This week’s headline story: FCC Delivers More Data Protection for Consumers
New rules adopted yesterday in a close vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are aimed at increasing privacy protections for customers of broadband Internet services. The rules spell out opt-in and opt-out requirements for different types of customer data that ISPs can use or share with others, and also set out new requirements for transparency and security. The new rules classify as “sensitive” any ISP data about customers’ exact geo-location, Social Security numbers, Web browsing history, communications content as well as health, financial and children’s information. Before service providers can use or share such data, they will have to obtain an opt-in OK from customers. In addition, customers will be able to opt out of the sharing of other kinds of personal information such as email addresses or types of ISP services used.
While consumer data is now more heavily protected from abuse by ISP’s, there are no policies protecting your data from the many data brokers that buy and sell people’s personal information in a multibillion-dollar industry. Nobody knows how many so-called list owners and list brokers are operating nationwide. The best guess is tens of thousands. These businesses operate largely unregulated, overseen day to day by no official authority, and if there’s ever need to correct files as a result of a death, divorce or similarly life-changing event — there’s pretty much nothing you can do to hold these firms accountable. Federal regulators are working to address the problem.
- FCC Strengthens Broadband Privacy Rules for ISPs [NewsFactor]
- Who Oversees Data Brokers Selling Personal Info? No One [NewsFactor]
other Technology Headlines…
- Flying drones could soon re-charge whilst airborne with new technology [Imperial College]
One of the greatest limitations of drone aircraft is the limited time that they can be powered by a rechargeable battery. The time for flight of a hobbyist drone ranges from minutes to a couple hours. Researchers at Imperial College in London have developed a system in which drones can recharge wirelessly in-flight, allowing the aircraft to stay airborne indefinitely.
and in Tech Industry News…
- New Generation of MacBooks Are Here [NewsFactor]
Apple has released a new generation of MacBooks. The new MacBook pro features a fingerprint sensor to unlock the computer, and a new touch-sensative display panel above the keyboard that can be programmed to be used with different software for different functions.
- Microsoft Gets Creative with Surface Studio Desktop PC [NewsFactor]
Mac vs PC Debate Reignited as New Models Revealed [NewsFactor]
Microsoft Is Looking Like the New Apple [MIT]
Microsoft has released a new Surface Studio Desktop PC designed for the needs of engineers, designers and other creative professionals. The desktop Surface features a 28-inch touch-screen monitor, connected to a processing base, that can lie nearly flat, turning into a digital whiteboard for drafting engineering blueprints, film storyboards or other pursuits.
- Google Suspends Fiber Expansion Plans, Cuts Staff [NewsFactor]
Google has suspended its Google Fiber project that has brought Gigabit speed internet to more than eight cities in the US. The reasons behind the pause is that subscriber numbers are much lower than expected, and new wireless technologies may allow the company to provide equally fast networks to cities for much less money.
- Facebook Fighting Snapchat With New Photo App [NewsFactor]
Facebook is rolling out a new feature in its mobile app that works just like Snapchat. The feature uses the phone camera and messaging feature to allow users to”share moments as they happen and express yourself more.” The camera includes a number of optional special effects like facial masks, and once a photo or video is opened you’ll have 24 hours to respond to it otherwise it’ll disappear.
- Accepting More Facebook Friend Requests Is Linked to Lower Mortality [NewsFactor]
Scientists who studied Facebook activity and mortality rates of registered California voters found that people who received many friend requests were far less likely to die over a two-year period than those who did not. Initiating friend requests, however, seemed to have no effect on death rates whatsoever.