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Net Neutrality Protest – Antivirus Pronounced Dead – LG Talking Appliances

Internet giants protest American regulator

This week over 100 companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter have written to regulators in the US in protest of proposed plans which could affect the freedom of the internet.

In the letter to Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the companies all backed a statement which said the plans are a "grave threat to the internet".

There are reports online which highlight the main point of contention. It is argued the new plan would create an internet of two tiers in which giant companies that can afford certain privileges, like visibility, would dominate the internet. Smaller companies would be at a major disadvantage to compete.

As tens of thousands of public comments have been sent to the FCC over the plan, its critics are demanding more time before it is voted on, currently set for the 15th of May. Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner says that "rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response".

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Antivirus dead says Symantec VP

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of the week, Brian Dye, vice president at Symantec, said that antivirus "is dead".

The report states that many companies are now working under the assumption that hackers will be able to gain entry to a system, and so companies must design new products to protect against and reduce the effect of a data breach.

Such companies include Juniper Networks, who want to confuse hackers by placing fake data inside firewalls; other companies such as Shape Security assume that hackers may be able to get hold of a user's card information, and they work to minimise the damage this could cause.

Symantec launched in the 1980s and its product Norton antivirus became one of the most successful antivirus platforms; it currently has an 8 percent share of the global antivirus market. But there has been a change to the methods hackers use to get hold of information, such as the exploitation of novel bugs, and this change causes Mr Dye to estimate that nowadays only 45% of attacks are stopped.

Symantec will now follow its competitors such as MacAfee and Kaspersky, who have already moved into a new realm of security products. Mr Dye says it's time for himself and his company to "go play the game you should have been playing in the first place".

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Home appliances you can talk to

LG has announced a series of fridges, washers and cookers that can 'talk'.

You can interact with the new technology by sending text messages to a HomeChat service. So if you want to get an update on the current activity of an appliance you can ask the service: "what are you doing?"

Seong-jin Jo, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Appliance Company says: "today's intelligent home appliances offer a variety of useful functions but many consumers still find setting them up an extremely complicated process."

The technology can allow you to check that everything in your fridge is fresh, or if something needs topping up, as it will take photographs which you can access from a mobile phone.

But not everyone is excited about the technology. Speaking to the BCC, Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy, was quick to criticise the notion, saying it's the equivalent of Ford building a concept car.

To him the examples sound gimmicky. "People love the idea of a fridge that reorders goods on its own - but the bottleneck there isn't the fridge manufacturer, it's the grocery providers," he said, adding that people will expect a greater degree of automation in the future.

The chatty appliances are currently available in only South Korea and will make their way to global markets later on this year.

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Written by Rachel Hand

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