The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, March 20
Google came close to having to defend antitrust charges in the U.S.: Staff at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission who monitor competition pushed for an antitrust lawsuit against it in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported. A staff report that has just come to light concluded that the search giant used "anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and competitors," the paper said. Another faction at the Commission, the economics bureau, issued a report advising against a lawsuit and no action was taken. Among the most damning findings: there was evidence that Google gamed its system to promote its own services and demote rivals, and scraped content from other sites.
Target data breach lawsuit will cost $10 million to settle
A class-action lawsuit brought against Target for harm caused by its massive 2013 data breach will cost the retailer $10 million if a proposed settlement is finalized by the court. Individual victims could receive up to $10,000. Target would also have to develop and test a security program for protecting consumer data and implement a process of monitoring and identifying security threats.
Tesla's over-the-air upgrades will add autonomous driving features
Tesla's Model S electric cars will receive over-the-air software upgrades, including some self-driving capabilities. "We're now almost able to travel from San Francisco to Seattle with the driver barely touching the wheel at all," founder Elon Musk said during a conference call today. Other features that could be delivered over the air include an Auto Steering function that allows drivers to summon their cars while on private property, and a Valet feature, which is a smartphone app that can be used to call the car to the front door or instruct it to park. Those may face some regulatory hurdles as current rules only allow the testing of autonomous cars with a driver present in the vehicle.
Amazon can test delivery drones outside now
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos captured the public's imagination when he floated the idea of delivery-by-drone in a television interview more than a year ago. Now, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is bringing what sounded like a wild scenario closer to reality, by approving the company's plan to test drones outside, re/code reports. Recently proposed rules still don't permit the kind of commercial use Amazon wants, but it's obviously keeping its goal in mind.
ISPs gave their customers routers with security holes
ISPs have handed out at least 700,000 routers containing a security vulnerability to customers in several countries. The flaw could let an attacker change the DNS server a router users and then divert people to malicious websites, according to security researcher Kyle Lovett, who came across the flaw in his spare time. Most of the affected routers are in Asia and South America, with some in the U.S. and Italy.
Microsoft's free upgrades to Windows 10 come with a catch
Microsoft promised free upgrades to Windows 10 for all users of its operating system, including those using pirated versions, but that doesn't mean the software giant will forgive and forget. It now appears that pirated copies of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 that are upgraded to Windows 10 will continue to be marked as "non-genuine," which is Microsoft's term for pirate versions, with possibly attendant restrictions on features and updates.
Net neutrality rules let FCC police future ISP conduct
The vague wording of new U.S. net neutrality rules effectively lets the Federal Communications Commission police just about any ISP conduct, potentially bogging businesses down in bureaucracy, critics have charged. The part of the ruling that has them worried focuses on "future conduct" that may have an impact on consumers and edge providers trying to reach consumers, and it's adding to the mushrooming controversy over the rules.
Check out this Japanese electric scooter that uses robotics technology to avoid obstacles.
One last thing
There's a host of IT certifications you can invest time and money in, but which ones will pay you back in a better salary IT World lists the top 10 for 2015.