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Fintech wins with Bitcoin debit card, Amazon Ring ups security, Ancestry.com says no to DNA data share, ICANN under fire for dot.com upcharge | Tech Tidbits

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Here’s the latest news on tech that moves the world.

From cryptocurrency getting a boost in the debit card world to dot.com domain owners potentially feeling the burn in an increase, the tech world changes occur rapidly. Keep up with them on Ark Republic.

Visa enters into the world of cryptocurrency

Credit card behemoth, Visa, recently revealed that it has granted Coinbase membership into its financial operations to create a debit card where users can spend their own bitcoin. The endeavor makes Coinbase the first cryptocurrency the power to issue its own debit card and a huge leap for fintech.

“What the card is trying to change is the mindset that crypto is tucked away, takes two days to access, and can actually now be spent in real time,” said Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK.

While the card will also be available to UK bitcoin users and 28 other countries, it is not available in the US. On a good note, the debit card will be accepted anywhere Visa is a recognized payment vendor.


Get your hands off of my DNA

Ancestry.com just announced that it refuses to hand over DNA data to the US government. A genetic genealogy website that harnesses information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA, it manages a massive global database of people’s familiar networks. In 2019, the feds requested the DNA data of the privately held company.

For law enforcement, it is a breakthrough to be able to track down people or solve cold cases through relatives. However, the question of privacy causes concern. So much so, the Federal Trade Commission investigated the handling of sensitive information.  Even federal authorities expressed concern about the potential data breach that could happen on sites such as Ancestry.com, 23andme or Heritage. In fact, the Pentagon released a statement warning military service members of risks to their careers if they participate in at-home DNA testing because of its “unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.”

According to its reports, Ancestry currently handles about 10 petabytes of structured and unstructured data, including billions of records detailing births, marriages, deaths, military service, and immigration.


Ring goes to 2-step verification . . .

Amazon’s Ring, a doorbell device with surveillance cameras attached, finally adds extra layers of protection for users with a two-step verification and other security measures.  In the past, 3,000 device owners accounts were hacked. After receiving criticism for its weak privacy and security features, Ring introduced a new security dashboard for users.

Along with the 2-step verification, which is mandatory for new accounts, users will be able to see who is logged in remotely, and, if Ring is partnered with local law enforcement. Already, Amazon agreed to work with police agencies. Since November 2019, law enforcement can ask for video footage of up to 45 days from Ring device owners, but must provide an official letter and case number. The new security hopes to decrease hackers and privacy breaches.


I know ICANN . . .

Do you know the name of  the organization that oversees domain names? It’s called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, but is most popularly known for its acronym ICANN. Well, they just announced that it made significant changes in its business agreement with Verisign, the company that holds dot.com web addresses.

According to Namecheap, a domain name wholesaler, ICANN “made these changes in secret, without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users.”

Namecheap also alleges that ICANN “has a history of making similar deals behind closed doors, and also of ignoring unified opposition against such action.” If this new deal goes through, Namecheap claimes that domains can increase up to 70 percent which they surmise will affect most website customers since 40 percent of domains are dot.coms.

How these changes are supposed to work is that ICANN makes a proposal then asks for feedback from its community of domain name providers. The final decision is scheduled for March 6. This decision falls around its annual fellowship program, ICANN67, scheduled to be held in Cancun, Mexico. But because of the coronavirus, plans are in limbo. As of 13 February, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are more than 60,000 confirmed cases in 25 countries. Approximately 450 of those cases are outside China.

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