Tech News Today for October 11, 2016
Tech News for Tuesday October 11, 2016
The American Civil Liberties Union published a blog post that details how Twitter, Facebook and Instagram unkowingly fed data to 500 law enforcement agencies during the protests in Baltimore and Ferguson earlier this year. The data was originally granted to Geofeedia, a social media analytics firm that collects information on users including in many cases, the location of those users. All three networks moved to stop or restrict the data transmission to Geofeedia once they were aware of the ACLU’s discovery. The ACLU argues that discoveries like this produce a chilling effect for minority groups and those who wish to air their own political grievances, and that companies like these should be doing more to protect free speech of activists. Read more at aclunc.org.
Amazon might have brick and mortar in its sights sometime in the near future. A report on the Wall Street Journal indicates that the company is interested in opening not only a large drive-up grocery store near its Seattle headquarters, but also smaller convenience stores which could sell perishable items like produce, meat, cheese and milk. Items not found in the store could be ordered from a customer’s phone to be delivered later that day at home. According to the report, the convenience store idea is still more than a year off and could be scrapped if determined to be a financial or operational challenge. Read more at geekwire.com.
In the US, 5 million households with children lack internet connections and that is causing a homework gap. To that end, Sprint has announced that over the next 5 years they will give 1 million free devices and free high-speed data plans to low-income students. Those involved with the program can choose a smartphone, tablet, laptop or hotspot device. Sprint says they'll work with students to determine the best device. Like most dealings with Sprint or other mobile carriers, it pays to read the fine print. In this case, there's a 3 gigabyte data cap, which should be plenty if you only use it for homework. Sprint's 1 Million Project will be supported by donations from device manufacturer partners and funds raised through special events. Read more at wsj.com.
Google’s Project Fi wireless service is now becoming somewhat more economical with its new family plan, something it has lacked since it launched last Summer. The new plan allows for the addition of up to 5 lines for $15 per month each, $5 less than the base price. Beyond that, the data cost is unchanged at $10 per gigabyte of data. The Google Fi app allows for managing the members attached to the account by allowing the owner to set quotas for data usage, making it even more useful for families. Read more at techcrunch.com.
It's official. Samsung said that the Note 7 will cease to be manufactured, marking the end of the device. Samsung rushed to get the phone out ahead of its competitors and in doing so, failed to catch critical details in how a higher capacity battery was sandwiched into a smaller compartment when compared to the previous Note 5. As Charles Arthur put it on his blog, Samsung succeeded at making the Note 7 waterproof, it failed at making it fireproof. Now, people are looking towards the smartphone landscape as we head into the holiday season to see who the biggest winners and the biggest losers will be. Read more at theoverspill.wordpress.com.