#403 March 02, 2015 – Network Neutrality Wins!

This week’s headline story: Net Neutrality Wins

fccThe Federal Communications Commission has adopted new open Internet rules by a 3-2 vote along party lines. The rules, which affect both wired and wireless access, prohibit broadband providers from unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging efforts of consumers and edge providers to reach each other. Practices outlawed by the rules include paid prioritization, blocking of any lawful content on the Internet, and throttling of services.

“The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control the free and open access to the Internet,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said prior to the vote.

in other tech news…

  • White House Proposes Broad Consumer Data Privacy Bill [NYTimes]The Whitehouse has proposed a wide-ranging bill intended to provide Americans with more control over the personal information that companies collect about them and how that data can be used. The new proposed bill, named the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act, calls on industries to develop their own codes of conduct on the handling of consumer information. It also charges the Federal Trade Commission with making sure those codes of conduct satisfy certain requirements.
  • Ericsson Goes after Apple on 41 Mobile Tech Patents [NewsFactor]Apple Ordered To Pay $532.9 Million to Texas Patent Troll [NewsFactor]

    I tend to avoid articles on patent law suites, unless they are monumental, since they seem to be an ever present part of the industry. One such monumental patent lawsuit was the Apple vs. Samsung battle that included 50 law suites across nine countries, over two years, with billions of dollars at risk. After all was said and done, there was no clear winner. It appears that another such monumental patent lawsuit is about to begin. Ericsson has filed two complaints against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission and seven lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

    The complaints allege that Apple is using 41 of Ericsson’s patented technologies without proper licensing. In addition to damages, the complaints also ask the ITC to block imports of Apple products into the U.S. This follows on the heals of Apple being ordered to pay a Texas Patent Troll over half a billion dollars.

in Information Security News…

  • Lenovo Promises To Banish Bloatware from Its PCs [NewsFactor]Lizard Squad Hacks Ailing Lenovo’s Web Site [NewsFactor]

    Lenovo is still recovering from the fallout from selling notebooks with ore-installed malware. The company has announced that it will stop the practice of selling computers with preinstalled bloatware, a practice that Windows PC manufacturers have participated in for decades. Lenovo was also the victim of a recent hack attack by the hacker collective Lizard Squad.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Apple slates March 9 event, hints at Watch wearable [Computerworld]Will Apple Watch Sell Millions or Fall Flat? [NewsFactor]

    Apple has scheduled a March 9th event where it is expected to build excitement for the April released of the Apple Watch. Some analysts are speculating that there may also be an additional unexpected announcement. Market research firm CCS Insight predicts that 20 million Apple Watches will be sold by the end of 2015, even though the watch is expensive – $349, and requires an iPhone.

  • A Smart-Watch Pioneer Has an Answer for Apple [Technology Review]Acer wants to sell you a touchscreen fitness tracker for less than $90 [Engadget]

    The original smartwatch company, Pebble, has unveiled a new $200 smartwatch with a color e-paper display. Named Pebble Time, the watch gets a week of use between charges and is built around the idea of a visual timeline that’s meant to show you information like upcoming meetings, local weather, and sports scores at the right times and places. If you’re looking for an even less expensive alternative, Acer will be releasing a touchscreen Fitness band, named the Liquid Leap, with cell phone notifications and apps for less than $90.

  • Google Pads Its Wallet [Ecommerce Times]Google is preparing to battle Apple Pay in the burgeoning electronic wallet market. The Internet giant has purchased the technology and IP of Softcard, a mobile wallet launched in 2010 jointly by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Unlike Apple Pay, which has only a handful a retailers on board, Softcard is already accepted by hundreds of thousands of merchant locations around the country. Google has also partnered with the three telecom giants to preinstall the Google Wallet app, including its tap-and-pay functionality, on Android phones the carriers will offer later this year in the United States.
  • Apple to Sink $1.9B in Green Data Centers in Europe [Ecommerce Times]Apple has announced a plan to build two new data centers in Europe — one in County Galway in Ireland and the other in central Jutland in Denmark at a cost of $1.9 billion.
  • Facebook Rolls Out New Suicide-Prevention Tools [NewsFactor]Facebook has rolled out a new set of tools designed to identify and respond to posts that indicate a user is considering suicide. Users can now report posts to Facebook that they believe might indicate someone is suicidal, just as they would report offensive or distressing content. The company will have teams throughout the world available around the clock to review any reported content and respond to individuals who may be at risk of suicide or other self-injury with links to local resources.
  • Look Out, Travel Web Sites: Here Comes Google Flights [NewsFactor]Google has announced an update to its Google Flights service that lets users search for flights by price and date. The new Google service is expected to compete with the likes of Orbitz, Expedia (which recently acquired Travelocity) and Kayak, bringing the Internet giant into yet another marketplace.
  • Mobile World Congress Highlights Bleeding Edge Innovation [NewsFactor]Track MWC
    on Engadget

    The theme for this week’s 2015 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, is “The Edge of Innovation.” The annual event is expected to draw more than 85,000 mobile industry professionals to show off the latest mobile gadgets.

and finally,

  • Facebook Gender Options Are Now Unlimited [NewsFactor]Having a tough time identifying your gender from the 58 options that Facebook provides? Well here’s good news! Facebook now provides a 59th option that allows you to fill in the blank.

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