Leaked document reveals Google’s ‘Pony Express’ plans

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, March 25.

Google has a project in the works to let Gmail users not only receive bills but pay them from within the mail service, re/code reports. Microsoft brought out an integrated set of Azure-based services on Tuesday that are meant to ease the process of developing applications that run in the cloud. In the trial, servers that deliver cloud computing services will simultaneously throw off enough heat to potentially save each household €400 on their annual heating bill. Cloud company Nerdalize pays for the electricity, but because it doesn’t have to deal with the space and cooling costs of a data center, it can sell its services for 30 to 55 percent less than more conventional cloud-providers. The Federal Trade Commission is creating an Office of Technology Research and Investigation to keep an eye on the growing privacy and security implications of technology, in particular connected cars, smart homes, new payment methods, big data and the Internet of Things.

And it’s also, hearteningly, targeting what it calls “algorithmic transparency,” so tech companies that shrug, disclaim responsibility and say “it’s all in the algorithm” are on notice that the watchdog may ask to take a closer look into their black boxes. A coalition of tech heavyweights including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are pressing for speedier reform of the National Security Agency’s practice of bulk collection of phone records, The Washington Post reports.

In a letter going to the White House on Wednesday, the companies are demanding greater transparency and want the records to stay with telecommunications companies, a provision of reform legislation that stalled in the Senate last year. Almost half of all Android devices are vulnerable to an attack that could replace a legitimate app with malicious software that can collect sensitive data from a phone.

While Google, Samsung and Amazon have released patches for their devices, 49.5 percent of Android users remain vulnerable to a malicious application installed using the vulnerability, which would have full access to a device, including data such as usernames and passwords. The Wall Street Journal says that in her five years as finance chief at the investment bank, she strengthened its position; the New York Times calls the hire “one of the most visible examples yet of the talent that has been flowing from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.” The Federal Aviation Administration has loosened restrictions on commercial drone flight: Companies no longer have to obtain airspace clearance for flying approved drones. However, that applies only to about 50 companies that have been granted an exemption from current FAA regulations banning commercial operation of drones. The new policy lets those companies conduct drone flights as long as the drones weigh less than 55 pounds, don’t go higher than 200 feet, fly during daytime and stay within line of sight of operators. Hewlett-Packard, which relied on Beats for audio technology before the company was acquired by Apple, has found a new partner in sound: Bang & Olufsen.

Ars Technica got hold of the Oakland Police Department’s entire license plate reader database—and found that a lot of information, about a lot of people, can be inferred from the automatically collected data.

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