Home / Tag Archives: lifestyle (page 152)

Tag Archives: lifestyle

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Khan Academy, and others sign pledge to protect K-12 student privacy (Hayley Tsukayama/Washington Post)

By Hayley Tsukayama January 20 at 5:27 PM Google has signed on to a pledge promising not to sell ads on its products designed for schools. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) Fifteen more companies, including Google and the YouTube-based educational organization Khan Academy,  have signed on to a pledge to protect student privacy . The pledge was highlighted in a speech by President Obama last week, in which he also said he will introduce legislation to protect data collected in the classroom. The two companies, both major players in education technology, are among second wave of 15 that signed on to the pledge Monday; 75 signed the agreement last week.  The document   holds companies to several data privacy tenets, including promises  not to sell student information or to use behaviorally targeted advertising on education products. It also promises to make it easy for parents to see their students' data and to be transparent about how those data are collected and used. Major education technology firms including Apple, Microsoft and  textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt were among those that signed on ahead of the president's speech. The move was hailed by privacy advocates, but  many commented on the fact that Google and Amazon were conspicuously absent from the list. Obama encouraged all firms to join the pledge --   a project of the Future of Privacy Forum and  The Software & Information Industry Association --  and said the government will "make sure" parents knew which companies had not signed. In the same speech, the president said he would put forth a legislative proposal to ensure information collected through the classroom is only used for educational purposes. Google already had some of those policies in place after facing criticism last year for providing advertisements on its "Apps for Education" products. In a blog post last April, the company said it would remove the option to enable ads on those services altogether. Google also said that it would no longer be able to collect or use student data for advertising purposes.

Read More »

White House breaks own State of the Union embargo for online audience (Alan Yuhas/Guardian)

Diana Meza-Ehlert watches as Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address with her family in San Diego. Photograph: Gregory Bull/AP The White House posted the entire text of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address on the internet on Tuesday, breaking its own media embargo in an unprecedented decision that put the entire speech online before the president even began. The Obama administration used the website Medium to publish a copy of the text, climaxing weeks of media previews and a growing use of social media by the White House that circumvents reporters and the filter of the press. Aides and staffers as prominent as senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer have led the online charge, using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, gifs and videos to go directly to a more internet-savvy audience, targeting young people in particular. For weeks, the White House has previewed the proposals and key points of the president’s speech online. On 8 January the White House pre-empted the president’s education speech scheduled for the next day by posting a video , shot on Air Force One and published on the White House site and on YouTube, airing Obama’s new plan to provide free education at community colleges for eligible students. A day earlier, Pfeiffer explained this strategy in an op-ed, also on Medium , calling the previews “SOTU Spoilers”. Pfeiffer also wrote about primary points of Obama’s speech, including the emphasis on an increasingly robust economy and decreasing unemployment. Senior administration officials – and even Obama himself – also previewed some details of a new plan to increase taxes on the super wealthy in order to pay for middle-class tax cuts. With its Twitter and Facebook accounts, the Obama administration has used hashtags not so much to preview points as make them explicit. The sallies to cross the trending threshold include: #BetterBroadband for increased internet access; #CyberSecurity for a push to overhaul the way companies and US security agencies share information; and #FamiliesSucceed for increased paid-sick leave, especially for parents.

Read More »

The Verge accidentally posts 30-second spot it will run during Super Bowl XLIX (Richard Horgan/FishbowlNY)

For the briefest of moments today, a few lucky folks caught a premature glimpse of something major: The Verge’s 30-second Super Bowl XLIX ad. The page was quickly taken down , but not before we here at FishbowlNY read the “DNP” headline, the “TKTK” placeholder text and enjoyed the embedded video. The Verge TV ad is *almost* as impressive as the idea that parent Vox Media can afford the very large outlay required for a 30-second Super Bowl XLIX spot. The ad (we’ve confirmed it will air during the February 1 telecast) is all about how Smartphones are changing everything. ‘It’s changing how we live… and even, how we die…’ the male narrator intones. ‘This is the future. And it belongs, to you.’ A few Twitter users thought perhaps The Verge had posted the “DNP” page on viral purpose. But as the quick removal confirms, the bylined item by site EIC Nilay Patel was not meant to see the light of January 20, noontime day.

Read More »

"Be My Eyes" iPhone App Helps Blind People "See" & Everything About It Is … – Bustle

Bustle "Be My Eyes" iPhone App Helps Blind People "See" & Everything About It Is ... Bustle Currently available on iOS, Wiberg told Mashable an Android app is also in the works. It officially launched on Thursday, and according to TechCrunch, the servers were “overwhelmed,” with at least 13,000 sighted volunteers signing up and at least 2,000 ... If you're blind, this app makes strangers your eyes Citifmonline all 61 news articles »

Read More »

NSA academic advisory panel says there’s no potent alternative to bulk data collection for identifying new intelligence targets (Spencer…

A sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, the centre of the US’s huge electronic surveillance operation. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP No “technological magic” can reconcile the security objectives and privacy concerns sparked by the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of communications data, an academic advisory panel reported on Thursday. Convened by the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, in response to a request from President Barack Obama, the panel did not specifically endorse any bulk collection conducted by the NSA on Americans’ phone records and international communications and foreigners’ emails, phone calls and internet searches. Instead, the panel, heavy on computer science experts under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences, rejected the idea that technology can resolve what 18 months’ worth of policy debate over surveillance, sparked by the intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, have not. Examining a range of technical alternatives to bulk data collection, the panel concluded that none can fully replicate its primary potential investigative value: identifying new intelligence targets in the future from a massive pool of previously collected information. “A choice to eliminate all forms of bulk collection would have its costs in intelligence capabilities,” the panel concluded, though it neither cited real-world cases nor assessed the efficacy of bulk surveillance in practice. But the panel suggested that narrowing the parameters of what intelligence agencies seek to investigate would reduce the utility of bulk data for cases in which old information is unimportant. It likened bulk data collection to “telephone directories”, providing intelligence analysts with reference material for additional investigation, not necessarily usable threat information. “It is the context of the investigation, rather than the technique for using collected metadata, that most influences the value of bulk collection,” the panel found. Shunting away policy and legal questions but mindful of the unresolved privacy debate, the panel looked favorably on additional and automated safeguards on the use of collected data by intelligence analysts. However, judges on the secret surveillance court overseeing the NSA have found the agency to have misrepresented how its automated querying functions actually operate

Read More »

Elon Musk planning low-orbit Internet satellite system to compete with OneWeb, based out of SpaceX’s new Seattle office (Ashlee Vance/Businessweek)

Because he doesn't have enough going on, Elon Musk—he of Tesla Motors , SpaceX, SolarCity , and the Hyperloop— is launching another project. Musk wants to build a second Internet in space and one day use it to connect people on Mars to the Web. Musk is tonight hosting a SpaceX event in Seattle, where the company is opening a new office. The talk will mostly be about SpaceX’s plans for hiring aerospace and software engineers in the Pacific Northwest to boost the company’s rocket-building efforts. But he'll also use the talk to announce his newest idea, which would launch a vast network of communication satellites to orbit earth. The network would do two things: speed up the general flow of data on the Internet and deliver high-speed, low-cost Internet services to the three billion-plus people who still have poor access to the Web. “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date,” Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek ahead of the announcement. The Space Internet venture, to which Musk hasn’t yet given a name, would be hugely ambitious. Hundreds of satellites would orbit about 750 miles above earth, much closer than traditional communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit at altitudes of up to 22,000 miles. The lower satellites would make for a speedier Internet service, with less distance for electromagnetic signals to travel. The lag in current satellite systems makes applications such as Skype, online gaming, and other cloud-based services tough to use. Musk’s service would, in theory, rival fiber optic cables on land while also making the Internet available to remote and poor regions that don’t have access. “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”  In Musk’s vision, Internet data packets going from, say, Los Angeles to Johannesburg would no longer have to go through dozens of routers and terrestrial networks. Instead, the packets would go to space, bouncing from satellite to satellite until they reach the one nearest their destination, then return to an antenna on earth. “The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber,” Musk says.

Read More »

United for Patent Reform launches, a "super-coalition" against patent trolls brings together some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley…

By Brian Fung January 15 at 12:01 AM What do department stores and restaurants have in common with search engines and social networks? For many, it's that they're all getting sued by patent trolls, companies that accuse other businesses of patent infringement in hopes of winning settlement money. Patent trolls are largely perceived as a problem for the tech industry — but the damage done by patent trolls is increasingly spilling over into other sectors, too. And now those industries are joining tech firms in a massive renewed push for patent reform legislation. On Thursday, advocates for congressional action will debut a massive lobbying coalition drawing together some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, such as Google, Facebook and Adobe — but also relative newcomers to the patent debate, including Macy's, JCPenney and the National Association of Realtors. Others in the coalition, known as United for Patent Reform, will include the restaurant lobby, the hotel industry and telecom companies such as Verizon. Altogether, the group will begin with 20 founding members. "This is really a super-coalition," said Beth Provenzano, vice president of government relations for the National Retail Federation and a co-chair of the new group. "It's really big. It's an attempt to get the pro-reform side really working closely together." The announcement comes as Congress is expected to take up patent legislation anew after it unexpectedly stalled last year. The new coalition, which Provenzano said could wind up involving "hundreds" of members, kicks off a wider lobbying effort that will include an advertising blitz, events in lawmakers' home districts and meetings with them on Capitol Hill. It's easy to think of patent trolls as a tech-sector problem. Online shopping carts, podcasting, the scanning of documents to e-mail — all have been subject to frivolous lawsuits at one time or another because patent trolls saw an opportunity to make money

Read More »