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Friday fun for the IT crowd: A dramatic week for IT news

February 06, 2015
By Lisa Dare

The feds get serious about net neutrality

The FCC caused cable execs’ heads to whiplash this week when Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a proposal to treat the Internet like a public utility, allowing for greater regulation. The FCC mainly wants the ability to stop cable providers from allowing customers to prioritize their data or slow their competitors’.

In a Wired op-ed, Wheeler wrote, "… I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband."

Wheeler proposed more modest rules last year, but faced pressure after 4 million public commenters—and President Obama—weighed in about the issue. The new proposal faces likely lawsuits from major players like Verizon.  

The Silk Road trial ends, but its aftershocks will continue

The Silk Road trial had it all: Money laundering, cryptocoins, hacking and murder. And Wired’s trial coverage has it all: the gory details, the technical particulars, and analysis of what it all means. If you can’t get enough of the famous trial about the dark Web, well, Wired should quench your thirst and then some.

It was just a matter of time: Major insurer exposes customers' personal data

The nation's largest healthcare insurer admitted a cyber attack may have compromised as many as 80 million customers' data. And this is even worse than infamous breaches like Target's, because the attackers stole permanent Social Security numbers and other information people can't easily change, as opposed to easily monitored and canceled credit cards. 

Of course, the Anthem breach was just a matter of time. While the financial services industry made big InfoSec investments ages ago, partly in response to regulation, the healthcare industry lags years behind. Unfortunately, healthcare providers and insurers face a tough balancing act between security and access. They need vast quantities of data to provide and pay for care, while managing levels of information access in complicated environments. 

Information security has become especially tricky to manage as electronic medical records and mobile tools like iPads allow providers to deliver care in innovative new ways. Meanwhile, government regulations have mandated or strongly encouraged providers to move more of their data to electronic formats. 

And the complexity of data access is huge in a healthcare setting. Different parts of a patient's medical records may be accessed by doctors and nurses, insurance companies, billing agents, hospital volunteers and many others. If you want to learn more about identity and access management in a healthcare setting, TEKsystems has a case study detailing Yale New Haven Health System's new strategy.  

Bored and Brilliant: Are you up for it?

If you could get back 95 minutes every day, what would you do? What would you notice and think about? According to New Tech City’s recent poll, that’s the average amount of time people spend on their phones every day. Of course, it’s just a few minutes here and there—90 seconds in line, 20 seconds on an elevator—often not enough to really accomplish anything. Except those bits of time when we've replaced boredom with a smartphone may be killing our creativity.

New Tech City is offering a challenge: Give up the bulk of your smartphone use for a week and see what happens. They offer apps to monitor your progress and track your normal usage (where are you really spending your time?), and a daily challenge to help you make the most of your bored time.  

By the way, is reading this article giving you an almost compulsive urge to check in with your phone? That feeling—which I’m experiencing—may be a good sign it’s time to take the Bored and Brilliant challenge. Or you can just take our quiz to find out if you’re a screen addict

Lisa Dare is a marketing writer for TEKsystems who enjoys learning about IT from some of the smartest folks in tech. She frequently blogs about IT career advice and the lighter side of tech, and on her off days loves to kayak and play with her toddler son.

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