The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Tuesday, May 5

Chambers steps down as Cisco CEO, Robbins gets the job

It’s finally time for the changing of the guard at Cisco, after many months of rumors that John Chambers, CEO for 20 years, was planning his retirement. His surprise replacement is senior VP of worldwide operations Chuck Robbins, who wasn’t highlighted in a succession plan a few years ago. Chambers will move into the role of executive chairman on July 26 when Robbins takes over.

EU’s new digital strategy could target US tech vendors

The European Commission is set on Wednesday to outline its strategy to make European companies more competitive online, and to simplify online shopping and content streaming across borders. Underlying the plan is concern about the growing power of U.S. tech companies powering search, e-commerce and social media platforms, and the Commission is expected to more closely scrutinize their impact. Google and Facebook can probably expect to spend a lot more time negotiating in Brussels.

Father of the ‘Net thinks encryption back doors are ‘super risky’

Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf argued Monday that the encryption back doors that law enforcement agencies want will weaken online security. Cerf, who now works for Google but co-created TCP/IP back in the day, gave a speech in Washington Monday in which he said that demands by government officials that technology vendors should build encryption workarounds into their products is a bad idea. “If you have a back door, somebody will find it, and that somebody may be a bad guy,” he said.

Windows 10 voice assistant will help with data analysis

Microsoft started its Ignite conference in Chicago Monday with more revelations about how Windows 10 will kick IT up a notch, including the news that the Cortana voice-driven virtual assistant will be able to help professional users parse business intelligence data. Cortana relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine as well as on cloud-run machine learning algorithms that can progressively refine and improve its understanding of questions; as a helpful interface, it could potentially give more people access to data analysis tools.

Security researchers play cat-and-mouse with Google

Google wants to protect users of the Chrome browser from phishing attacks, but security researchers have a job to do as well, and that entails making sure that protection really works. Since last week, in a volley of tit-for-tat, researchers demonstrated that the phishing protections supposedly conveyed by the Password Alert extension can be easily bypassed. Google has tried to fix the holes in the fence as they are found, but as of Monday the tally stands at nine bypasses, of which three have been fixed.

Netflix open-sources a tool for sorting security alerts

The good thing about security software is that it raises the alert when something bad is happening; the bad thing about security software is that it can raise more alerts than the average IT department is capable of tracking to the source and resolving. Netflix, which knows a thing or two about managing tech infrastructure, has dealt with this problem by developing its own system—called FIDO—to research, score and categorize threats and speed up handling of the most urgent ones. Now it’s releasing the in-house tool under an open-source license on GitHub.

Google picks up Timeful to boost its time-management skills

Google has acquired startup Timeful, which developed an iOS app that uses machine-learning to help individuals make more efficient use of their time. Sadly for those individuals, it looks like the team will now focus on incorporating its algorithm into Google products like Calendar and Inbox, although Timeful remains available in the Apple App Store for now.

Watch now

Installing a massive piece of computer-designed fiber art in downtown Boston proved to be a unique engineering challenge.

One last thing

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is running for president of the U.S., and pointing to her experience in the corporate world as the qualification that makes her stand out from the pack. Time looks back at her stormy tenure at HP’s helm.

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