The online payments firm has provided a breakdown of the traffic it handled in the fourth quarter of 2013, showing from the e-commerce side how tablets are taking over from desktop PCs. Read more »
Berlin’s tech startup scene isn’t all about e-commerce and apps – there are a few hardware startups in there too, and one, Pockethernet, has just launched a $50,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its rather handy piece of kit. Aimed at network admins and other technicians, Pockethernet is a small Ethernet cable tester and network analyzer that hooks up to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The benefit here is that the brains of the device are offloaded to the handset, which cuts costs and allows for easy upgrades. The $200 retail price is a far cry from the $500+ you’d pay for more traditional Ethernet network analyzers. It may not be sexy, but it is smart.
Telegeography has published the 2014 edition of its submarine cable map, providing an excellent representation of the infrastructure that makes global connectivity global. Read more »
Having already opened three dedicated Samsung mobile stores in Spain, with handset retailer Carphone Warehouse managing the outlets, the companies announced on Wednesday that more than 60 Carphone Warehouse stores will be converted into Samsung shops. The stores, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands, will only sell Samsung mobile devices, laptops and wearables – no TVs or washing machines here. This is very much a head-on challenge to Apple’s stores. The fact that Carphone Warehouse is willing to sign this “preferred partner” agreement may also say something about Samsung’s trouncing of other Android manufacturers.
The messaging app is pushing into the booming Indian market, taking on rivals such as market leader WhatsApp, as well as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line. Read more »
The Finnish firm has raised what it calls a “pre-Series A” round to help it hire more engineers and salespeople, as it pushes further into the U.S. market. Read more »
At the start of 2012, a Dutch court ordered two of the country’s ISPs, Ziggo and XS4ALL, to block access to The Pirate Bay, due to its frequent use for copyright infringement. Two years later, the providers have won their appeal against the blocking order, meaning customers will get to access The Pirate Bay again. According to XS4ALL’s lawyers, free speech specialists Bureau Brandeis, the key was the block’s ineffectiveness – EU law states that access providers don’t have to take measures that are disproportionate and/or ineffective. Looks like the legal system is catching up with today’s VPN and proxy-filled reality. ISPs in other blockade-happy European countries should take note.
The Berlin-based firm, which is developing a more touchy-feely alternative to LinkedIn’s legacy clutter, has taken on serial entrepreneur Thomas Madsen-Mygdal as chairman. Read more »
Google has unveiled a series of new frames for its wearable Glass device. The Titanium Collection frames cost $225 on top of the $1,500 initial price tag for Google Glass (that’s for “explorers”; Glass will go on more widespread sale this year), and mean people can use the device with prescription lenses – optical health insurance provider VSP will cut lenses for the system and has agreed to offer partial reimbursements to its customers. It also brings Glass closer to the non-geek fashion zone: there are 4 styles of frame, each of which comes in 8 color options, and Google will also offer $150 clip-on sunglasses. Third-party outfits such as Rochester Optical have already started showing off prescription lenses for Glass.
Golden Frog says Chameleon scrambles VPN metadata, making it harder for firewalls to spot that the traffic is VPN-protected. The protocol is proprietary, though, making its trustworthiness hard to evaluate. Read more »
The world’s largest broadband provider outside China is about to get a bit bigger, as it is buying out what it doesn’t already own of Dutch cableco Ziggo. Newly-installed Ziggo CEO Rene Obermann will leave if the transaction goes through. Read more »
The latest twist in that very long-running rumor about AT&T buying Vodafone? AT&T said in a statement on Monday that it “does not intend to make an offer for Vodafone.” The statement came at the request of the U.K. Takeover Panel, and it means the U.S. carrier can’t launch a takeover bid or try to buy 30 percent or more of Vodafone stock for the next 6 months. However, according to Bloomberg, AT&T chief Randall Stephenson did discuss potential European takeovers with EU commissioner Neelie Kroes at Davos last week.
The U.S. uses its digital surveillance capabilities to commit industrial espionage, Edward Snowden has claimed in an interview with German network NDR, broadcast on Sunday night. The NSA whistleblower suggested German industrial giant Siemens was a target, with information being taken by the intelligence agency even when it had nothing to do with national security. When the agency was previously shown to have spied on Brazil’s Petrobras, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper insisted it never used that information to give U.S. firms an unfair advantage. Australia’s intelligence agency, an NSA partner, has reportedly spied on Japanese firms for the benefit of Australian companies, and France is generally seen as a world leader in that regard.
The activist coalition Privacy Not Prism has made some headway in its quest to prove that mass surveillance by UK intelligence agencies is illegal. Read more »
The Princeton research that used a disease model to suggest Facebook would lose 80 percent of its users in 3 years deserved the hammering it got – it’s simply a bad analogy for the subject. But now a bunch of data scientists from Facebook itself have stepped up to the plate, dryly using the researchers’ own methodology to prove that Princeton enrollment will have depleted entirely by 2021, and the air around us by 2060. Luckily I’m done with my studies, but I’m pretty annoyed about the breathing thing. Damn you, badly-chosen search data and your extrapolations!
Facebook has risen and it may fall, but using a disease analogy is tenuous at best. That hasn’t stopped a piece of non-peer-reviewed modeling by Princeton researchers from, er, going viral though. Read more »
Europe’s in the process of thrashing out its first explicit net neutrality legislation, and amendments made on Thursday mean ISPs and content providers will no longer have a legally-protected right to strike deals with one another. Read more »
The company, which takes in many of the original MySQL crowd, is taking its fight against Oracle into the enterprise as promised. The bundle is unsurprisingly called MariaDB Enterprise. Read more »
Microsoft says foreign customers will be able to choose to have their data stored outside the U.S. However, there are a couple of problems to bear in mind, with the big one being the Patriot Act. Read more »
The multi-modal travel service hopes to cover at least 7 European countries by the summer, giving users the ability to plan trips that include planes, trains and automobiles. Read more »
The independent, international commission has been set up by two thinktanks, as a way of figuring out how the internet should be run in future. Read more »
The German information security ministry has warned the country’s citizens that many of them have been caught up in a massive botnet. Around 16 million people’s information – email addresses and passwords, mostly – was found to have been pilfered by the botnet, which presumably monitored the activities of its victims, and more than half of those email addresses ended in “.de”, denoting German users. The ministry has set up a website where concerned citizens can enter their email addresses; if the address is on the list, they will be sent a PGP-signed email with a special code in the subject line.
Using an emerging analytic technique known as data sonification, European academic data network GÉANT has created a remarkable piece of music out of 37 years’ worth of data from the space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Read more »
The country’s big ISPs have rejected a request by the Gambling Commission to insert warnings when customers are trying to access unlicensed offshore gambling websites. Read more »
The University of Cumbria is inviting those who want to join two of its sustainability courses, which deal in part with complementary currencies, to pay their fees in Bitcoin. Read more »
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has gone into the mobile carrier business, buying a stake in and becoming co-chair of The People’s Operator. TPO, which is little more than a year old, is a community-oriented UK operator that passes 10 percent of customers’ bills and 25 percent of TPO profits to “good causes” (Wired UK has a good interview with Wales that goes into cause selection). The virtual network operator also said said on Monday that it would launch in the U.S. next. “TPO has huge potential for viral growth and the more it grows, the more money will pass to the people and communities that need it,” said Wales.
The Spanish crowdsourced Wi-Fi firm will create a new “social music” router using Atheros chipsets with Fon functionality baked into them. Read more »
Mobile carrier Vodafone and British broadcasting and broadband firm BSkyB are in talks to create some sort of partnership, according to a report (subscription required) in The Sunday Times. The report suggests that while the companies are loath to build a new fiber network – Sky Broadbrand mostly uses national giant BT’s infrastructure – they “have discussed striking deals on Sky’s sports and movie channels and collaborating on a high-speed broadband service.” BSkyB, which offers broadband, telephony and TV but not mobile, is currently looking to get back at BT for winning crucial football broadcasting rights in November, an event which hit BSkyB’s share price hard.
President Obama’s speech on spying and privacy was eloquent, but it sure was long. So, very loosely, here’s what he said, section by section, in around a tenth of the words. Read more »
Barack Obama will announce on Friday that he intends to take telephony metadata out of the hands of the National Security Agency, according to a Reuters report about a scheduled speech by the President on NSA reform. The report suggests Obama has heeded some of the calls made by an advisory panel in December, but it remains unclear who will hold this metadata. Intelligence agencies will also need a “judicial finding” in order to query the database, according to the report, and Obama will apparently scale back surveillance of foreign leaders and for the first time put a public advocate into the secret court process that governs surveillance targeting.
Looks like there won’t be any big new challengers for iOS and Android this year, after Japan’s NTT DoCoMo shelved plans for a Tizen launch and Canonical conceded that no big manufacturers will release Ubuntu phones this year. Read more »
Marketing efforts disguised as community content are par for the course once a platform has been established, but poisonous when it’s not had a chance to take off yet. Read more »
Google will have to face yet another court case over its tricking of Safari browsers, in which it forced through tracking cookies even when the browser settings had been set to reject them. Read more »
Facebook takes mobile very seriously — that’s where its growth lies — so it’s no surprise that Mark Zuckerberg has just been announced as headline keynote speaker on day one of next month’s Mobile World Congress. According to the GSMA, which runs the Barcelona shindig, Zuck will opine on “the importance of extending the benefits of ubiquitous internet access to the unconnected world.” Expect updates on the internet.org initiative and perhaps news on Facebook’s own efforts to extend its
advertising humanitarian reach to the world’s needy.
Digital cameras’ sensors leave unique fingerprints on the photos they take, and new research shows how this could be used to link snaps to the online identities of those who took them. Read more »
The British telco is playing around with a pioneering platform that’s designed to be the connectivity glue for smart cities. Read more »
Europe’s digital chief is already claiming that “newly disadvantaged U.S. startups” should move across the Atlantic — but a similar net neutrality disaster could still happen in the EU, if key proposals aren’t tightened up. Read more »
The device uses a secure version of Android and, judging by the pedigree of the team, it looks like a credible package for those seeking private communications. Read more »
The New York Times has published further details of the NSA’s targeted surveillance techniques, including their alleged use as an “early warning system” against online attacks from the Chinese military. Read more »