Chinese online retailer JD.com has beaten Amazon to the next stage of the shopping revolution by announcing plans to open hundreds of "unmanned" convenience stores. The shops have already been trialled with JD's 10,000 employees at headquarters in Beijing and use facial and recognition technology to register payment and product identity, meaning that customers do not have to wait in a checkout line.
JD explained that cameras on the ceilings of the stores can recognize customers’ movement and generate heat maps of their activity to monitor customer traffic flow, product selection and customer preferences, which helps store owners to stock efficiently.Read more
Facebook acknowledged on Friday that too much social media can be bad for you, a remarkable admission as the 2-billion member online service battles mounting criticism about its impact on society.
In a blog post published on Friday, Facebook addressed a "hard question": "Is spending time on social media bad for us?" In it, the social networking firm cites academic research indicating that in certain instances using Facebook can have a negative effect on people's moods, and that heavier users of the site can have worse mental health.Read more
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape.
The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal in a 3-2 vote marked a victory for internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access. It also is the biggest win for Pai in his sweeping effort to undo many telecommunications regulations since taking over at the agency in January.Read more
The French government is to ban students from using mobile phones in the country’s primary, junior and middle schools. Children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks.
A proposed ban was included in Emmanuel Macron’s successful presidential election campaign this year. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister, said the measure would come into effect from the start of the next school year in September 2018. It will apply to all pupils from the time they start school at age of six – up to about 15 when they start secondary school.Read more
Google researchers have developed a privacy application that can instantly detect when a stranger glances at your screen over your shoulder.
Researchers will demonstrate their shoulder-surfing warning system at next month's Neural Information Processing Systems Conference. The pair haven't released a paper that explains technology, but a video demonstration suggests they've installed a lightweight machine-learning model on a Pixel smartphone that uses its front-facing camera for rapid gaze detection. When the user holds a phone up to chat or view a private video, the algorithm will detect when someone looking at the screen too.Read more
In many parts of the world, like North America, using Wikipedia is taken for granted; hell, there are even Twitter accounts to track government employees editing the internet’s free encyclopedia while on the clock. But in other places, like Turkey or Syria, using Wikipedia can be difficult, and even dangerous.
For example, Wikipedia is still blocked in Turkey after the government restricted access to the site during a crackdown on dissident elements after a failed coup. Syrian-Palestinian digital activist and Wikipedia editor Bassel Khartabil is believed to have been executed by the Syrian government.Read more
Phishing is still a key tool for cyber criminals as they seek to insert malware onto machines and to get hold of personal details.
Although most people are aware of the threat there are still some subject lines that are much more likely to deliver results for the phishermen than others, according to security awareness training specialist KnowBe4, which has released its Top 10 Global Phishing Email Subject Lines report for the third quarter of 2017. The company looked at tens of thousands of email subject lines used in simulated phishing tests to uncover just what makes a user want to click.Read more
There's no way around it – we are addicted to our smartphones. Smartphone addiction even has a name now; nomophobia, short for no-mobile-phone phobia.
We've all probably experienced the symptoms at one point: panicking when separated from our smartphone, not being able to focus at work or during conversations, and constantly checking phones for new notifications. The idea of being addicted to a screen is not a nice one, and according to a Deloitte survey, smartphone users have started to realize they might have a problem. Smartphone usage has been trending upwards since 2015, but for the first time Deloitte found that smartphone usage declined or plateaued in 2017.Read more
Apple is soft-launching direct, person-to-person payments in an iMessage today with the Apple Pay Cash beta. The feature, which was announced earlier this year, allows you to send and receive cash inside the Messages app on iPhones. The program is launching in public beta today on iOS 11.2 beta 2, and you can opt in using the iOS Public Beta program here.
Once you’ve updated, you’ll see an Apple Pay button in the apps section of Messages that allows you to initiate a payment. Payments can also be triggered by simply asking for money in a message or tapping on a message sent by someone else asking for money.Read more
Cloudflare has revealed an interesting way to ensure randomness when generating encryption keys -- lava lamps. Cloudflare is a DNS service which also offers distributed denial-of-service attack protection, security, free SSL, encryption, and domain name services.
Encryption is a hot topic today. While law enforcement often clashes with technology providers over backdoors and strong encryption getting in the way of cracking criminal cases, online, encryption can keep communication, payments, and accounts secure. Cloudflare is known for providing good standards of encryption, but it seems the secret is out -- this reputation is built in part on lava lamps.Read more