News this week! 1. Black Friday nets billions in online sales, 2. Google tracks you without permission & 3. FCC tables proposal to end net neutrality. Make your mark in the digital world around you in just 2 minutes with these bytes. Every Tuesday at 2:22.
Black Friday reaches record-breaking online sales
November 24 – This year’s Black Friday sales topped last year’s by 16.9 percent. Many shoppers in the U.S. had taken advantage of the huge discounts offered by online retailers on electronics, mobiles, and other commodities. The figures show that this year’s online sales amounted to a massive $5.03 billion and over $2 billion of that amount was spent by shoppers on the purchase of smartphones.
According to Adobe Analytics, a firm that studies the transactions of 100 of the largest US web retailers, the top products that were bought in this year’s Black Friday sales include TV’s and gaming consoles like the Sony Playstation VR, Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch.
Google can track you even with location settings turned off
November 22 – Google has had the ability to track a person’s location using their mobile device since the beginning of 2017. What is more surprising is that the company was able to do this even after the location settings of the mobile had been disabled. An Android device would apparently record the location of a nearby cellular tower and then transfer the information to Google, thus giving the company a fair idea of where the mobile was located.
Google was using this system to provide targeted and location-specific advertisements to their users. However, since this method does invade a person’s privacy to some extent, the company has pledged to stop this activity by the end of November 2017.
FCC to release order to end net neutrality
November 22 – The Federal Communications Communications is all set to release an order next month that will end net neutrality. According to the commission, the rulings laid down on net neutrality in 2015 were flawed and incorrect. So they now seek to remove these rules saying that the move will enable critical broadband investment by lowering compliance costs and regulatory uncertainty.
Once the commission passes the new rule, it would mean that internet service providers will have the freedom to prioritize their own traffic and even block certain apps and services. However, the FCC has stated that the ISP’s will first have to get the approval from the Federal Trade Commission before they do anything.
They have also said that consumers can take action against ISP’s whenever they feel that their activities are inconsistent with the antitrust and consumer protection laws. The final vote on the order is set to take place on December 14th, 2017.