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How Even the Remotest Parts of the World Are Getting Mobile Coverage

December 19, 2014 For mobile operators, setting up shop in some of the remotest places on earth can bring rich rewards, but also tremendous risk. Sometimes the risk is too much—Digicel founder Denis O’Brien said his company lost nine people in “plane crashes, accidents, car crashes” when it was building its network in ...

Why Robots Won't Take Over the World Anytime Soon

December 8, 2014 Just this week, the world’s most famous living physicist, Stephen Hawking, laid out his worries about artificial intelligence: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” he told the BBC. In October, Elon Musk delivered much the same message, warning that “we should be ...

Worrying About Cyber War Is Making Us Less Safe

December 3, 2014 Ten days ago, on Nov. 24, online security firms revealed the existence of a powerful computer virus called Regin. A tool of espionage (pdf), the bug displayed all the hallmarks of nation-state backing, researchers said. Suspicion immediately fell on the US and Israel. The following day came news of a ...

Survey: Americans Do Care About Online Privacy After All

November 12, 2014 In the past year, it has become increasingly clear just how public our private communications are. Edward Snowden exposed the extent of government snooping in western democracies, large retail firms have been repeatedly subject to security breaches—with millions of individuals’ personal details leaked each time—and journalists have been energetically revealing ...

China Poised to Dominate E-Commerce by 2018

November 11, 2014 Chinese shoppers are celebrating the online shopping extravaganza Singles Day, and by 1:30pm local time, they had spent nearly $6 billion on Alibaba, the country’s biggest e-commerce site. Last year it took them the full day to cough up that much cash. It is a sign of just how quickly ...

CEOs, Beware -- Someone is Snooping on You Using Hotel Wi-Fi

November 10, 2014 “CEOs, senior vice presidents, sales and marketing directors and top R&D staff.” These are the people who have been targeted by Darkhotel, a sophisticated security threat, as they check into hotels around the world, according to a new report (pdf) by Kaspersky Labs, an online security firm. The vast majority ...

Americans' Share of Online Global Population is on the Decline

November 7, 2014 The problem with online advertising isn’t just that it’s ugly, intrusive, and unwelcome (paywall). It’s also that nobody has ever really known whether it works. (It probably doesn’t.) A new study by GlobalWebIndex, a market research firm, indicates that this problem is getting worse: As more people from around the ...

The Future of Wearable Technology Sounds Kind of Awful

October 28, 2014 Many in the tech world have predicted that this will not be the year of wearable technology, but the year the hype dies down. In the summer, Gartner, a research firm, published an updated version of its “hype cycle” chart, placing wearables at the precipice of the “trough of disillusionment,” ...

Will This Google App Really Reinvent Email?

October 23, 2014 Google has been trying to reinvent email for years. Five years ago, Google launched Wave, which at the time spurred breathless articles about redefining email. A year in, Wave was shut down. Today, Google’s giving it another more refined attempt with Inbox, a new app. If you believe the reviewers ...

Facebook Increasingly the Gatekeeper of Your Online Identity

September 26, 2014 When Facebook executives meet potential advertisers, their biggest selling point is that the company knows whom it’s advertising to. In contrast to the wilds of the web, the proposition goes, Facebook users sign in to the service and make themselves known. Match their data with third parties—data brokers who provide ...