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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High-Tech

seattlepi.com: Technology News From the Associated Press





 



AP Explains: What is net neutrality and why does it matter?

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:36:32 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — "Net neutrality" regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block. [...] regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies were concerned about what broadband companies could do with their power as the pathway to the internet — blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example. The telecom giant exempted its own video app from cellphone data caps, which would save some consumers money, and said video rivals could pay for the same treatment. Republican lawmakers who opposed the 2015 rules on Wednesday invited Democrats in Congress to work on net neutrality legislation that would take precedence over FCC regulations. In the long run, net-neutrality advocates say undoing these rules makes it harder for the government to crack down on internet providers who act against consumer interests and will harm innovation.



FCC chief lays out attack on 'net neutrality' rules

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:11:19 UT

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said in a Wednesday speech that he wants to ditch the Obama-era rules, hated by telecoms, that prevent broadband and wireless companies from interfering with the sites and apps that consumers use. Pai doesn't have an immediate plan to replace net neutrality, but is seeking input on how to "approach" its core: three hard-and-fast rules that bar broadband providers from steering users toward (or away from) particular internet sites and services. Existing net-neutrality rules mean companies like Comcast and Verizon — which offer their own video services they'd very much like subscribers to use — can't slow down Netflix, can't block YouTube, and can't charge Spotify extra to stream faster than Pandora. Many internet companies have already been running the Washington playbook — lobbying Congress, schmoozing government regulators, and signing letters of protest. Engine, a policy group for startups, called up small internet companies to keep them updated and got more than 800 signatures for a letter that urges the FCC not to dismantle the net neutrality rules. The Internet Association, which speaks for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and Uber, earlier called on Pai to support net neutrality, and Wednesday issued a statement warning that his changes would "result in a worse internet for consumers."



Trump tweets don't help: 1st Twitter revenue drop since IPO

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:51:56 UT

[...] the company still faces stagnant user growth, has never made a profit and even reported a quarterly revenue decline Wednesday, a first since going public. Anything he tweets can serve as fodder for social media, TV news shows and, often, late-night comedy. Excluding stock compensation expenses and other one-time items, the company earned 11 cents per share in the latest quarter, down from 15 cents a year earlier. With its slogan "it's what's happening," Twitter has been trying to corner the market for real-time information, to be a place where people can go to find out what's going on in the world and talk about it with friends and strangers. [...] it's not just politics, but also sports events like the March Madness college basketball tournament or World Cup soccer, not to mention the stuff seemingly made for Twitter, such as the outrage over the dragging of a paying United passenger off a full flight to make room for crew. [...] in the wake of such setbacks, competition is growing. Besides Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is also vying for advertising revenue from Snap Inc., the owner of Snapchat.



Israel says it repelled a wide-ranging cyberattack

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:51:47 UT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel says it has repelled a large cyberattack on government offices and private citizens. The national cyber bureau at the prime minister's office said Wednesday that hackers posed as a "legitimate organization" and targeted "about 120 organizations, government offices, public institutions and private citizens."



Old car, new tricks: Adding safety tech to an older car

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:06:46 UT

For a few hundred dollars, drivers can add new safety technology — like forward collision warning systems or backup cameras — to older cars. Forward collision warning systems, for example, can reduce the risk of a crash by 27 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To get blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning and lane departure warning on a new, 2017 Altima SL, you have to spend $28,570 for the car and add $3,000 in options. For a fraction of that amount — $500 — you could add an aftermarket forward collision system, backup camera and blind spot detection monitors to an older car. A 2015 Nissan Altima SL with blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera and lane departure warning can be found for less than $20,000, for example. Shawn Sinclair, an automotive engineer with Consumer Reports magazine, says forward collision warning is the most important feature to consider if you're thinking about adding tech to your car. Blind spot systems use sensors to monitor the sides of the vehicle and flash an icon to the driver if something is in the way. According to government statistics, roughly 250 people are killed each year in backover accidents, many of them children.



Romania: hundreds of taxis, buses protest against Uber

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:51:42 UT

Minister for Public Consultation and Social Dialogue Gabriel Petrea met with some of the protesters and the two sides signed a protocol where the government pledged to pass the ordinance within 30 days. The Confederation of Licensed Transport Operators says it wants "online technology platforms that provide unauthorized taxi services to be outlawed," to protect licensed carriers.



Twitter reports 1Q loss

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:31:34 UT

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 11 cents per share. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 2 cents per share. The short messaging service posted revenue of $548.3 million in the period, also exceeding Street forecasts.



As Dubai focuses on future, cybersecurity a growing concern

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:58:12 UT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As Dubai races toward a future of self-driving cars and drones filling up its high-rise-studded skyline, cybersecurity is becoming a growing concern in a region replete with examples of cyberattacks. The sheikhdom is hosting a cybersecurity conference this week and at it, a Dubai official involved in protecting the emirate from hacking and other electronic maliciousness offered a rare interview Wednesday describing its efforts. Dubai's government has faced email phishing scams and other small-scale incidents affecting its networks, he said. An Emirati activist named Ahmed Mansoor became famous in August when he worked with security experts to reveal three previously undisclosed weaknesses in Apple's mobile operating system that then allowed hackers to take complete control of iPhones. Mansoor was arrested by UAE authorities in March for his online posts and while his case wasn't mentioned Wednesday, at least one speaker at the cybersecurity conference touched on government accountability.



Thai woman has no anger toward Facebook after girl's killing

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:55:06 UT

PHUKET, Thailand (AP) — The wife of a Thai man who hanged their 11-month-old daughter on Facebook Live said Wednesday her husband is the only person to blame and she bears no anger toward the social media site or the users who shared the horrific video. Facebook has been seeking ways to block videos as quickly as possible after a series of gruesome images, including murder and sexual assault, were livestreamed or posted. In Thailand, the potential for problems with Facebook Live became an issue last May when local media used the platform to broadcast live video of a university lecturer who was locked in a six-hour standoff with police who were seeking him in the shooting deaths of two colleagues.



UAE's first solar-powered gas station opens in Dubai

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:47:58 UT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A government oil company in the United Arab Emirates says it has opened the country's first solar-powered gas station in Dubai.



Security firm: Cyberattacks against Saudi Arabia continue

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:19:11 UT

Speaking ahead of the blog post 's publication Wednesday, McAfee chief scientists Raj Samani said the latest intrusions were very similar, albeit even worse, to the malicious software that wrecked computers at Saudi Arabia's state-run oil company in 2012. McAfee also said that some of the code appears to have been borrowed by a previously known hacking group, Rocket Kitten , and used digital infrastructure also employed in a cyberespionage campaign dubbed OilRig . Saudi officials and news media have given little detail about the intrusions beyond saying that more than a dozen government agencies and companies were affected, and a government adviser did not immediately return a message seeking comment.



China launches 1st domestically-made aircraft carrier

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:39:09 UT

BEIJING (AP) — China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own, in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries and determination to safeguard its maritime territorial claims and crucial trade routes. Vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission and Communist Party Central Committee member Fan Changlong presided over the launch, which came just three days after the anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy's symbolic founding in 1949. Along with their role in protecting China's maritime interests, Chinese naval strategists see the carrier program as "about having naval power commensurate with China's international status, to impress both external and domestic audiences," said Michael Chase, an expert on the Chinese military at U.S. think tank the RAND Corporation. India, along with Japan and Taiwan which also view Chinese carriers as threats, will likely respond by building new submarines and anti-ship missiles, said Ian Easton, a research Fellow at The Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia. According to Chinese reports, the new, as yet unnamed, carrier will carry 24 Shenyang J-15 fighters, based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, along with 12 helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning and rescue operations.



Thai husband kills baby, self on Facebook Live

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 02:17:54 UT

Police Col. Jirasak Siemsak said officers found the bodies of 20-year-old Wuttisan Wongtalay and the baby in an abandoned hotel in Phuket province after receiving reports of the video. A series of other offensive broadcasts, including sexual assaults, has caused Facebook to seek ways to block such videos as quickly as possible. In Thailand, the potential for problems with Facebook Live became an issue last May when local media used the platform to broadcast live video of a university lecturer who was locked in a six-hour standoff with police who were seeking him in the shooting deaths of two colleagues.



AT&T sheds more lucrative wireless customers in 1Q

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:49:54 UT

Most people already have a cellphone, and the four major wireless carriers have launched the unlimited plans and other features in a bid to poach customers from their rivals. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 and is in the process of buying Time Warner, home to the CNN, TBS and HBO networks and a movie studio, to help it expand beyond its traditional business lines. More mergers are expected in the wireless industry, with the Trump administration thought to view them more favorably than regulators during the Obama administration. The Dallas-based telecoms and entertainment giant unlinked its unlimited plan from a DirecTV subscription in February, a few days after Verizon announced its plan. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that the company's response to the return of unlimited plans "was probably a little slow," but that the company's network capacity positioned it well to offer the popular plans.



Hello? Justice Stephen Breyer's cellphone rings in court

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:43:06 UT

Cellphones and other electronic devices are strictly forbidden in the ornate courtroom — a rule that includes observers and lawyers arguing before the court, but apparently not the justices themselves. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg later called the incident an "oversight" and said Breyer doesn't usually take his phone into the courtroom.