AWS Debuts Amazon One Enterprise Palm-Scanning Service

Amazon Web Services has introduced a palm-scanning identity service for enterprise clients that lets people authenticate when entering physical premises. Called Amazon One Enterprise, the new service leverages the Amazon One offering launched in 2020 to allow biometric payments in Amazon’s cashierless Amazon Go stores, bringing the technology to the workplace. At retail, Go shoppers can link payment cards to their palm-print and complete transactions by placing their hand on a scanner. While use of biometric data has raised concerns, Amazon appears to be expanding the technology’s applications. Continue reading AWS Debuts Amazon One Enterprise Palm-Scanning Service

WhatsApp Rolls Out ‘Secret Codes’ Privacy for Locked Chats

After introducing the Chat Lock feature in May, WhatsApp has added something called “secret code,” for an additional layer of privacy protection for extremely sensitive conversations. A secret code makes sensitive chats “harder to find if someone has access to your phone or you share a phone with someone else,” the Meta Platforms subsidiary says. With a secret code, users can set a unique password — different from that which normally unlocks the phone — to give locked chats an extra layer of privacy. An additional option allows the Locked Chats folder to be hidden from the general chatlist. Continue reading WhatsApp Rolls Out ‘Secret Codes’ Privacy for Locked Chats

Amazon Unveils Productivity Chatbot, Gets Nvidia Superchip

Amazon Web Services is introducing Amazon Q, an AI chatbot geared toward enterprise clients who can customize it to increase productivity for their specific business needs. AWS also announced that it has updated its homegrown Graviton4 chips for a 30 percent performance boost. AWS confirmed it will be the first Big Tech firm to deploy the latest version of Nvidia’s Grace Hopper Superchip AI accelerator, and additionally will become a data center host for Nvidia’s DGX Cloud service. The announcements were disclosed at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Productivity Chatbot, Gets Nvidia Superchip

California Privacy Protection Agency Issues Draft Rules for AI

The California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) is preparing new regulations to protect consumers from how businesses may potentially use AI. The state regulator, whose rulings have an outsized influence on Big Tech given the many large firms that are headquartered there, has issued draft rules for how consumer data can be used in what it is calling “automated decisionmaking technology,” or ADMT. The proposed regulations give consumers the right to opt out of ADMT and entitles the public to on-demand information as how AI is interacting with their data and how businesses plan to use it. Continue reading California Privacy Protection Agency Issues Draft Rules for AI

Amazon Thin Client Connects Employees to Virtual Desktops

Amazon’s new Thin Client is a new $195 device that allows enterprise users to connect to virtual desktop environments, such as Amazon WorkSpaces, using the Internet and a box as compact as the Fire TV Cube. In fact, the Thin Client leverages Fire TV Cube hardware, allowing Amazon to tap existing expertise from the e-retail giant’s streaming media player division. However, Thin Client “is not for spending time watching Thursday Night Football, or bingeing ‘Invincible,’” but aims to convenience workers while reducing technology costs and enhancing security for enterprise, the company says. Continue reading Amazon Thin Client Connects Employees to Virtual Desktops

Bill Gates Imagines Agents as the Human-Computer Interface

Bill Gates has published his thinking about the future of computing, and fascinatingly, it’s the same as his prediction from decades ago: agents. No mere bots — and certainly not anthropomorphized paperclips — agents (to Gates) will abstract almost all HCI to a natural language conversation with systems that have our permission to take meaningful actions. Gates makes a highly specific prediction: within five years, the very idea of an app itself will seem as outdated as a rotary phone dial does next to an iPhone. A conversational UI will sit on top of a language model that has access to as much of our private data as we wish to give it. Continue reading Bill Gates Imagines Agents as the Human-Computer Interface

U.S., Britain and 16 Nations Aim to Make AI Secure by Design

The United States, Britain and 16 other countries have signed a 20-page agreement on working together to keep artificial intelligence safe from bad actors, mandating collaborative efforts for creating AI systems that are “secure by design.” The 18 countries said they will aim to ensure companies that design and utilize AI develop and deploy it in a way that protects their customers and the public from abuse. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) jointly released the Guidelines for Secure AI System Development. Continue reading U.S., Britain and 16 Nations Aim to Make AI Secure by Design

Nightshade Data Poisoning Tool Targets AI to Protect Artist IP

A new tool called Nightshade offers creators a way to fend off artificial intelligence models attempting to train on visual artwork without permission. Created by a University of Chicago team led by Professor Ben Zhao, Nightshade makes it possible to include an instruction set that can cause AI models to “break” during unauthorized scraping. It does this by inserting “invisible pixels.” As a result, popular AI models including DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion will subsequently render erratic results, turning dogs into cats and cars into cows, and so forth. Continue reading Nightshade Data Poisoning Tool Targets AI to Protect Artist IP

Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI Wins Appeal of UK Fine

New York-based facial recognition software company Clearview AI has had a $9.1 million fine and order to delete UK citizen data reversed by Britain’s General Regulatory Tribunal. The case against Clearview was brought by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which scored a victory round in May 2022, claiming Clearview violated privacy laws under the General Data Protection Regulation because it did not inform or gain consent of UK citizens before collecting their data. Clearview appealed, and the tribunal found that the selfie-scraping AI firm was not subject to the ICO’s jurisdiction due to a loophole for firms servicing foreign law enforcement. Continue reading Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI Wins Appeal of UK Fine

Google Makes Passkeys Default Option on Personal Accounts

Earlier this year, Google introduced support for passkeys as part of a larger initiative to improve security and eventually eliminate the need for passwords. Since the launch, consumers have begun using passkeys across Google apps such as Search, YouTube and Maps. As the next step in establishing “a simpler and more secure way to sign into your accounts online,” and following positive feedback from early users, the company is offering passkeys as the default option across personal accounts. When signing into accounts, users will receive prompts for creating passkeys. Additionally, Google account settings will feature a toggle that reads “skip password when possible.” Continue reading Google Makes Passkeys Default Option on Personal Accounts

Google Claims New Chromebook Plus Doubles Performance

Google is introducing the Chromebook Plus, a new category of its popular laptops and tablets that the company says offers AI capabilities and “double the performance” of existing Chromebooks. The new category also provides access to Google Photos Magic Eraser and Adobe Photoshop on the web, starting at $399. Google says it drew on user feedback and worked with partners at Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo to optimize performance and add productivity. The initial eight models all feature processors that are 12th Generation Intel Core i3 or above or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series or above. Continue reading Google Claims New Chromebook Plus Doubles Performance

Windows 11, GitHub, Nintendo Are Latest to Support Passkeys

Passkeys — a secure way to login to accounts without passwords — are back in the news as a bevy of companies lend their support to the cryptographic technology. Windows 11, GitHub and Nintendo are among the latest to go passwordless. The standard, which began gaining momentum last year, has also been embraced by companies including Apple, Google, the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. Each passkey involves two keys — one public and registered with an online service or app, and one private and stored on individual devices, like smartphones or computers. Continue reading Windows 11, GitHub, Nintendo Are Latest to Support Passkeys

Cisco to Acquire Cybersecurity Firm Splunk in $28 Billion Deal

Cisco is poised to make its biggest acquisition ever, with an agreement in place to buy cybersecurity firm Splunk for $28 billion. Cisco, which turns 30 next year, is a global leader in the manufacture of computer networking equipment. Splunk is a 20-year-old company with more than 1,100 patents and a business built around keeping systems and data safe, resolving technical issues and minimizing the risk of hacks, most recently introducing new AI-based services. The companies expect the deal to close in late 2024. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins says the deal will be financed with a combination of cash and debt. Continue reading Cisco to Acquire Cybersecurity Firm Splunk in $28 Billion Deal

California Plans to Protect Consumer Privacy with Delete Act

California lawmakers have put data brokers on notice. A bill known as the Delete Act would allow consumers to require all such information peddlers to delete their personal information with a single request. The bill defines “data brokers” as any number of businesses that collect and sell people’s personal information, including residential address, marital status and purchases. Both houses last week passed the proposed legislation — Senate Bill 362 — and it now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk. If he signs it, the new law will go into effect in January 2026. Continue reading California Plans to Protect Consumer Privacy with Delete Act

Ireland Fines TikTok $368 Million for Mishandling of User Data

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced a TikTok fine of about $368 million today based on how the popular social platform processes data of younger users. DPC announced in 2021 that it was investigating TikTok’s compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy and security laws. The investigation identified specific problems with TikTok’s default account settings, the Family Pairing settings, and its age verification process (although the age verification model did not violate GDPR, the probe found that TikTok did not sufficiently protect the privacy of children under 13 who were able to create an account). Continue reading Ireland Fines TikTok $368 Million for Mishandling of User Data