The US Federal Trade Commission has found that Vizio’s smart TV technology had captured data on what was being viewed on screen and transmitted it to the firm’s servers. The data was then being sold to third parties. The FTC said the data collection began in February 2014 and affected around 11 million televisions. Vizio has said the data could not be matched up to individuals. The FTC verified this by saying that Vizio ‘never paired viewing data with personally identifiable information such as name or contact information’.
The practices challenged by the government related only to the use of viewing data in the ‘aggregate’ to create summary reports measuring viewing audiences or behaviours.
FTC explained in a statement that the settlement stopped Vizio’s unauthorised tracking, and makes clear that smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information. The company has been ordered to delete the data it collected.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (7th February 17)
127 US technology firms have signed a brief opposing President Trump’s immigration ban. The legal document states that the ban ‘inflicts significant harm’ on their businesses.
The amicus brief allows parties to not directly involved in a case but who feel affected by it, to give a view. It was filed in Washington on Sunday and also includes Apple, Facebook and Microsoft as signatories.
Trump’s executive order halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended permission to enter the Us for all nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. There is currently a nationwide temporary restraining order in place, which was issued on Friday by a federal judge in Washington.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (7th February 17)
Microsoft has announced that users will have to update to the new version of Skype for desktop in order to continue using the program beyond February.
From the 1st March, people will no longer be able to log in to version 7.16 (and older builds) of Skype for Windows desktop, or version 7.18 (and older) of Skype for Mac. The update was only announced on the 3rd February.
In a blog post, Microsoft wrote, ‘At Skype, we’re committed to creating the best possible app experience for our users. This is why we’ve been focusing our efforts on transitioning Skype from peer-to-peer to a modern, mobile-friendly cloud architecture.’
www.independent.co.uk/technews (7th February 17)
Amrik Bhabra, ADECS Chief Executive, was fortunate to be invited to a Flagship Community Engagement Event in Leicester last week. The invitation came from Major General Stanford to showcase the multi faith engagement activities across the communities. It soon became apparent that the strict security measures that were in place, were because the event was to be attended by His Royal Highness Prince Charles as well as a number of civic dignitaries.
Amrik was delighted to be able to attend and enjoyed the opportunity of meeting with senior officers over lunch and network with people from across the UK. The event was organised and looked after by various senior members of the army – who offered a rare insight to the variety of work they are involved in. Amrik not only had some fascinating conversations with various army representatives and other guests, but was also lucky enough to have a brief chat with Prince Charles too.
The Band of the Gurkhas provided a musical backdrop to the proceedings.
30th January 17
Masaya Nakamura, the founder of video game company Bandai Namco – which released cult game Pac-Man, has died at the age of 91. Mr Nakamura established Nakamura Manufacturing, which went on to become the Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (Namco) in 1956. He started out installing two electric horses on the roof of a department store in Japan as amusement rides.
Pac-Man was released in 1980. The game was developed by Toru Iwatani and in 2016 was named the highest grossing arcade game of all time by US Garner. Masaya was known as the ‘father’ of Pac-Man due to the game being released by Namco.
Mr Nakamura was an honorary advisor at Bandai Namco until his death last week. In 2007 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, a Japanese government honour, and was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (30th January 17)
The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has said in a report that children did not know how to deal with common problems they found online.
The report, Growing Up Digital, said that children were being left to learn about the internet on their own, with parents vainly hoping that they will benefit from its opportunities while avoiding its pitfalls. Ms Longfield said, ‘The internet is an incredible force for good, but it is wholly irresponsible to let them roam in a world for which they are ill-prepared, which is subject to limited regulation and which is controlled by a small number of powerful organisations.’ She called for new laws to protect children’s online privacy and data. Her report recommended that:
- Children should study ‘digital citizenship’ to learn about their rights and responsibilities online, so they are prepared for online activities
- Social media companies should rewrite their ‘impenetrable’ terms and conditions in far simpler language so children know what they are agreeing to
- Ministers should create a ‘digital ombudsman’ to mediate for children seeking the removal of content
Ms Longfield said that it was critical that children were educated better so that they could enjoy the opportunities provided by the internet whilst minimising the well known risks.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (5th January 2017)