Federal Trade Commission chief technologist Ashkan Soltani is joining the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he will serve as senior adviser to chief technology officer Megan Smith. Soltani will focus on consumer protection, big data and privacy.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan addresses concerns raised the paper's decision to use geo-location data to "personalize" online stories. "A New York Times that gives readers too much personalization could become more of an echo chamber than a news provider," she writes. "As the paper continues down this path, it’s important to do so with awareness and caution. For one thing, some readers won’t like any personalization and will regard it as intrusive. For another, personalization could deprive readers of a shared, and expertly curated, news experience, which is what many come to The Times for."
Writing in Slate, net neutrality expert Marvin Ammori says that T-Mobile's BingeOn service likely violates the net neutrality rule that prohibits carriers from throttling services. The service lets T-Mobile users stream unlimited video from two dozen companies, but also automatically degrades all video, unless users opt out. "The FCC banned throttling for good reason, namely that Internet service providers should not bias their networks toward some applications or classes of applications," Ammori writes. "Biasing the network interferes with user choice, innovation decisions of application makers, and the competitive marketplace."
A German woman who rented a place Irvine, California through Airbnb says in a new lawsuit that she was filmed by a hidden camera placed in the property by the host. She is suing the host for invasion of privacy, and suing Airbnb for failing to check host's backgrounds.
A flaw in Target's mobile app exposes customers' addresses, phone numbers and their "wish lists," researchers from security company Avast report. Target suspended parts of the app Tuesday evening, a company spokesperson told Ars Technica.
The town of Leverett, Massachusetts, which recently launched a community broadband network, will offer residents 2 GB connections for a total of $75 a month, starting next year. By contrast, Comcast charges $300 a month for 2 GB service.
The Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit businesses from attempting to squelch consumer reviews. The Consumer Review Freedom Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the authority to move against businesses that include non-disparagement clauses in their terms of service.
AT&T's U-Verse broadband subscribers are getting hit with rate hikes starting next month, according to DSLReports. Many people with television packages will see increases between $2-$4 a month.
Angie's List co-founder Angie Hicks tells Consumerist why the review site removes complaints about businesses if the reviews' authors get refunds. "If the company gives the outcome the customer has asked for, then you don’t have a complaint anymore,” Hicks says. “If you think about the process, we ask the customer to articulate the best outcome, if we resolve that, then you are therefore happy, so the review should reflect that."
T-Mobile will give a free year of Hulu to people who switch from Verizon Wireless to a T-Mobile "Simple Choice" postpaid plan. "Verizon customers put up with a lot of sneaky tricks from Big Red these days," T-Mobile CEO John Legere reportedly said. "Overpriced data, shocking overage penalties and no early upgrade option -- just to name a few."