Tech News: Online privacy, facial recognition
September 7, 2011, 7:05 am
A rising threat to kids who hang out on the Internet. Companies are rethinking 'going public'. Are ETFs adding to the topsy-turvy stock market? Facial recognition devices in law-enforcement cause for privacy concerns.
Children's online privacy
There is a rising threat to kids who hang out on the Internet - the likelihood that a popular mobile app or social-networking service will invade their privacy.
The Federal Trade Commission
last month announced a $50,000 settlement with app maker W3 Innovations for collecting and dispersing information on kids under 13 in violation of the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, or COPPA. Earlier this year the FTC
wrested a record $3 million settlement from online game developer Playdom, now a division of Disney, for similar COPPA violations.
Child-safety advocates say identity thieves and pedophiles have begun taking advantage of youngsters' increasing infatuation with mobile devices and Web apps. Companies Rethinking 'Going Public'
Add Groupon Inc. to the list of hot new Web companies having second thoughts about whether now is a good time to go public.
The daily deals website, which is expected to fetch a $20 billion valuation upon its stock-market debut, canceled its investor roadshow and is reevaluating plans for an initial public offering in the face of stock-market volatility, Groupon had originally been aiming to go public after Labor Day and to price its shares in mid-September, this person said. The roadshow had been planned for next week. ETFs and the topsy-turvy stock market
It took a while, but U.S. securities regulators are looking into whether turbocharged exchange-traded funds amplified August's topsy-turvy swings in the stock market.
Securities and Exchange Commission officials have had discussions with firms that trade ETFs, asking questions about whether they added to the market's volatility.
ETFs, which typically track market indexes, trade on exchanges like stocks. Exchange-traded funds have surged in popularity and now generate 35% to 40% of exchange trading volume, according to Morningstar Inc. Such funds sometimes are used by high-frequency traders, who buy and sell stocks and other assets at a nano-second clip, making millions of trades by the time you can call your broker. Facial-recognition devices in law-enforcement
Dozens of law-enforcement agencies from Massachusetts to Arizona are preparing to outfit their forces with controversial hand-held facial-recognition devices as soon as September, raising significant questions about privacy and civil liberties.
With the device, which attaches to an iPhone, an officer can snap a picture of a face from up to five feet away, or scan a person's irises from up to six inches away, and do an immediate search to see if there is a match with a database of people with criminal records. The gadget also collects fingerprints. Read more...