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[December 11, 2012]
AP Technology NewsBrief at 7:15 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Government investigating makers of cellphone appsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The government is investigating whether software companies that make cellphone apps violated the privacy rights of children by quietly collecting personal information from mobile devices and sharing it with advertisers and data brokers, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. Such apps can capture a child's physical location, phone numbers of their friends and more. The FTC described the marketplace for mobile applications _ dominated by online stores operated by Apple and Google _ as a digital danger zone with inadequate oversight. In a report by the FTC's own experts, it said the industry has grown rapidly but failed to ensure the privacy of young consumers is adequately protected. The FTC did not say which or how many companies it was investigating.
iSolated: Bad Apple Maps directions lead to desertSYDNEY (AP) _ The city of Mildura is not at the end of a dirt road in the Australian bush, in tire-choking desert sand far from food and water. Unfortunately, Apple's much-maligned mapping application thinks it is. More than two months after Apple's CEO apologized for errors in its Maps service, Australian police say the app is "potentially life threatening" because of the bad directions it has given to the southern city. On Tuesday, a police official said Apple had "sort of half-fixed" the problem.
UK gov't told to rethink data surveillance planLONDON (AP) _ British lawmakers on Tuesday demanded the government water down plans to keep track of phone calls, email and Internet activity _ a bill critics dub a "snooper's charter." The Communications Data Bill would force telecoms service providers to retain for a year records of all phone and email traffic and website visits, though not the content of calls and messages.
Holiday gifts for pets following high-tech trendLOS ANGELES (AP) _ A holiday present for Fido or Fluffy used to be an extra table scrap or a new squeeze toy. But as with gifts for their human counterparts, pet presents are becoming increasingly high-tech. Like presents for young children who lack the dexterity to enjoy their new playthings, pet gifts are usually for the human who owns the pet. Allie Robino of Austin, Texas, bought a dog treat maker for her 8-year-old rescue mutt Bentley, but it'll be her baking the biscuits _ not Bentley.
Facebook says some users briefly kept from siteSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Facebook says some users were briefly unable to access the site because of a technical glitch. The social networking site with over 1 billion users worldwide says on Monday it made a change to its domain name system setup. The change resulted in some users temporarily not being able to reach the site.
Crashes raise concern about Pakistani air forceISLAMABAD (AP) _ Over a dozen Pakistani air force planes have crashed in roughly the past 18 months, raising concerns about the health of an aging fleet that officials are struggling to upgrade because of a lack of funds. A significant number of the air force's combat aircraft are nearly half a century old and have been called on in recent years to help the army fight a domestic Taliban insurgency that has killed thousands of people. This has added to the strain on a force that has historically focused on countering the threat from Pakistan's neighbor and archenemy, India.
Report: Kodak gets patent bid from Apple, GoogleNEW YORK (AP) _ Apple and Google, bitter rivals in smartphone technology, have joined up to make a combined bid for a bundle of patents offered by photography pioneer Kodak, according to a published report. Bloomberg News reported Saturday that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. have abandoned competing bids for the portfolio to offer a combined $500 million. The sum is the minimum Kodak can sell the patents for and still get an $830 million loan that's crucial to getting the company out of bankruptcy.
SKorea's porn fight 'like shoveling in a blizzard'SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Moon Tae-Hwa stares at his computer, dizzy and nauseous from the hours of porn he's viewed online while his wife and children slept. He feels no shame _ only a righteous sense of mission. "I feel like I'm cleaning up dirty things," the devout Christian and family counselor said.
Deep divides in Dubai at UN talks on InternetDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Talks over possible new U.N. regulations for the Internet were deeply divided Monday, with Russia and others advocating for more government control, while a U.S.-led bloc warned against rules that could restrict freedoms in cyberspace. The Dubai conference, which wraps up later this week, is not empowered to bring about any immediate changes on how the Internet operates. But the U.S. and its backers argue that sanctioning greater government roles in Internet oversight could allow governments that already heavily censor Web traffic, such as China or Iran, to justify more restrictions and monitoring.
STMicroelectronics to exit Ericsson joint ventureGENEVA (AP) _ Europe's largest chipmaker, STMicroelectronics NV, said Monday it plans to exit its money-losing joint venture ST-Ericsson, as it struggles to manage a downturn in global demand. Swiss-based STMicroelectronics said it is negotiating "exit options" from ST-Ericsson, its joint venture with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson. It has already started working on leaving the venture, and expects the move to be complete during next year's third quarter.
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