Obama visits Silicon Valley to headline cybersecurity summit
The White House is heading west to Silicon Valley on Friday looking for ideas on how to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. At the first-of-its-kind summit at Stanford University, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order that urges companies to share threat information with one another and with the government. There are some areas of discord between the government and the tech industry: surveillance and encryption. Apple CEO Tim Cook is the most high-profile executive in attendance, while top execs from Google, Facebook and Yahoo declined invitations to attend (but will be represented in discussions at the event).
Xiaomi dips toe in U.S. waters
China’s smartphone star Xiaomi will offer a U.S. version of its online shopping site later this year, but it will be selling accessories like headphones and not the smartphones that many users in Asia have been raving about. The company has not ruled out selling smartphones in the U.S: its vice president for international markets, Hugo Barra, noted the significant effort required, including getting required certifications and striking deals with carriers. “It’s an incredible amount of work and we have to move at the right pace,” he said. “We’re accelerating our entry by bringing simpler products.”
Expedia bulking up with acquisitions to fend off Google
Expedia’s CEO says that the $1.6 billion proposed acquisition of rival Orbitz announced Thursday isn’t a sign that it’s consolidating into the dominant online travel player. Rather, snatching up Orbitz will give Expedia the customers it needs to fend off companies like Google that have muscled their way into the online travel agency space, Dara Khosrowshahi said.
Qualcomm finds new antitrust troubles just days after settling old ones
After agreeing to a US$975 settlement with the Chinese government earlier this week, Qualcomm may have hoped it had put to rest accusations that it behaves anticompetitively as a dominant vendor of mobile phone processors and technologies. But now reports out of South Korea say that country’s fair trade regulator may be investigating Qualcomm’s business practices as well.
Facebook will let you designate an heir to your account when you die
In a move that acknowledges the sometimes problematic way that Facebook profiles can live on after their owners have died, the social media company will now let users in the U.S. identify a “legacy contact” to manage their accounts post mortem. That person can instruct Facebook to transform a profile into a memorial page, and will be allowed to write a post to be displayed at the top of the deceased person’s timeline and respond to new friend requests.
Dark Web search engine means business
The “Dark Web” search engine developed by U.S. defense researchers has huge potential for business, not just crime-fighting, says one of its developers. Carnegie Mellon professor Jeff Schneider said that one of Memex’s advantages is its ability to poke around the Web and find pages not indexed by Google. It can also tune its knowledge to specific domains of interest, and with user feedback it can keep refining those domains. Asked about what’s coming next, he said, “This is a three-year research program that started six months ago. ... It’s really just at the very beginning.”
E-mail release by Jeb Bush dumped not only personal information, but also viruses
In another illustration of the adage, “No good deed goes unpunished,” the email cache released earlier this week by U.S. presidential hopeful Jeb Bush from his time as Florida governor unintentionally included the names, email addresses and phone numbers of thousands of people—and also a host of old computer viruses. Alongside a Web interface to read the emails, Bush also offered raw Microsoft Outlook files, and it’s in those files that the viruses lurked in file attachments; they have now been removed.
Fujitsu showed off a prototype Bluetooth ring that lets you write in the air instead of using a keyboard.
One last thing
What happens after a thoughtless tweet goes viral? Here’s a close-up look at the public shaming technology enables.