E-Commerce Security & Privacy

The Hidden Secrets of the Deep Web

Encryption key image via Shutterstock

Early this month, U.S. officials seized and shut down a hidden but sprawling online marketplace called Silk Road, known as the eBay of illegal goods and services. More than 1.2 million transactions had been completed on the site, earning its owner some $80 million in commissions. How did a site that allegedly allowed users to buy illicit drugs, deal black market weapons, and even hire hit men stay above water long enough to handle that much revenue over its two-and-a-half years of operation? The answer lies in what’s called the “Deep Web” or the “Dark Web”—hidden corners of the Internet that can’t be reached by Google and require connecting to an anonymous network called TOR that was originally developed by the U.S. Navy.   More

Global Tech

Chinese Regulators Limit Deceptive Telecoms Apps

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China's unruly markets for emerging sectors are famous for Trojan Horses, which often come as hidden traps in many products and services that ultimately harm consumers. The nation's tourism authority just launched a new law to eliminate such traps in the travel sector, and now we're getting word that the telecoms regulator is preparing a similar move against hidden and sometimes malicious apps that often come pre-installed on many new smartphones.   More

Manufacturing

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson on Maker Culture

Etsy represents a new way of connecting handcraft makers to buyers, but it's rooted in an age-old tradition. As Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson put it, "We represent something really fundamental about humanity: the making of things." At our Techonomy Detroit conference, Dickerson explained what draws people into the maker movement, and how it's going global.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Venture for America’s Yang Calls Detroit an Innovation Hub

Winning innovators don’t depend on the market for opportunities; they innovate their way into them. So says Venture for America founder Andrew Yang, who talked with us at our Techonomy Detroit conference about the need for more innovation and why Detroit can help spark it. “We need to get more smart people building things. We need to get more of our talented working to solve the problems of the day,” he said, adding that Detroit's access to talent, resources, and customers to put it at the forefront of tech entrepreneurship in coming years.   More

Global Tech

The Middle East Shows It’s Ready For Online Dating

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When online matchmaker et3arraf closed its second round of funding this week, CEO Cedric Maalouf was ecstatic. The Arab “marriage-oriented” dating website attracted attention from angel investors and venture capital firms, and received term sheets from investors who weren’t even pitched. Calling it a “good problem,” Maalouf is waiting for his lawyers to weigh in, but thinks he’d prefer angel to VC financing: “We still decide everything about the site and I am not sure if I want to share it with someone yet.” Et3arraf lays claim to being the first Middle Eastern dating platform, “for Arabs, by Arabs, in Arabic.”   More

Business E-Commerce

Airbnb Rallies its Community to Fight Back

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Airbnb hosts in New York are fighting back against policymakers who are trying to rein in the sharing economy. Last week the New York Attorney General subpoenaed the records of all New York Airbnb hosts, and the community is not happy. Recently Airbnb has been working with officials to clarify complicated rental regulations. But now they are “fighting the subpoena with all we’ve got,” wrote Global Head of Community Douglas Atkin in an email sent to New Yorkers on Monday.   More

Business Internet of Things

Now the Maker Movement Has Intel Inside

Intel's Arduino-compatible Galileo Development Board

Intel's new CEO Brian Krzanich says he's been a "maker" for years, and he's leading the chipmaker into new friendships in the DIY world. Last week Krzanich unveiled the Intel Galileo board, an Arduino-compatible development board, and today Intel announced a corporate sponsorship of TechShop.   More

Startup Culture

Policy Should Support Micro-Entrepreneurs, Says Etsy’s Dickerson

At our Techonomy Detroit conference, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson talked to us about the need for policymakers to treat micro-entrepreneurs as small businesses. "The idea that you can start a business literally on Etsy by listing an item which costs 20 cents is really powerful," he said. Dickerson discussed how policymakers can create opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs in what he calls the "new world" of platform-enabled businesses.   More

Business

How Detroit Can Compete Globally

If you ask Michael A. Finney if Detroit is going to become a tech hub, he'll tell you to look around—Detroit already is a tech hub. "Detroit is loaded with technology," the Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO said. Finney, appointed by Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder, talked with us at our recent Techonomy Detroit conference about Detroit's talent-driven infrastructure, from community and business leaders to universities, companies, and the auto industry. "It's a question of building on all the great strengths we have right now in the auto sector and extending it into other sectors," Finney said, calling Detroit "an ideal location for future development."   More

Business Internet of Things

Which System Will Dominate the Programmable Household?

Nest says you won't want to remove the batteries from its new Wi-Fi connected smoke alarm.

On the path to the programmable, interconnected household, two startups are pioneering the way. One is Nest, which founder and former iPod software developer Matt Rogers says aims to close the "gap between the consumer experience in mobile products and the ones in our homes." Nest's open-source competitor is SmartThings, which promises to let you "unlock a new world of possibilities by using your smartphone to communicate with everyday objects in your life."   More

Manufacturing

Rodney Brooks on Cars as Robots

How many people have operated their own robot? A lot more than you might think, Rethink Robotics founder and CTO Rodney Brooks would say. "I tell everyone, 'You're driving around inside a robot, and 10 years from now it's going to become an even smarter robot,'" Brooks told us at our Techonomy Detroit conference. "Cars are the epicenter, actually, of robotics." Brooks also elaborated on how easy-to-use robots are in a position to transform the manufacturing industry, making it more efficient, more localized, and less generic--a potential boon for cities like Detroit.   More

Learning

“Help Kids Dream Big,” Says Teach For America’s Annis Stubbs

A "prerequisite of being a kid" is dreaming big, says Annis Stubbs, executive director of Teach For America - Detroit. Our challenge is providing students with an education system capable of supporting their big dreams—a system that distributes resources equally, educates the child as a whole, and empowers students to execute on their ideas. At the Techonomy Detroit conference, Stubbs talked about her vision of a reinvigorated education system. "Everything starts with an idea," she said. "We need to help figure out how to ensure that our kids feel good about expressing their ideas and they feel confident enough to have these big ideas."   More

Business Cities E-Commerce

One Step Back for the Sharing Economy

In a setback for the sharing economy, the Office of the New York Attorney General has issued a subpoena demanding data about all Airbnb hosts in New York, The Wall Street Journal reports. Airbnb announced in a blog post that they are fighting this “unreasonably broad” demand from the Attorney General. The company recently made a commitment to clarify short-term rental laws, work with city leaders to ensure that the Airbnb hosts pay applicable taxes, and weed out the few “bad actors” among their community.   More

Media & Marketing

This Website Developer Leverages the “Engine of the Web”

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As CEO of the website creation company 10up, Jake Goldman is an evangelist for WordPress. He began using the open-source development platform in 2006 and started his company specifically to leverage its power. Today, Goldman and several engineers on his team are core contributors to the WordPress project and maintain some of the highest rated plug-ins in the official WordPress repository.   More

Bio & Life Sciences E-Commerce

This Entrepreneur Helps People Hear

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No consumer product is more ubiquitous than the earbud. Unfortunately for the youth of the world, hearing impairment is a closely-associated byproduct. According to a recent report, one in five Americans in their 30s and 40s are now hearing-impaired, and more teenagers than ever are suffering hearing loss. Couple that trend with the painful reality of an aging baby boomer generation, and you’ve got a major emerging market for another technology: hearing aids.   More

E-Commerce

NYC Startup Offers Software for Airbnb Hosts

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When Randy Engler and his wife started renting out their two homes using Airbnb, they soon realized it was hard to provide a high level of hospitality to their guests, especially while away. Engler, who has a background in Internet companies and an enthusiasm for the sharing economy, saw an opportunity: build an online service that takes care of cleaning, key exchange, and other rental logistics. The company he created, Proprly, supports rental markets for Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO in NYC and Brooklyn.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Five Challenges to Using Your Genome

Genetic puzzle image via Shutterstock

At last week’s 5th annual Consumer Genetics Conference, hundreds of scientists, clinicians, app developers, and analytical experts convened to talk about DNA analysis for healthcare and consumer applications. The good news: legions of clever, highly motivated people are working hard to make sense of the human genome and help the rest of us lead better lives. The bad news: major impediments stand in the way of free-flowing, useful genomic information. Here are the top five hurdles to be cleared before you will have ready access to your DNA information so you can improve your health and your life.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Inspiration and Entrepreneurship in New Orleans

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I first came to New Orleans in 2007, two years after Katrina, to enroll at Tulane University when I was 18 years old. There was still a lot to be desired, but the city never pretended to be anything other than what it was. What drew me to Tulane was not a particular career path, but a sense I had to be part of the impassioned rebuilding taking place throughout New Orleans’ communities.   More

Manufacturing

Roboticist Rodney Brooks on How Automation Helps Makers

Rodney Brooks, founder and CTO of Rethink Robotics, joined us at our Techonomy Detroit conference to talk about the intersection between robotics and the maker movement. Robots like Rethink's Baxter offer small industries a tool to make workers more productive. But because Baxter operates on a software platform, it also benefits from users who think of new functionality and specializations for the robot. "There's going to be some kids out there who come up with some ideas that we would never have thought of in a million years," Brooks said. Those users may in turn use Baxter for smaller scale, maker oriented production.   More

Cities

Etsy CEO Dickerson on Entrepreneurship in One Illinois City

What happens when you combine a Midwestern mayor with a leading-edge CEO and stir in a timely Tweet about building an entrepreneurial economy? You get "the Internet at its best," says Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, who spoke with us at our recent Techonomy Detroit conference about the partnership that's creating new entrepreneurs in Rockford, Illinois. Where does the program go from here? The possibilities seem limitless. "It's really reconnecting with the idea that we can overcome cynicism, that literally we can do anything," said Dickerson.   More