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 »
Linko, a mobile enterprise startup operating out of Berlin, San Francisco and Helsinki, has just picked up two rather useful things: $2.6 million in seed funding, and another Berlin-based startup called Localstream. Both should help Linko flesh out its customer relationship management (CRM) product, which is […] Read more »
According to a report in NFC Times, France’s number-three mobile operator has effectively put its pioneering NFC program on hold, with top executives associated with the technology leaving the company. Read more »
The Russian Google rival was already able to sip from Twitter’s firehose, and now it’s got an indexing deal with Facebook, too. This should help bolster Yandex’s position in Russia, Turkey and the former Soviet states. Read more »
In the first big European funding news of the year, Berlin-based food-ordering service Delivery Hero said on Monday that it has raised $88 million. The Insight Venture Partners-led Series E round – one of the largest ever in the German startup scene – brings Delivery Hero‘s overall funding to almost $200 million, and should help it in its ongoing battle with London-based rival Just Eat, which has more than 40,000 restaurants signed up across 13 countries. Team Europe portfolio company Delivery Hero has 55,000 restaurants across 14 countries.
Reviews community Trustpilot has picked up $25 million in Series C funding, the Danish company announced on Monday. The money will be used for continued expansion, a spokeswoman for the company told me. Trustpilot now has more than 5 million reviewers feeding paid-for “TrustScores” for over 70,000 ecommerce sites — this data is also syndicated to Google for its Seller Rating program — and recently opened offices in London and New York. Participants in the round included DFJ, DFJ Esprit, and existing investors Index Ventures, Northzone and Seed Capital.
Uber has annoyed many traditional taxi drivers, but none more so than in Paris, it seems. As spotted by Rude Baguette, on Monday morning a protest by taxi drivers on the freeway near the airport turned ugly when several people – not confirmed as cabbies — smashed a window and slashed the tires of an Uber car containing Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage and Five by Five co-founder Kat Borlangan, who tweeted that she had “bleeding hands” after the incident. This happened less than two weeks after a new French law came into effect to protect traditional taxis, forcing cars from chauffeur app services such as Uber to wait 15 minutes before picking up clients.
Google is working on a major upgrade for its Flight Search service — in Europe at least — judging by a Sunday interview with Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary in the Irish Independent. According to O’Leary, Google is developing a price-comparison service that will “blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water” when it goes live in late March. Google Flight Search has been around since the firm bought ITA in 2011, but has failed to make much of a dent. It launched in Europe last March, but with limited functionality and missing major low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. Google said a few months ago that it was content with the overall product, but maybe it’s not — or maybe this is just catch-up time for Europe.
British carrier O2 has axed its mobile wallet service less than two years in. The firm has suggested this has to do with newer initiatives, but Juniper Research analyst Windsor Holden reckons there’s a business model problem. Read more »
The Gmail-Google+ privacy row is interesting on its own terms, but it’s really just part of a bigger picture that should concern all of us, particularly regulators. Read more »
Norway’s Aftenposten has published an interesting account of the decisions taken by those who were formulating GSM – the world’s most widely deployed mobile telephony standard – in Europe in the early 80s. Sources told the paper that the British (and possibly others) put pressure on standards-setters to ensure a relatively weak level of encryption was used, in order to make surveillance possible. An unspecified Asian country was the main target, but the negotiations were colored by the Cold War. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, carriers such as Deutsche Telekom have been upgrading their network encryption so people’s conversations can’t be so easily tapped.
Bytes for All claims the likely tapping of its communications through the UK’s Tempora mass interception program violates its rights under European law, because the tapping would have taken place in the UK. Read more »
Orange is already a big G-Cluster customer, offering a rebadged version of the Japanese firm’s cloud gaming services to its Orange TV customers in France. Read more »
The company is considering putting iris-scanning sensors into the Galaxy S5, which will appear in March or April. Read more »
People traveling through the tunnel from the UK to France will from March be able to get 2G and 3G coverage. The carriers say they will offer 4G services down there, too. Read more »
The cloud provider, which has infrastructure in the U.S., Canada and Britain, says last year’s NSA revelations are starting to hit home. Read more »
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who regulates online privacy for most of the world, is looking into Adobe’s mega-breach last year, in which the details of at least 38 million people were purloined by criminals. Read more »
If you’re a telecoms or online firm that’s been itching to invest in China, now’s your chance – as long as you’re happy to set up shop in the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), a kind of sandbox lab for Chinese market liberalization. On Tuesday state-owned outlets CRI and Xinhua reported that foreign investors will be able to own up to 55 percent of the e-commerce operations of “data-processing companies”, and as much as they like of app store, home internet access and “multi-party communications” companies. Most services can be offered country-wide, though foreign-owned ISPs will only be allowed to operate in the FTZ for now.
The British carrier EE, which got a headstart on its rivals in offering high-speed 4G/LTE mobile broadband, said on Tuesday that it now has over 2 million 4G subscribers. What’s more, takeup seems to be accelerating – it took 10 months to score a million, and only 4 months to score the second million – and EE claimed it has the fastest 4G sign-up rate outside South Korea. The company, a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and Orange, also said its LTE services would cover 70 percent of the UK population by the end of this month.
This year’s CES is a frustrating affair — so many cool new context-aware toys to play with, and so little reassurance from the manufacturers that their use will stay secure or private. Read more »
The Dutch cable market may be about to see some major consolidation, as the biggest broadband provider outside China continues its expansion plans. Read more »
Google has bought a small Swiss app developer called Bitspin, known for its Timely alarm clock app. Timely has a neat gesture-based user interface, a “Smart Rise” mode that gently introduces the alarm sound ahead of time in order to wake the user from a deep sleep, and the ability to synchronize alarms between devices. The Zurich-based outfit said in a weekend post that the app would “continue to work as it always has,” but I daresay we’ll also see the stock Android alarm get a bit smarter soon.
Android will be hitting the asphalt by the end of this year, according to the new consortium. Read more »
Around 250 leading academics from around the world have decried the online spying activities of U.S. and European intelligence services in an “Academics Against Mass Surveillance” manifesto, published on Friday. The signatories work in a variety of fields, including human rights, law, privacy, sociology, security and media. One, Cambridge University Head of Cryptography Ross Anderson, also gave an interview to Forbes in which he called for the abolition of the UK Security Service, also known as MI5, arguing that national security should be a job for the police. In December more than 500 of the world’s leading authors also banded together in a coalition dubbed Writers Against Mass Surveillance.
Cash-rich Vodafone is keen on becoming India’s largest mobile carrier by buying out Tata Teleservices, according to a report in the Economic Times. Vodafone is currently the number two player, not far behind Bharti Airtel (155 million subscribers to Airtel’s 196 million), and Tata DoCoMo is around sixth place with 90 million subscribers. However, according to the report, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo – Tata Teleservices’ partner – has the right of first refusal for Tata’s majority stake in the venture. If NTT doesn’t want to buy out Tata, Tata could potentially force NTT to sell out alongside it. Vodafone declined my request for comment.
The NSA is trying to build a quantum computer in order to break today’s digital encryption and create new types of encryption, the Washington Post has used documents leaked by Edward Snowden to reveal. Quantum computers can theoretically compute much faster than today’s “classical” bit-based systems, which would help them break encryption by brute force, a.k.a. high-speed guesswork – most encryption today relies on the fact that cracking it by brute force would take unfeasibly long. However, though some firms such as D-Wave claim to have built small-scale, early-stage versions, no-one has managed to build a large-scale quantum computer yet.
It may be technically fascinating, but — nine months into writing about the hyper-volatile crypto-currency — I’ve completely lost track of why we need or want Bitcoin. Read more »
The NSA developed a tool 6 years ago to let it attack the then-new iPhone, according to documents from that time, revealed on Monday by journalist Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel. The tool, DROPOUTJEEP, gave the agency “the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device, SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc.” Other documents also published on Monday describe software implants for extracting phonebook, SMS, call log and geolocation information from SIM cards, as well as for targeting the now-defunct Windows Mobile OS. Der Spiegel said in September that the NSA could hack into iPhones, as well as Android and BlackBerry devices.
A Russian hacker took control of a BBC file transfer server and tried to sell access to it on Christmas Day, according to a Reuters report. The attack was apparently detected by a U.S. firm called Hold Security, and the media giant reckons it has now secured the server again. According to the report, there is no evidence that the hacker, known rather unimaginatively as “Hash”, succeeded in finding other miscreants willing to pay him for access to the BBC’s systems.
The U.S. networking equipment manufacturer, which has already warned over the revenue implications of the Snowden revelations, says it is trying to find out more about the NSA’s alleged exploitation of its security architecture. Read more »
Google and Audi are gearing up to reveal a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tie-in would see the creation of infotainment systems, based on Android, that rival Apple’s upcoming iOS in the Car feature. This fits well with an EE Times report earlier in December that said Google would launch an industry consortium around such technology at CES, using Miracast to wirelessly screencast Android apps from the phone to the in-car screen.