Weekly Digital News Roundup: Oct 22 – Oct 26
Senate passes cybersecurity information sharing bill despite privacy fears
- According to The Washington Post, the Senate on Tuesday passed a cybersecurity bill that would give companies legal immunity for sharing data with the federal government, over the protests of some lawmakers and consumer advocates who say that the legislation does not adequately protect Americans’ privacy.
- The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, must now be reconciled with legislation passed earlier this year by the House. The Obama administration and lawmakers in both parties have been seeking for years to enact information-sharing legislation, and it now seems likely to become law.
- But privacy activists argue that the bill lacks robust privacy protections. They expressed concerns with provisions that allow the Department of Homeland Security to share information gathered in the program with other government agencies, such as the FBI or the National Security Agency. Critics say that effectively turns the legislation into a backdoor surveillance bill that benefits the intelligence community.
IBM to Acquire the Weather Company
- According to The New York Times, IBM hopes it has a new use for Watson, its artificial intelligence business. The company announced on Wednesday that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire most of the assets of the Weather Company, including its com website, a large number of weather data collection points, consumer and business applications and a staff of over 900 people.
- IBM would not say how much it was paying for the business, but an earlier report in The Wall Street Journal put the deal at over $2 billion. The Weather Channel, a cable television outlet, was not part of the deal, but it would license weather forecast data from IBM.
- David Kenny, the Weather Company’s chief executive, said his company’s data had many corporate uses. “Airlines use it to manage turbulence,” he said. “Insurance companies use it to judge risk. Agricultural companies use it to manage crops.” If combined with Watson, a computing system skilled at parsing unusual types of data and making statistically based decisions across a range of industries, the data could be more valuable, he added. “We can process it better,” Mr. Kenny said. “Forecast whether someone should fly or delay a trip. Exactly where to evacuate people from a hurricane. Be more cognitive.”
GoPro Publishes Sneak Peek Of Upcoming Drone An Hour After Reporting Disappointing Earnings
- According to the TechCrunch, GoPro is working on a drone that’s scheduled for release in early 2016. The company just posted a sneak peak of footage captured from the new drone. Spoiler: It’s silky smooth.
- This footage was released an hour after GoPro announced a disappointing third quarter financial statement, which caused the stock price to crash 18% in after-hours trading. Analysts are skeptical about GoPro’s potential growth and the ability to monetize the video produced by its cameras. A drone could help nudge GoPro back in the right direction.
- Last month Woodman explained that GoPro is looking to drones to help push the GoPro camera to a new vantage point. The company’s cameras have already been a key part to drones available from other companies. Clearly, GoPro is hoping buyers of its cameras will also buy its drone.