May 19, 2014 |
The Internet's biggest stories last week - news about the 'Net, that is, not Turkish mine disasters, California wildfires, or the latest lunacy from NBA owner Donald Sterling - unfolded on two continents, thousands of miles apart. But both offered a valuable reminder of something easily forgotten: We're still in the early days of a world-changing technology, and still struggling - often against some mighty interests - to get it right. In Luxembourg, Europe's highest court came down hard on Google over people's rights to have their past misdeeds fade away as they used to, rather than be dredged up forever on search engines at the click of a button.
May 18, 2014 |
Like so much in the communications age, the long-foretold Internet of Things has sneaked up on us. The term Internet of Things (coined by MIT's Kevin Ashton in 1999) denotes a world in which appliances, physical objects, clothing, sensors, and data systems are all wirelessly networked, allowing you to monitor and control them from afar, on the go - and, alas, for them to monitor you. Many people now monitor their houses (temperature, surveillance cameras, crock pot making dinner, fridge, budgie-cage warmer)
May 17, 2014 |
The Federal Communications Commission will take another whack at enacting "open Internet" rules by formally banning Internet providers such as Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. from blocking or slowing Internet traffic. But the issue is fraught - even at this early stage discussed Thursday - with partisan politics and activism. The two Republican commissioners on the FCC opposed new rules as counterproductive and potentially damaging to future investment in the Internet, with one calling the proposal a "regulatory boondoggle.
May 16, 2014 |
Financial innovation was a buzz phrase not so long ago as faith in deregulation helped clear the way for too much risk-taking by large financial companies. The downside of deregulation became clear mostly in hindsight, when we realized how it had fueled a housing bubble and helped crash the economy. Could we also be risking harm from putting too much faith in a deregulated telecommunications sector - in particular, from Washington's failure to set clear standards to keep the Internet from being dominated by a handful of powerful cable and phone companies?
April 27, 2014 |
SIX MEN hailing from Oklahoma to Delaware have been charged in a child exploitation ring that authorities say lured young boys to sexual rendezvous via the Internet. Federal, state and county law enforcement teamed up in Montgomery County yesterday to announce the results of a six-month investigation into the manufacturing of child porn and exploitation of seven local teenage boys. Investigators seized computers, cellphones, CDs, DVDs and VHS cassette tapes of young boys naked or engaged in sex acts from as early as 2003.
April 13, 2014 |
Let's cut to the big question: Should I change all my passwords? Answer: Yes, but not right this moment. Millions of people are asking the italicized question above. Why? Because a terrible thing has been happening to the Web, for two years, without detection, and it affects most people who use it. It's called the Heartbleed Bug. Its discovery was announced Monday, jointly, by folks at Google and those at a Finnish company called Codenomicon. We will explain the name below, but focus for now on the Bug. Many of the major servers and websites on the Internet - meaning "most of the ones you use" - depend on a protocol that protects information.
March 21, 2014
How strange and yet fitting that, as the World Wide Web clicked past the quarter-century mark last week, the technology world fixated on a virtual appearance by expatriate digital-privacy vigilante Edward Snowden - the National Security Agency leaker's face looming like Big Brother from huge screens at the annual Austin, Texas, tech-arts extravaganza South by Southwest. Snowden rightly decried the pervasive government snooping that's driving proposed reforms at the massive spy agency.
March 12, 2014 |
AUSTIN, Texas - The music portion of the South by Southwest conference doesn't begin until Tuesday, but there's no question that the week's biggest rock star has already appeared before the crowd gathered in this capital city. On Monday, Edward Snowden, the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents last year, focusing world attention on the U.S. government's data-surveillance programs, appeared via teleconference from Russia before a packed house of 3,500 at the SXSW Interactive conference.
March 9, 2014 |
A warning to people who post comments online: Anonymous is not forever. A Philadelphia judge has ordered the owners of Philly.com - who also own The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News - to disclose the identity of a person who posted a comment online. The ruling came in a defamation suit filed by John J. Dougherty, the powerful head of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In October 2012, Dougherty sued over a comment posted two months earlier on a Daily News blog that described a public feud involving Dougherty.