Tech News Today 465

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Tech News Today
Episode 465

Tech News Today 465:Moving at the speed of law

IS Comcast violating net neutrality? Microsoft rides with the US Marshals, Android smokes Windows Phone, and more.

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Top Stories

  • FTC Urges Congress to Pass Digital-Privacy Law
  • FTC Calls for “Privacy by Design”
  • FTC stops short of calling for new 'Do Not Track' law
    • FTC issued a 57-page report on privacy
    • calls for “privacy by design,” simplified choices and greater transparency.
    • FTC passed the report 3-1, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissenting for a few reasons, one of which was concern that the FTC is effectively mandating that Internet services will become “opt in” by design, even when that’s impractical or unnecessary.
    • asks Congress to enact a new law that "would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker"
    • Do Not Track: This is probably the furthest along. Browser vendors are now offering do-not-track options for consumers to limit data collection, the Digital Advertising Alliance is committed to respecting them, and standards bodies are working to standardize.
    • Mobile: The FTC wants to make mobile privacy protections “short, effective and accessible to consumers on small screens.”
    • Data Brokers: This is a bigger one. The FTC wants a centralized Web site where data brokers identify themselves and disclose how they collect data. It also supports Congress’s efforts to give consumers access to data about them held by brokers.
    • Comprehensive Tracking: The FTC is concerned about ISPs, operating systems, browsers and social networks comprehensively tracking users’ online activities, but it won’t address this until a public workshop in the second half of this year.
    • Enforcing Self-Regulatory Codes: The FTC said it will help enforce industry-specific codes of conduct.

Discussion Stories

  • Senators Ask Justice Dept. To Determine If Facebook Password Requests Are Illegal
  • Senators want ruling on whether Facebook password requests are illegal
    • Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut announced that they have called for an official probe whether asking for p/w breaches the Stored Communications Act (bans intentional access to digital information without permission) or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (prohibits intentional access to a computer without authorization to gain information)
    • FB spoke out against this last week, saying it's against their TOS, they might go after co.'s that do this, co might be vulnerable to lawsuits about it
    • The American Civil Liberties Union condemned password requests following Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) "shoulder surfing" to screen candidates, they backed down and asked for "voluntary sharing"
    • Forbes called it "the great Facebook employee password nonissue," saying most of the cases reported by news media took place in 2010 or earlier."
    • Legislation being proposed in both Illinois and Maryland to ban employers from asking for this kind of unrestricted access to candidates' accounts. The AP said similar bills have also been introduced in both California and Massachusetts.

News Fuse





"Tom, Sarah, Iyaz and Jason ...

As someone whose job entails building visualisation components for the semantic web, I listened with interest to the apps versus HTML5 discussion of TNT #464. While Tom's comment about the historic swings between open and proprietary technologies rang true, sadly I'm not sure this necessarily applies to HTML5.

Personally I don't see HTML5 is an 'app killer'; rather a first step towards web standards that might one day rival apps. Although touted as the future of app development, HTML5's key components are embryonic, and lack the sophistication of their Android or iOS counterparts. Worse, at its core HTML5 remains a document centric technology, dominated by concepts like paragraphs, margins and flowing text -- the W3C have failed to promote any user interface centric alternative (akin to Mozilla's XUL) that might standardise app-like widgets and layout managers for browsers. Sure, given amply quantities of patience and JavaScript one can work around these omissions; but the more workarounds one employs, the greater the likelihood of browser specific quirks.

Sorry to be a pessimist, but I suspect we must wait for HTML6 to get a toolkit anywhere near current Android or iOS standards. Yes -- given sufficient effort it *is* possible to get 486 era games running within select browsers -- just don't expect an influx of Infinity Blade clones any time soon.  ;)

Simon (Liverpool, UK)"

"Hi all,

Sorry for the second email of the day -- just wanted to draw your attention (if it slipped your notice in the Reddit, as it did mine) towards a petition to get the father of modern computing, Alan Turing, as the replacement for Charles Darwin on future £10 notes in the UK. The next revision of the 'tenner' could be our last chance before coins and notes are retired (ironically due to technology Turing was the grandfather of).

Useful links:

And the petition itself...

Simon (Liverpool, UK)"


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Production Information

  • Edited by: Jason
  • Notes:
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