computing

Russia starts blocking Telegram for failing to turn over encryption keys

The Russian state telecommunication regulator has began blocking Telegram as expected. This comes after the messaging company refused to give Russian security services encryption keys. The service is expected to be blocked within the coming hours. According to several reports Telegram is still operational in the country though several service providers have started blocking the company’s website. Ran by its Russian founder Pavel Durov, Telegram has over 200 million users and is a top-ten messaging service made popular by its strong stance on privacy. Telegram is recognized as an operator of information dissemination in Russia and therefore the company is required by Russian to provide keys to its encryption service to the Federal Security Service. This is so the FSS can reportedly read the...

Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Jamie Metzl Contributor Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council. More posts by this contributor Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement Eleonore Pauwels Contributor Eleonore Pauwels is Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center, an international science policy expert specializing in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, and a former official of the European Commission’s Directorate on Science, Economy and Society. Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal ...

How Facebook gives an asymmetric advantage to negative messaging

Andrew Keen Contributor Andrew Keen is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo and The Internet Is Not The Answer. He produces Futurecast, and is the host of Keen On. More posts by this contributor Facebook co-founder says its rise reveals the fault lines destroying the “American Dream” 2018 might be Amazon’s year to take a leading role in online advertising [embedded content] Few Facebook critics are as credible as Roger McNamee, the managing partner at Elevation Partners. As an early investor in Facebook, McNamee was only only a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg but also introduce him to Sheryl Sandberg. So it’s hard to underestimate the significance of McNamee’s increasingly public criticism of Facebook over the last couple of years, particularly in the light of the grow...

What Apple’s education announcements mean for accessibility

Steven Aquino Contributor Steven Aquino is a freelance tech writer and iOS accessibility expert. More posts by this contributor At this month’s WWDC, Apple unveiled refined accessibility tools The pleasure and the pain of the accessible smart home From an accessibility news standpoint, this week’s Apple event in Chicago was antithetical to the October 2016 event. At the latter event, Apple began the presentation with a bang — showing the actual video being edited using Switch Control in Final Cut. Tim Cook came out afterwards to talk some about Apple’s commitment to serving the disabled community before unveiling the then-new accessibility page on the company’s website. [embedded content] By contrast, the education-themed event in Chicago this week went by with barely a mention of accessib...

Facebook has suspended the account of the whistleblower who exposed Cambridge Analytica

Tech hath no fury like a multi-billion dollar social media giant scorned. In the latest turn of the developing scandal around how Facebook’s user data wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica — for use in the in development in psychographic profiles that may or may not have played a part in the election victory of Donald Trump — the company has taken the unusual step of suspending the account of the whistleblower who helped expose the issues. In a fantastic profile in The Guardian, Wylie revealed himself to be the architect of the technology that Cambridge Analytica used to develop targeted advertising strategies that arguably helped sway the U.S. presidential election. A self-described gay, Canadian vegan, Wylie eventually became — as he told The Guardian — the developer of “Steve Ban...

Regulators in the UK are also calling for more hearings into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

As more details emerge about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data in the U.S. presidential election, members of Parliament in the UK are joining congressional leadership in the U.S. to call for a deeper investigation and potential regulatory action. The Chair of parliamentary committee investigating “fake news”, the conservative MP Damian Collins, accused both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook of misleading his committee’s investigation in a statement early Sunday morning indicating that both companies would be called in for more questioning. “Alexander Nix denied to the Committee last month that his company had received any data from the Global Science Research company (GSR). From the evidence that has been published by The Guardian and The Observer this weekend, it seems clear that ...

Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, the data analysis firm that worked on the Trump campaign

Over the past few days, Facebook said it received reports (from sources it would not identify) that not all of the data Cambridge Analytica, Kogan, and Wylie collected had been deleted. While Facebook investigates the matter further, the company said it had taken the step to suspend the Cambridge Analytica account as well as the accounts of Kogan and Wylie. Depending on who you ask, UK-based Cambridge Analytica either played a pivotal role in the U.S. presidential election or cooked up an effective marketing myth to spin into future business. Last year, a handful of former Trump aides and Republican consultants dismissed the potency of Cambridge Analytica’s so-called secret sauce as “exaggerated” in a profile by the New York Times. A May 2017 profile in the Guardian that painted the Robert...

Nintendo is bringing Super Smash Bros. to Switch in 2018

This is the best news you’ll hear all day: Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Nintendo Switch this year. Nintendo dropped a new teaser for the game, which is as yet untitled, during its Nintendo Direct webcast on Thursday. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, you are living a sad, unfulfilling existence. Actually, though, you should know about Nintendo’s brawler fighting game series, in which popular characters from Nintendo’s most successful game franchises battle it out in whimsical, platform-filled arenas. [embedded content] We don’t know much about the game yet — the trailer features characters you’d expect to have in the game, like Mario and Link. But we do know it’s coming sometime this year (likely closer to holiday season, if I had to guess). This is exciting now just because...

Tinkerer Jonathan Zufi talks about design and Escape From New York

This week on Technotopia I talked to Jonathan Zufi, creator of the LifeClock One, a replica of the watch worn by Snake Pliskin in Escape From New York. Zufi loves design and his insight on what makes something a timeless classic – even when it comes to computer hardware – is fascinating. Zufi is also the author of Iconic, a book that details Apple products from the earliest days to the latest models. It’s a beautiful book and the photos are amazing. It’s well worth a read if you’re into design, hardware, or Apple. Technotopia is a podcast by John Biggs about a better future. You can subscribe in Stitcher, RSS, or iTunes and listen the MP3 here.

Netflix to have around 700 original movies and shows available in 2018

Netflix’s original content ramp is showing no signs of slowing own – in fact, if anything, it’s speeding up. Netflix CFO David Wells says that the streaming company wants to have somewhere around 700 original shows and movies on the service in 2018, using that previously revealed budget of around $8 billion earmarked for original content. Wells, speaking at Morgan Stanley’s tech, media and telecom event (via Variety) explained that the new shows and movies that Netflix is creating is doing its intended work – adding new subscribers to the platform. Since people continue to sign up on the back of new content, the company’s belief is that it should continue to produce it, through Wells also qualified that it’s still not solely committed to one approach or another when it comes to content acq...

Author Ryan Holiday on “the nature of world-altering success”

It could be said that the first few years of this current tech boom were fueled by mostly harmless, relatively easy products—websites for sharing your photos, for looking up stuff, for connecting with old friends. And the people who made them were seen as mostly good people. Yet this feel-good perception has slowly and then suddenly disappeared. Users have begun to regard once trusted sites with suspicion over issues of privacy. The same reporters who previously lavished unthinking praise on every new startup now search with equal enthusiasm for scandals and mistakes. Those once harmless social networks, now at a scale unprecedented in human history, no longer look so innocent. The acronym we have for what were once upstarts or underdogs—Facebook to Amazon to Netflix to Google—hints at the...

Why investor Jalak Jobanputra is betting big on crypto

When investor and entrepreneur Jalak Jobanputra first visited a blockchain conference five years ago she got goosebumps. The experienced investor had heard of cryptocurrencies but now that they had truly come into maturity she was excited. Now, five years later, she’s building her entire VC practice around blockchain and sees bright days ahead for the technology. Join us Jobanputra, the founder of FuturePerfect Ventures, as we talk about her take on crypto, the future of investment, and the direction she’s headed in terms of investment and startup innovation. Technotopia is a podcast by John Biggs about a better future. You can subscribe in Stitcher, RSS, or iTunes and listen the MP3 here.

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