House OKs $100 Billion for Rural Broadband

Another effort to close the “digital divide.”

By Rick Richardson

The U.S. House of Representatives this month approved the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that puts $100 billion toward bringing high-speed broadband to underserved areas.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Free Service Makes Better Passwords | AI Called Upon to Fight Pandemic | Texas Court Holds First U.S. Jury Trial Via Videoconferencing | Thunderbolt Flaw Lets Hackers Steal Your Data | Buzz-Buzz! Step Back!
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The ambitious bill also allocates funds toward transportation and clean energy initiatives, such as $500 billion for rebuilding highways, bridges and rail, and $70 billion for promoting renewable energy.

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Free Service Makes Better Passwords

screenshot of softwareSecurity questions? Got those covered, too.

By Rick Richardson

One of my favorite training assets is ScreenCastsOnline from Mac pioneer Don McAllister. Each week they produce a full tutorial and a shorter tip video on Mac software and services.

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This week, the main tutorial was on a free online service called xkpasswd. This open-source service will produce incredibly secure passwords. There are five settings that you can customize, and based on these settings, the site will generate several passwords from which you may pick one that you like.
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A.I. Called Upon to Fight Pandemic

It might not be in time for this one, though.

By Rick Richardson

From predicting outbreaks to devising treatments, doctors are turning to AI to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Zoom Will Offer End-to-End Encryption to All Users | COVID-19 Contact Tracing App by Google, Apple Piloted in Switzerland | Emerging Tech Gets Bipartisan Boost | What Wi-Fi 6E Means for You | Smartphone Thermometers Predict Coronavirus Hot Spots | Open-Source Smart Home Standard in the Works
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Why It Matters. While machine-learning algorithms were already becoming a part of health care, COVID-19 is likely to accelerate their adoption. But lack of data and testing time could hinder their effectiveness – for this pandemic, at least.
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Zoom Embraces Encryption for All Users

illustrationAuthentication willl be required to try to stem abusive accounts.

By Rick Richardson

Zoom has reversed its controversial decision to restrict access to end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for some users and will now offer the feature to customers of both its free and premium services.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: COVID-19 Contact Tracing App by Google, Apple Piloted in Switzerland | Texas Court Holds First U.S. Jury Trial Via Videoconferencing | Thunderbolt Flaw Lets Hackers Steal Your Data | Buzz-Buzz! Step Back! | FBI Recommends Passphrases Over Password Complexity | How to Sanitize Electronics Against COVID-19 with UV Light
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The video conferencing app said it had consulted with rights groups, child safety advocates, government representatives, encryption experts and its security council to gather feedback.
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COVID-19 Contact Tracing App by Google, Apple Piloted in Switzerland

tracing app displayed on phoneOperation is decentralized, as the two companies required.

By Rick Richardson

The very first contact tracing app powered by Google and Apple’s exposure notification APIs has gone live in Switzerland.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Texas Court Holds First U.S. Jury Trial Via Videoconferencing | castAway Gives Your Smartphone an Extra Screen | An Aging Satellite Returns to Service | What Wi-Fi 6E Means for You | Buzz-Buzz! Step Back! | Zoom Improves Privacy and Security | Apple Creates Coronavirus Screening App and Website | Smartphone Thermometers Predict Coronavirus Hot Spots
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The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne is now undertaking a large-scale pilot of the “SwissCovid” app, with hopes that it will pave the way for public availability soon.
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Texas Court Holds First U.S. Jury Trial Via Videoconferencing

Statue of scales of justiceThis could eliminate some COVID-19 backlog.

By Rick Richardson

The potential jurors popped onto the screen one by one. They confirmed their names and told the judge how they were connecting to the court: on laptops, tablets and iPhones.

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There were some wireless issues and camera problems. Still, eventually, 26 Texans in separate boxes raised their hands for the judge and together swore the juror’s oath, beginning the experiment of conducting a civil jury trial entirely over Zoom.
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castAway Gives Your Smartphone an Extra Screen

https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/06/09/castaway-gives-your-smartphone-an-extra-screen/Do you miss that second monitor when you leave your desk? Now you won’t.

By Rick Richardson

Smartphone manufacturers have been launching “folding” devices with great fanfare, though, with high price tags and low demand, these units have not become market hits.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Thunderbolt Flaw Lets Hackers Steal Your Data | An Aging Satellite Returns to Service | Microsoft Gets Ready for a New Era of Windows | Apple Creates Coronavirus Screening App and Website | Apple’s New Credit Card Carries Fraud-Fighting Feature | Smart Devices Need 3 Features to Be Secure | Replace All Your Wi-Fi Hardware with a Tiny 5G Router
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As an alternative, a smart startup has now announced a new device to add a second screen to your existing smartphone.
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Emerging Tech Gets Bipartisan Boost

https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/06/02/new-bipartisan-plan-backs-emerging-tech/Psst … it has to do with China, too.

By Rick Richardson

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) unveiled the Endless Frontier Act, aimed at accelerating emerging technologies.

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We don’t usually cover new legislation, much less proposed bills. But EFA is an exception because it seeks to turbocharge American “discovery, creation and commercialization of critical tech.” By that, the lawmakers mean every technology you read about here.
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Thunderbolt Flaw Lets Hackers Steal Your Data

motherboardSix steps you can take.

By Rick Richardson

Attackers can steal data from Thunderbolt-equipped PCs or Linux computers, even if the computer is locked and the data encrypted, according to security researcher Björn Ruytenberg.

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Using a relatively simple technique called “Thunderspy,” someone with physical access to your machine could nab your data in just a few minutes with a screwdriver and “easily portable hardware,” he wrote.
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