Stories by Evan Schuman

Can you trust Amazon's WorkMail?

When Amazon unveiled its cloud-based corporate <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/article/2877217/aws-launches-workmail-for-the-enterprise.html">WorkMail email offering</a> last week (Jan. 28), it stressed the high-level of encryption it would use and the fact that corporate users would control their own decryption keys. But Amazon neglected to mention that it will retain full access to those messages -- along with the ability to both analyze data for e-commerce marketing and to give data to law enforcement should subpoenas show up. 

Let's not make patent trolls stronger

As you can tell by the name we've given them, patent trolls aren't popular critters. The game these operators play is shady and sleazy, bordering on extortion -- though it's completely legal. What they do is to purchase patents, with no intention of using or selling them, but rather to shake down as many people as possible by accusing them of violating the patent, even if the patent troll has no reason to believe that.

Same-day delivery's big chance

Stats about online retailers' holiday performance poured into my inbox as the year ended, but one in particular really caught my eye. Amazon noted that its final Christmas Prime Now (same-day delivery) order was placed on Dec. 24 at 10:24 p.m. -- and was delivered 42 minutes later, at 11:06 p.m.

Hold the phone, McDonald's

Mobile payments are supposed to be fast, easy and convenient. I knew when I pulled up at a McDonald's drive-through window the other day that the fast food giant's implementation of Apple Pay challenged. I just didn't know challenged it would be.

Getting in customers' faces

Retailers love thinking about how they can use IT analytics of social media to get close to their customers. But when a retailer breaks through the invisible social media wall and reacts to an online post with a very personal in-store interaction, it may not reap the desired increased-sales outcome.

OK, BlackBerry, what else have you got besides security?

BlackBerry's pitch to get back into the warm embrace of corporate IT shops seems logical enough at first glance: We're the most secure in mobile. Mobile is where all of your data and interactions are heading. Therefore you should give us all of your corporate business.

Are fingerprints PINs or physical artifacts?

In security and privacy circles today, no good deed goes unpunished. Consider Apple's recent privacy initiative. Under its new encryption policy, Apple can't divulge confidential information about its customers' data, because only the consumer's credentials can unlock the data -- and those credentials are completely under the control of the customer. For added security, Apple layered biometric authentication (fingerprint) on top, so that people wouldn't have to type their passwords/PINs in public, exposing themselves to the dangers of shoulder-surfing.

Tracking and the law

The ability to access and use mobile data is a new area of law that continues to be shaped and reshaped.

Apple outsmarts the thieves

Security is not always about creating a stronger deadbolt or a more protective firewall. Sometimes it's about understanding what motivates potential attackers and using that knowledge to make your valuables look less attractive, either directly or by comparison. It's this more sophisticated approach that Apple is using with its newest devices and software.

Apple's mobile payment rolling out despite problems

During the Apple news conference today (Sept. 9) -- if I ever call a vendor's product rollout an "event," please shoot me -- the company will roll out its new smartphone and smartwatch, both with the capability of making in-store purchases in places other than Apple stores. Apple's effort, which it has been preparing for several years, with some of the best talent in the industry working on it, illustrates how mind-numbingly difficult mobile payment processing is. It all comes down to data. IT can't live with it and would certainly love to try living without it.

Evan Schuman: Google eyes the preteen set

Kids say the darndest things -- and Google wants to know about and memorize each and every one of them. And not just what they say, but the sites they visit, the things they buy, the things they don't buy, the browsers they use and anything else it can suck up relating to the kids' computers, phones, networks and geolocation. Google just loves kids -- especially the part about how much retailers will pay for all of that information.