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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

As the CLOUD Act sneaks into the omnibus, big tech butts heads with privacy advocates

As the House advances a 2,232 page spending bill meant to avert a government shutdown, privacy advocates and big tech companies aren’t seeing eye to eye about a small piece of legislation tucked away on page 2,212.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, a.k.a. the CLOUD Act (H.R.4943S.2383) aims to simplify the way that international law enforcement groups obtain personal data stored by US-based tech platforms, but the changes to that process are controversial.

As it stands, if a foreign government wants to obtain that data in the course of an investigation, a series of steps are necessary. First, that government must have a Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty (MLAT) with the U.S. government in place, and those treaties are ratified by the Senate. Then it can send a request to the U.S. Department of Justice, but first the DOJ needs to seek approval from a judge. After those requirements are met, the request can move along to the tech company hosting the data that the foreign government is seeking.

The debate around the CLOUD Act also taps into tech company concerns that foreign nations may move to pass laws in favor of data localization, or the process of storing users’ personal data within the borders of the country they are a citizen of. That trend would prove both costly for cloud data giants and difficult, upending the established model of cloud data storage that optimizes for efficiency rather than carefully sorting out what data is stored within the borders of which country.

In a February 6 letter, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and Oath (TechCrunch’s parent company) co-authored a letter calling the CLOUD Act “notable progress to protect consumers’ rights.”

In a late February blog post, Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith addressed the issue. “The CLOUD Act creates both the incentive and the framework for governments to sit down and negotiate modern bi-lateral agreements that will define how law enforcement agencies can access data across borders to investigate crimes,” Smith wrote. “It ensures these agreements have appropriate protections for privacy and human rights and gives the technology companies that host customer data new statutory rights to stand up for the privacy rights of their customers around the world.”

In a recent opinion piece, ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani argues that the CLOUD Act sidesteps oversight from both the legislative and judicial branches, granting the attorney general and the state department too much discretion in choosing which governments the U.S. will enter into a data exchange agreement with.

The Center for Democracy and Technology also opposes the CLOUD Act on the grounds that it fails to protect the digital privacy of American citizens and the Electronic Frontier Foundation dismissed the legislation as “a new backdoor around the Fourth Amendment.” The Open Technology Institute also denounced the CLOUD Act’s provision to “allow qualifying foreign governments to enter into an executive agreement to bypass the human rights protective Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process when seeking data in criminal investigations and to seek data directly from U.S. technology companies.”

Both organizations acknowledge that improvements to the bill do partially address some of the human rights concerns associated with not requiring a MLAT in a data sharing agreement.

“While this version of the CLOUD Act includes some new safeguards, it is still woefully inadequate to protect individual rights,” OTI Director of Surveillance & Cybersecurity Policy Sharon Bradford Franklin said of the changes.

“Critically, the bill still would permit foreign governments to obtain communications data held in the United States without any prior judicial review, and it would allow foreign governments to obtain U.S.-held communications in real time without applying the safeguards required for wiretapping by the U.S. government. ”

The Consumer Technology Association voiced its support of the altered bill in a press release issued Thursday. “CTA thanks the House of Representatives for taking steps to empower America’s digital infrastructure for the 21st century. The inclusion of the CLOUD Act and RAY BAUM’S Act in today’s legislation ensures Americans can safely create, share and collect electronic data while providing them the resources to do so.”

While some changes made aspects of the bill more palatable to digital privacy watchdogs, some are objecting to the choice to tack it onto the omnibus spending bill.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke out Thursday against passing the CLOUD Act by attaching it to the spending bill.

“Tucked away in the omnibus spending bill is a provision that allows Trump, and any future president, to share Americans’ private emails and other information with countries he personally likes. That means he can strike deals with Russia or Turkey with nearly zero congressional involvement and no oversight by U.S. courts,” Wyden said. “This bill contains only toothless provisions on human rights that Trump’s cronies can meet by merely checking a box. It is legislative malpractice that Congress, without a minute of Senate debate, is rushing through the CLOUD Act on this must-pass spending bill.”

While the content of the CLOUD Act has evolved away from controversy with some modifications, the choice to pass it as part of the omnibus plan without further opportunity for public debate to examine its potential far-reaching implications is proving just as controversial as earlier forms of the legislation.


Source: TechCrunch

Oculus Go and Santa Cruz will have a 72Hz mode for smoother mobile VR

The upcoming Oculus Go and Santa Cruz mobile VR headsets will have 72Hz refresh rate modes for a more fluid experience. Current mobile VR solutions max out at 60Hz, such as the Gear VR headset for Samsung’s smartphones.

The post Oculus Go and Santa Cruz will have a 72Hz mode for smoother mobile VR appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Huawei dealt a blow, loses Best Buy as retail partner – CNET

The Chinese company, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, won’t be able to sell its smartphones, smartwatches and laptops at Best Buy. It’s already shut out by the US carriers.
Source: CNET

AI can quickly and accurately analyze heart scans, study says – CNET

Researchers find machine learning can classify heart anatomy on an ultrasound scan faster, more accurately and more efficiently than a human.
Source: CNET

Mark Zuckerberg answers key questions in scandal, but many remain – CNET

Facebook’s CEO says that he’s sorry about the Cambridge Analytica scandal affecting “tens of millions” and that he’d be willing to testify before Congress.
Source: CNET

The Ocean Project is coming for the Great Garbage Patch video – CNET

Engineers are months away from deploying a project that will try to reduce the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive collection of plastic floating between California and Hawaii.
Source: CNET

Atlanta computer systems held hostage in ransomware attack – CNET

Files on city computer systems have been encrypted, according to a ransom note that demands payment in bitcoin.
Source: CNET

Trump’s Latest China Tariffs Could Hurt Tech—and Even Social Media

President Trump says he will impose tariffs on about $60 billion of Chinese goods in response to “tremendous intellectual property theft.”
Source: Wired

Tapas Media aims to turn digital comics into the next big entertainment franchise

Tapas Media has its own platform for digital comics — but like a lot of publishers, CEO Chang Kim has ambitions beyond the comics world.

Comixology is the big name in digital comics. The company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014, is focused on selling print comics from major publishers in web- and mobile-friendly formats. (It’s also working with publishers like Marvel to create exclusively digital content.)

That’s a very different approach from Tapas, which Kim compared to YouTube — it allows individual creators to publish their work and (hopefully) reach an audience. And unlike the superhero-dominated world of American comics, the most popular titles on Tapas seem to be more romance and fantasy themed, and are usually drawn in a style that’s closer to Japanese manga.

Tapas was founded in 2013, and it now says the platform has more than 32,000 creators who have created more than 48,000 titles. And it’s reaching an audience of 2.1 million monthly visitors.

The comics themselves are monetized through micropayments. Usually, the first few chapters of a title are free, then you have to pay to keep going.

Chang said his team is also working with some of the most popular creators on the platform to develop new intellectual property, which could be translated into movies or TV or other media. Eventually, he said he’s hoping that Tapas could launch the next Harry Potter.

Dungeon Construction Co game

That level of success is a long way off, but Tapas is already exploring ways to adapt its IP. For example, it’s announcing a partnership with Red Kraken Apps to develop a mobile puzzle game based on its Dungeon Construction Co. comic.

In addition, the company has partnered with Hachette Book Group and Ten Speed Press on titles, and it’s signed distribution deals with Tencent and Kakao.

Tapas announced earlier this month that it has raised $5 million in additional Series A funding. (The company has raised $10.8 million total.) Now it’s revealing more details about the round, which comes from ID Ventures, SBI Investment Korea, Medici Investment and EN Investment. Sean Park of ID Ventures is joining the board of directors.

“ID Ventures invested in Tapas Media because we believe in the impact their platform has on the digital and mobile publishing industries,” Park said in a statement. “Their remarkable extension into licensed content and co-development will see their continued dominance, as ID Ventures’ investment looks to help Tapas Media capitalize on their platform’s adoption and innovation as well.”


Source: TechCrunch

El ADN de humanos "mutantes" revela un nuevo superpoder para el hígado

Los estudios genéticos masivos están empezando a encontrar a personas con alteraciones en el ADN que les protegen contra ciertas enfermedades, como la cirrosis alcohólica. Este hallazgo puede inspirar nuevos fármacos para compartir este superpoder con al resto de la población


Source: MIT

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