As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

Hackers Threaten Sony Employees In New Email

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The FBI said Friday it is investigating threatening emails sent to some employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was hit by a cyberattack last week that disrupted its computer system and spewed confidential information onto the Internet.

The FBI was trying to identify the person or group responsible, the agency said in a statement. It did not provide any details. However, the trade paper Variety said the email written in broken English claimed to be from the head of the GOP — short for Guardians of Peace — the same group that took credit for last week’s attack.

“Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan,” the email read.

Later, the email warns employees: “Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.”

“Make your company behave wisely,” the email urges.

The Los Angeles Times reported the email was received Friday.

A Sony spokesman confirmed in an email to the Times that “some of our employees have received an email claiming to be from GOP” and said the company was working with law enforcement.

Employees were told to turn off their mobile devices after receiving the message, Variety said, citing Sony insiders it did not name.

Messages from The Associated Press to Sony representatives were not immediate returned.

Recently, hackers released personal information for thousands of Sony employees online, including some Social Security numbers and the purported salaries of top executives. Five movies, including the unreleased “Annie,” also have shown up on file-sharing websites.

On Nov. 24, workers who logged onto Sony Pictures’ network saw a skeleton and the message “Hacked by #GOP.”

There has been speculation that North Korea was behind the attacks in retaliation for the upcoming movie “The Interview,” a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that depicts an assassination attempt on that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea denied involvement Thursday.

Some cybersecurity experts say they’ve found striking similarities between the code used in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and attacks blamed on North Korea that targeted South Korean companies and government agencies last year.

Experts are divided, however, over the likelihood that North Korea or independent hackers were involved.

Preview for Developers Windows Phone Build 14219 now Available

Microsoft has released Windows Phone Build 14219 for those who participate in the Preview for Developers program.  The update is either ready for you in your Phone Update in Settings on your device or can be downloaded by tapping the Check for Update button on the same screen.  While the Preview for Developers program is a free app and service, I’ll remind everyone that it is beta software and sometimes behaves as such. The biggest news with this update is support for Cortana in France, Germany, Italy and Spain as part of an update posted on the Microsoft blog this morning.

The post Preview for Developers Windows Phone Build 14219 now Available appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Hackers Threaten Sony Employees In New Email: ‘Your Family Will Be In Danger'

Hackers have struck again at Sony Pictures Entertainment, threatening employees of the studio in a new email sent Friday.

Tyler Oakley Can't Even Handle 'Teens React To Tyler Oakley'

Tyler Oakley, beloved YouTube star, recently got some real talk about what all the teens are saying about him when “Teens React To Tyler Oakley” went viral on Sunday. Naturally, Tyler responded with a reaction video of him reacting to the teens reacting… you got that?

Tyler nervously watched the video, posted by the popular Fine Bros, with whom Tyler is good friends. To his relief, the teens were all about him (for the most part, at least). One teen even declared Tyler her “spirit animal.”

Sounds about right.

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This Crowdsourcing Startup Empowers Locals

From left to right: CMO Robert Singleton & CEO Manu Koenig.

Image Credit: Angela Chilcott

Americans are frustrated with the powers that be but that doesn’t mean they should ignore the local issues directly affecting them. In Santa Cruz everyday citizens are proposing solutions to the water crisis with the help of crowdsourcing startup Civinomics. How? With an app of course.

Civinomics is part of Santa Cruz’s emerging tech scene, and it’s mission melds with the county’s progressive reputation. Co-founder Robert Singleton describes Civinomics as “crowdsourcing that influences local policy.” A survey by Civinomics revealed that Santa Cruz tech commuters would take at least a 9 percent pay cut to avoid commuting. Showing that tech workers would like to remain in Santa Cruz can be one way to get the industry to invest in the county.

Singleton describes the mission of the company as “a civic space for people to have a meaningful discussion about improving the community.” He explains that Civinomics “supplements with public research outreach” using iPads running the web-based Civ.io app. But can iPad surveying help bring about local change? Singleton — coming from from a “grassroots politics” background at UC Santa Cruz — thinks its an important part.

CEO Manu Koenig — a Stanford graduate — shares the same vision as Singleton for the company. Interestingly he came from a background with affluent advertising firm Martini Media — which is a long shot from the “grassroots.” Eventually Koenig would find his work in advertising “soulless” and realize he wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur. The skills he learned in targeting people he decided to use for a greater good. Santa Cruz was the perfect place to come, after-all it was where he met Singleton.

Koenig used his web design experience to create the Civ.io app. He describes the app as a way to see what “ideas are hot” in local policy. Koenig believes that the iPad surveying methods of Civinomics are “more statistically accurate” and ideal for showcasing local populism. He points out that telephone-polling data usually samples respondents over fifty. “If you want to do a poll that is going to reach the next generation, the iPad is the way to do it.”

Singleton expands that with the iPad “[Civinomics] did a poll on plastic bags and the effect on the ocean — you can actually demonstrate through a visual interface what happens.” Using zoning designation the company builds “one of the most robust samples you can get. Response rates are pretty much one out of two.” Using iPads and a web ecosystem, they believe they can deliver valuable social messages.

Singleton went on to say there is less of an “interview bias” when the surveys are conducted in-person rather than over the phone. “For some reason, if there is actually someone there you feel compelled to give the right answer.” In other words; its harder lie to an iPad-wielding surveyor’s face.

Civinomics’ latest client is Santa Cruz’s water supply advisory committee. The company is presenting the opportunity for locals to easily submit proposals to address water scarcity (which includes a proposed desalination plant). Good idea, since California is suffering an unprecedented drought and Santa Cruz County needs an additional 900 million gallons of water a year. But what kind of people are throwing out potential solutions?

“Everyone,” Singleton explains “the person on the street, your local hydrologist, civil engineers — even people working for the water department.”

Civinomics is another example of tech being used to organize a populist impact. In the words of Koenig: “Human nature wants to do the easiest thing — we all want to get from point A to point B. With government I am seeing that this equation doesn’t change until we have a new technology.” Obviously Civinomics aims to be part of that “new technology.”

Image Credit: Angela Chilcott

All photos are copyright to Angela Chilcott and used with her permission. View her portfolio here.

4 Things I Tell My Kids About STEM (As Recalled By My First-Grader)

As an engineer and mother of four daughters and one son, I often wonder if my passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has gotten through to my children.

Recently, I had the rare pleasure of going out to dinner with just my youngest daughter. I explained to my first-grader that I was thinking about the main points I cover whenever I gush about STEM, and I asked her if she could tell me. What was getting through to her? It was a test more for me than it was for her. I felt if my message hadn’t gotten through to her, I probably needed to refine it. Here’s what she told me:

1. “Don’t give up.” – This is right out of the gate, and so true! Sometimes we try things that don’t make sense at first, that stretch our brains and even task our creativity. We often hear this said in sports, but it applies in math and science, too. Practice and patience go a long way toward comprehension and eventual mastery.

2. “Everybody fails, and you will too.” – That’s pretty deep from a 6 year old! Thomas Edison is credited with saying, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Too often we see failures as something we don’t want to repeat. The reality is that failure is a very important teaching tool. Failure allows us to gather new information to solve a problem.

3. “A do-over is important.” – We implement “do-overs” in our house when behavior has gone awry, but she’s right to apply it to STEM. After a failure or setback, a do-over allows us to try again with renewed momentum. This is a great time to tackle the problem with completely different thinking and increased creativity. A do-over brings hope with it, no matter how many times you need one.

4. “Try new things.” – This kid makes me so proud. This is good life advice, but is extremely well suited for STEM. By stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying something new, we build up courage. It takes guts to try something new. The cool thing is that by trying something new, we might find a new passion or hobby. It can also help our creativity in problem solving. New endeavors require new ways of thinking, which can help in designing or troubleshooting something at a later time.

Looking back through her points, it appears that my message and passion for STEM are indeed getting through to my youngest daughter. For the record, she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up: an engineer. She might be running seminars by the third grade if she keeps up this sage wisdom!

Reflecting on my journey through school and throughout my career, these four points have been and continue to be essential. The only thing I would add is the importance of working well with others. Come to think of it, I bet my daughter would have some good advice on that topic, too. Maybe I’ll take her out to eat again and ask her.

The legacy of Sinclair's Spectrum

How the Spectrum’s creator changed the world – and maybe hastened its end

Steve Jobs' Testifies From Beyond The Grave Via Transfixing Video

OAKLAND, California (AP) — More than three years after his death, legendary Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs held a federal courtroom transfixed on Friday as attorneys played a video of his testimony in a class-action lawsuit that accuses Apple of inflating prices by locking music lovers into using Apple’s iPod players.

Looking gaunt and pale, Jobs spoke softly during the deposition he gave six months before his death in October 2011. But he gave a firm defense of Apple’s software, which blocked music from services that competed with Apple’s iTunes store.

“We were very scared” of the prospect that hackers could break Apple’s security system, Jobs said, because that might jeopardize Apple’s contracts with music recording companies that didn’t want their songs to be pirated. “We would get nasty emails from the labels,” he added.

The video wasn’t released Friday following its viewing in court.

But Jobs didn’t seem cowed by the record labels in an email, read by an attorney for the plaintiffs, in which the Apple CEO demanded that a record company executive publicly apologize for praising rival RealNetworks for producing software that would make songs from the RealNetworks store play on Apple’s iPods.

Dressed in his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, Jobs appeared impatient at times and swiveled in his chair during the session, which was recorded at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. He said he didn’t remember why he was upset with the recording executive. But he acknowledged that he had proposed language for an Apple press release that condemned RealNetworks as a “hacker.”

“We are stunned that Real has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions” under federal law, the release said.

During testimony this week the plaintiffs also showed an email from Eddy Cue, who runs the iTunes business, saying music labels wanted Apple to let iPods play music from other sources — in order to encourage more music sales. However, Apple executives insisted the labels were even more vocal in pressing Apple to maintain security against unauthorized copying. The message about making devices more compatible “was in conflict with what they were telling me to do” about security, said Jeff Robbin, who oversaw iTunes engineering and helped create the iTunes software.

Apple used anti-piracy software that ensured only songs from its own iTunes store could be played on its iPod devices. Attorneys for a group of consumers and iPod resellers contend say that froze rival device-makers out of the market, allowing Apple to sell iPods at inflated prices. The plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages, which could be tripled if the jury agrees Apple violated antitrust rules.

Jurors saw the video on the fourth day of trial in a case that has been rocked by an unusual development. Apple attorneys late Thursday said neither of the women named as plaintiffs purchased iPods equipped with the restrictive software during the timeframe covered by the lawsuit, which is September 2006 to March 2009.

Apple lawyer William Isaacson formally asked the judge on Friday to dismiss the case because the two women can’t claim to have suffered the harm alleged in the suit. The motion came after plaintiff Marianna Rosen testified Wednesday and, in response to questions, showed an iPod that she said she bought in 2008. Isaacson said Apple checked the serial number later in the day and found it was actually purchased in July 2009.

Attorneys who brought the suit had already conceded that iPods purchased by the other plaintiff, Melanie Wilson, weren’t covered by the suit. They agreed Friday to drop Wilson from the case, but plaintiffs’ attorney Bonny Sweeney said Rosen is still eligible to proceed because she has receipts showing she bought two other iPods in September 2008.

When Isaacson countered that Apple’s records show those two iPods were purchased by Rosen’s husband’s law firm, Sweeney said Rosen was authorized to use the firm’s credit card for her own purchases.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked Sweeney to submit a formal response to Isaacson’s arguments over the weekend, but Rogers didn’t say when she’ll make a decision.

Apple adds new regions for Flyover, Siri movie showtimes

Apple has added a collection of new locations to its Flyover feature in Maps, and new countries to the list that can access movie listings through Siri. In the former category are Avignon, Biarritz, and Perpignan in France; the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater in Arizona; Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, Dunedin in New Zealand, Royal Gorge in Arkansas, and finally Visby in Sweden. Apple has been slowly updating the number of areas with Flyover support since iOS 6 was released in 2012.

'Let It Go' Christmas Light Display Is So Cool, It Will Freeze You In Your Tracks

This is one Christmas spectacle that’s worth braving the cold to see.

John Storms and his family of Austin, Texas, have a lot of love for the holidays and are dedicated to sharing it. Since 2010, Storms and his wife have been putting together light shows set to popular songs, which have gained the family a bit of a legendary status in their neighborhood. This year, the family’s Christmas lights have been synchronized to the song “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” in a marvelous light show, shown in the YouTube video above, as part of an hour-long display.

“We have an awesome neighborhood,” Storms told the Huffington Post in an email. “When we do the lights to music we have the neighbors, family, friends come out with their camp chairs and we all sit in the street and watch the show. Its a great little neighborhood activity.”

But putting on Christmas decorations of this magnitude is no easy feat.

“We have been working on the lights since February,” Storms told HuffPost of the elaborate planning process the show entails. “This year has been more challenging that most with the addition of individually controlled color changing lights to the tree line.”

The entire display uses tens of thousands of lights, and though the vibrant performance seems like it would lead to a hefty electricity bill, it only costs about $6 the entire season, according to his YouTube page.

“The entire display is run on LED lights. By comparison we have regular lights on our indoor Christmas tree and it uses more electricity that the whole outdoor light display,” Storms says. “The computer that runs the show is an energy efficient netbook that also keeps the power usage down.”

Storms told HuffPost that while the tradition takes quite a bit of work, it’s all part of the fun, and he and his family will be putting on the light show for years to come.

“I’ll be doing this forever. I make it a happy family event so that the kids will keep it up and hopefully someday marry young men who are comfortable climbing ladders,” Storms joked.

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Quick Fixes for Six Common Blogging Blunders

Whether you’re a total noob or an experienced blogger, we all fall victim to these mistakes at some point. Read on to find quick fixes for each blunder.

1. Creating a Blogging Persona

At their best, blogs are the perfect vehicles for self expression. But, oftentimes bloggers prioritize their public persona over authenticity. Maybe it’s trying too hard to be witty, pretending to hold a politically correct position you don’t hold, or avoiding topics that make you insecure.

Quick Fix: Over time, you learn that readers connect to your vulnerability even more than your strength. Don’t be afraid to let them see the real you. Better yet, enlist an “authenticity editor,” a trusted friend who likes the real you and can act as a filter against any pretense or posturing.

2. Competing Instead of Collaborating

One of the big breakthroughs for a blogger is when they realize they are part of a bigger ecosystem of bloggers and thought leaders, and begin to consciously engage the entire network. It’s very hard to gain traction for a blog any other way.

Quick Fix: Look for opportunities to “egobait” other bloggers into promoting your blog. When done correctly, you can even compel direct competitors to link to you. The easiest way to do this is to write a “10 Bloggers That Inspire Me” post, provide links to each of the blogs, and shoot each of the bloggers an email with the link to the post. Many of them will repost, tweet, and even respond to your article. Sit back and watch the traffic and subscribers pour in.

3. Shiny Object Syndrome

You write a blog about top fashion developments within the shoe industry…but you really have something important to say about the Ferguson riots. All of the sudden, you’re writing about something that confuses and polarizes your audience instead of drawing them closer to your core cause.

Quick Fix: To avoid this trap, create a mission statement for your blog and review it before selecting any topic. You’ll be able to easily dismiss any topic that doesn’t fit with your predefined mission.

4. The Vacation Vortex

No matter how determined you are to keep up a regular blogging cadence, at some point, you’re going to go on a vacation and decide, “meh, I think I’d rather sip mai tais than sit in my hotel and write a blog post.” You deserve a break every once in a while, but when readers think you’ve checked out, they quickly do the same.

Quick Fix: To avoid these black holes in your blog, create a bank of “evergreen” content (content that is relevant whenever it is posted) that can be quickly posted whenever your attention is diverted. Deposit new articles into this content bank regularly, so you’re never left empty handed.

5. Template Blogging

Every blogger has a format that is their go-to format. Maybe you write every article as a 5-paragraph essay. Maybe all of your blogs start by describing an emerging trend, then take three paragraphs to explain practical applications. I’m particularly susceptible to the “listicle–” articles like “Quick Fixes for Six Common Blogging Blunders.”

Quick Fix: Having a basic template for most of your blogs is not necessarily a bad thing, but you never want to become a one-trick pony. Make a conscious effort to break your pattern every few posts. If you usually write long posts, write a five-sentence post. If you usually include three images per post, include twelve or one in your next post. You get the idea.

6. Getting Dragged Into a Flame War

If you blog long enough, you will eventually attract a flamer–someone who blows up your comments with insulting assaults on your perspective, your intelligence, or even your basic humanity. You can get a hundred positive comments, but it will be the one negative one you can’t ignore or forget. Of course, this is just what they want–to disrupt your day and drag you into a fight you can’t win.

Quick Fix: Instead of engaging flamers, ignore them, forget what they said, and move on with your life. If you succeed at doing this, please tell me how.

The New Social Contract for The Internet

We have reason to rejoice these days. Ever since the world became aware of U.S. policy to surveil Internet users en masse, the ground has shifted under the idea of ‘Internet Governance.’ This term, if not yet extinct, is at least already outdated.

For many people, ‘Internet Governance’ was little more than an empty buzzword. Few will mourn its passing. Those who benefit from imbalances of power over the Internet might think this is good news; the end of ‘Internet Governance’ could remove obstacles to complete domination. But, for them, I think this news will be especially unwelcome. As the concept of ‘Internet Governance’ loses value, ‘Internet Public Policy’ rises alongside it. Here’s what the change looks like.

During the recent Geneva Internet Platform conference, I met Bob Kahn, one of the authors of TCP/IP. TCP/IP is one of many protocols defining how computers, servers and networks route data. By far the dominant protocol, TCP/IP gave the Internet its ‘interconnecticity’ (another buzzword, borne of ‘interconnectivity’ and ‘velocity’), and the impression of the web as a discrete and fluid space. Kahn, in one of his many visits to Geneva, had just presented his latest ‘baby,’ the Digital Object Naming Association, a tool for assigning a unique global number to every object in the Internet. Kahn’s new prima DONA, as he put it, resembles the early IANA under Jon Postel. “Very early on, Jon was corresponding with me about the naming and numbering system established for the Internet (IANA). He would receive calls from all over. Once, the chief of staff for the King of Jordan asked why a student was handling domains from his classroom at Amman University. We replied that we had no religious stance, and they let him keep the job.”

But why has DONA chosen a Swiss home address instead of joining ICANN, IANA’s host, in sunny southern California? Kahn shared his thoughts: “IANA and DONA are similar, but as we talked to different governments about global numbering, the Chinese and others said, ‘if this system is set up as a U.S. non-profit under U.S. jurisdiction and control, we won’t use it.’ This is why we opted for a Swiss foundation.” I asked him why IANA wasn’t a Swiss foundation from the start, as Dr. Postel once wished. Kahn, who had differed from Postel on this point, gave a simple answer: “The last thing you wanted was regulation, but things have changed.”

If DONA is incorporated in Switzerland, the question remains: How much control will the U.S. try to exert? Governance of DONA will be a matter of global public policy; oversight can’t be unilateral. Even Kahn’s personal patent to “protect this new object numbering process” will come under scrutiny, especially if the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) gets involved in Kahn’s numbering system.

In a twist of historical irony, Louis Pouzin, another Internet Hall-of-Famer, was in the audience when Kahn presented DONA. The French polytechnicien was the first to use datagrams to exchange data packets in a network. In February 1973, Pouzin presented his work to Kahn and Vint Cerf, when they were still puzzling over data packet exchanges between networks (a puzzle they solved with TCP/IP). Unlike Kahn with DONA, all three researchers were working on public grants (Pouzin for France, Kahn and Cerf for DARPA), and so none patented his work. The French Wikipedia page says “Pouzin’s work was used greatly by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf to create TCP/IP,” whereas the U.S. Wikipedia page puts it differently: “His work influenced Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf and others in the development of TCP/IP protocols used by the Internet.” Cerf is now VP of Google, Kahn still hates regulation and Pouzin is a computer scientist turned activist competing against ICANN for more Internet through alternative open routing. It’s no surprise that Pouzin advocates for re-balancing Internet power away from the U.S..

For years, the U.S. exploited unbalanced power to make ‘Internet Governance’ a diplomatic no-man’s land, which it alone policed through vague processes of self-nomination to a Byzantine nominating committee to… Formal consensus was always kept at bay, unfavorable issues scuttled and decisive votes avoided. A not-so-democratic world. But now, a number of governments have already had their say in the role DONA could play in the Internet. Such a shaping of the tech landscape is a sign of this shift away from ‘Internet Governance’ to public geo-politics and geo-economics.

The NetMundial Initiative, announced last summer as a joint venture by ICANN and the World Economic Forum, involves WEF’s 750 transnational corporate members, who bring countless global leaders and social activists to Davos, even though some are left out in the snow. This ‘initiative’ follows the NETMundial ‘summit’ in Sao Paulo last April. The summit proved to be a carrot for Brazil, who walked away the diplomatic bon hôte. But for all of President Rousseff’s finger-wagging at the UN over U.S. surveillance, the U.S. skirted the issue at the Brazil summit by announcing it could end its IANA oversight, with control shifting, conditionally, to a “multistakeholder” arrangement, possibly ICANN itself.

No one expected WEF and ICANN to follow up the summit by launching the NetMundial Initiative. Some summit participants felt the NETMundial name was hijacked. Others worried NetMundial would co-opt both the name and the joint statement made by the conference participants, even though there is no official listing of the signatories. There are persistent murmurings of re-writing the NETMundial principles under the NetMundial Initiative, which, sadly, hasn’t mobilized many of the summit participants.

Some participants went further, like the Just Net Coalition, which strongly refused to join the Initiative. For that matter, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) also declined to join the NetMundial Initiative. Just Net Coalition sees the Initiative drawing the corporate elite into a new power center, a global Internet ‘establishment.’ ISOC may see the Initiative as a rival. The Just Net Coalition, an umbrella for civil society organizations from around the globe, has called on civil society not to join NetMundial. But many join nonetheless, because “nature abhors a vacuum,” “we will know our enemy better, if we join,” or “we will be able to influence from within.”

Wherever one stands, when the WEF calls for “constructive debate over non-technological issues,” the fog begins to clear. Debates about safe encryption, mass surveillance, interconnection, searching, aggregating personal profiles, localized data within national jurisdictions — many issues once considered dry and technical — are transformed to be political. Once WEF’s wealthy corporate members become interested in these issues, heads of state soon follow, and deputy ministers and undersecretaries of telecommunication will be scrambling to brief the higher levels of government around the world.

In May 2014, the shift was signaled elsewhere: The advocate general for the EU’s Court of Justice argued that Google shouldn’t honor individuals’ “right to be forgotten.” No one expected Google to lose. But the Court’s judgment upended the advocate general’s case — aurprise! The decision was a re-affirmation of political will; it bolstered the European personal data directive passed three years before Google’s launch. Remember, a directive is a legal and regulatory act by the European Council, Commission and Parliament, not a “multistakeholder” decision involving corporations, special experts and whoever else can insinuate themselves into the fray. The judgment was in favor of a democratic Europe protecting its citizens’ rights and against the supremacy of a transnational corporation.

The European Parliament recently called for Google to break up. This action was supported by a large majority of MPs. The Internet is truly back in politics. But this doesn’t mean the U.S. will stop derailing whatever contravenes its interests. The last time the Internet enjoyed so much political attention was in 1995 — the year the EU passed the personal data directive — when Al Gore recognized the value of controlling the Internet route zone. After three years of lobbying, control was wrested away from academics and given to a California non-profit by the United States government. Since then, the U.S. has controlled its contract with ICANN for the performance of the IANA function.

Now, 15 years of ‘Internet Governance’ are being dumped into the dustbin of history, along with the “multistakeholder” narrative and its foggy concepts like the “equal footing,” which tries to make corporate votes equal to state votes in Internet matters. It is critical that we recognize these concerns as in the public interest, not allow them to be only vested interests.

We might also ask whether the repeated calls to protect freedom of expression for the individual — a watchword against intervention in Internet affairs — is not a ruse for avoiding regulation on the grounds that the Internet is like life: It all boils down to individual choice. The sum of individuals’ actions does not match the needs of the poor, fragile and forgotten in society. The Internet can disrupt daily life and the social order in good ways and bad, but when disruption obscures the democratic social contract, it is a matter of grave concern.

Stepping in political science, Vint Cerf made a telling attempt to quote Rousseau in a recent public chat. Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist” ineptly twisted the philosopher’s Du Contrat Social, a major writing of the Enlightenment, which calls on citizens to abandon part of their personal sovereignty to a state. In turn, the state protects them and their right to electoral representation. Cerf read (see 01:30:10) that, “roughly speaking”, Rousseau says: “Citizens give up some of their privacy in exchange for safety.” This must be a different Rousseau, maybe one who works in the NSA’s public relations department. Or perhaps this is just how Rousseau looks through Google Glass. Whatever the case, it’s touching to see a computer scientist waxing philosophical about social justice, especially when it’s the VP of Google trying to legitimate mass surveillance. Here, too, we see the Internet courting traditional politics, even if Cerf merely muddles them. Old power is new power.

It is time for our Internet masters, most of them in the U.S., to acknowledge that a state is not just a counter-terrorism agency or a counter-regulating body. Each state must stand for social peace, public health, education, welfare, protection and prosperity for its citizens and neighbors. We must pressure our governments to re-balance Internet power and care about digital policies so that it reinforces democracy instead of marginalizing it. Let’s see citizens drive Internet public policies not simply with clicks and logs but with a vote.

Jean-Christophe Nothias

Post-scriptum: During the same Geneva Internet Conference, we had the pleasure of meeting Helena Dalli, Malta’s Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties. Listening to her explain her views on digital policies, I was reassured that there is indeed room for innovation in politics, and not just through “public funded” research that makes fortunes for private entities who are smart enough to be in the right place at the right time.

5 upcoming Android phones that are worth waiting for

Maybe you aren’t smitten with today’s superphones or you have a suspicion that the perfect phone is just around the corner. Here’s a list of the most intriguing upcoming Android phones.

Data Innovation in Africa

While many commentators have focused on data-driven innovation in the United States and Western Europe, developing regions, such as Africa, also offer important opportunities to use data to improve economic conditions and quality of life. Three major areas where data can help are improving health care, protecting the environment, and reducing crime and corruption.

First, data-driven innovation can play a major role in improving health in Africa, including by advancing disease surveillance and medical research. Several recent examples have come to light during the ongoing West African Ebola virus outbreak of 2014, which has catalyzed international efforts to improve the continent’s disease surveillance infrastructure. One effort is an attempt to crowdsource contributions to OpenStreetMap, the self-described “Wikipedia for Maps” that anyone can edit. OpenStreetMap volunteers are using satellite images to manually identify roads, buildings, bodies of water, and other features in rural areas of West Africa, which can help aid workers and local public health officials better plan their interventions and ensure every village has been checked for the disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also piloting a program to track aggregate cell phone location data in areas affected by Ebola to provide a better picture of disease reports in real time. Other efforts are targeting basic medical research to ensure that African people are not underrepresented in genomics research. The United Genomes Project hopes to counteract the trend of basing genomic research on primarily U.S. and European populations, which can result in treatments that are ineffective among other populations, by compiling the genomes of 1,000 Africans into an openly accessible database over the next several years.

Second, various projects are using data for conservation and environmental efforts in Africa. One such initiative, the Great Elephant Census, is attempting to count African elephants to help local authorities better target conservation efforts and fight poaching. The census uses imaging drones and automated image recognition techniques to collect data that otherwise would have been too expensive or too difficult to collect using traditional data collection techniques. The University of California Santa Barbara’s Climate Hazards Group recently released a near-real time rainfall data set to help government agencies around the world detect droughts as rapidly as possible. The data is already being used to identify burgeoning areas of food insecurity, including in drought-plagued areas of East Africa. The Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory is a Delft University of Technology-led collaboration among 14 universities and several private sector organizations to use cheap sensors to collect localized weather information at 20,000 locations in sub-Saharan Africa. The resulting data will be available freely for scientific research and government use.

Third, data is helping reduce crime and corruption in Africa. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide is working on a public early-warning system for mass atrocities around the world that uses data from news reports and other sources to predict what countries carry the highest risk of genocide and other violent events in the near future. It will be rolled out during next year’s elections in Nigeria, which have historically been marred by violence. Israeli startup Windward uses satellite imagery to flag potentially illegal activity, including illegal fishing and piracy, around the world. Windward’s algorithms have already been used around the Horn of Africa to identify pirate activity. Other efforts are focused around government corruption. These include the South Africa-based Parliamentary Monitoring Group, which compiles and publishes data about local politicians, and Ghana-based Odekro, a website that monitors politicians’ behavior and publishes public debate transcripts and other political information.

These examples represent just a subset of the many ways that data-driven innovation is having a positive impact on Africa and address problems that have plagued African countries for decades. Although many of these innovative approaches come from international efforts, some are homegrown as well. For example, Nairobi-based Gro Ventures collects regular data on crop yields and commodity prices from local farmers and uses the data to build risk models that banks can use to make loans to farmers. The number of opportunities will continue to grow as the technology becomes cheaper, data becomes more plentiful, and the skills needed to perform analysis becomes more widely available.

This post was originally published on the Center for Data Innovation blog.

US division of TD Bank readying Apple Pay support for mid-December

The US division of TD Bank is aiming at a mid-December launch of Apple Pay support, a source says. The company is reportedly training workers on both Apple Pay and tokenized Visa transactions. That training is scheduled to end late next week, in time for a launch currently targeted around December 18th. To verify cards the company is expected to use a system similar to that of institutions like Bank of America, which have people call their bank after adding a card through Passbook.

James Watson's Nobel Prize Fetches Record Sum At Auction

How much is a Nobel prize worth?

If you’re James Watson, who shared a 1962 Nobel for his role in the discovery of the structure of DNA, it’s worth about $4.76 million. That’s how much his 23-carat gold medal fetched at auction in New York City on Thursday night (the price includes the buyer’s premium).

The auction house Christie’s said the medal, which went to an anonymous bidder, was the first ever sold by a living recipient, the Associated Press reported.

Watson, 86, was there to watch the auction with his wife and one of his sons, the New York Times reported. After the sale he said he was pleased, adding, “It’s more money than I expected to give to charity.”

He said some of the proceeds would go to the University of Chicago, Cold Spring Harbor Lab, and other charities, the paper reported.

Watson told Nature that selling his medal was aimed at redeeming his reputation, which had been tarnished by comments he made linking race and intelligence. In 2007, he was suspended from his job at Cold Spring Harbor Lab after furor erupted when he suggested that black people are less intelligent than white people.

The controversy over his remarks also left him strapped for cash, he told the Financial Times.

“No one really wants to admit I exist,” Watson said. “Because I was an ‘unperson’ I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income,” he said.

Watson later attempted to clarify his comments in a piece published in 2007 by The Independent that ran under the headline “James Watson: To question genetic intelligence is not racism.”

In the piece, he offered his apologies to those who had “drawn the inference” from his words that he thought that Africa was genetically inferior. “That is not what I meant,” he wrote, adding:

“We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things. The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science.”

Watson shared the Nobel prize with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins.

Sony's nightmare week: what now?

Not even a new Bond could salvage Sony Pictures’ horror week. What now?

GCHQ 'does not breach human rights'

The current system of UK intelligence collection does not currently breach the European Convention of Human Rights, a panel of judges has ruled.

How To Sync PC Settings in Windows 8.1 Using OneDrive

If you are like me, one think you get use to in Windows 8.1 is how your Start screen is configured on your PC.  With a swipe to the left or right, I know exactly where certain apps are located that I access, making my user experience certainly more personal but equally faster for me day-to-day. As I posted earlier in the week, I picked up a Toshiba Encore 2 tablet on Black Friday.  You can read my first impressions of the Encore 2 here on the site but now that I have two Windows 8.1 devices, the ability to

The post How To Sync PC Settings in Windows 8.1 Using OneDrive appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

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