Articles

Thu
15
Jul
John Lister's picture

Report: FCC Broadband Definition Too Slow

A government agency says the current US definition of broadband may be too slow. It says the threshold of 25 Mbps likely isn't enough for today's needs, particularly for small businesses. The figure in question is the Federal Communication ... Commission's "benchmark" for broadband speeds. It's important because it's the figure officials use to assess what proportion of the US population has access to broadband and whether the country is meeting targets. The most recent estimate is that 96 percent of the population has broadband access under the current definition. The benchmark also plays a key ... (view more)

Mon
12
Jul
John Lister's picture

Web 'Influencers' Must Label Photoshopped Pics

People paid to promote products in Norway will be legally required to say if they've used photo editing tools. The new law also covers using photo filters. The law has already been passed by legislators but the date it takes effect hasn't yet been ... confirmed. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) The rules will apply to any photo that's posted for promotional purposes. It will also apply to users - sometimes dubbed "influencers" - who are receiving payment or other benefits in return for making the post. Any manipulated image will need to carry a warning label, designed by the government, that tells users it ... (view more)

Thu
08
Jul
John Lister's picture

Nine Rogue Android Apps to Delete Right Now

Nine popular Google Play apps were actually scams to steal Facebook logins according to a security company. Although Google has removed some of them, they may still be on devices. All the apps were promoted as performing a simple task and appear to ... have worked as designed. Although that meant more effort for the developers, the idea was to make users less suspecting that the apps were actually harmful. The affected apps had the following names and functions: App Lock Keep (child safety tool) App Lock Manager (child safety tool) Horoscope Daily (astrology) Horoscope Pi (astrology) Inwell ... (view more)

Wed
07
Jul
John Lister's picture

Social Media 'Deplatforming' Law Struck Down

A federal judge has blocked a Florida law that would have made it illegal for social media sites to suspend or ban politicians from posting. The judge said the law was both discriminatory and a breach of the First Amendment. The controversial law ... was first proposed in February and signed by the state's governor in May. It was scheduled to take effect on July 1st, 2021, but was blocked by US District Judge via a preliminary injunction following a case brought by trade associations including social media companies. The law said social media companies could remove specific posts and suspend ... (view more)

Mon
05
Jul
John Lister's picture

Judge: Facebook Not a Monopoly; Stock Skyrockets

A judge has thrown out two complaints from federal and state government that claimed Facebook broke competition laws. After the ruling, Facebook's market value rose to more than a trillion dollars. The first case was brought by the Federal Trade ... Commission (FTC), which said Facebook not only had a monopoly but had unfairly maintained it. The FTC said the monopoly was in the market of "personal social networking services" and that it's unfair actions included using technology to block interoperability between Facebook and other services. (Source: courtlistener.com ) Instagram Buyout Questioned ... (view more)

Fri
02
Jul
John Lister's picture

Google To Warn Of Unreliable Results

Google is to warn users when results for a search might not provide reliable information. It's designed mainly for breaking news stories. The warning will be an update feature for the existing "About this result" tool that Google has been testing ... publicly since February. The tool means results on mobile devices now have a menu option that brings up a pop-window that describes the source, with the description taken from Wikipedia. The idea is to give users a quick insight into sources they don't recognize and help them decide how authoritative or otherwise they may be. Warning Message Issued ... (view more)

Wed
30
Jun
John Lister's picture

Windows 11 Compatibility Test Confuses Users

A surprise requirement for Windows 11 has left many users fearing their computer may not be compatible with the new system. The need for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) has led to a price spike for the component, though there's no real need to panic ... or pay over the odds right now. The requirement came to light when Microsoft published a downloadable PC Health Check tool that told users whether their PC met all the hardware requirements for running Windows 11, which is due for release later this year. That led to a lot of confusion with users seeing the answer was "No," but the tool not saying ... (view more)

Mon
28
Jun
Dennis Faas's picture

Being Blackmailed for Money on Facebook? Here's What to Do

Infopackets Reader Peter T. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a friend who recently met someone on Facebook. For sake of argument I'll refer to my friend as Bob and his romantic interest as Tina. Bob says he received a friend request from Tina two days ... ago and after only 10 minutes of text messaging, things started getting hot and heavy. Tina then asked Bob to go into a video chat; as soon as he entered, Tina was already naked and playing with herself. During the chat, she stopped to message him a few times, though never spoke any words. Each time, she asked Bob to reciprocate by showing his ... (view more)

Fri
25
Jun
John Lister's picture

US Seizes 30+ 'Terrorist' Iranian News Sites

The US government has seized control of domain names for more than 30 Iranian news sites it accuses of spreading misinformation. The sites themselves are still online but are now much harder to reach. The sites were mostly used by the Iranian ... Islamic Radio and Television Union, which the US Department of Justice says is working on behalf of a Iranian military group the US had formally designated a foreign terrorist organization. It said the sites were posing as news organizations but had actually "targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations." ( ... (view more)

Thu
24
Jun
John Lister's picture

Key To Viral Posts: Naming Political Opponents

Social media users are more likely to share posts that criticize political opponents by name than those which praise people and ideas they support according to newly-published research. The pattern was consistent across different sites and people ... with different views. Researchers at the University of Cambridge were exploring what makes some posts on Facebook and Twitter more likely to be shared. Previous research had suggested the main driver was the tone of the language, with negative emotions such as anger, or a "sense of moral indignation" the most likely to lead to a post being widely ... (view more)

Wed
23
Jun
John Lister's picture

Windows 11 Moves Start Menu, Leaked Online

What looks very much to be "Windows 11" has leaked online. Most of the changes appear to be cosmetic, though it should boost performance on some PCs. While nothing is yet confirmed, we've effectively moved from "Windows 11 is coming" being an ... interesting rumor to something that seems likely, unless and until Microsoft denies it. Not only has what appears to be a copy of the new system (displaying the Windows 11 name on screen) leaked online, but Microsoft has issued a legal takedown notice to Google demanding it stop including the leak download page in its search results. The notice very much ... (view more)

Tue
22
Jun
John Lister's picture

Court To Examine Online Ad Privacy

One of the key ways online advertising works has led to a court case alleging a breach of Internet users' privacy. A civil liberties group is taking legal action saying current regulations are too slow to have any effect. The Irish Council for Civil ... Liberties (ICCL) says IAB Tech Lab, which operates one of the world's main ad set-ups, is sharing revealing data about online activities without user consent. IAB is based in New York, though the legal case is against its branch in Hamburg, Germany to benefit from tighter rules in Europe. (Source: reuters.com ) Real Time Bidding Relies On Data The ... (view more)

Mon
21
Jun
John Lister's picture

Gov't Proposes Curbing the Reach of Big Tech

The House of Representatives will examine five different proposals for curbing the power of big tech companies. The bills take very different approaches to the task, though it's unclear if any but the least dramatic has a shot at becoming law. There ... could be a couple of reasons why lawmakers have thrown out so many ideas. One is simply a numbers game with the hope that more attempts means more chance of something becoming law. Another is to present some more drastic measures that get rejected in the hope that the "weaker" bills then look more reasonable and balanced. The five bills, as ... (view more)

Tue
15
Jun
John Lister's picture

Microsoft to 'Retire' Windows 10

Microsoft has dropped another strong hint that Windows 10 will be getting a sequel. It's now added an end date for the system. Rumors started getting louder last week that Windows 11 is on the cards. Those came partly from a Microsoft graphic that ... many took to be a not-so-hidden reference to 11 and partly from the wording some Microsoft executives used when promoting an upcoming media event. Now Microsoft has updated its support timetable documents to list Windows 10 Home and Pro as having a "retirement date" of 14 October 2025. That's the first time Microsoft has listed a date for Windows 10 ... (view more)

Fri
11
Jun
John Lister's picture

TikTok Ban Unites Senators

A bill to boost US technology has received rare bipartisan support in the Senate. The proposed law includes measures on drones, computer chips and video app TikTok. While the "Endless Frontier Act" includes many measures targeted at the US, it also ... includes several that directly target China. They are intended to address fears not just of tech competition but also security threats. The bill passed the Senate by 68 votes to 32. President Biden has indicated he would back the bill, though it's not yet certain it will pass the House of Representatives in its current form. Some critics who are on ... (view more)

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