Tech News for January 19

Data Leaks Expose Private Information Without Being Hacked

Thirteen million MacKeeper users; 3.3 million Hello Kitty fans;191 million U.S. voters. Recently, those people’s names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, among other personal details, were found on the Internet because of leaky databases. The number of those affected is astounding — made especially terrifying by the fact the data are out there, no hacking required.

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New California Legislation Protects Student Data

A new California law limits the use of student data for advertising, The law, effective January 1, 2016, was signed into law in 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown and prohibits the operators of education websites, online services, and apps from using any student’s person information to create targeted advertising or a commercial profile. According to a U.S. News article, the new law also prohibits selling student information and requires education technology companies to maintain reasonable security procedures for the students’ personal data and to delete information at a school’s request.

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Initiative Brings Clean Power To Rural Zones With Microgrid Technology

Building an infrastructure to deliver power to remote rural areas is costly and takes long. Traditional methods of electrification requires hundreds of kilometers of transmission and distribution (T&D), requiring high investments with prospects of low returns. For this reason, in many emerging economies rural zones remain cut off from the power grid. But electricity is essential to help economies improve, for health, sanitation, education and every other need of a society, regardless of its size.

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Ingram Micro Brings IBM Cloud to New Markets

Ingram Micro (IM) has provided customers in five international markets with access to the IBM Cloud as the distributor seeks to increase partner access to infrastructure capabilities from SoftLayer. Beginning immediately, Ingram Micro channel partners in Austria, Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. have access to IBM Cloud through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, according to the announcement. Previously, IBM Cloud had exclusively been available to Ingram’s U.S. resellers.

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U.S. government to invest $4B in self-driving car technology over 10 years

The federal government wants to get autonomous vehicles on the road more quickly, and says it will fast-track policies and possibly even waive regulations to do it. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx—surrounded by representatives from General Motors and Ford as well as Google and Tesla—said Thursday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will spend the next six months developing guidance for automakers on what’s expected of self-driving prototype cars and what sort of tests should be used to make sure they are safe.

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The Knock-Down, Drag-Out Fight Over Cybersecurity Legislation

Last year, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, a bill allowing companies to share information about cyberthreats with the government and one another, became law. This marked the conclusion of a long battle between the corporate and government interests that supported the bill and the privacy community, which strongly opposed it.

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FDA outlines cybersecurity recommendations for medical device manufacturers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a draft guidance outlining important steps medical device manufacturers should take to continually address cybersecurity risks to keep patients safe and better protect the public health. The draft guidance details the agency’s recommendations for monitoring, identifying and addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices once they have entered the market. The draft guidance is part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, at all stages in their lifecycle, in the face of potential cyber threats.

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CalPERS, CalSTRS invest in data centers

California’s two big public pension funds have been on a bit of a buying spree lately, adding data centers to their investment portfolios. CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, bought a data center in Chicago this week. The purchase came a week after CalPERS purchased a data center in Broomfield, Colo. Separately, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, bought a data center last week in Richardson, Texas.

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The Race Is On: Silicon Valley Pursues Artificial Intelligence

The arms race in Silicon Valley is on for artificial intelligence. Facebook is working on a virtual personal assistant that can read people’s faces and decide whether or not to let them in your home. Google is investing in the technology to power self-driving cars, identify people on its photo service and build a better messaging app. Now Apple is adding to its artificial intelligence arsenal. The iPhone maker purchased Emotient, a San Diego maker of facial expression recognition software that can detect emotions to assist advertisers, retailers, doctors and many other professions.

[] 01/18

Hyatt Reveals Data Breach Impacted About 250 Hotels: What You Need to Know

A widespread malware attack on Hyatt Hotels last year hit about 250 locations worldwide — with nearly 100 of those in the United States — according to a list published online late Thursday by the hotel chain, as they shared the latest in their investigation into the breach. It’s the first time the company has released a comprehensive list of the hotels that were impacted by the breach, which was announced in December. The breach came shortly after competitor Starwood hotels told customers they had detected malware in point-of-sale systems at 54 locations.

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CORONA: City launches open data site

Diana Narahara, Corona’s finance manager, hovered her cursor over an online map of the city Thursday afternoon. She paused at a blue arrow indicating the Foothill Parkway extension — one of many Capital Improvement Projects underway across Corona — and a terse description of the project, costs, and a breakdown of funding sources appeared. A couple of clicks later, Narahara was looking at individual payments made to vendors for the work.

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California Reopens CALNET 3 Prequalification Process to Bidders

The California Department of Technology has reopened to bidders the continuous application process for CALNET 3 telecommunications services contracts. A new Request for Qualifications Process solicitation released this month is the first phase of an application process that “will allow for an ongoing expansion of the existing pool of the (Prequalified Multiple Award Contracts) PMAC Bidder’s List, enabling participation in future Telecommunications Services and Systems Category solicitations.”

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5 biggest cybersecurity concerns facing CIOs, CISOs in 2016

Last year began and ended with a series of high-profile cybersecurity attacks, starting with the pilfering of 80 million Social Security records at health insurer Anthem and culminating with infiltrations at Starwood, Hilton and Hyatt hotel chains. Expect digital assaults, — ranging from standard malware to more sophisticated, clandestine entries — to continue on leading corporate brands in 2016, according to Raytheon’s Websense business. The cybersecurity software maker, which analyzed threat data from 22,000 customers in 155 countries, says hackers will conjure attacks that target emerging technologies, such as mobile payments and top-level domains.

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JOHN MCAFEE: We aren’t talking enough about cybersecurity

We all know the publicized issues facing the American voters in the upcoming presidential election. And we have heard each candidate proclaim and re-proclaim, and sometimes change their proclamations on each issue. So forgive me if I insist on listing them here. I obtained the list, by the way, from the website. The top five issues are: the economy, education, energy and environment, immigration and health care. The sub issues were listed as: Civil rights, disabilities, fiscal responsibility, foreign policy, taxes and a dozen more. Cybersecurity was not listed at all.

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AM Alert: What will state medical marijuana regulations look like?

The state-level medical cannabis regulations Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year after years of thwarted efforts will govern every aspect of California’s sprawling pot industry, from cultivation to testing to delivery to sales. Plenty of political observes have their eyes on the legalization ballot fight, but policymakers are also focused on making the medical rules work. Today the California Cannabis Industry Association, whose stepped-up lobbying presence testifies to pot industry players getting organized and politically involved, is putting on a summit at the Crest Theater. Speakers will include state Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, who has pushed for safer pot banking, longtime law enforcement lobbyist John Lovell, and representatives of the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Medical Association.

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The Future of Information: Linking Cloud, Cybersecurity and Big Data Investment

Sometimes it seems like every other business is a cloud-based company. This internet-based computing service has entirely transformed the way information is processed, organized, stored and shared. Indeed, it seems almost impossible to separate the explosion of big data from cloud computing. However, the rapid transition from old school data management to the highly efficient data centers driving today’s markets has created a need for cybersecurity solutions. With sensitive personal information, healthcare records and financial records being managed by these systems, cloud security has emerged as a vital aspect of protecting this data. As a result, cloud computing, cybersecurity and big data investment have formed an important nexus in the tech space.

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New lawsuit targets California state tax building, officials

A dozen state workers are suing the Board of Equalization, alleging that agency leaders for years have known its 24-story headquarters is a health hazard but continue to tell employees that the building is perfectly safe. The lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court stems from mold and other defects at the board’s downtown Sacramento tower where roughly 2,200 employees work for the tax-collecting agency. Sacramento attorney Anthony Perez is seeking class-action status for the case and an unspecified sum of money for his clients.

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California Wants Up to 6 Vendors for Cloud Assessment Services

The California Department of Technology (CDT) is looking to establish contracts with as many as six vendors that would provide cloud assessment and implementation services for entities interested in moving systems into the state’s private cloud, according to state records. In a Jan. 15 correspondence, CDT said it will soon release a bid solicitation for Cloud Assessment, Planning, and Implementation Services. The state is seeking comment on a draft version of the bid available here.

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Southern California Assemblyman Proposes Electronic License Plates, Insurance for Drones

Assemblymember Mike Gatto on Jan. 13 introduced legislation that would require license plates, shutoff technology and point-of-sale insurance policies for drones. Gatto, the longest-serving member of the Assembly and chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, said the Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016 responds to the emergence of the new technology and would help protect firefighting efforts and aviation space near airports. Gatto’s legislation will propose tiny physical license plates or electronic plates in order to keep drone operators accountable, and drones of a certain size would be required in incorporate GPS technology that automatically shuts off the drone if it flies too close to an airport.

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California Agencies Deploy Data Analytics to Determine Traffic Project Impact

When it comes to the fast-moving field of traffic management technology, there is something of a bubble between what is known — data — and what is unknown. And in that space exists a bubble of uncertainty and potential, a place where government might be able to improve its own operations or even address big public problems like congestion and collisions. So much so, there’s an industry that works in that bubble. Case in point: INRIX. The company, which gathers traffic data from private vehicles, recently announced three contracts in Colorado and California, where it is either selling data or data analytics to government entities hoping to gain better insights into what’s happening on their roads.

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