This week’s headline story: FCC Sides with Consumers in Latest Round of Internet Policies
The FCC and FTC have been taking sides with consumers rather than tech companies lately, as is evidenced by several new policies released.
- First, the FTC has made a clear statement that “unlimited data” should mean “unlimited and unthrottled” when it fined TracFone $40 million for throttling customers with unlimited data plans.
- The FCC fought with cellular providers to redefine “broadband” as speeds faster than 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. The old definition of 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, made it possible for companies to advertise slower connection packages as broadband.
- The FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots in its resorts forcing customers to pay for wi-fi service provided by Marriott rather than tethering to their cellular service.
- The FCC approved new rules that require carriers to, start using technology that’s able to provide the location of a 911 caller within 50 meters in at least 40% of cases.
- The FCC gave approval for Gogo, a company that provides Wi-Fi service on airplanes, to install a new satellite-based service on 1,000 aircraft that provides significantly faster Internet speeds to passengers.
To further protect consumers, the FCC launched a new website where consumers can complain about their cable, broadband and wireless service providers.
- 7 smartphone rules changed this week [Computerworld]
- FCC chairman mocks industry claims that customers don’t need faster Internet [ars technica]
- FCC Redefines Definition of Broadband [NewsFactor]
in other tech news…
- Recent alarms over artificial intelligence research raise eyebrows at AI conference [Computerworld]
Not surprisingly, Artificial Intelligence experts have taken offence to a statement made by Stephen Hawking warning that the development of “full artificial intelligence” could bring an end to the human race. “People who are alarmed are thinking way ahead,” said Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI. “The thing I would say is AI will empower us not exterminate us… It could set AI back if people took what some are saying literally and seriously.”
- White House Drone Crash Described as a U.S. Worker’s Drunken Lark
Drone maker to add no-fly firmware to prevent future White House buzzing [ars technica]
A drone aircraft flew into the restricted airspace around the whitehouse and then crashed into the ground. Was it a terrorist attack on the president? No, according to the NY Times, it was the work of an inebriated off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency who decided to try out his buddy’s “quadcopter” toy at an apartment a couple blocks south of the whitehouse. The toy escaped his control and ended up on the Whitehouse lawn. The mishap has shed light on a vulnerability in the protective shield that the Secret Service erects around the White House complex. The Secret Service and the maker of the quadcopter are taking steps to insure that it doesn’t happen again.
- Google to Announce Fiber Expansion In Four Metro Areas [Wall Street Journal]
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google Fiber – the incredibly fast and inexpensive Internet service, will soon be coming to Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Nashville, Tennessee.
in Information Security News…
- Verizon Users Can Opt Out of Supercookies [NewsFactor]
After news of Verizon’s so called “supercookies” hit the media in recent weeks, Verizon is now allowing customers to opt-out of supercookies which reportedly track online activities for advertisers. AT&T was experimenting with a similar program, but said in November that it was dropping the supercookie.
and in Tech Industry news…
- Microsoft gives away more Office software to attract mobile users [Reuters]
Microsoft has released its popular Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications for Android tablets. The free software is intended to drive as many mobile customers as possible to its Office platform. The company has also released its popular Outlook email program for Apple iPhones and iPads.
- Apple’s now shipping as many smartphones as Samsung [Engadget]
Apple has sold one billion iOS devices, company claims [Computerworld]
Samsung’s Smartphone Crown Slipping [newsFactor]
Samsung has been leading Apple in smartphone sales
for the past few years, but with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, that has changed. Apple and Samsung both shipped an estimated 74.5 million devices in the last three months of 2014, making them tied for first in the smartphone shipments race. Apple announced that it topped one billion iOS devices sold this past week.
- Samsung’s Gear VR headset arrives at Best Buy (but not at retail) [Engadget]
Samsung Gear VR Specs
Samsung’s Gear VR will entertain Qantas’ first-class passengers [Engadget]
The Samsung Gear VR headset arrived at BestBuy this past week. The headset allows users to strap a Galaxy Note 4 to their face and experience exclusive movies and games as if you were at the cinema. Qauntas airlines is making the headset available to first class passengers on select flights.
- Sony closing Music Unlimited in favor of Spotify-powered service (update)
Sony has turned to Spotify to run a new PlayStation Music service that will replace its own Music Unlimited service providing streaming music across PlayStation 3 and 4 and “Xperia smartphones and tablets.”
- Tim Cook expects to ship the Apple Watch in April [Engadget]
Tim Cook says that the Apple Watch will be available sometime in April.
- 5 Things Small Business Owners Should Know About ‘Facebook At Work’ [Huffington Post]
Why IT Should be Skeptical of ‘Facebook at Work’ [CIO]
Facebook has released a limited beta version of a new app it calls Facebook At Work. The app is intended to run within the confines of a companies intranet to serve the companies needs. So far, business analysts are skeptical about Facebook’s ability to compete in the business software market.
- Microsoft Reportedly Investing in Android Startup Cyanogen [NewsFactor]
Microsoft is buying into Cyanogen, a company famous for providing a derivation of the Android system called CyanogenMod. Microsoft’s control of Cyanogen would give Microsoft the ability to more easily get its software features on Android-based smartphones.
© 2012 Cengage Learning, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, reproduction or redistribution of Cengage Learning, Inc. (“Cengage Learning”) content, including by framing or similar means, is prohibited without the prior written consent of Cengage Learning. To request permission to photocopy, duplicate, republish or otherwise reuse Cengage Learning material, or for efiles for students with disabilities, go to www.cengage.com/permissions.