STLR Link Round-Up – Feb. 27, 2015

Internet Freedom Provided in Historic Net Neutrality Vote 

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve net neutrality rules despite significant opposition from cable companies and Republicans. The historic vote ensures that Internet content consumers wish to access will be treated equally by Internet service providers, regardless of content. On-demand Internet streaming provider, Netflix, hailed the net neutrality vote as a win for consumers, which will help further regulate wired and wireless Internet access more like a utility. However, the question remains whether the Title II regulatory approach will ultimately hold up in court if eventually challenged by opponents?

Apple Taking a Bite into Developing an Autonomous Electric Car 

It appears Apple is preparing to build a self-driving electric car to compete with rival, Google. A recent lawsuit revealed that Apple is in the process of a developing a new battery division to help drive down costs for electric car production. Yet some have questioned whether it is the next profitable step for Apple considering the uncertainty of whether significant profit can be made long-term from a self-driving car, particularly when foreseeable regulations are not currently in place.

Is Your TV Watching You?

Privacy concerns have been raised after Samsung warned customers that the voice-recognition feature on its smart televisions captures data and is subsequently transmitted to a third party. There is considerable fear that the smart televisions could potentially be hacked and used to unknowingly eavesdrop on consumers. As of February 26, 2015, a complaint has been filed by a privacy group to the United States Federal Trade Commission charging Samsung’s Smart TVs with numerous privacy violations for intercepting and recording private communications of consumers in their homes. In a world of increasing security threats, are new laws necessary to better guard against a new crop of modern technologies?

Should Vaccination Be Required by Law?

California state senators introduced legislation that would eliminate most exemptions that allow parents to avoid requirements to vaccinate their children. After a measles outbreak started in mid-December impacted 39 people who visited or worked at Disneyland, growing sentiment from California lawmakers has been to compel individuals to receive vaccinations. While the legislation, if enacted, would not eliminate medical exemptions to sidestep vaccinations, it would eliminate the “personal belief exemption,” which includes religious exemptions.

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