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'Truth in advertising laws apply to you too, mobile app sellers'

Plus: Whitman wants 'symbolic connection' from some mashed up letters

QuoTW This week, we blew up our smarthomes, warded off a nasty Microsoft bug and talked tough about Google. Here are the choice quotes:

Failing company HP unveiled a new logo for its Hewlett Packard Enterprise business. CEO Meg Whitman was rather proud of the rollout and explained the deep meaning behind the interlocking 't' letters in Hewlett:

That connection is symbolic of the partnership we will forge with our customers, partners, and our employees – what we will do together to help drive your business forward.

Speaking of steaming piles of bullhockey, U.S. watchdog the FTC has decided that mobile health apps can't be serving up theirs any more. The trade body finalised a deal with the makers of a skin cancer detecting app that consumer protection boss Jessica Rich hoped will send a message to all would-be developers of health apps:

Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace. App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.

Perhaps the makers of wearable devices should also take note, as it seems they've been caught peddling snake oil as well. Researchers have found that strapping a fitness tracker on your arm doesn't really make you any healthier. Des Spence, a general practitioner from Glasgow, explained:

The truth is that these apps and devices are untested and unscientific, and they will open the door of uncertainty. Make no mistake: diagnostic uncertainty ignites extreme anxiety in people. We must reflect on what we might lose here, rather than what we might gain. Will apps simply empower patients to overdiagnosis and anxiety?

Up on the International Space Station, astronauts are now able get their morning caffeine buzz thanks to the delivery of a piddle-powered espresso maker. The orbital percolator was developed especially for the ISS and delivered via the SpaceX Dragon capsule. SGiuseppe Lavazza, VP at co-creator Lavazza, said:

Italian coffee is a beverage without borders and we have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time. Today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso – the indisputable symbol of made in Italy products – on board the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, in ol' Virginia, election authorities are scrambling after it was found that the state's electronic voting machines were hot garbage. Powered by unpatched copies of Windows XP and insecure WEP protocols, the WINVote machines were unceremoniously dumped by the state Board of Elections. The Virginia Information Technology Agency summed it up this way:

The primary contributor to these findings is a combination of weak security controls used by the devices: namely, the use of encryption protocols that are not secure, weak passwords, and insufficient system hardening.

That's a long way of saying "it sucks".

The EU preliminarily decided to haul Google in on antitrust counts. The bold move drew praise from a number of interested groups, one being European advertisers. Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele of Germany's Newcleus Communications claimed:

Google’s flagrant abuse of their massively dominant position has caused untold harm to consumers across Europe for many years. In the offline world, regulators would not have allowed Google’s conduct to go unchecked for so long.

And Finally, to New England, where Maine police are rewarding criminals for attacking their networks. Officials in Lincoln County buckled to ransom demands and paid Bitcoin to regain access to data encrypted by hackers. Sheriff Todd Brackett explained why his department waved the white flag:

Paying a ransom – let's say it goes against the grain, We tried to find a way around it, but in the end our IT guys and Burgess recommended just paying the ransom.

On the bright side, the plummeting price of Bitcoin means that the hackers get away with less and less money with each passing day. ®

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