By Cody Lee on Oct 8, 2014
The US government has just handed AT&T a significant fine for allowing third party companies to stealthily tack on their charges to customer phone bills for things like spam SMS text messages. The announcement was made on Wednesday in a joint press conference by the FCC and FTC, who say this is the largest “cramming” settlement in history.
In total, AT&T will pay out $105 million to settle the case—$80 million is earmarked for the FTC, which it will use to set up a reimbursement program, $5 million will go to the FCC, and $20 million will go to individual states. Additionally, the carrier has been ordered to begin proactively informing subscribers if extra fees are going on their accounts. Read More
By Jake Smith on Aug 26, 2014
The St. Paul School District in Minneapolis has announced plans to rollout iPads to 40,000 students in its district, all payed for by taxpayer dollars. The school district has chosen a suite of apps that will be used by students, teachers, and administrators for enhanced learning in the classroom, including an app called Nearpod that can project images and videos, and gather instant responses from students to enhance engagement. Read More
By Cody Lee on Aug 11, 2014
Earlier this year, California Senator Mark Leno introduced a new bill that would require cellphone makers to install ‘kill switches’ in all of their handsets, rendering them inoperable when stolen. The move comes as smartphone thefts continue to rise in major US cities.
Unsurprisingly, Leno’s bill won Senate approval by a vote of 27-8 today, meaning that it’s just one step away from becoming law in the state of California. All it needs now is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, and device manufacturers will have essentially a year to comply… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 6, 2014
First Russian, and now China. Just as news hit us a week ago that the Russian government is demanding access to the source code for Apple software to ensure it isn’t enabling U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on the 145 million country, Bloomberg Wednesday reported that the Chinese government has taken Apple’s iPad tablets and MacBook notebooks off the procurement list.
As a result, no government agency in China is allowed to buy Apple products with public money.
While government purchases are not a major sales driver for Apple, it’s worth remembering that China is home to 1.33 billion people and filing as Apple’s third-biggest market by revenue… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 23, 2014
Forensic expert, and former jailbreak hacker, Jonathan Zdziarski caused quite a stir earlier this week when he published a report accusing Apple of building backdoors into iOS that could be used for government surveillance.
Apple of course came out and denied the claim, saying that these so-called ‘backdoor services’ are actually used for troubleshooting. But this wasn’t a good enough explanation for a lot of users, so tonight it delved a little deeper… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 21, 2014
Former iPhone jailbreak hacker Jonathan Zdziarski recently gave a presentation at the HOPE/X conference regarding iOS device security. He said that the platform is reasonably secure from attacks by malicious hackers, but noted there are several backdoors built-in for surveillance.
In the presentation, called ‘Identifying Backdoors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices,’ Zdziarski detailed a number of undocumented high-value forensic services running on iOS devices, and suspicious design omissions in the OS, that appear to be for snooping… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 16, 2014
The Senate has passed a bill legalizing cellphone unlocking this week. The unanimous decision to pass the legislation, which was penned by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, came last night, and it will now move to the House and onto President Obama.
The bill reinstates a 2010 ruling by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can ‘unlock’ their cell phones without worrying about copyright laws. It also directs Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, such as tablets, should be eligible for unlocking… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 18, 2014
Apple is one of a handful of tech companies being investigated by Italian regulators over the popular ‘freemium’ app pricing model. On Friday, Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority said it’s investigating Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft over apps that offer in-app purchases.
The agency wants to determine whether or not the companies offer sufficient information in their respective apps and app stores regarding pay-for in-app content. It feels consumers may be confused by the idea of downloading a game for free, and then receiving charges after the fact… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 26, 2014
Reuters is reporting that the US House has passed a bill that would allow mobile phone users to unlock their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks without repercussions, making the once ‘gray-area’ practice completely legal.
Before you get too excited, however, there are a few big asterisks. First, for the bill to be written into law it must also be approved by the Senate, which could take years or never happen. And two, the bill contains an exclusion for ‘bulk unlocking.’ Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 22, 2014
The Air Force Times is reporting this week that the US military branch is replacing 5,000 of its BlackBerry devices with smartphones from Apple. The move is part of a broader strategy to exchange the legacy devices for modern handsets.
Eventually, the outlet says that all Air Force mobile users will be required to trade in their old BlackBerrys for Apple’s iPhone, or other approved devices. This will be in addition to the 18,000 iPads the branch purchased in early 2013… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 8, 2014
The New York Times is reporting that California State Senator Mark Leno plans to introduce a bill that would require all cell phones sold in the state to include antitheft technology. He hopes to curb smartphone thefts—a major problem in larger cities.
The bill is being co-sponsored by San Francisco DA George Gascón, which isn’t surprising considering he’s long been pushing for Apple and other manufacturers to build ‘kill switches’ in their devices. And if it passes, it could go into effect as early as next year… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 7, 2014
The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation host a daylong summit yesterday to discuss the growing problem of distracted driving. Drivers texting and doing other phone-related activities are now causing more than 1 million accidents per year.
A number of representatives from major tech companies attended the summit, including executives from Google, Samsung, AT&T, Sprint and Apple. The Senate is asking that they all work together to come up with more robust technical solutions to distracted driving… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 4, 2014
Apple is one of the companies that have put their money where their mouth is in terms of supporting the U.S. President Barack Obama’s $750 million initiative to get kids online. According to an Associated Press report this morning, Apple has pledged $100 million in iPads, computers and “other tools”.
Other Silicon Valley giants and telecommunications companies are contributing free software, Internet service through their wireless networks, cash and in-kind contributions… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 3, 2014
Last December, a Turkish website claimed Tim Cook would travel to Turkey to met with President Abdullah Gül to discuss a potential multi-billion dollar iPad deal in education. It would be worth up to $4 billion and would entail an order for fifteen million tablets over the next three years, the story went.
This bold educational project known as FATIH, would put tablets in over 40,000 Turkish schools, representing a major win for Apple and education. The government of Turkey, home to 74 million people, has now confirmed that the meeting will take place later today… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 31, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook flew to Ireland today to meet with the country’s government officials and tour the company’s corporate office. Although the meeting agenda was shrouded in secrecy, media reported Cook and the head of government discussed tax loopholes and a change in the Irish laws that should prevent firms like Apple and Google to avoid declaring tax residency in either the U.S. or Ireland.
A loophole in Ireland’s corporate tax laws has enabled many of the world’s top corporations to operate as virtually stateless firms, ungoverned by any nation’s taxing authority… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 29, 2014
Apple, along with other Silicon Valley titans such as Microsoft and carriers like Verizon and Sprint, is going to work with the United States government to help connect schools on America with high-speed broadband Internet. The Obama administration wants to connect as much as 99 percent of schools to high-speed Internet over the next four years and companies like Apple should help advance that effort… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 28, 2014
A report yesterday by The New York Times and other news organizations has provided yet another unsettling glimpse into the NSA’s wide-ranging surveillance practices.
The speculation, based on information from documents provided by the NSA leaker Edward Snowden, suggests that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ have been collecting private user data from mobile apps, in real time, as it travels across the Internet.
Profile data being collected from popular games such as Rovio’s Angry Birds typically includes age, location and gender, the allegations go. And with games that show ads, the agencies are also able to intercept users’ surprisingly detailed advertising profiles, mining it for new information… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 27, 2014
Apple has posted an update to information pertaining to national security and law enforcement orders, confirming that it’s been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to “advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive”.
Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly touched on the topic in an interview with ABC’s David Muir, saying the NSA does not have access to Apple’s servers as the snooping agency would have to “cart us out in a box” for that kind of access (those are his exact words)… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 17, 2013
As we reported yesterday, Tim Cook and a number of other executives from prominent tech companies met with US President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss a wide range of government and tech-related topics.
Among the topics were said to be the recent struggles with the rollout of the healthcare.gov website and privacy concerns regarding government surveillance. And this afternoon, a short video of the meeting surfaced on the web… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 16, 2013
The White House has announced that President Obama is scheduled to meet with a number of tech executives tomorrow to discuss a wide range of subjects. Two of the big topics on the menu are said to be the NSA and the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
In addition, the group—which includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, Twitter’s Dick Costolo, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, and Dropbox’s Drew Houston—will discuss ways the Obama administration can partner with the tech sector to create new jobs and grow the economy… Read More