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The Tech Industry's Tectonic Shift
March 27, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread, states and cities across the U.S. have imposed restrictions -- from banning large gatherings to lockdowns, with citizens ordered to stay home except for essential jobs and errands, or get outdoor exercise. These steps came as infection numbers mounted, and the World Health Organization stated that COVID-19 was in fact a global pandemic.
Concerns Grow That COVID-19 Could Take Down the Internet
March 24, 2020
It may not be a question of if but when the Internet will reach the breaking point under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internet is fast becoming a potential victim of the coronavirus assault. With an estimated billion people staying home, remote working, or just watching shows online all day, concerns are mounting that the Internet will break under the strain.
COVID-19 Outbreak: Thoughts From the Stay-at-Home Front
March 23, 2020
Steps can be taken to mitigate the threat of spreading the coronavirus to folks who are sheltering at home. In many cases delivery drivers don't seem to have any protection, and if it's necessary to sign for something, customers are expected to touch a stylus or a screen that has been used by others. Drivers should be practicing social distancing, setting down packages at least six feet away.
Facebook Pledges Funds for SMBs in Face of Shutdowns
March 19, 2020
Facebook has announced a $100M commitment of cash grants and ad credits to help as many as 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries where the company operates. The program can help SMBs maintain their workforces, meet rent costs, connect with more customers, and cover operational costs. In addition, Facebook has earmarked $1 million in grants to local news organizations covering COVID-19.
Robinhood Outages Anger Customers
March 9, 2020
Heavy trading on Wall Street once again was too much for the Robinhood app to handle. The company reported issues with equities, options and crypto trading just before 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday. The incident is a case of bad deja vu. Robinhood customers potentially lost millions of dollars when the company's app went down amid heavy trading last Monday, March 2.
COVID-19 and the Bleak Outlook for the Tech Supply Chain
March 6, 2020
Foxconn, a key parts supplier for Apple, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, said its plants on mainland China will resume normal production by the end of March. Numerous factories across China were forced to shut down in late January due to the coronavirus. The impact of the outbreak could hit global supply chains for all products in mid-March, The Harvard Business Review predicted.
Shop Safe Act Targets E-Commerce Counterfeiters
March 4, 2020
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation that aims to protect online shoppers from purchasing counterfeit goods. The proposed Shop Safe Act would establish trademark liability for companies that sell counterfeits that pose a risk to consumer health and safety. It also would impose requirements online platforms to curb counterfeiting.
Apple to Pay Up to $500M for Throttling iPhones
March 4, 2020
Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it slowed down older iPhones in order to push consumers into buying its later, more expensive models. The devices covered in the agreement are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and iPhone SE models that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.
Tech Industry Occupies Front Line on Coronavirus Battleground
March 3, 2020
The coronavirus known as "COVID-19" is posing global threats that are challenging businesses worldwide, forcing them to put new policies and practices into place to prepare for and communicate with their workforces. One of the most critically impacted sectors is the technology industry. The virus has disrupted global businesses, forcing many tech company workers to cease travel to infected areas.
The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
2020: The Year for Custom CX and Privacy
February 24, 2020
With the introduction of the CCPA this year and GDPR in 2018, the age of data privacy has begun, bringing the opportunity for businesses to harness it to gain competitive advantage. There are both challenges and opportunities for those that aim to deliver superior CX while adhering to data privacy regulations. Data privacy protection concerns are driving new regulations around the world.
AI in the Courts: The Jury Is Out
February 20, 2020
A session on the role of emerging technologies in the courtroom was part of last month's New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City. "Emerging Technologies in Litigation" included a panel of local and federal judges as well as an e-discovery researcher and emerging technology attorney. The group discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the courtroom.
5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Amazon Vendor Negotiations
February 18, 2020
That time of year is upon us once again, and stress levels for Amazon vendors are starting to build. The arrival of spring means renegotiating your vendor terms with Amazon, which seem to grow stricter year-after-year. However, with more than 50 percent of all Amazon sales coming from third-party sellers, the pressure is also on for the other side of the table.
The Drones Are Coming
February 18, 2020
Spurred by everything from environmental concerns to the desire to avoid congested roads, companies are developing, testing, and beginning to implement a wide array of drone delivery systems. A number of practicalities need to be worked out before drone delivery becomes an everyday occurrence -- including regulations and drone technology itself -- but it's likely only a matter of time.
ACLU Blasts Clearview's Facial Recognition Accuracy Claims
February 14, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled criticisms against facial recognition tool developer Clearview for making misleading claims about the accuracy of its product. Clearview apparently has been telling law enforcement agencies that its technology underwent accuracy testing modeled on the ACLU's 2018 test of Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition tool.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Sprint T-Mobile Merger Gets Green Light
February 13, 2020
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers, can go forward with a $25 billion merger. The deal will not close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction, but clearing this latest hurdle moves the two companies one step closer to a merger that has been years in the making.
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
Oops - Google May Have Sent Your Embarrassing Private Video to a Stranger
February 5, 2020
Google misdirected a number of private videos that users of its Google Photos app intended to back up to Google Takeout, sending them instead to strangers' archives. The company emailed affected users to inform them that a technical issue caused the error. Google recommended that affected users back up their content again and delete their previous backup.
Fulfillment Cost-Cutting: Where, When and Why
February 1, 2020
E-commerce companies have seen phenomenal growth, thanks to the ease of starting a business in the digital sphere and to cost-effective processes. However, these firms often struggle with order fulfillment, which is a core aspect of business for online merchants. Customs, duties, shipping expenses, rerouting fulfillments -- these are just a few of the reasons online retailers are losing profits.
Feds Seek Restraining Orders in Robocall Cases
January 30, 2020
The DoJ has filed complaints in two landmark cases calling for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals alleged to have carried hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. "This is the first time the DoJ is taking legal action against anyone for facilitating fraudulent robocalls," said Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
COPRA May Be Coming, and It's Not Too Soon to Prepare
January 28, 2020
All eyes are on the West Coast as California reins in the unfettered collection, use and sale of the personal data consumers share as part of the bargain for "free" online services. For years this bargain has been explained in privacy policies that few people read, because there is not a lot of negotiating in the personal data market. The CCPA gives consumers revolutionary rights.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Could Ads Become Potent Weapons Against Streaming Piracy?
January 24, 2020
Though it no longer grabs many headlines, video piracy remains a major issue for pay-TV services, according to consumer research firm Parks Associates. If just 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers should discontinue paying for services by 2023, the loss in revenue to operators could approach $6 billion, according to the firm's report, "Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks, and Impact."
Grabbing the Cybersecurity and Privacy Problems by the Horns: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 3
January 23, 2020
Cybersecurity and privacy threats aren't confined to the tech world. They've cast their pall on the world in general. Computer viruses, malware and data leaks have become commonplace, personal privacy has become a bad joke, and cyberwar looms like a virtual mushroom cloud. What sometimes gets lost in the gloom are the many ways security professionals have been working to shore up cyberdefenses.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
Uber Tests Plan to Let Drivers Set Their Own Fares
January 22, 2020
Uber has launched a pilot program in California that lets drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento set their own fares for airport rides. Drivers can set a fare multiple on Uber's base, time, and distance rates for UberX and UberXL trips, according to the company. Drivers can increase the fare in 10 percent jumps up to five times Uber's base price.
Canonical Introduces Scalable Android-Based Cloud Platform
January 21, 2020
Canonical is deploying a scalable Android-based operating system for mobile and desktop enterprise applications from the cloud. The company just announced its Anbox Cloud containerized workload platform. Anbox Cloud allows apps to be streamed to any operating system or form factor. Its uses include cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing and mobile device virtualization.
Know Your Enemy: The Difficulty of Defining Deepfakes
January 21, 2020
Facebook recently promised that it would increase efforts to remove so-called "deepfake" videos, including content that included "misleading manipulated media." In addition to fears that deepfakes -- altered videos that appear to be authentic -- could impact the upcoming 2020 general election in the United States, there are growing concerns that they could ruin reputations and impact businesses.
Google CEO Adds His Voice to AI Regulation Debate
January 21, 2020
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, called for government regulation of artificial intelligence technology in a speech at Bruegel, a think tank in Brussels, and in an op-ed. There is no question in Pichai's mind that AI should be regulated, he said. The question is what will be the best approach. Sensible regulation should balance potential harm with potential good.
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What do you consider most worrisome if the Internet should go down during the pandemic?
It would compromise the delivery of critical health information.
It would impair the operations of providers of needed services.
People would not be able to order goods online.
The damage to the global economy would be incalculable.
Many people would not be able to communicate with loved ones and friends.
It would make working from home impossible.
Loss of entertainment options could threaten mental health.
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