Gregory Ferenstein


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  • Users Should Be Able To Sue Tech Companies Over Spying, Says Sen. Rand Paul

    Users Should Be Able To Sue Tech Companies Over Spying, Says Sen. Rand Paul

    Libertarian hero and presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul tells me that tech companies should not be granted legal immunity from consumers suing them over government spying. The Patriot Act infamously gave telecommunications companies immunity from being sued for allowing Intelligence agencies to tap phone and Internet lines. Read More

  • $1M Prize For Gun Safety Tech Now Taking Applications

    $1M Prize For Gun Safety Tech Now Taking Applications

    Famed Silicon Valley investor and gun reform advocate Ron Conway is spearheading a new $1 million prize for gun safety technology. The prize, which was announced last fall, is now taking applications. Unlike the more popular prize models, such as the X-Prize commercial space flight competition, the Smart Tech Foundation prize will split the winnings among projects deemed worthy by a panel… Read More

  • NSA May Want Mobile Data, Including Info From Angry Birds And Maps

    NSA May Want Mobile Data, Including Info From Angry Birds And Maps

    The National Security Agency reportedly has a love affair with mobile app data, collecting personal information from Google Maps and Angry Birds, referring to the program as a “Golden Nugget”. The classified documents, which were leaked to a handful of news agencies — originate partly from a leak by whistleblower Edward Snowden. They reveal a long-standing project to… Read More

  • Popular Political Writer Ezra Klein Announces Move From Washington Post To Vox Media

    Popular Political Writer Ezra Klein Announces Move From Washington Post To Vox Media

    The political blogosphere lit up earlier today when 29-year-old Ezra Klein announced he was leaving The Washington Post to build his own news site with Vox Media (publishers of The Verge and SB Nation). Klein quickly rose to fame in policy circles with his explainer approach to wonky policy topics and eventually grew his own team on The Post’s “Wonkblog” channel. But… Read More

  • Most Americans Are Unaware Of [Insert Issue Here]

    Most Americans Are Unaware Of [Insert Issue Here]

    Let’s face it: a disturbingly large portion of the American electorate are not-so-knowledgable about their world. As of 2008, 30% still maintain that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and 18% think the sun revolves around the earth. So, when our friends in the press ran headlines about how most Americans had heard “nothing at all” about President… Read More

  • Study: Copycatting, Diverse Teams, And Transparency Are Keys To Innovation

    Study: Copycatting, Diverse Teams, And Transparency Are Keys To Innovation

    A fascinating new study explores, in exquisite detail, the hidden secrets of innovation. Rampant copycats, the authors find, are a surprising key to discovering creative solutions. Imitators must, however, be supported with diverse teams and transparency of success. “You benefit when other people imitate you because they help you explore multiple variations around your solution that… Read More

  • Snowden Answers Our Burning Data Collection Question: What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

    Snowden Answers Our Burning Data Collection Question: What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

    National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is answering the Internet’s burning questions. Surprisingly, he was even gracious enough to answer my question: “What’s the worst and most realistic harm from bulk collection of data? Why do you think it outweighs national security?” Snowden, who was granted protection in Russia from American prosecution, has… Read More

  • How Much Google And Other Tech Companies Spent On D.C. Lobbyists In One Chart

    How Much Google And Other Tech Companies Spent On D.C. Lobbyists In One Chart

    Tech companies shelled out over $61 million to influence America’s political leaders in 2013, with Google leading the pack at a handsome $14 million. From high-skilled immigration reform to regulation, tech companies have become increasingly forced to preempt limitations imposed by policymakers. The graph below is based on figures compiled by Consumer Watchdog from the House Clerks… Read More

  • Ominous Text Message Sent To Government Protestors In Ukraine

    Ominous Text Message Sent To Government Protestors In Ukraine

    Someone is broadcasting creepy messages to defuse violent protests against the Ukrainian government. “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance,” is a text being sent to protesters, reportedly near the Parliament building. Protesters are, in part, angry over anti-demonstration laws passed by the heavy-handed president, Viktor… Read More

  • Teachers From Facebook And Salesforce Fill Udacity’s New Data Science Program

    Teachers From Facebook And Salesforce Fill Udacity’s New Data Science Program

    The Internet is full of lucrative data and businesses are eager for statisticians who can mine it for golden digital nuggets. Responding to the White House’s call for more data scientists, Massively Open Online Course provider, Udacity, has officially launched its paid statistics training program. Read More

  • Why Warren Buffett’s Billion-Dollar Prize To Predict The Perfect NCAA Bracket Matters

    Why Warren Buffett’s Billion-Dollar Prize To Predict The Perfect NCAA Bracket Matters

    By this time next year, the world could see one more geeky billionaire. Investment mogul Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company is backing a billion-dollar prize to predict the perfect NCAA tournament bracket. “We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth? We decided… Read More

  • Hands-On With The New Basis Sleep Tracker

    Hands-On With The New Basis Sleep Tracker

    One of the most popular wrist health trackers, the Basis B1 smartwatch, has added sleep cycles to variables it automatically tracks. I got my hands on an early beta version (which is now publicly available) and have been comparing it for the last week to other popular sleep trackers on the market. The upshot: of all the consumer-grade sleep trackers, the Basis is easily the most sophisticated. Read More

  • Coursera Launches An Online Vocational Mini-Credential Taught By Top Colleges

    Coursera Launches An Online Vocational Mini-Credential Taught By Top Colleges

    Online education juggernaut Coursera has unveiled its own version of a college credential. And, unlike traditional college, Coursera’s “Specialization” program track is less than $500, vocationally oriented, taught by faculty from top universities, and takes less than six months to finish. From mobile application development to music, Coursera aims to create a new type of… Read More

  • Announcing ‘Major Changes': The Government Vs. The Private Sector

    Announcing ‘Major Changes': The Government Vs. The Private Sector

    The Internet is collectively experiencing disappointment over President Obama’s big National Security Agency reform speech. Instead of announcing a sweeping end to the bulk surveillance of our entire digital lives, the President charged authorities to investigate how incremental privacy protections could be enacted. For our readers who don’t think this meets the dictionary… Read More

  • Obama Announces NSA Reforms

    Obama Announces NSA Reforms

    As we predicted last year, President Obama has announced a partial end to the National Security Agency’s surveillance dragnet. We’re still parsing official documents and expert reaction, but  here are the bullet points: Obama is promising major reforms to the bulk collection of Internet and phone data. Until plans are finalized, the NSA may only query its data stores with… Read More

  • You Can Now Download Your Tax Return Transcript From The IRS

    You Can Now Download Your Tax Return Transcript From The IRS

    Huzzah for convenience! Americans can now download their tax returns directly from the IRS. Previously, citizens had to slog through a questionnaire and wait 5-10 business days for a physical form through snail mail. I tried out their new service today and, after spending about two minutes answering security questions, I was able to download three years worth of tax information. Read More

  • Dear Verizon, You Don’t Own The Internet—No One Does

    Dear Verizon, You Don’t Own The Internet—No One Does

    If Ford built a private toll highway that only allowed Mustangs, Americans would be outraged. Infrastructure is the bloodstream of an economy; if powerful established players controlled roads, telephone lines, and Internet cables, they could favor the highest bidder at the expense of the savvy entrepreneur, choking off the meritocracy that makes market economies so innovative. This is… Read More

  • I’ve Seen The Future Of Health Tech And It’s Going To Improve Your Life In 2014

    I’ve Seen The Future Of Health Tech And It’s Going To Improve Your Life In 2014

    I just returned from the most exciting Consumer Electronics Show I’ve ever covered. Thanks to extraordinary demand for gadgets that make us healthier, stronger, and smarter, the technology industry is putting some serious brain power behind the next generation of wearable health devices. Over the next year, a torrent of new devices is hitting the market to provide automated elite coaching… Read More

  • Lumo Lift Tracks Posture Even In Plank Position | CES 2014

    A Gentle Buzz To Improve Your Posture And, Soon, Yoga Poses

    Bad posture is collectively turning the desk-chained workforce into a mass of unhealthy hunchbacks. The Lumo Lift is a magnetic shirt pin that delivers gentle buzzing nudge whenever it senses poor posture. It’s a reminder “to keep your shoulders back and down and your head lifted,” explains Lumoback Founder, Monisha Perkash. Read More

  • Update: Alleged Dropbox Hack Is A Hoax, Website Is Back Up

    Update: Alleged Dropbox Hack Is A Hoax, Website Is Back Up

    Update: The alleged hack against Dropbox is looking more like is an elaborate hoax, timed perfectly with the website’s incidental outage. As security researcher Wesley Mcgrew points out, the emails supposedly stolen from Dropbox have been found elsewhere on the web and a known Anonymous Twitter account is officially denying their involvement. Moreover, it seems the group claiming credit… Read More

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