Leo says that for the first time in decades, driving fatalities are on the rise and the reason points to distracted driving as users of smartphones have their attentions divided. As such, California and other states are ratcheting up the fines for anyone who uses their smartphone while driving.
This Week in Tech News
A local TV news segment told the story of a girl who talked to Amazon Echo and accidentally ordered hundreds of dollars in toys and cookies through the automatic ordering feature. In doing so, the radio station triggered homes all over San Diego that have Amazon Echo to do the same thing. Leo says it's important to make sure you have parental controls on to avoid this, and to train yourself to not use the "A" word when talking about things it may mistakenly use to order for you.
The Federal Trade Commission is taking router manufacturer D-Link to court over product security and privacy issues. This all relates to the lack of security for Internet of Things devices. The FTC alleged that the company “failed to take reasonable steps to protect their routers and cameras from widely known and reasonably foreseeable risks of unauthorized access.”
Read more at theverge.com.
The Russian hacking story is now all over the news, especially after the joint agency report about the hacking. Many security experts aren't basing their assessment on that report, and it was most likely misdirection for public consumption having nothing to do with the actual information. In the report, they listed about a hundred IP addresses that they believe were used by Russian government hackers. The problem with those IP addresses is that a lot of them are TOR exit nodes, which could have been used by anyone.
Uber is poised for a fight against new regulations in the city of San Francisco that requires all self driving cars to have a special license. They can afford any fines since estimates are that the company is worth $66 Billion. Leo says that Uber really loves to fight.
Leo says that the alleged hacking by the Russians in our election was a "bush league" spear phishing attack that allowed hackers to gain access to emails from the Democrat National Committee. Leo says we need to know more about it. It seems to Leo that this attack was more like North Korea hacking Sony.
Michigan became the first state in the union to pass laws that would pave the way for autonomous self driving cars. But in doing so, they made it only legal for auto manufacturers to do so. Leo says that no driver will be required and that Google and other companies pushing for the laws applauded the move even though they can't create them just yet. But Leo suspects there's a loop hole in there somewhere. Next comes Florida.
With about 100,000 Note 7s still out in the wild, Samsung is about to send out an update that will make the mobile phone inoperable unless it's plugged in. It is hoped that these outlyers will then be returned by owners. Verizon has already said it won't push that update over the air during the holiday season. Meanwhile, Samsung has upped the ante to a full refund, plus an additional $100 for the trouble.
In performing what what the FCC called illegal "sneak charges" for ring tones and other items without consent, AT&T violated FCC regulations and must now pay customers back over $88 million in charges. Leo says it amounts to about $30 per customer.
The White House has released an augmented reality app. The app called "1600" allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Leo believes it's far more useful than virtual reality.
Microsoft is the first to leverage augmented reality with HoloLens. It's currently $3,000, but that should get cheaper soon. Leo says he wouldn't be surprised to see if plummet in price by next year.