John Lister

Thu
12
Jan
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Online Tracking Ads May Get Overhaul

Major changes to privacy laws in Europe could affect the way websites deliver advertising. The move is meant to protect user privacy, but critics claim it could make ads more annoying and intrusive. The proposed changes would affect websites used by ... people in European Union countries, but the regulatory impact could be so severe that sites find it easier to change their policies worldwide. According to European officials, the changes are designed to take existing rules that affect telecommunications companies and apply them equally to Internet companies. The main principle of the change is ... (view more)

Wed
11
Jan
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Bad News for 'Unlimited Data' Mobile Users

Mobile users on "unlimited" data plans got a double dose of bad news this week. Verizon will be kicking the heaviest data users off the plan, while AT&T's remaining unlimited users face a price hike. Cellphone service providers have largely ... moved away from offering truly unlimited data plans over the past few years. That's partly because of a big increase in how much data mobile customers use, particularly as faster speeds made streaming video more practical. While new unlimited deals are almost non-existent, most providers have continued to allow people to keep existing ... (view more)

Tue
10
Jan
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More Windows 10 Changes Unveiled

Microsoft has started public testing on the next major update for Windows 10. Many of the new features are for the Edge browser, but tweaks to security and usability are also on the way. The changes are now available to members of the Windows ... Insider program that allows users to act as guinea pigs and try out new features and fixes, albeit with the risk that not everything will always work perfectly. It appears the new features will be rolled out to the general in the spring as part of a major update. Initially it appeared that update, codenamed "Creators Update" or "Creative ... (view more)

Thu
05
Jan
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CES 2017 Brings Smart Hairbrush and Listening Fridge

It's the week of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and this year smart home gadgets seem to be attracting attention - rather than the latest TV technology. Everything from fridges to hairbrushes is getting some form of upgrade ... from gadget makers. One big story is the attempts by firms such as Google and Amazon to get their voice-operated "virtual assistants" connected to home devices. While gadgets such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo already control of some more common smart tech such as automated lighting and thermostats, several manufacturers showed ... (view more)

Wed
04
Jan
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Fatal Car Crash Provokes iPhone FaceTime Lawsuit

Apple is being sued after a fatal crash in which a driver was using the FaceTime video chat tool. The parents of the child who died are putting forward an unusual legal argument. Normally lawsuits relating to technology involve a product or service ... a company has made. In this case, Apple is under fire because of a feature it didn't develop. 5-year-old Moriah Modisette died when her parents car slowed and stopped as a result of a highway patrol stop 1,500 feet away. The driver of the car behind failed to stop and crashed into the rear of the Modisette car. The lawsuit says police ... (view more)

Tue
03
Jan
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Lost Wallet? Device Tracker Uses 'Crowd GPS', Smartphone

A $30 tracking device could make it easier to find lost wallets or other items, but there's a big catch. While the "TrackR" range works fine around the house, if you lose your wallet while away from home, you may be reliant on other people having ... subscribed to the service. The range is billed as being the smallest tracking devices on the market. It comes in two models: the $30 TrackrR wallet 2.0, which is a two millimeter thick credit card-sized device for putting into a wallet, and the $25 TrackR Pixel, which is a similar size to a quarter coin but a little thicker, designed ... (view more)

Thu
29
Dec
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Amazon Gadget could be Murder Case Key

Amazon has refused to give police access to data from a home gadget that may have recorded audio relevant to a murder investigation. The company says its policy is to only provide customer information if and when it gets a valid court order. The ... request by Arkansas police is for information that may have been recorded by an Amazon Echo. That's a gadget that combines a wireless speaker with voice recognition and an Internet connection. It lets users give voice commands for actions such as selecting music to play, carrying out voice searches of the Internet and controlling smart devices ... (view more)

Wed
28
Dec
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Google Accused of Silencing Whistle-Blowers

A Google employee is suing the company, claiming it imposed unlawful confidentiality agreements. The plaintiff says staff are banned from speaking out even about illegal activities. The lawsuit has been filed anonymously and is thus in the name of ... John Doe. It alleges violations of the Private Attorney Generals Act, which is a technical measure that lets private citizens bring claims against a company for breaching labor laws. "Doe" claims that although he remains at the company, Google falsely told other Google workers that he had been fired for leaking information to the press. ... (view more)

Tue
27
Dec
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Tesla Autopilot No Longer Breaks Speed Limit

Tesla's automatic car steering tool will now restrict the car to the local speed limit on most roads. Users had previously been able to set the system to run up to five miles over the limit. The changes are to a feature which has the full title of ... Autopilot Traffic-Aware Cruise Control. It not only controls the car's speed as with normal cruise control, but automatically adjusts to keep a safe distance from surrounding vehicles and steers the car to keep in the lane. (Source: electrek.co ) Freeways an Exception to No-Speeding Policy Once the latest update takes effect, the feature ... (view more)

Fri
23
Dec
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Holocaust Denial Site Tops Google Rankings

Google has tweaked its search algorithm after discovering holocaust denial sites were topping the results for some queries. The incident may have highlighted a difference in the way Google and other search engines rank pages. The issue came to light ... when a newspaper reporter experimented with searches for the phrase "did the Holocaust happen" and discovered that the top result returned by Google was a site specifically dedicated to denying the Holocaust. Other journalists checked up potentially controversial queries and found unsettling top results, such as a search for "are ... (view more)

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