Social networks are funny beasts, and this is certainly something that's true of Facebook. The site has a patchy history with regard to user privacy, and there are constant complaints about how personal content is used, who can gain access to it, and the privacy settings that are in place. But like all modern companies, Facebook likes to be seen listening to its customers -- or at least appear to listen. A recent example of 'listening to the people' is Facebook's reaction to the #FreeTheNipple campaign which ultimately led to the site bowing to pressure and permitting photos of breastfeeding to be published. There have also been numerous instances of responding to complaints and making privacy settings easier to control.
Like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and even the NSA, Facebook has released transparency reports that detail data requests and the like. Transparency reports are something that users all but demanded, and delivering them is excellent PR for the companies involved. Now Facebook is taking things up a notch, fighting for users' rights in court. Earlier this week it emerged that the social network is fighting a US court order which forced it to hand over user data. The data was requested as part of an investigation into benefit fraud. Facebook complied but complained that it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The battle for dominance between Microsoft and Google continued, with Microsoft offering a huge storage boost for Office 365 and OneDrive users. This was quickly trumped by Google later in the week at 1/0 2014, when the company announced unlimited storage for Google Drive for Work users. Microsoft is basking in the glory of being heralded as cooler than Apple by Joe -- and stunts like offering cashback deals to sway MacBook Air owners into switching into Surface Pro 3 certainly helps. Microsoft opened a new store on Long Island, while Google branched out into new territory with a trial run of a new domain registration service. Microsoft also ventured into new waters with its first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2.
In something of an interesting twist, Microsoft opted to use Opera Mobile as the default web browser. Opera is also returning to Linux after the surprise release of Opera 24 Developer. Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" KDE was also released. Linux also managed to hit the headlines for facilitating the hacking of Google's Nest thermstats. If this hasn’t put you off, Logitech added support to its Harmony remotes.
Technology users are putting themselves at risk by ignoring how their personal information is being stored and the potential security risks that go hand in hand with digital devices.
This is the conclusion of a round table panel of security experts put together by hosting company UKFast. According to the panel the buzz of social media and the ever-evolving digital scene has created an ignorant culture of technology consumers.
Social media is increasingly important to companies, not just as a marketing tool but also to help spot trends and allow firms to react in real time.
Consumer intelligence specialist newBrandAnalytics has released a new cloud-based offering called Pulse which allows companies to monitor trending topics and conversations that impact their brand and product perception.
LinkedIn has launched its first standalone job search app that provides a dedicated service for users looking to search and apply for jobs on the social network.
The decision to release LinkedIn Job Search on iOS comes as no surprise, with 40 per cent of the network's 300 million users accessing the site on mobile devices.
Facebook is at the heart of delivering applications to a generation of content-hungry consumers, who expect short, intense experiences and flawless execution when they engage with brands. Because of this, companies like Facebook invest millions to ensure their platforms are robust enough to withstand almost any situation.
Apps look simple to the user, but under the hood they are often incredibly complex. When someone Likes a post on Facebook or places a comment, a single click triggers millions of lines of code and activates thousands of servers, so managing these applications is challenging.
This is the week of the Surface Pro 3. Brian had already attended the launch event earlier in the month, and has provided an essential list of hardware and software purchasers need to grab for the best all round experience -- he even goes as far as suggesting that it's better than a MacBook Air. Even before launch there was an update available for the tablet-cum-laptop, and there was also news that the Intel Core i3 and i7 models would be shipping earlier than previously expected. But not all of the products we looked at this week were quite so "every day". There was the wifi doorbell complete with camera, and also the prospect of charging your phone wirelessly with your pants -- yes you did read that correctly.
The Windows Phone market is dominated by Nokia, but a new batch of handsets has been unveiled by Indian manufacturer Micromax. If Android is your mobile OS of choice, you may be thinking about venturing into the rooted world. This week a new tool was released that makes the process as quick and painless as possible, opening up a whole new breed of apps and options. Joe decided to take a walk on the wild side and adopt the Nokia Lumia Icon as his phone of choice. In the Android arena, a new contender entered -- the Amazon Fire Phone. Will a kill switch be added? Microsoft and Google have agreed to add it to their mobile operating systems.
LinkedIn has failed to address a security flaw for over a year that puts at risk the data of all of its over 300 million users and means that sensitive user information can be pilfered easily.
A report conducted by Zimperium Mobile Defense Security found a straightforward MITM attack that uses an SSL stripping technique allows hackers to steal user credentials and gain full control of an account.
Twitter has reversed blocks it placed on numerous tweets and accounts in Pakistan that were deemed "blasphemous" and "unethical", including some that featured anti-Islamic content, depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, and photos of the Koran burning. Pakistani authorities complained to Twitter back in May, and the social network "made an initial decision to withhold content in Pakistan".
But after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority failed to provide the additional information that Twitter requested, the accounts and tweets have been restored.
Relying on search engines or social networks to discover things you're interested in on the net can be a bit hit and miss. The things you see on your Facebook feed for example are influenced by your friends' interests as well as your own.
Flipora aims to change the process of following your interests online by using artificial intelligence to make recommendations related to the things you really want to see.
Facebook comes under fire for all manner of things -- it's just part and parcel of being a social network. When users are not up in arms at the site's privacy policies, they are found voicing their disapproval at the types of content they're not allowed to publish on their timelines. There are lots of types of pictures that are frowned upon, and parents were upset to find that many of the photos they posted fell foul of Facebook's moderators. Facebook's Community Standards have never included a stated ban on breastfeeding pictures, but those that included glimpses of nipples were often swiftly removed. A well-publicized campaign that used the hashtag #FreeTheNipple seems to have had the desired result.
As noticed by The Independent, there has been a softening of views as Facebook Moderators are now encouraged to consider the context in which nipples appear in photographs. The Community Standards state "Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity". But there is the caveat that "we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding".
Back in 2012 Facebook estimated in its official company filings that almost nine percent of the accounts on its system broke the service's rules in some way. That may not sound like many but the sheer number of Facebook users means it accounts for some 83 million problem accounts.
Some of these might simply be duplicates but others have a more undesirable purpose like spamming, distributing malware or grooming minors. Until now the only way of steering clear of the fakes was by keeping your wits about you and looking for tell tale signs like recent join dates or unfeasibly model-like profile pictures.
The Internet of Things is just the latest buzzword that is being used to push all manner of products. Let's cut to the chase -- it's just about "stuff" (other than obvious things like computers and phones) connecting to the internet. Nothing more than that. But this dismissive-sounding definition is not meant to undermine the importance or the significance of the IoT. We've spent the last 20 years or so getting used to the idea of accessing the web, harnessing what it has to offer, exploiting it in various ways and finding all manner of methods of using it to make life easier, more entertaining, and more profitable. The evolution of the Internet of Things sees this taken to the next level.
We are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution. Many would say that the wheels are already in motion. The tired -- very, very tired -- example of what the Internet of Things is about, is the prospect of owning a fridge that will be aware of when you run out of milk, and then either alert you or place an order on your behalf. This is a very simplistic view of things, but it is the communication between devices that will be the hallmark of things to come. Inter-device communication, or machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity. Devices that can be left to their own devices (ahem) are approaching in ever-growing numbers, and there are advantages to be gained.
Internet heavyweights such as Reddit, Imgur, BoingBoing and the WikiLeaks Party are joining forces to encourage internet users to take control of their privacy. Reset The Net is a campaign that flips the virtual bird at the NSA by inviting people to make use of privacy and encryption tools to keep themselves protected online. Also involved are such names as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the campaign is gathering momentum as internet citizens find themselves increasingly disillusioned by the post-Snowden world.
We have already seen an upsurge in the use of online encryption, but this has been largely employed by those who are more technically minded. The Reset the Net website asks web users to make a pledge: "On June 5, I will take strong steps to protect my freedom from government mass surveillance. I expect the services I use to do the same". Reset the Net is not an end in itself, but more of an awareness-raising campaign that aims to educate people as much as send a message to the NSA and its ilk.
The Pirate Bay saga is one that has been running for a number of years now, and the latest chapter sees one of the founders arrested in Sweden. Peter Sunde had been on the run for two years after failing to make an appearance having been sentenced to two years in prison. He had been handed an eight month term for aiding and abetting breach of copyright laws, although those associated with the site have long-maintained that they should not be held responsible for the sharing of copyrighted material as no data was stored on the site.
Sunde had been sought by Interpol and his arrest coincided with the eight-year anniversary of the police raid of Pirate Bay servers. He had been living in hiding in Berlin, but having family in Sweden meant that he often returned to the country. Torrent news website TorrentFreak reports that the arrest was a joint operation between Swedish and Polish law enforcement agencies.