Articles by date

30 January 2015

The FCC has set a new, faster definition for US broadband (Washington Post)

Federal regulators have set a new definition for broadband that establishes 25 megabits per second as the baseline for high-speed downloads, up from 4 Mbps previously.

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Microsoft's Bill Gates insists AI is a threat (BBC News)

Humans should be worried about the threat posed by artificial Intelligence, Bill Gates has said.

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China Further Tightens Grip on the Internet (New York Times)

Jing Yuechen, the founder of an Internet start-up here in the Chinese capital, has no interest in overthrowing the Communist Party. But these days she finds herself cursing the nation's smothering cyberpolice as she tries -- and fails -- to browse photo-sharing websites like Flickr and struggles to stay in touch with the Facebook friends she has made during trips to France, India and Singapore.

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Australian data retention scheme still not clear-cut for telcos and others, inquiry told (The Guardian)

Australia's peak body for IT and communications companies says organisations still face considerable uncertainty over whether they will need to retain Australians' web and phone data as part of the federal government's mandatory data retention scheme.

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Telstra, Vodafone Hutchison slam Australian metadata storage plan (Australian Financial Review)

Two of Australia's biggest telecommunications providers have voiced concerns and called for changes to the government's controversial plan to record the metadata of all Australians for two years.

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29 January 2015

Canada Agency Monitors File-Sharing, Reports Say (New York Times)

Every day, Canada's electronic spy agency examines tens of millions of electronic documents and videos -- and some of the people who downloaded them -- as part of an antiterrorism effort involving the United States and other allies, a document leaked by Edward J. Snowden indicates.

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Rapists use social media to cover their tracks, police warned (The Guardian)

Rapists are increasingly exploiting social media to cover their tracks and mislead investigators, a joint conference by police and prosecutors on rape was told.

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The Role of Data in Promoting Growth and Well-Being (OECD)

Data forms a key pillar in 21st century sources of growth. The confluence of several trends, including the increasing migration of socio-economic activities to the Internet and the decline in the cost of data collection, storage and processing, are leading to the generation and use of huge volumes of data - commonly referred to as "big data". These large data sets are becoming a core asset in the economy, fostering new industries, processes and products and creating significant competitive advantages.

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28 January 2015

Hacktivists step up web attack volumes (BBC News)

Hacktivists and gamers are becoming big users of net attacks that knock sites offline by bombarding them with data, suggests a report.

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F.T.C. Says Internet-Connected Devices Pose Big Risks (New York Times)

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday confirmed some of the worst fears about Internet-connected devices, saying the technology presented serious data security and privacy risks, and urged companies to make data protection a top priority.

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Mobile banking will help the poor transform their lives by Bill and Melinda Gates (Gates Notes)

The Kenya Financial Diaries, a fascinating project documenting the financial lives of hundreds of Kenyans over the course of a year, tells countless stories of people who had to forgo medical care or take their children out of school for want of a few dollars.

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27 January 2015

Chehadé Criticises Domainers, and Domainers and Allies Kick Up Stink

Parts of the domain name world have acted with incredulity to the ICANN CEO and President's comments on people "hogging names in order to charge a lot for them." Obviously Fadi Chehadé's comments were aimed at domainers, and some in the media as well as domainers are not happy.

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Unease for What Microsoft's HoloLens Will Mean for Our Screen-Obsessed Lives (New York Times)

Microsoft made a big announcement last week, revealing that Windows, a lucrative legacy franchise, was about to be unleashed into the physical environment through a set of goggles called the HoloLens that superimposes the operating system on the actual world. In one sense, it was heartening. Business reporters are frequently hung up on the new and the insurgent, but seeing mature companies adapt to a changed world is equally interesting.

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Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report (The Guardian)

Europe's top rights body has said mass surveillance practices are a fundamental threat to human rights and violate the right to privacy enshrined in European law.

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Documents Show N.S.A.'s Wiretap Moves Before Congress's Approval (New York Times)

A federal judge issued a top secret ruling in 2007 that the USA Patriot Act empowered the National Security Agency to collect foreigners' emails and phone calls from domestic networks without prior judicial approval, newly declassified documents show.

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Facebook Said to Block Pages Critical of Muhammad to Avoid Shutdown in Turkey (New York Times)

To avoid being banned throughout Turkey, Facebook has blocked Turkish users' access to a number of pages containing content that the authorities had deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, according to a company employee with direct knowledge of the matter and a report by the state broadcaster TRT.

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Marissa Mayer's Plan for Yahoo Takes Hold. The Question Now Is Time. (New York Times)

When Marissa Mayer was offered the chief executive job at Yahoo in the summer of 2012, she had a script for returning the pioneering Internet company to the tiny club of Silicon Valley powerhouses.

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.COM Turns 30 and Verisign Wants to Celebrate, But Only With Americans

If you're American, Verisign wants you to join them in celebrating .com turning 30 years old. So the .com registry is giving away $55,000 - five monthly winners, one of which will win a grand prize of $30,000 - to someone with a business idea who registers the most original, memorable and keyword-rich .com domain name as a result.

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Why Apps for Messaging Are Trending (New York Times)

A team at BuzzFeed knew it had struck gold when it came across a decades-old photo of Dwayne Johnson, the musclebound wrestler and film star known as The Rock, wearing a fanny pack and dated bluejeans.

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Australia launches cyber-weapons in global counter-terrorist operations (Australian Financial Review)

The frequency and severity of global cyber-attacks is rising rapidly and extending into outright cyber-war between states. And Australia is no innocent bystander, developing its own cyber-weapons, which we can reveal for the first time have been deployed in counter-terrorist operations overseas.

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Australia's NBN's road to 'bare-minimum broadband' by Mark Gregory (Business Spectator)

A key proposal included in the draft of the Annual Broadband Progress Report circulated to fellow FCC commissioners by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler on January 8 is for the definition of broadband to be raised from 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

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26 January 2015

Spyware and smartphones: how abusive men track their partners (The Guardian)

Apps offer abusers a terrifying new toolbox to control their partners and exes. Phone software allows them to follow people's movements, monitor their calls, texts and emails - and even watch them

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WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government (The Guardian)

Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.

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25 January 2015

What can we learn from Facebook's annual Bullshit Report? (The Observer)

Last week was Davos week, the time of year when 2,900 movers and shakers (only 17% of whom are women, incidentally) congregate in a small town in Switzerland to talk the talk. It also means that it's the week in which Facebook issues its annual Bullshit Report, claiming that it is not only a Force for Good but also one of the world's economic powerhouses. In 2012 the report claimed that Facebook - an outfit which then had a global workforce of about 3,000 - had indirectly helped create 232,000 jobs in Europe in 2011 and "enabled" more than $32bn in revenues.

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Facebook Touts Its 'Economic Impact' but Economists Question Numbers (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook has more than a billion users and generated an estimated $12 billion in revenue last year. But the company says its economic impact is far greater.

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