Google and Amazon Remain Leaders in Smart Speaker Market

Smart speakers continue their popularity, with nine million units shipped in Q1 2018, representing a 210 percent jump over Q1 2017, according to Canalys. In a first, global shipments of Google Home speakers surpassed those of Amazon’s popular Echo speakers. “Google shipped 3.2 million Home and Home Mini devices, versus 2.5 million Echo devices shipped by Amazon,” reports VentureBeat. “Google held an estimated 36.2 percent share for the quarter over Amazon’s 27.7 percent — a profound reversal from a year earlier, when Amazon had 79.6 percent of shipments to Google’s 19.3 percent.” Continue reading Google and Amazon Remain Leaders in Smart Speaker Market

Cisco Warns of Huge Hacked Network Primed for Cyberattacks

Cisco Systems and U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have warned that a network of half a million routers and storage devices has been hacked and is capable of a massive cyberattack. Security researchers said that the attack could take place during soccer’s UEFA Champions League’s final match on Saturday in Kiev. The devices, in 54 countries, are infected with VPNFilter malware that can shut them down, said Cisco security researcher Craig Williams. The U.S. government is working to reclaim control of the infected servers. Continue reading Cisco Warns of Huge Hacked Network Primed for Cyberattacks

Facebook Suspends Quiz App Linked to Cambridge University

Facebook is scrutinizing another quiz app, myPersonality, created by University of Cambridge academics following the Cambridge Analytica debacle. According to New Scientist, the myPersonality app collected data from six million people, about 40 percent of whom agreed to share their Facebook information. The app creator countered that Facebook had known about myPersonality for years. But the app is also being investigated by Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office for whether the data was properly anonymized. Continue reading Facebook Suspends Quiz App Linked to Cambridge University

Microsoft Sees Significant Corporate Upgrades to Windows 10

Microsoft Windows got a boost due to the increase in cyberattacks, with a 21 percent jump in sales of Windows 10 licenses last quarter, mainly to corporate clients; a 21 percent lift in bulk sales of Windows licenses and cloud services; and an expected growth of 13 percent in the current quarter. Although Windows is the most widely used operating system worldwide, PC shipments have seen no growth, says International Data Corp. Instead, the Windows 10 sales indicate a widespread move to update older software versions. Continue reading Microsoft Sees Significant Corporate Upgrades to Windows 10

Cambridge Analytica to Cease Operations, File for Bankruptcy

In the wake of the Facebook privacy scandal, London-based data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and parent company SCL Elections announced yesterday that they will be shutting down and filing for bankruptcy. Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of mining the data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent, has defended its actions while blaming the media for damaging its reputation and driving away clients. The company said it was “vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas.” Continue reading Cambridge Analytica to Cease Operations, File for Bankruptcy

Mozilla and Others Pull Facebook Ads Over Privacy Concerns

Following the now widespread reports of Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data, some companies are pulling ads from the social media giant, in large part due to “consumer backlash and questions from lawmakers” over the company’s privacy policy, reports Engadget. Mozilla has pulled its ads, claiming to have taken a closer look at Facebook’s current privacy settings, particularly related to third-party apps. Many other companies around the world are considering a similar ad-related move, according to the article.

Continue reading Mozilla and Others Pull Facebook Ads Over Privacy Concerns

Report: Worldwide Piracy for TV and Music Increases in 2017

According to the latest figures from London-based piracy tracking firm MUSO, entertainment media piracy continues its ascent. Globally, consumers made more than 300 billion visits to piracy websites in 2017, up 1.6 percent from the previous year. Despite the popularity of legal streaming options such as Netflix and Spotify, MUSO found that the illegal streaming and downloading of television content and music increased last year, up 3.4 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively. However, movie piracy decreased by 2.3 percent. Continue reading Report: Worldwide Piracy for TV and Music Increases in 2017

Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K. are demanding answers from Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg after reports surfaced over the weekend that data analytics company Cambridge Analytica was able to exploit the personal data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission — data that was reportedly used in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum. Facebook announced that it suspended Cambridge Analytica after learning Facebook policies specifying how third-party developers can deploy user data had been violated. Continue reading Debate Erupts After Reports of Access to Facebook User Data

Capitol Hill Panel Explores Piracy Threat of Streaming Boxes

President Trump recently explained that the United States is “acting swiftly on intellectual property theft,” adding that we cannot “allow this to happen as it has for many years.” Meanwhile, a panel of experts met on Capitol Hill last week to examine intellectual property theft and the growing threat of streaming media boxes. The MPAA revealed that the Department of Justice is looking into criminal action for several “candidates” that peddle pre-configured set-top boxes enabling piracy. The United Kingdom has already arrested numerous individuals accused of this behavior.

Continue reading Capitol Hill Panel Explores Piracy Threat of Streaming Boxes

Facebook Complies With GDPR, U.K. Warns Firms Not Ready

At an event in Brussels this week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that the social platform plans to introduce major privacy changes later this year. Facebook will roll out a global privacy settings hub for individuals to manage their data as part of an effort to comply with the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), “which aims to simplify data protection laws and provide citizens across all member states with more control over their personal data,” reports ZDNet. Meanwhile, the U.K. government has issued “a warning over businesses’ lack of preparation for the change.” Continue reading Facebook Complies With GDPR, U.K. Warns Firms Not Ready

Apple Announces Launch Date of Delayed HomePod Speaker

Apple’s wireless smart speaker HomePod will hit shelves February 9, with pre-orders starting this Friday in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. The device was delayed from its intended December launch, costing Apple sales during the recent holiday shopping season. The voice-activated speaker will compete with market leaders Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. At $349, the HomePod is priced more than $200 higher than the current market leaders, but on par with the $400 Google Home Max. Apple is emphasizing the device’s “stunning sound quality” for playing music. Continue reading Apple Announces Launch Date of Delayed HomePod Speaker

Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

In its 17th annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications Report, Deloitte released nine predictions regarding trends for the tech industry in 2018, covering everything from ad blocking and augmented reality to livestreaming programming. Deloitte vice president Paul Sallomi reports that, “we have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate, and will drive improved business operations, better decision making and provide enhanced or entirely new products and services.” Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

Apple is purchasing Shazam Entertainment Ltd. for a reported $400 million. Shazam’s music recognition app, which lets users identify songs that are playing nearby, skyrocketed in popularity when it debuted in 2009, and has been downloaded more than one billion times. If the transaction is successful, Apple could integrate the Shazam feature into its iPhones, thereby helping the company gain an edge over the latest phones from Google and Samsung. Google already has a similar feature in its Pixel 2 smartphone. Continue reading Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

On Black Friday, Snapchat introduced Promoted Stories, a new advertising format that allows marketers to get their messages to more users. The company’s existing Story feature is a stitched-together collection of photos and videos that disappears 24 hours after it is shared. Any Snapchat user (including a business or brand) can create a Story, but it will only be visible to that user’s followers. Promoted Stories, however, which will appear on the Stories page in the Snapchat app, will be pushed out around the country. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Since 1995, European businesses and organizations have operated under data protection rules specific to an era of much less digital data. To update the rules, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will launch on May 25, 2018, and numerous GDPR experts are ready to profit off of their offer to help businesses get ready. U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham dubs much of the activity as “scaremongering,” saying that companies that complied with the older rules won’t have to deal with major changes. Continue reading Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

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