeacon Revolutionize Interactions in the Physical World?

Facebook Helps Companies Gauge Social Chatter About Media

Facebook is working on ways to give brands and media companies a better look at conversations happening on the social media service about TV, movies and media. Facebook recently launched new APIs allowing certain companies to read what people are saying about them online. The goal, of course, is to allow those companies to better engage with target audiences. But for now, the program is limited just to media brands and content producers. Continue reading Facebook Helps Companies Gauge Social Chatter About Media

NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

The National Security Agency and its UK sister agency GCHQ have been deploying real-life agents into fictional worlds like “World of Warcraft” and “Second Life,” collecting gamers’ chats and even attempting to recruit potential informants, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agencies claimed that real-life terrorists might be playing and plotting within these games, suggesting that the gamer communities may provide intelligence on terrorist activity. Continue reading NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

More Retailers Tracking Shoppers with Sensor Technologies

Sensor devices used to track shoppers are becoming more commonplace in shopping malls this holiday season. The devices, often scattered through malls to identify shoppers’ movements, help retailers track how long people are waiting in line and pinpoint where they’re shopping. Some even use heat maps to show where within a store most people are gravitating. The Future of Privacy Forum estimates that approximately 1,000 retailers are using sensors. Continue reading More Retailers Tracking Shoppers with Sensor Technologies

Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

The “Snowden Effect” has caused a ripple among major tech companies trying to assure consumers that their personal information is secure and protected in data centers. Following the surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden, the question on everyone’s mind is whether their private and confidential data has been secured from prying eyes online. A number of companies, concerned by the National Security Agency’s actions, are working to protect their customers’ data.

Continue reading Tech Firms Step Up Efforts on Digital Counter Surveillance

Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

According to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google, we may be close to a new “network age” in which Internet traffic will be protected with code, allowing users to communicate and organize socially without the fear of government censorship. Schmidt believes that Internet users will communicate via private channels that are shielded by encryption, scrambling data that can be decoded with a special digital key. Continue reading Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

New Internet Era: Devices Emerging That Predict User Needs

The “mind-reading” keyboard app SwiftKey is what some tech writers say is part of a growing movement of devices and apps that will predict users’ needs and deliver them without having to be asked. Between the decline of computing costs and the ease of collecting data through apps, calendar appointments and more, companies like Google and Apple are rushing to deliver the best technology to anticipate what information or reminders users need. Continue reading New Internet Era: Devices Emerging That Predict User Needs

Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist for Google and co-creator of the Internet’s key networking technology, delivered the keynote address at the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet of Things workshop this week in Washington, DC. Cerf suggested that privacy is a relatively new development that may not be sustainable. “Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” he said while taking questions, noting that privacy was not even guaranteed just a few decades ago. Continue reading Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Tech Giants Plan to Track Data, Eliminate Need for Cookies

In the past, cookies — tiny pieces of code used by marketers to track online activity — were essential to advertising companies collecting user information. However, Google, Microsoft and Apple have recently announced that they plan to develop new ways to control this valuable data without the use of cookies. This change could shift the balance of power in the global digital advertising realm, and cause stress to some ad technology companies. Continue reading Tech Giants Plan to Track Data, Eliminate Need for Cookies

The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

The debate over National Security Agency surveillance tactics has come to Hollywood. Industry heavyweights such as Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack appear in a new video alongside Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan), Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, advocates and government whistle-blowers. The video addresses civil liberties, the right to privacy, and calls for bringing an end to mass NSA surveillance. Continue reading The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

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