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Latest Technology News

France: Windows 10 collects 'excessive personal data', issues Microsoft with formal warning

windows_10_spying

After accusations that Windows 10 collects too much data about users, France's National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) has order Microsoft to comply with the French Data Protection Act within three months. The company has been ordered to "stop collecting excessive data and tracking browsing by users without their consent".

In addition to this, the chair of CNIL has notified Microsoft that it needs to take "satisfactory measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of user data". The notice comes after numerous complaints about Windows 10, and a series of investigations by French authorities which revealed a number of failings on Microsoft's part.

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Machine learning, big data analytics and Internet of Things skills are in high demand

office workers

Both virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and big data analytics, as well as the Internet of Things, are the most in-demand skills, according to a new report by Packt.

The report, titled "Skill Up", polled more than 11,500 worldwide developers and IT professionals. Besides identifying the most sought-after skills, it also says that security is one of the highest-paying industries in 2016, especially for freelancers.

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Microsoft is killing Skype for Windows Phone -- a final slap in its fans' faces

Man Slap Face

Windows Phone was a terrible experiment that never got off the ground. Microsoft's mobile operating system was never popular with developers, nor did many consumers care about it. With that said, some of the company's most loyal fans did embrace it, however. Not to mention, due to low prices, a small number of unknowing budget-hunters bought the much maligned phones too.

Fast forward to today, and Microsoft has moved on to Windows 10 Mobile. Sadly, its newest mobile push is not doing well either, but I digress. As a final slap in the face to users that own Windows Phones that cannot be upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is killing Skype support for the platform.

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The clock is ticking for free Windows 10 upgrades and Microsoft is having one last nag

windows-10-countdown

When it comes to encouraging people to take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft has not been shy about pushing things -- some would say a little too much. But now the clock really is ticking. The deadline for free upgrades of July 29 is fast approaching, and Microsoft has one final bit of nagging up its sleeve.

With just nine days to go, an update has been pushed out to GWX which drives home the fact that time is running out. To add a bit of an incentive -- you could call it fearmongering -- there's a great big countdown clock to prod Windows 7 and 8.x users into action.

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Facebook celebrates 1 billion monthly Messenger users

one-billion-facebook-messenger

The battle between messaging apps has been going on for a number of years now, but the same names keep floating to the top.

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger regularly feature in the top chat apps, and today Facebook announces that it has hit a key milestone -- one billion users every month. To celebrate, the social network has a little gift to say thanks... but don’t get too excited.

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LogMeOnce adds features to track and wipe mobile devices

mobile-security

The increasing use of mobile devices and spread of BYOD means that there’s a risk of data falling into the wrong hands if a device is lost or stolen.

Mobile identity and password management company LogMeOnce is adding new features to its app making it simpler to manage, track and wipe personal and business data from devices.

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Google is making it harder to root Android 7.0 Nougat

hand stop

Rooting Android remains very popular with a certain crowd of users, but fact of the matter is for most folks it is an unnecessary hassle. I have gone through the pros and cons of hacking the operating system in previous articles, so I will not discuss them again here, but suffice to say that both the software and the hardware have matured so nicely that the vast majority of people can be perfectly happy with their new smartphone or tablet as it comes out of the box.

Google has been somewhat permissive with regards to rooting, but, behind closed doors, it has been working hard to close the open avenues. While hacking Android has become harder, Nougat will take things to the next level, bringing new security features to make sure that your device stays the way its maker intended.

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Widespread BT outage caused by a faulty UPS

smoking-laptop

This morning, thousands of BT and Plusnet customers complained about dodgy internet connections. The problem has now been fixed, and the cause identified as a failed UPS owned by Equinix, leading to massive disruption.

Equinix, owned by Telecity, said there had been a problem "with one of our UPS system at 8/9 Harbour Exchange (LD8)" in London. The exact cause is not yet known, but further investigations are underway.

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New solution delivers compliance for business Instagram users

Compliance

Businesses are increasingly adopting Instagram within the enterprise as a tool for building brand awareness and connecting with prospects and customers.

But as with any form of business communication it's subject to regulatory control. Regulators may classify Instagram posts as advertisements and exchanged comments as business records. To address this, compliance specialist Actiance is adding Instagram support to its Actiance Socialite platform, which enables companies to capture social media posts in context and retain data, including the images, for instant search and retrieval.

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Google's DeepMind AI has cut data center electricity usage by 15 percent

data-center

Artificial intelligence is frequently associated with sentient computers, bots and the like. But in the real world, AI is being put to a far wider range of uses. DeepMind, Google's AI division has been instrumental in slashing energy consumption in data centers.

Lying at the heart of the internet, data centers are huge electricity gobblers, and anything that can be done to reduce usage is to be welcomed. DeepMind has reduced consumption in Google's data centers by an impressive 15 percent, helping the company to do its bit for the environment.

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Microsoft changes how it reports Windows 10 numbers, no longer chasing a billion devices

Changing target

We know that Windows 10 is on upwards of 350 million systems now, because Microsoft told us three weeks ago.

The last time Microsoft released any numbers before that, was two months previous when the new OS was on 300 million devices. The problem with how Microsoft announces these new milestones, isn’t just that it’s infrequent, but also that it refers to devices, not users -- and includes PCs, tablets, and mobile phones not yet sold. That’s useful when you’re aiming for a particular target -- 1 billion devices -- but not so useful when that target becomes unrealistic and it looks like you’re failing.

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New identity platform delivers passwordless authentication

Mobile login

We regularly hear stories about the imminent death of the password. Add in thousands of Internet of Things devices needing to authenticate and it’s clear that the time has come for a better system.

Identity management company ForgeRock is launching the latest edition of its ForgeRock Identity Platform, with advanced new capabilities that will enable organizations to employ passwordless login.

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Businesses can minimize software costs by 30 percent

Reducing costs

Businesses can cut software costs by 30 percent if they stick to software management best practices, Gartner has announced -- research director Hank Marquis says potential savings are just "too large to ignore". Companies will spend $332 billion on it in 2016, so yes, it is a pretty big deal.

There are three best practices organizations can use to achieve these savings: optimizing software configurations, recycling licenses and using software asset management (SAM) tools.

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Investigate suspect EXEs with Professional PE Explorer

PPEE.200.175

Professional PE Explorer is a portable tool which allows investigating Windows executables including EXE files, SYS, DLL and more.

The download is so tiny you’ll wonder if it’s broken -- 78.1KB, really? -- but no, this is all you get. Unzip it and run PPEE.exe to get started.

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Deezer now generally available in US

Deezer

Most US consumers may not be familiar with Deezer and for good reason. While it is one of the oldest players in the music streaming industry, having launched nine years ago in France, the service has only been offered alongside some audio products and carrier subscriptions so far.

That is about to change though, as Deezer is now, finally, widely available in US. Just like its main competitors, it can be sampled on all the major platforms, including Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, with customers getting unlimited access to the "world's largest music streaming library", live radio, news, and podcasts.

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