Feature

Bytes: What’s new in tech

Facebook’s new privacy settings; T-Mobile’s roaming revolution; The fight over ‘illegal hotels’

Facebook’s new privacy settings
Facebook is again making it harder for users to protect their privacy, said Hayley Tsukayama in WashingtonPost.com. The social network said last week that it will remove a privacy setting that allows users to keep their profiles from turning up on the site’s search results. Facebook says it’s only “trying to encourage people to control their privacy on an item-by-item basis.” Now you’ll need to check each post “to see if what you’re putting up is for public view or just for friends or specific lists of friends.” Try turning on Timeline approval, too, which shows you what friends post about you and lets you “review posts and photo tags before they’re posted to your Timeline.” Alas, there are “some things you just can’t hide,” including profile pictures, cover photos, and some news feed activity.

T-Mobile’s roaming revolution
People who travel abroad often might want to consider T-Mobile, said Roger Cheng in CNET.com. The wireless carrier has unveiled a global data roaming plan, which will offer unlimited texts and data to users when they’re abroad. The new plan is targeted at business customers, whose employees can rack up pricey phone bills traveling on the job. “It’s a good step to get the attention of a market that has largely ignored T-Mobile’s presence and which spends a lot on their monthly phone bills,” one analyst said. There are drawbacks: “While the data is unlimited, the connection rate is painfully slow when stacked up against an LTE or even HSPA+ experience.” But experts said no company could offer affordable service that’s also fast, so make your choice.

The fight over ‘illegal hotels’
Airbnb is fighting back against a government crackdown, said Ryan Lawler in TechCrunch.com. The site, which allows homeowners to rent out their places to tourists and travelers, is resisting a subpoena from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman demanding that the company turn over data on almost 15,000 users. Airbnb has drawn ire from regulators trying to crack down on illegal hotels—full-time rental businesses that they say undermine the established tourism industry and deprive local governments of valuable tax revenue. Airbnb had earlier promised to compromise, pledging to collect taxes from hosts in New York and help “weed out nuisances.” But the site now seeks to block the AG’s request for user data, calling it a “government-sponsored fishing expedition.”

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