Around the IT Industry 5/27-5/31

by Modis on May 31, 2013

Unprecedented Email Privacy Law Heads for Review by Texas Governor

If Rick Perry does not veto the bill, Texas will soon be the state with the strongest email privacy bill on record. The bill gives Texans more privacy to their emails, blocking the state from spying on their inboxes. The new bill, if it passes, will make Texas’s email laws more stringent than the 1996 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which only requires federal law enforcement to get a warrant before searching email inboxes. Privacy reformers hope to send a message to congress that this legislature is needed not only on a state by state basis, but at a federal level.

Google Fiber May turn Phone and Internet Providers into a Thing of the Past

While naysayers claim that Google Fiber will run its course in a few years, many analysts say it has a well thought out business model for long term sustainability. These competitors should at least be considering the possibility that their bundle packages and paid channel subscriptions may soon become extinct. Google Fiber will be available in three cities this year: Provo, Utah; Kansas City, both in Kansas and in Missouri; and Austin, Texas. Based on Google Fiber’s progress in Kansas City, its risk-to-return profile remains low. Investors are seeing the new technology and the public’s reaction to it as a general positive, even as Google plans to add new cities to the market. This could be the beginning of the last hurrah for traditional telephone and cable companies, unless they plan to adjust quickly to what Google Fiber offers clients.

PayPal Denies Teenager Reward for Finding Exploit

A 17 year old student in Germany contends that PayPal has denied him a reward for finding a security vulnerability in its website. Robert Kugler said that he notified PayPal of the vulnerability on May 19th, and PayPal let him know that since he is under 18 he did not qualify for their Bug Bounty Program. While PayPal does outline the terms and conditions of their Bug Bounty on their website, it does not appear to have an age limit listed. Facebook pays a minimum of $500 for finding bugs, and Google pays anywhere from $100 to $20,000 depending on the severity of the issue found. Kugler would like PayPal to acknowledge his finding and send him some documentation so that he could at the very least bolster his resume, and so far the money transferring giant has remained silent.

Google Unveils New Gmail Inbox and App Experience

Google has finally released its long awaited overhaul to its Gmail app for Android. This is in conjunction with a new inbox experience which headlines the biggest revamp of the email service in years. The new Gmail is centered on tabs. The concept is that a user may have five sub-inbox tabs categorized by type, one primary inbox, another for notifications from social media and promotions, updates to flights and confirmations, and more. Users can manually move messages into a specific tab, or customize the way messages are filtered. This update will arrive within the next few weeks for both Android and iOS users.

Xbox One’s Most Disturbing Feature

The Xbox One’s Kinect sensor has a lot of disturbing ideas going for it if you ask the general public, but not if you ask Microsoft. It can track every move in your living room, and it plans to reward you with achievements for sitting through commercials. More ominously, the Kinect may be configured to track the viewing behaviors of multiple users. This means that Microsoft will be gathering data about everyone that uses your Kinect to watch television or movies, sending it back for analysis without your consent. They claim that the rewards for sitting through commercials will be avatar customization, digital gifts, or Xbox points, but are these “perks” really worth the invasion of privacy the Kinect poses? Time will tell if these features make it into the final build of the Xbox One.

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