Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

Last week, Yahoo joined Google and Microsoft in the effort to bring more privacy to users of their popular email services. The 110 million unique Yahoo email users will have the option to turn on an encrypted messaging feature. The feature relies on PGP encryption, which stores each user’s encryption key on their personal laptops and devices. Google also announced that encrypted websites will fare better in their search results due to a new feature in its ranking algorithm. Continue reading Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Hold Security, an Internet security research firm in the U.S., discovered a Russian crime ring has stolen an unprecedented amount of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and passwords, and more than 500 million email addresses. The hackers targeted websites from multiple countries and a range of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to small websites. The crime ring is currently using the information to send spam through social networks for a fee. Continue reading Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

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?

Black Hat: Smartphones Next Target of Cybersecurity Threats

At this week’s Black Hat security conference, researchers plan to unveil different techniques for easily taking over a smartphone without alerting the user or phone company. Security consultant Mathew Solnik will outline the ways in which he can use the Internet to hack anyone’s phone from 30 feet away. Georgia Institute of Technology students will present the ways in which they can take over the latest iPhone. And a researcher from Bluebox will show how Android apps can steal user data. Continue reading Black Hat: Smartphones Next Target of Cybersecurity Threats

Bleep: BitTorrent Develops Secure Calling and Messaging App

San Francisco’s BitTorrent is leveraging its expertise in online file sharing tech to develop Bleep, an encrypted snoop-proof chat app. None of the texts or calls are stored, and only the two computers are involved in the communication. While the NSA could potentially monitor the interactions, the job becomes much more difficult with the new app. Not only does Bleep encrypt its traffic and encourage users to keep their identities secret, but it also uses no central server. Continue reading Bleep: BitTorrent Develops Secure Calling and Messaging App

Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Verizon announced its new Smart Rewards program this week that provides consumers with the opportunity to accrue points in a credit card-style program that offers discounts for dining, shopping and travel. Signing on to the Verizon site, paying bills online and participating in the trade-in program lead to earning points. However, participants also have to sign up for Verizon Selects, which collects location, Web browsing and mobile app usage data for marketing purposes. Continue reading Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

Facebook and Nielsen are joining forces as part of an ambitious campaign to better measure how consumers are using their mobile devices for accessing entertainment media. As part of the mobile ratings Nielsen plans to introduce this fall, Facebook will scan its databases for the age and gender of its users who watch a TV show on their phone or tablet. The data will be shared with Nielsen and ultimately help networks and advertisers learn more about the viewing habits of consumers. Continue reading Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

Wearables: Companies Explore New Advertising Opportunities

Shipments of wearables are expected to reach 112 million units by 2018 — enough momentum for advertising companies to start considering new approaches to ads for wearable devices. In order to get an idea of how smartwatches, head-mounted displays, glasses and other gadgets may serve as marketing platforms, mobile-ad tools maker InMobi is developing virtual mock-ups of ads for these devices. Millennial Media and Kiip are among those also pursuing viable wearable-ad technology. Continue reading Wearables: Companies Explore New Advertising Opportunities

Report: NSA Keeps Information Not Targeted in Surveillance

According to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post, ordinary Internet users significantly outnumber the legally targeted foreigners in electronic communications intercepted by the NSA. Based on the collection of intercepted conversations from U.S. digital networks that Edward Snowden provided, 90 percent of account holders were not the intended surveillance targets. And nearly half of the files included names, email addresses or other details belonging to U.S. citizens. Continue reading Report: NSA Keeps Information Not Targeted in Surveillance

Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Google has been sued for violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting personal data as part of its Street View project. The Supreme Court rejected to hear Google’s appeal regarding the class action lawsuit for secretly collecting email, passwords, and other personal info for the mapping project. The case will go forward in the lower court as Google maintains its innocence. The case highlights a rising public push for protection of privacy over data usage for commercial gain. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Earlier this week, Adam D. I. Kramer, the Facebook data scientist in charge of a study about the impact of news feed content, posted a public apology on his Facebook page for the anxiety caused by recent research. The study sparked a public outcry when users discovered that Facebook had manipulated the news feed results of over 500,000 randomly selected users. The company changed the number of positive and negative posts users saw to study how emotions are spread on social media. Continue reading Facebook Changes News Feed Results, Apologizes to Users

Livestream App Lets Google Glass Users Share Live Video

On Tuesday, Google officially released the Livestream app that allows people to share live video captured with their Google Glass headsets. Glass users simply tell their devices to start broadcasting and the video that the headset records can be shared with other Livestream users for free. To broadcast to non-Livestream viewers, users can pay up to $399 per month to stream video to the Web. Google vetted Livestream’s policy to ensure the app addresses privacy concerns. Continue reading Livestream App Lets Google Glass Users Share Live Video

Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

As part of its push to become the dominant OS for connected devices in and around the home, Google’s Nest Labs will purchase Dropcam for $555 million. Dropcam’s Web-connected video-monitoring service streams live to mobile apps and sends alerts based on activity in the home. Google acquired Nest, founded by Apple designers Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell, earlier this year for $3.2 billion. The acquisition of Dropcam is expected to generate privacy concerns. Continue reading Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

Google’s Skybox Purchase is About More Than Satellite Images

By 2016, Skybox Imaging will use six satellites to capture daily images of the Earth. By 2018, the company plans to launch 24 satellites, imaging the entire planet with exceptional resolution. Google’s acquisition of Skybox for $500 million will allow the Internet company to use these satellites to provide faster online access to high-quality images. The deal, in the long run, is also expected to improve Internet access and assist with disaster relief. It could also collect new levels of information on people and companies. Continue reading Google’s Skybox Purchase is About More Than Satellite Images

Google to Launch Health Data Aggregation Service Google Fit

Google Fit, a health data aggregation service, is expected to launch at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco next week. The service will compete with Apple’s new HealthKit app framework, which launched last week. It will also compete with Samsung’s Sami, a similar biometric data platform. Google Fit aims to store data from wearable activity tracking devices — including Fitbit, Jawbone UP and Nike FuelBand — along with the related smartphone apps.

Continue reading Google to Launch Health Data Aggregation Service Google Fit

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