John Lister

Wed
16
Dec
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Websites Face Major Fines for 'Illegal Content'

Tech giants such as Facebook could face eye watering fines or even be blocked if they don't do enough to remove "illegal content." The proposals in the United Kingdom highlight the difficultly every government faces in balancing online freedoms and ... responsibilities. The measures, set out in the Online Harms Bill, would affect websites and services around the world. If it becomes law, it raises the question of whether the UK is a significant enough market that websites change their practices worldwide to avoid headaches, similar to the way many US business decided it was better to ... (view more)

Tue
15
Dec
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Google Services Down For An Hour

Multiple Google services were unavailable for almost an hour on Monday. It appears the problem was with the authentication system for user accounts rather than Google's servers themselves being unavailable. The Google search engine was unaffected, ... but that was about the only good news for the company. Affected services included Gmail, Calendar and office tools such as Google Docs. (Source: google.com ) The effect depended on the importance of user accounts. Some tools such as Calendar were completely inaccessible as they are entirely based around an individual account. Gmail Glitches Other ... (view more)

Fri
11
Dec
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Google Tackles COVID Vaccine Scares with 'Info Panel'

Google is adding specially crafted panels at the top of search results related to COVID vaccines. The panel will give information about specific vaccines available in the searcher's country along with details of rollout programs. The aim is to use ... official and credible sources and counter less reliable information including misleading or unfounded claims about the vaccines. Using the panels could overcome the risk that pages with misleading information either game Google's system or "naturally" find their way to the top of the search results list for a particular user. The first panels are ... (view more)

Wed
09
Dec
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Microsoft Updates Update Strategy

Microsoft is rethinking the way it releases new features through Windows Update. New "Feature Experience Packs" will come out separately to the two major updates each year. The idea is to use the packs to release features and updates for tools that ... fall into a gray area where they aren't an integral part of the Windows 10 operating system itself, but aren't really applications in their own right. The packs will be released as and when they are ready. That opens up the possibility that these "unscheduled" updates could also be used for improvements and fixes to Windows itself without having to ... (view more)

Tue
08
Dec
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Feds Snooped IP Addresses Using Website Logs

The Director of National Intelligence has confirmed the government collected visitor information from a US webpage using powers stemming from the PATRIOT Act. It's reawakened political debate about whether search and browsing history should be part ... of these powers. The argument centers on Section 215 of the act which gives the government the authority to collect "tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information." In the past that's been interpreted to include electronic records such as phone logs. ... (view more)

Thu
03
Dec
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Microsoft Rethinks 'Employer Snooping' Feature

Microsoft is rewriting a "Productivity Score" feature that businesses could have used to monitor staff performance. The data will now be only available in aggregated form. The feature is designed for IT and network administrators in businesses that ... use Microsoft 365, the subscription version of what was once known as the Office suite. The idea is that the administrators can get a better idea of which features are being used most, which would show where IT administrators might need to focus support. Individual User Data Revealed The problem was that the feature showed these figures on an ... (view more)

Wed
02
Dec
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Apple Fined $12M Over Water Resistance Claim

Apple has been fined the equivalent of $12 million USD over "aggressive and misleading" claims about the water resistance of iPhones. An Italian regulator said its advertising wasn't clear enough and that a disclaimer tricked clients. The fine of 10 ... million Euros came from Italy's Competition and Market Authority which regulates consumer issues. It took issue with two ways Apple promotes and disclaims the water resistance. (Source: reuters.com ) The first issue was with the way Apple marketed eight iPhone models as being water resistant up to a certain depth (between one and four meters ... (view more)

Mon
30
Nov
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Retirees Biggest Losers to Phone and Cyber Scams

Millennials are much more likely to be scammed out of money online or over the phone than retirees according to FTC figures. However, an elderly victim is likely to lose a much bigger sum. The figures come from analysis of Federal Trade Commission ... (FTC) data by Atlas VPN. They found that in almost every age group, more people have been scammed so far this year than in the same period last year, but the average loss is lower. That could simply be scammers making smaller demands because they know many people have less disposable cash this year. (Source: atlasvpn.com ) Elderly Targeted By Phone ... (view more)

Thu
26
Nov
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Smartphone Addiction Not Habitual, Says Study

Phone "addiction" is caused more by boredom, rather than nagging notifications according to a newly-published study. It also found that the "endless scroll" feature on some apps was most likely to detain users. The study is the work of the London ... School of Economics and Political Science and published in a journal titled "Computers in Human Behavior." (Source: sciencedirect.com ) Researchers wanted to explore the theory that people are constantly looking at their phones in response to notifications and whether pausing, hiding or filtering such notifications might change user ... (view more)

Wed
25
Nov
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Comcast to Impose New Broadband Data Caps Nationwide

Comcast is to impose a 1.2TB monthly data limit on its broadband customers in all locations across the United States. The move affects 12 states that weren't already under the cap. Customers will be able to get unlimited data, but will have to pay a ... fee of $30 a month above their current charges. Those who don't "upgrade" will face an overage charge of $10 for each 50GB they use, with a maximum overage charge of $100. (Source: stopthecap.com ) The company already had the cap in 27 of the 39 states it served. Many of the remaining 12 covered markets where Comcast had competition with Verizon, ... (view more)

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