Nov 5, 2013

Why the Obamacare website was doomed

by John Naughton

One of the most dispiriting spectacles of the last month has been the botched launch of, the website created to implement President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reforms. Obamacare had a desperately turbulent passage through Congress and survived various wrecking attempts by the Tea ...

Oct 29, 2013

Remember past smells with the Madeleine

by John Naughton

Next month sees the 100th anniversary of the publication of “Swann’s Way,” the first volume of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece “Remembrance of Things Past” (or, if you prefer D.J. Enright’s translation, “In Search of Lost Time”). So stand by for what one expert calls a ...

Oct 15, 2013

The back door to your PCs, smartphones that can't close

by John Naughton

At a remarkable conference held at the Aspen Institute in 2011, Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, said something very interesting. In a discussion of how to secure the “critical infrastructure” of the ...

Oct 8, 2013

Big data has made privacy obsolete

by John Naughton

Watching the legal system deal with the Internet is like watching somebody trying to drive a car by looking only in the rear-view mirror. The results are amusing and predictable but not really interesting. On the other hand, watching the efforts of regulators — ...

Oct 1, 2013

Apple has a secret weapon in iOS7, iPhone5s

by John Naughton

When Steve Jobs was still with us, many commentators — yours truly included — used to complain about the “reality distortion field” that surrounded Apple’s charismatic leader. Those in attendance when Jobs launched the devices and services (iPod, iTunes, OS X, iMac, MacBook, iPhone ...

Sep 24, 2013

Is China after our inventions?

by John Naughton

Some things never change. For as long as I can remember, people in the west have been paranoid about the Orient — and about China in particular. I grew up in an ultra-devout Catholic household in rural Ireland and I remember my mother being ...