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.

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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

Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Craig Mundie, senior advisor to Microsoft’s CEO, is proposing that a form of digital rights management can be used to secure personal data. He believes it is vital, since people do not currently have a method to ensure that the data they share will not be misused. However, DRM has been ineffective at preventing some illegal copying of media files. And many companies may oppose the idea as they require access to personal data for their businesses. Continue reading Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Facebook Under Fire for Decision to Make Teens’ Posts Public

Facebook announced this week that it would allow teenage users between 13 and 17 to make their posts public so that they can be seen by anyone on the social network, underscoring the competition between today’s social platforms to reach the teen audience and attract advertisers. Previously, the posts of teenage users could only be viewed by friends and friends of friends. While drawing criticism from privacy advocate groups, the move will enable Facebook to operate more like its rival Twitter. Continue reading Facebook Under Fire for Decision to Make Teens’ Posts Public

Gartner Outlines the Top Ten Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

During the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando, Florida, the IT leaders at Gartner identified the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends expected for 2014: mobile device diversity and management, mobile apps and applications, the Internet of Everything, hybrid cloud and IT as service broker, cloud/client architecture, the era of the personal cloud, software-defined anything (SDx), Web-scale IT, smart machines, and 3D printing. Continue reading Gartner Outlines the Top Ten Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

Google to Debut New Social Advertising with User Information

Google announced that beginning in November, it may display users’ names, photos from their profiles, ratings and reviews in social advertisements, an approach called “shared endorsements.” Social ads can potentially reproduce the word-of-mouth endorsement from friends as an online experience. Google may face a challenge to get users comfortable with the idea of giving endorsements, while some question their value and others raise privacy issues. Continue reading Google to Debut New Social Advertising with User Information

Startups Create Advanced Tracking of Users Across Devices

Smartphones can collect massive amounts of personal information, such as where users go, what they buy, and when they go to sleep. But current Web browser tracking software has become less effective for ads and cannot follow users across their devices. Based on the shift toward mobile, tech and advertising companies are looking into new ways to track consumers on their tablets and phones, while targeting them with specialized ads across all devices. Continue reading Startups Create Advanced Tracking of Users Across Devices

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