Daily Tech Briefing: May 27, 2014

Vint Cerf, who with colleague Robert Kahn is credited with writing a paper that inspired the development of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, TCP/IP, the technological foundation of the Internet, recently spoke at the 12th annual FiRE 2014 conference in Laguna Beach, Calif.

In his speech Cerf stressed his position on net neutrality, calling for as little regulation as possible in the cyber-world. Cerf, who today serves as vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, also said it's time to revisit the possibility of operating systems having the ability to defend themselves to ensure that machines and appliances connected to the Internet of Things could never be hacked and used to harm people.

Without such defenses Cerf says he is concerned that millions of devices connected to the Internet of Things could be marshaled to attack other computer systems.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Samsung will release a smart watch that can act as a standalone phone. This may be the beginning of wearables going from something people can take or leave, to things they can't live without. It's expected that Apple will eventually come out with a similar offering.

This move may also encourage Google to make changes to Google Glass, to turn the device from something that some people think is neat, into something necessary.

A recent paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research has found that a new tablet app can successfully help elderly patients remember when to take their daily doses of medicine. The study involved 99 elderly Spanish patients and found that the app, called ALICE, resulted in fewer missed doses of medication and a reduction in medication errors in patients who initially had a high rate of errors. The app was designed for Google Android and Apple iOS devices.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed communications surveillance reform legislation. However, last-minute changes to the bill have led some of its former supporters to call it weak.

Known as the USA Freedom Act, the bill added restrictions on the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the National Security Agency, to prevent the indiscriminate collection of phone records and other communications of U.S. citizens. Critics expressed concern that changes to the definitions of what types of records can be targeted might still make mass surveillance a possibility.

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