Venezuela might have the mannequins with the world’s biggest breasts, but Britain now has the most tech-savvy models gracing its store windows and shop floors.
This week three UK retailers launched the world’s first mannequins embedded with so-called iBeacons – little Bluetooth transmitters that can send alerts to smartphones in the vicinity, offering details about the clothes such as how to buy them online and where to find them in store. Read more
Facebook has unveiled a new feature which allows it to takeover a smartphone’s microphone to identify and track what songs a user is listening to and what TV programmes people are watching. Read more
Friday’s Personal Tech column reviewed the Narrative Clip, a small wearable camera that takes a photo every 30 seconds. Although it is a well-made product, I encountered some difficulties with the privacy aspects of wearing such a device, and felt that the images it produced were not worth the social awkwardness that it created.
Narrative’s co-founders are a thoughtful bunch and Oskar Kalmaru, the start-up’s chief marketing officer, sent the FT these comments in response: Read more
Mark Zuckerberg accused the US government of bad PR, saying it failed to communicate the balance of security and economic interests behind its internet surveillance efforts – in turn creating a massive PR problem for Facebook.
“I think the government blew it,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It’s my job and our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook and the information they share with us. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy and companies. And I think they did a bad job of balancing those things.” Read more
Google has lost an appeal in a case about its controversial Street View feature, after a panel of judges rejected its claim that wiretapping laws did not apply to its accidental interception of household WiFi data.
The long-running case came to a head on Tuesday when the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that private Wi-Fi networks could not be considered radio communication. Google had argued household wireless internet should be considered in the same category as radio, as data “readily accessible to the general public”, which would make it exempt from the Wiretap Act.
(and only one is, can we play with it?)
In a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page, the officials – from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and three Canadian provinces – have formally raised their concerns about Glass.
Here are their questions and our brief commentary: Read more
The privacy row over Google Glass has forced Google do an unusually Apple-like thing: block applications.
Despite repeated attempts to reassure the public that Google would not include face recognition in its Glass project without the appropriate privacy controls, the search giant has been unable to silence privacy campaigners or curb the aspirations of third party developers who are keen to exploit the new technology. Read more
“Die, my dear doctor? That is the last thing I shall do.” — the last words of former British prime minister Lord Palmerston.
Of course, he never had to worry about leaving behind a Facebook profile, an email account, or other abandoned online haunts.
The question of what happens to our online real estate after we die is a sensitive subject, as people grow concerned that what gets left behind could be used illegally or, even worse, become a source of post-mortem embarrassment.
In an effort to address these issues, Google has rolled out “Inactive Account Manager”, which can be set up to delete an account, send messages, and even share data in the event of an untimely demise.
More New Year’s resolutions for 2013 and sacrifices for Lent involve cutting down on Facebook.
More than a quarter of US Facebook users said they planned to spend less time on the social network in the coming year, according to new survey results released Tuesday. And almost two-thirds said they have taken a “Facebook Vacation” in the past, logging off the social network for several weeks at a time to get a break from their friends’ gossip and dinner reports.
Being “too busy” was the number one reason for taking the hiatus, while concerns about privacy and advertising ranked low in the explanations offered to surveyors from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Read more
Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.
How Twitter handled the suspension of a user who criticised NBC’s coverage of the Olympics drew plenty of attention from online commentators this week. For many, it offered a fresh reminder that when it comes to online services, just because users don’t pay a fee doesn’t mean it’s completely free. Read more
How does the company that says it wants to be “deserving of great love” justify tapping into home WiFi networks and grabbing snippets of personal information by the truckload?
Simple: listening in to unsecured WiFi networks, according to Google’s lawyers, is perfectly legal. And regrettable as that may sound, US regulators have accepted the defence – though they still feel Google “deliberately impeded” their investigation and “willfully and repeatedly violated” orders to produce information. Read more