How Would Our Ministries, Agencies Fare in a Software Audit?

first_imgIf someone was to ask how much the Government of Liberia (GoL) or Liberian businesses spend on proprietary and commercial software, I am not sure you would get a straight answer. This is just my opinion, of course. But, if a software audit was done today at our ministries, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), businesses, and other organizations, how would they fare? In today’s article, I briefly discuss software audit and its impact on our society.Before I proceed, let clarify the misunderstanding that a few IT professionals have about a software audit. Software audit is different from Information Technology (IT) audit. A software audit or software licensing audit, on which this article focuses, is a regular investigation of the software installed on all computers in an organization to ensure that it is authorized or licensed. The process minimizes the risk of prosecution for software theft, as well as the risk of malware through uncontrolled software copying. In addition, a software audit ensures that the right technical support is available to all users.On the other hand, an Information Technology Audit or IT Audit is an examination of the checks and balances, or controls, within an information technology (IT) group. In this process, evidence of an organization’s information systems, practices, and operations are collected and evaluated.  The evidence culled from this evaluation is used to determine whether the organization’s information system is safeguarding the information assets, maintaining data integrity, and operating effectively and efficiently to achieve the organization’s business goals or objectives. As I said earlier, the focus of this article is on software audit and this is what I discuss in following paragraphs.Many of the IT professionals I know in Liberia (some of them working at government establishments), carry a software wallet or portable storage device that stores costly proprietary software on them. I often wonder how they manage to obtain their repository of software knowing that the cost of commercial software is extremely prohibitive. For example, the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is about $200 USD or more per copy. This amount is more than what some IT professionals make monthly in Liberia. So, it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that software piracy is ubiquitous in Liberia, and the entire continent of Africa. In fact, report on global software piracy by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 80% of all software sold in Africa is pirated. This level of piracy, according to the IDC’s report, causes Africa’s economy to suffer to the tune of over USD$1 billion.Software piracy is mostly found among consumers and small businesses, and the increasing availability of unlicensed software at online peer-to-peer file-sharing sites. For every legal copy of software that comes out more than one copy of it is made and distributed illegally, and Liberia is not alien to this phenomenon. Honestly, I don’t think a lot of folks in Liberia bother to think of the ethical or economic consequences of pirating software; just as folks don’t give thought do music or movie piracy.Companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, IBM, and other large software publishers often perform an audit of their customers. And when organizations are found to be in violation of licensing agreements, significant fines are placed on them. Despite this, no software publisher has successfully found a 100% secure method to control pirated software. Illegal software is freely available and readily accessible in many forms: on CDs, both home-recorded and mass-produced, and across the Internet. But does this mean that our government entities should have illegal software installed on their computers?For many businesses and organizations in Liberia, the term software auditing is foreign. And even if there is a remote thought of software audit, it is without a doubt given the lowest priority. Obviously, there are many reasons for this: very little interest in ICT and the lack of funding to purchase legitimate software. But the most vivid reason for this is the proverbial and ubiquitous problem that haunts us in Liberia; the lack of knowledge of software auditing and piracy, as well as their impact on organizations.Software audits provide several benefits for an organization, especially the Government of Liberia. It can be an effective and efficient way to improve software distribution, and help avoid copyright infringement prosecution by software companies like Microsoft. This is something I wish policy makers would take seriously. In fact, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace, lists five key elements that it believes governments must implement in order to reduce piracy in their respective countries. Perhaps our policymakers can begin by taking a look at those five elements.Now, let’s get back to my original question: Do we know how much the Government of Liberia (GoL) spends on proprietary software? I would assume that it does spend a lot of money on proprietary software. And these software are greatly under-utilized, partly because of the lack of skills or proper training, and often because they were deployed without due diligence or research. Now, do you understand why I have always advocated the development and use of Open source software in Liberia? Such an initiative could allow software to be produced locally thereby empowering Liberians through entrepreneurship, and reducing the risks that software piracy brings.  If we invest the same amount spent purchasing proprietary software on Open Source Software development in Liberia, we may just be able to stimulate economic activity via a software ecosystem and reduce, if not eliminate, the amount spent on proprietary software. I reckon we might need to provide strong quantitative data to help us make a strong economic argument to our policymakers, for why we should adopt open source software. To make this argument, you need to collect data on the number of licenses that are purchased by the government, businesses, etc. The question is, where do you find the data?Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Liverpool transfer blow! Swiss star expects to stay at Bayern Munich

first_img1 Liverpool target Xherdan Shaqiri has confirmed that he expects to stay at Bayern Munich this summer.The Swiss star was strongly linked with a move to Anfield this summer, with several other clubs – including Serie A champions Juventus – also interested following an impressive World Cup campaign.However, the 22-year-old has now confirmed that he expects to stay with Bayern.“I am a player of Bayern Munich as I am under contract with the club. Basically, I believe I will be staying on at Bayern Munich,” Shaqiri told Bild.“But as long as the transfer window is open, anything could happen in the very end.” Bayern Munich forward Xherdan Shaqiri last_img

A’s standout Matt Chapman undergoes surgery

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceA’s rising star third baseman Matt Chapman, who battled nagging hand discomfort during the season, had surgery on his left thumb, the team announced Thursday.Chapman underwent a successful surgery on his left thumb on Tuesday as Dr. Steven Shin performed an ulnar-sided sesamoid bone excision along the thumb at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. The A’s said Shin was pleased with the surgery and said …last_img

Google Glass: Way Too Much Google For Its Own Good

first_imgIf Google is making us stupid, Google Glass is destined to make us even stupider. While consistent with Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Google Glass may actually be too much of a good thing. Way too much.Jay Yarow describes Glass as “a product plagued by bugs, and of questionable use, that’s generating a lot of buzz because people want so desperately to have some new gadget to latch onto, and fear being wrong about the next major technology trend.” Perhaps. But whatever its faults (battery life, tends to cause headaches, etc.), Google Glass’ biggest fault may well be its biggest feature:Information overload.By constantly presenting Glass wearers with information, or the opportunity to get information, Google manages to over-deliver on its mission statement at a time when we actually rely on Google to filter out noise, rather than fill our lives with more noise. As I wrote in 2007, the secret to Google’s business model is to embrace the abundance of the Internet’s information overload but then remove the detritus and give me only what I want, when I want it, and serve up context-relevant advertising.But by sticking a computer on my face, always on and always connected, Google has ruined this model by giving me far more than I want, all the time, and diminishing my control of the flow of Google-provided information. Google Now gets the balance nearly perfect. Google Now anticipates my information needs based on where I’m going, what I have on my calendar, the time of day, etc. It’s genius, and it’s particularly useful because it lets me discover its magic on my own terms; that is, I have to actually look at my smartphone. Robert Scoble may see this as a downside, but it’s a serious upside. When I have to look, I’m in control of the information. When the information forces itself into my view, I’m a slave to it.Google Now is Google at its best. Google Glass? Perhaps Google at its worst, shoving information at me and never letting me disconnect from the Internet completely. Nor will it end here. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has stated that “We want Google to be the third half of your brain.” I doubt many people will be enthusiastic about this, no matter how much Google anticipates my wants and needs and serves up ads against them, 24×7. With Glass, Google has taken a step too far toward pushing information on its users rather than letting them control the flow of information. In short, Glass is way too much Google for most of us. And that is the major reason I expect it to fail. Matt Asay What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#abundance#Glass#Google#information overload Related Posts center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

‘Fir tree hit ropeway causing accident in Gulmarg’

first_imgThe J&K Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC) and State Forest Department’s failure to identify the treeline crossing the height of the Gondola ropeway at tourist hotspot Gulmarg resulted in the first-ever accident on June 25 that left seven, including four tourists, dead.Sources privy to the preliminary assessment carried out by a three-member probe committee headed by State commissioner secretary, Power Development Department (PDD), Dheeraj Gupta, told The Hindu that the treeline in the first phase of the ropeway between Gulmarg and Kongdoori was continuously posing a threat. The 5-km ropeway is the longest in the country. Safety testSources said the treeline comprising quail and fir trees cleared the safety test in 1998 when the ropeway was inaugurated. However, in the past 19 years these trees acquired a height of around 2 to 2.5 feet annually and crossed the ropeway height and became a looming threat. “One of the fir trees, between 50 to 60 feet high, with false ground roots was bent by the winds on June 25 and hit the ropeway. This caused sagging of the rope, resulting in wobbling and swinging, which derailed the capsule carrying people. It’s wrong information that the rope was cut, as it can bear a weight of over one lakh metric tons,” a top official of the JKCCC told The Hindu.The accident took place in the first phase of the ropeway with dense tree line on both sides and which sees a vertical rise of 400 metres in nine minutes. The second phase, which has a steeper rise of 879.91 metres, takes tourists from Kongdoori to Apharwat at an altitude of 13,400 feet in 12 minutes. JKCCC officials have identified 60 to 70 trees that have to be immediately cut by the forest department, which owns the land. Meanwhile, a fresh French team has been invited to assess the damage and issue a fresh certificate to allow the Gondola service to resume. It has remained shut since June 25.last_img read more

Maersk Rolls Out Shares Plan for Its Top Brass

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Maersk Danish A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S has decided to establish a restricted shares plan for the members of its Executive Board in addition to the stock option plan established in 2017.Under the plan, Maersk wants to connect the board members’ compensation to the long-term interests of the shareholders and the company’s performance by linking a higher proportion of their annual pay to Maersk’s share price development.In addition, the group believes the plan would help retain the board members within Maersk.The group said its board of directors would decide on granting the shares on annual basis, normally on or around  April 1.“The restricted shares will be granted free of charge to the executive board member and upon vesting the member will receive one B share in A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S of nominally DKK 1,000 for each vested restricted share. The restricted shares will vest five years after the main grant date in the year of the grant,” Maersk detailed in an announcement.The theoretical market value of the restricted shares is based on the 5-day volume weighted average of Maersk’s B shares in the 5 trading days immediately following the publication of the annual report. In 2018, this value is DKK 10,476, the group said.The value of the restricted share will not exceed 25 pct of the respective board member’s annual fixed base salary. Based on the theoretical market value, approximately 1,002 restricted shares in total are expected to be granted to the executive board members in 2018, Maersk added.The plan is being launched on the back of Maersk group’s transformation from a conglomerate to an integrated global container logistics company, which is expected to take between three to five yearsFor the transformation to be completed, Maersk is yet to finalize the separation of its energy business, as structural solutions are still being sought for Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service. Maersk believes that these will be defined before the end of 2018.last_img read more

St Louis Rams Donate Complimentary Tickets to FergusonArea High

In a gesture designed to help ease tensions in boiling-over Ferguson, Missouri, the NFL’s St. Louis Rams provided three local high school football teams with free tickets to Saturday night’s preseason game against the Green Bay PackersKyle Eversgerd, the Rams’ manager of fan development and alumni relations, reached out to McCluer High, McCluer North and McCluer South to offer 75 free tickets per team to attend the game, according to MMQB.com.“In light of everything going on, it just kind of hit me,” Eversgerd said. “I can’t imagine, with all that stuff going on, how tough it must be to practice. We were able to get them away from it all.”McCluer senior running back Henry Jones said the opportunity to attend an NFL game meant a lot.“It was overwhelming to see the NFL live, for real,” Jones said, according to the website. “You saw how fast they played and how they played together. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I could actually see myself out there playing.”Michael Brown, 18, was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a police officer Aug. 9, touching off a week of protests and turmoil in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.McCluer coach Mario MacDonald said the Rams’ gesture gave his players a mental break from the tragedy.“Our kids are focused on this season, but I worry about them out here, to be honest,” he said. read more

More Cuts and a New Executive Fashion Director at Vanity Fair People

first_imgModern Luxury has tapped Lynn Scotti as group publisher of Beach, The Hamptons and Manhattan magazines. She will be replacing Debra Halpert who recently announced her departure from the company in order to establish a marketing firm, Monroe East Consulting. This hire follows Modern Luxury’s other major masthead change with the resignation of Samantha Yanks, former editor-in-chief of Hamptons and Gotham magazines.Emily Cooke, currently deputy editor at Harper’s, is moving over to The New Republic to become the magazine’s editorial director, reporting to editor J.J. Gould. It’s a newly created role, in which Cooke will oversee day-to-day editorial operations and expand TNR‘s coverage of culture, tech, and business.“Emily’s an unusual talent and perfect for TNR,” said Gould in a statement. “She’s an experienced, deft manager with a capacious mind and a creative spirit. We’re really lucky to be able to welcome her as a colleague.” Galerie magazine has appointed a new editor-in-chief, Jacqueline Terrebonne, who was formerly the design editor for the brand since the magazine’s launch in 2016, and prior to that held the role of design projects editor at Architectural Digest. Terrebonne will be replacing Margaret Russell, who is leaving the post that she took on in 2017, in order to pursue other projects and positions in the design industry, including her role as honorary dean at Savannah College of Art and Design.Other hires for the brand include the appointment of Jennifer Ash Rudick to editor-at-large, who has written for Forbes, WWD, W magazine, Town & Country, and Veranda and is also the producer of the emmy-nominated documentary IRIS, and Rozalia Jovanovic, who will take on the role of digital director. Jovanovic was previously editor-in-chief of artnet News. In Jovanovic’s new position, she will work closely with Terrebonne and oversee the strategy and develop content to drive engagement across Galerie’s digital and social channels.National Public Radio’s Timothy “Timmhotep” Cornwall was tapped as Pitchfork’s newest senior editor where he will focus on expanding the site’s hip-hop coverage including assigning and editing stories, and writing features, opinion pieces and reviews. He will report to managing editor Matthew Schnipper.Timmhotep brings to his new role an extensive background in music reporting, most recently serving as an associate producer and editor for NPR where he led NPR Music’s hip-hop and R&B coverage, as well as produced and appeared on episodes of All Songs Considered.SHAPE has appointed Jen Widerstrom as its newest contributing fitness director, expanding her former role and responsibilities as a SHAPE Advisory Board member. Serving as a brand ambassador and fitness expert across SHAPE’s print, digital, social and experiential platforms, Widerstrom will also continue overseeing her “Ask Jen” column.  New York Post has reported that Bauer Publishing has let go of its In Touch, Life & Style and Closer general editor, news, Alexander Hitchen.Jen Copeland was named senior editor of big-game offshore fishing publication Marlin, taking on the responsibilities of content production across all brand channels including print, video and social. She had freelanced for several years with the brand, and will assist in the brand’s expansion under editor-in-chief Same White.The Atlantic’s former contributing editor, Michelle Cottle is joining the New York Times as lead opinion writer on national politics.The New York Times has added several new appointments to its new stand-alone parenting  subscription product. Jessica Grose will be taking on the role of lead editor for the product, leaving her current role as editor of Lenny Letter. Youngna Park is leaving her post as chief operating officer of Tinybop, and taking on the role of product lead at the Times. David Yee, former lead of Vox’s CMS team, will be leading the technology team.Will Sommer is joining The Daily Beast to cover tech and digital culture. He most recently comes from The Hill and will be bringing Right Richter, his newsletter coving right-wing media, to the site. Samira NasrVanity Fair has tapped Samira Nasr as its executive fashion director, a day after editor-in-chief Radhika Jones’s latest batch of cuts, including the dismissal of fashion director Michael Carl. About five other staffers were dismissed from the brand from a variety of departments this week, continuing the trend of Jones’s setting her stamp on the publication.Nasr is joining Vanity Fair from her most recent stint as fashion director at Elle, and prior to that, as style director at InStyle. She will be filling a new role that was created in an effort to keep payroll costs down by combining  elements from Carl’s position along with elements from former creative director, fashion and style Jessica Diehl‘s position, who left the brand in March.In a note to staffers, Jones praised Nasr’s “discerning eye and creative spirit.”Here are the rest of this week’s people on the move…last_img read more

Instagram will now let you upload landscape videos to IGTV

first_img $999 $520 at HP Mobile Tags Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Turo Read Google Home Hub review IGTV will now feature both landscape and vertical videos. Instagram Instagram will now support landscape videos on its IGTV platform.The Facebook-owned photo app said Thursday that it’s adding the capability following requests from creators and viewers. Previously, IGTV only supported vertical videos. Viewers can now also watch landscape videos in full-screen by turning their phone sideways. “We realize this is an evolution from where IGTV started — we believe it’s the right change for viewers and creators,” Instagram said in a statement. “In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015. It enabled creativity to flourish and engagement to rise — and we believe the same will happen again with IGTV.”Instagram launched IGTV last year as a standalone app geared toward programming from creators. It features longer videos and is also accessible from the main Instagram app. In February, Instagram allowed creators to upload previews of their IGTV videos to their feed. Instagram says landscape video could be especially useful for high-motion videos that feature several people, such as those depicting dance and sports.  CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $210 at Best Buy Turo: Save $30 on any car rental I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. $999 Read DJI Osmo Action preview Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. $60 at Best Buy Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Sarah Tew/CNET Comments Instagram,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. $299 at Amazon Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Angela Lang/CNET See It Read the AirPods review Tags 7 Rylo Share your voice Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) $155 at Google Express TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90)center_img Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. $999 $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express Apple iPhone XS Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Share your voice 0 Sprint Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) See at Turo $999 Post a comment Sarah Tew/CNET Chris Monroe/CNET Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) See it $6 at Tidal $59 at eBay See at Amazon See It See It Boost Mobile JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Best Buy Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. The Cheapskate Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Sarah Tew/CNET Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Read the Rylo camera preview Sarah Tew/CNET Amazonlast_img read more

Department of Justice kicks off antitrust review of tech giants

first_imgThe Justice Department is seeking feedback on the investigation from the public. Alastair Pike / AFP/Getty Images The US Department of Justice has announced an antitrust review of how online platforms achieved market power, and whether they are reducing competition, stifling innovation and harming consumers. While the Justice Department hasn’t named specific companies, it’s targeting tech giants including Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook, according to The Wall Street Journal.Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the antitrust division said the companies’ power could lead them to “act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands.””The Department’s review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online,” the DOJ added. It’s seeking feedback on the investigation from the public.The move is the latest effort by the US government to step up enforcement of tech’s biggest companies. For decades, the government largely avoided regulating or scrutinizing the tech world. That approach allowed companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook to grow to become some of the most highly valued in the world. But, critics argue, that growth came at the expense of user privacy and competitive choices in the marketplace.Following revelations Russian propagandists used Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter to interfere in the 2016 US election, lawmakers have expressed interest in taking tech to task. Since then, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have agreed to split up antitrust enforcement of tech companies between the two agencies, according to various media reports. The DOJ would focus on Apple and Google, which is owned by parent company Alphabet, while the FTC would take on Facebook and Amazon, according to a report in the Journal.The Justice Department’s new probe, announced Tuesday, goes a step beyond those plans, the Journal said. The FTC in February said it formed a task force to monitor competition in the tech sector.”This is the antitrust question of the day,” Fiona Scott Morton, an economics professor at the Yale School of Management, said in an interview.Morton, who testified as an antitrust expert before congress during a hearing with tech companies last week, emphasized the scope of the investigation is still unclear, but she’d be interested in learning more about the general competition behavior of the big tech platforms.Twitter declined to comment. Amazon, Apple and Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Google meanwhile referred back to its testimony before Congress last week, during which its director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, said the company has “created new competition in many sectors.” He added, “New competitive pressures often lead to concerns from rivals. We have consistently shown how our business is designed and operated to benefit our customers.”The companies are likely to respond soon, since Facebook, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon are due to report their quarterly earnings to investors this week. Apple is set to report its results next week. TechlashThe backlash against the tech industry has been more bark than bite so far. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have hauled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai before various committees to discuss concerns over user privacy, election integrity and censorship.Though the hearings were designed to be big public showdowns between lawmakers and the tech industry, they instead exposed ignorance among government officials about how technology works in the first place. Last year, Sen. Orrin Hatch, the 85-year-old Republican from Utah, asked Zuckerberg, “If [a version of Facebook will always be free], how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” Zuckerberg paused a moment before saying, “Senator, we run ads.” He, and his staff sitting behind him, then grinned before Hatch moved on to his next question.  Mobile Tech Industry 3 Legal Facebook Apple Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Comments reading • Department of Justice kicks off antitrust review of tech giants Tags Zuckerberg explains the internet to Congress 2:42 Share your voice The high-profile blunder made clear lawmakers were unlikely to act soon (and, in the past year, haven’t passed any meaningful laws to rein in tech). But that hasn’t stopped the DOJ or FTC from pursuing their own investigations, the first fruits of which may be announced this week. The FTC is expected to announce a $5 billion fine against Facebook for failing to adequately protect user data after learning Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy tied to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had improperly purchased tens of millions of people’s profile information. Though the FTC considered including language that could potentially hold Zuckerberg personally responsible for future privacy screw-ups, that plan was ultimately abandoned, according to a report by The Washington Post.More comingTech companies know that while they’ve largely avoided scrutiny until now, something is coming. So far, they’ve opted to generally support regulation. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella have expressed support for stronger privacy rules. Zuckerberg and Dorsey have meanwhile supported the Honest Ads Act, which would require tech companies to disclose who pays for political ads on the internet, much the same way that television and radio stations do now. The tech companies have also stepped up lobbying in Washington, in an effort to help shape whatever may be coming. Facebook topped $4 million in spending in the three months ended June 30, discussing election integrity, privacy, security, advertising and competition, according to a recent government filing. Facebook’s spending was higher than Amazon ($4 million), Google ($2.9 million) and Apple ($1.8 million).The companies have also stepped up their public efforts to push back on any overambitious regulation. That includes a website Apple published in May, after the Supreme Court ruled iPhone owners can sue Apple, accusing its App Store of running a monopoly. Zuckerberg meanwhile has been publishing videos and podcasts of conversations he’s held with academics and other CEOs, discussing censorship and ethics.Whether any of that will help tech with increasing scrutiny it’s now facing is unclear. “We ultimately believe this is more noise vs. the start of broader structural changes across the tech food chain,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors shortly after the DOJ’s announcement. “While the further analysis of business models from these tech stalwarts will cause some near-term uncertainty, ultimately we view it as a positive as this potentially could be a catalyst for more technology innovation and diversification down the road for these titans.”CNET’s Shara Tibken and Corinne Reichert contributed to this report.Originally published July 23, 2:08 p.m. PT.Update, 4:12 p.m. PT: Adds details throughout. 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