Tech News for January 12

The People Technology Left Behind: Creating Better Products for the Blind

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan are working on a way to update the braille display, so it’s fit for the 21stCentury. The technology could help create an accessible and affordable way for the blind to read braille. The proposed mechanism uses liquid or air to pneumatically raise the dots on the screen. This development would allow for a Kindle-sized page of text to be displayed all at once, expanding the possibilities for tactile visuals and deeper learning among the blind.

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What Exactly Is Smart-Gun Safety Technology?

Every time a toddler accidentally shoots a friend or family member, a teen kills himself via gunshot, or a shooter perpetrates an act of mass violence, public discussion circles back to “smart gun” technology. The concept has roots in a 1995 National Institute of Justice study that recommended a technology-based approach to reduce the incidence of police officers killed in gun-grabs by assailants. More recently, President Obama’s message on gun violence included specific recommendations on federal actions designed to promote the development and commercialization of electronic gun-safety systems..

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New technology would allow cars to communicate

Drivers have been able to communicate with each other in their cars for years, but what if cars could communicate with each other, too? Soon, that could be a possibility – with a technology called vehicle to vehicle or V2V communication. According to car manufacturers, the technology could help warn drivers of dangerous situations on the roads before they happen. Call 12 For Action has learned the Department of Transportation is working toward requiring V2V technology to be in all cars sold in the U.S.

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Can Tech Disrupt Gun Violence?

With a gridlocked Congress unlikely to advance any sort of firearm control measures, President Obama is again touting technology as a bipartisan way to make guns less deadly. But gun violence has so far proved difficult to disrupt. Obama tried to cheerlead innovation during his emotional White House speech last week outlining his executive orders on gun control. “If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint,” Obama said in calling for high-tech help, “why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?”

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Governor Proposes 2016-17 Expenditures for FI$Cal Development

Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan, California would spend more than $135 million in fiscal year 2016-17 to continue developing its new statewide financial accounting system. About $100 million was spent on the system, called the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) in 2014-15. The state expects to spend an additional $153 million during the current fiscal year (2015-16).

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The 2016 cyber security roadmap

2014 was heralded as the ‘year of the data breach’ – but we’d seen nothing yet. From unprecedented data theft to crippling hacktivism attacks and highly targeted state-sponsored hacks, 2015 has been the bleakest year yet for the cyber security of businesses and organisations. High profile breaches at Ashley Madison, TalkTalk and JD Wetherspoons have brought the protection of personal and enterprise data into the public consciousness.

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Overnight Cybersecurity: House weighs export rules for cyber weapons


–SOUND AND VISION: The House on Tuesday will discuss concerns over a set of proposed Obama administration regulations designed to keep hacking tools out of the hands of repressive regimes. Lawmakers will try to break a stalemate on how the administration will rewrite the regulations, which have been bashed by the cybersecurity industry, researchers and a large bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. These opponents have warned the current proposal would stunt growth in a burgeoning industry and actually weaken cybersecurity worldwide.

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Exclusive: What DHS and the FBI learned from the OPM breach

A culture of poor cyber hygiene plagues the Office of Personnel Management and “likely aided the adversary” in the large-scale hack of the agency, according to a Department of Homeland Security and FBI report obtained by FCW. A lack of strong IT policies leaves OPM “at high risk for future intrusions,” investigators concluded. “Convenience and accessibility [have] been prioritized over critical security practices,” states the Dec. 23 “cyber alert,” distributed to cleared contractors by the Defense Security Service on behalf of DHS and the FBI.

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Cheaper Isn’t Necessarily Better for Government Purchasing (Opinion)

Everyone loves a bargain, even governments. When government purchasers put out a construction bid, the winning company is often the one that quotes the lowest price for the project. Previous performance is not necessarily taken into account. That’s like buying the cheapest used car on an auto dealer’s lot, without checking out the condition of the motor.

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U.S. Intelligence Leaders Meet with Silicon Valley Firms

At a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Silicon Valley, top tech companies met Friday with high-ranking federal officials to discuss a potential collaboration in the fight against terrorism. Representatives from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and other firms gathered in San Jose to meet a Washington cadre that included White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, according to reports.

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