The Week in Internet News: Balloon-based Internet Service Passes a Big Test

The sky’s the limit: An Internet connectivity balloon, operated by Google sister company Loon, has spent 223 days in the air and circled the globe in an effort to demonstrate the feasibility of balloon mesh networks, CNET reports. The P-496 spent 140 days testing flight algorithms off South America.

Bad for business: A recent law that forces Australian communications firms to give the government access to encrypted messages has hurt business there, the government says. The public perception about the downsides of the law has “had a material impact on the Australian market and the ability for Australian companies to compete globally,” Computerworld Australia reports.

Weak security: D-Link, a maker of routers, IP cameras and other Internet-connected devices, would be required to stand up a new comprehensive security program in a proposed cybersecurity settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, GovInfoSecurity says. In early 2017, the FTC alleged that D-Link “failed to take reasonable software testing and remediation measures to protect their routers and IP cameras against well-known and easily preventable software security flaws.” The company allegedly left default usernames and passwords on devices and stored login credentials insecurely, and it left a private code-signing key on a public website for several months.

Here today, gone tomorrow: The Internet of disposable things, with non-hazardous, disposable bio-batteries powered by bacteria-enabled miniature batteries, is close to happening, Network World says. The bacteria batteries could be added to shipping labels and packaging to monitor temperature and track packages in real time.

Tsunami of fake news: A major influx of Artificial Intelligence-created content could be on the horizon, with the goal of gaming Google search results, The Verge says. Instead of being used just to create fake news, “AI could churn out infinite blogs, websites, and marketing spam. The content would be cheap to produce and stuffed full of relevant keywords.”

Encryption is under threat around the world. It’s up to each of us to take action.