Tag: Computers and the Internet

Intel Executive: Rein In Data Brokers

Did you know that your personal information is available online to anyone with $10? This isn’t some illegal, dark-web transaction. It’s a service provided by the online data-broker industry, which mines addresses, phone numbers and other personal information, and legally sells that information to anyone who pays. At best, this practice is disturbing. Sometimes, it […]

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A Feisty Google Adversary Tests How Much People Care About Privacy

PAOLI, Pa. — Gabriel Weinberg is taking aim at Google from a small building 20 miles west of Philadelphia that looks like a fake castle. An optometrist has an office downstairs. Mr. Weinberg’s company, DuckDuckGo, has become one of the feistiest adversaries of Google. Started over a decade ago, DuckDuckGo offers a privacy-focused alternative to […]

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Fighting Big Tech Makes for Some Uncomfortable Bedfellows

It was not a given that Steve Hilton, the conservative Fox News host, and Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor who worked in the Obama White House, would get along. But when they met by chance at a cocktail party in Washington last year, they quickly landed on one surprisingly strong point of agreement: […]

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Beware. Other Nations Will Follow France With Their Own Digital Tax.

Last Thursday, the French Senate passed a digital services tax, which would impose an entirely new tax on large multinationals that provide digital services to consumers or users in France. Digital services include everything from providing a platform for selling goods and services online to targeting advertising based on user data, and the tax applies […]

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Don’t Count on Government to Protect Your Privacy

Imagine that Congress proposed a law that made postage free in the United States. Even in the digital age, this would be quite convenient. The only catch? In exchange for free mail, postmasters would be permitted to open your mail and read our letters and bills. The benefit, postmasters would insist, is they would know […]

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Facebook Dodged a Bullet From the F.T.C. It Faces Many More.

LONDON — After Facebook was hit on Friday with a fine of around $5 billion for privacy violations, critics immediately said it escaped largely unscathed: The settlement neither bruised its bottom line nor severely restricted its ability to collect people’s data. Yet even if the Silicon Valley company dodged that bullet, its pain was just […]

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Facial Recognition Tech Is Growing Stronger, Thanks to Your Face

SAN FRANCISCO — Dozens of databases of people’s faces are being compiled without their knowledge by companies and researchers, with many of the images then being shared around the world, in what has become a sprawling ecosystem fueling the spread of facial recognition technology. The databases are pulled together with images from social networks, photo […]

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Fernando Corbató, a Father of Your Computer (and Your Password), Dies at 93

Fernando Corbató, whose work on computer time-sharing in the 1960s helped pave the way for the personal computer, as well as the computer password, died on Friday at a nursing home in Newburyport, Mass. He was 93. His wife, Emily Corbató, said the cause was complications of diabetes. At his death he was a professor […]

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Judge Clears Way for Amazon and Microsoft to Compete for Giant Pentagon Contract

SEATTLE — A federal judge ruled on Friday that Amazon did not unduly influence the shape of one of the largest technology contracts in the Pentagon’s history, setting the stage for the Department of Defense to choose between Amazon and Microsoft for the $10 billion project. Oracle had alleged that Amazon and the Defense Department […]

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Prime Day’s Best Sellers by Year

Each July for the past four summers, Amazon has held a (made-up) retail holiday called Prime Day, offering some of the deepest discounts of the year on all kinds of things. Amazon doesn’t announce Prime Day deals ahead of time, so you can’t exactly plan out your purchases. But based on what we’ve seen over […]

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Hold ’Em or Fold ’Em? This A.I. Bluffs With the Best

In his 14 years on the professional poker circuit, Darren Elias had never faced anyone who played with so little fear. A typical poker player, when dealt two Jacks — one faceup, the other hidden, a hand neither good nor bad — would proceed with caution. But not Mr. Elias’s opponent, who seemed to know […]

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White House Hosts Social Media Summit for Pro-Trump Digital Warriors

WASHINGTON — The day of a planned White House social media summit was off to an energetic start on Thursday, when President Trump blasted out a round of Twitter insults against his enemies, defended the Pledge of Allegiance, called himself “great looking and smart” and announced an afternoon Rose Garden news conference on his administration’s […]

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White House Hosts a Meeting for Pro-Trump Twitter Warriors

WASHINGTON — The day of a planned White House social media summit was off to an energetic start on Thursday, when President Trump blasted out a round of Twitter insults against his enemies, defended the Pledge of Allegiance, called himself “great looking and smart” and announced an afternoon Rose Garden news conference on his administration’s […]

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U.S. Begins Inquiry Into French Digital Services Tax That May End in Tariffs

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it would investigate whether a French plan to impose a tax on big American technology companies amounts to an unfair trade practice that could be punished with retaliatory tariffs, escalating its global trade fight. The investigation, which will be carried out by the United States trade […]

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Alexa Now Gives U.K. Users N.H.S. Medical Advice

LONDON — “Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?” When British users ask Amazon’s voice assistant system for medical advice, it can respond as of Wednesday with the authority of an organization once described as “the closest thing the English have to a religion”: the country’s National Health Service. The collaboration, described by Britain’s Department […]

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Trump’s ‘Social Media Summit’: All the President’s Memes

Trolling on the internet was once a thankless pastime. Make edgy jokes on the right message board, get your sarcastic memes noticed by the right people, and you might score some retweets and Reddit upvotes, but that was about the extent of it. For today’s right-wing trolls, though, there is a bigger prize on the […]

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The Rise and Fall of the Palo Alto Consensus

In the early years after the end of the Cold War, a set of ideas emerged on economic policy that came to be known as the Washington Consensus. From Thailand to Russia, the prescription from international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund was the same: Cut spending and regulation, privatize […]

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You’re Hired. Now Wear This Headset to Learn the Job.

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — When Toby Bouska Jr. started assembling cabs for Kenworth semitrucks last year, he learned the ropes by observing longtime workers at the factory. But it wasn’t exactly engaging, and he didn’t get much practice doing the job himself. “It’s them doing the job, and you just have to watch,” said Mr. Bouska, […]

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Your Inbox Is Spying on You

Call it the Five Stages of Privacy Erosion. Tech Company builds popular product. Product is exposed in the press for doing something shady behind the scenes. Tech Company apologizes/clarifies/signals a fix. Brief phase of collective rejoicing and moving on. It’s revealed (usually by the same people) that Product was never really fixed. That’s the rough […]

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A Year Later, Twitter’s New Banned Speech Policy Adds Little to the Old One

SAN FRANCISCO — Last August, Twitter’s top executives gathered at the company’s headquarters to discuss how to make the site safer for its users. Two attendees proposed banning all speech that could be considered “dehumanizing.” For an example of what they meant, they showed a sample post that featured the words President Trump used to […]

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