The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed

Years into the robocalling frenzy, your phone probably still rings off the hook with "important information about your account," updates from the "Chinese embassy," and every bogus sweepstakes offer imaginable. That's despite promises from the telecom industry and the US government that solutions would be coming. Much like the firehose of spam that made email almost unusable in the late 1990s, robocalls have made people in the US wary of picking up their cell phones and landlines. In fact, email spam offers a useful analogy: a scourge that probably can't be eliminated, but can be effectively managed. Finding the right tools for that job remains a challenge. The Federal Trade Commission has had a strong track record in its 140 …

Mastercard Wades Into Murky Waters With Its New Digital ID

In December, Mastercard announced that it was working to develop an international digital identity scheme which could be used as a flexible verifier for financial transactions, government interactions, or online services. The idea of a secure, decentralized, universal ID has become a sort of holy grail in the age of rapid digital interactions and rampant identity fraud. Mastercard's initial announcement was met with some skepticism from privacy-minded observers. Now, the company is releasing more details in a new 24-page report on how its platform will be set up and what the tool will offer. But you still can't try it yet. Mastercard envisions a platform in which consumers have control of their identity information and it is stored locally on …

The Mueller Report Is Here, Apple’s Big Event, and More News

Tech news you can use, in two minutes or less: The Mueller Report, Finally After nearly two years of work, special counsel Robert Mueller has turned in his final report to the nation's attorney general, William Barr. But what happens next is anyone's guess. For now the report will be for Barr's eyes only, who at some point will submit his own report to Congress with as much, or as little, information as he chooses to share. So for now, we wait. Again. What to Expect from Apple's Upcoming Event Just because Apple released new iPads, new iMacs, and new AirPods this week, that doesn't mean the party's over. The company has an event scheduled for 10 am Pacific Monday, …

FTC Hits TikTok With Record $5.7 Million Fine Over Childrens Privacy

When the lip-syncing app Musical.ly first exploded in popularity nearly four years ago, it was best known for being a teen sensation. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, the app also illegally collected information from children under the age of 13. The agency announced Wednesday that Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, has agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to settle the allegations, which the agency described as “the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children’s privacy case.” TikTok must also comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, going forward and take down any videos uploaded by users under 13. “This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and …