LG’s Smart TVs may be reporting a tad too much information back to the company’s servers, according to a detailed and convincing post by British blogger “DoctorBeet”. Apparently in the name of targeted advertising, it appears some of the sets are monitoring not only what channels are being watched (even when told not to), but also details of files stored on external hard drives hooked up to the TV. And here comes the really dumb bit: they’re sending that data back to LG’s servers sans encryption. I’m awaiting comment from LG.
A Berlin court has upheld a complaint by the Federation of German Consumer Associations, which argued that Google’s users can’t be certain what they’re signing up to when they agree to the firm’s terms and conditions. Read more »
Android tablet users can now get a specially-optimized version of Opera that opts for tabs, rather than the firm’s usual carousel approach to flipping between pages on mobile devices. Read more »
The FTC is taking a close look at the internet of things, but how it should regulate the potential for security breaches, consumer privacy and transparency around personal data is still a mystery. Read more »
As Norway becomes the latest European country to be dragged into the surveillance scandal, it’s worth running through the revelations we’ve seen thus far. Read more »
Nokia’s extraordinary general meeting, convened to discuss the takeover of the Finnish firm’s handset division by Microsoft, is still ongoing at the time of writing. However, The Financial Times reports that it’s a formality — 99.7 percent of shareholders who voted before the meeting (that’s 4 in 5) have already said yes to the $7.2 billion deal. The remaining bits of Nokia are nothing to be sneezed at: the Here location business, a division creating new advanced materials, sensors and so on, and of course the NSN networking business.
Though eBay is buying Braintree to make PayPal more relevant in mobile, PayPal is showing it has plenty of game in the new smartphone-driven economy. The deal makes PayPal an Uber payment option on two continents. Read more »
What does a national cloud look like? In France’s case, it looks like two fairly similar ventures — one based on OpenStack and the other soon to follow in its footsteps. Does this approach make sense? Read more »
Companies that rent out data center floor space to companies are seeing their business boom as more services move to the cloud. Yet, not all markets or players are created equal. Read more »
Luxembourg’s data protection regulator says Microsoft and Skype’s transfer of Europeans’ data to the U.S. remains legal, despite the Snowden revelations about what happens to that data. It’s a messy situation where neither side is, strictly speaking, wrong. Read more »
The app lets users check their balances and recent transactions without needing to fire up their smartphones or browsers. Read more »
Ireland’s government is pulling out all the stops to brand the country as a hotbed of technology. But marketing alone is not enough for Ireland — or any other country — to create a lasting tech sector. Read more »
The Finnish handset maker is about to launch its handset on a small scale, but last year we were told of widespread distribution plans in China, as well as $260 million in backing from the “Sailfish Alliance”. Turns out that’s all on hold. Read more »
Organizations and individuals will be able to sign up from Spring 2014, through a subsidiary of London’s promotional agency. Read more »
Twitter’s post-IPO path to prosperity presses on: the company has opened up its self-serve advertising platform to companies outside the U.S. Small-to-medium-sized businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada get first (well, second) shot at the platform, and others will presumably follow. The move lets those without a deep working relationship with Twitter to pay to promote their accounts and tweets in a targeted fashion – so expect a lot more of those in your timeline soon, if you’re in one of the aforementioned countries.
Suffering Twitter withdrawal while you’re flying over European Union airspace? You may be in luck, after regulators changed radio spectrum rules to allow the use of mobile broadband 3km up in the air — but the decision really rests with your airline. Read more »
Jolla, the Finnish mobile firm that’s trying to revive Nokia and Intel’s old MeeGo operating system, will release its first handset in less than two weeks’ time. Jolla said on Thursday that the first of its €399 ($537) phones will go on sale in the firm’s native country on 27 November.
Although Jolla wants developers to write natively for its Linux-based Sailfish OS operating system, the devices will also support Android apps, and the handsets will come with the Yandex Android app store. Finnish carrier DNA was one of the first partners that signed up for Jolla, along with Chinese distributor D.Phone.
SoundCloud celebrated its fifth birthday Wednesday, and the Berlin-based startup marked the occasion by revealing an interesting usage data point: SoundCloud users now upload twelve hours of audio every minute, according to a blog post penned by the company’s CEO Alex Ljung. That’s impressive, but also shows that audio still isn’t as ubiquitous as video on the web. To compare, YouTube surpassed 13 hours of video uploads per minute a little more than two years after its launch. Nowadays, people upload more than 100 hours of video per minute to the service.
“The forces of unification are stronger” than those trying to fragment the internet, the former Microsoft chief said in Berlin on Wednesday. Read more »
Jolla wants developers to write native apps for its Sailfish OS, but it looks like the platform’s initial boost will need to come from its compatibility with Android. Read more »
A lot of money is going into trying to disrupt the stock photography market – something investors hope will be possible through advances in the quality of smartphone cameras. This year in Europe alone we’ve already seen funding for Finland’s Scoopshot ($1.2 million), Germany’s EyeEm ($6 million) and Sweden’s Foap ($1.5 million).
Now Scoopshot has (sorry) scooped up more: a $3.9 million Series A round led by Conor Venture Partners and Finnish Industry Investment. The cash will help Scoopshot establish sales teams in the U.S. and U.K. The firm also said on Wednesday that it now has over 60 publishers using its on-demand photography service, including News Corp Australia and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
Now with big backing from Dropbox and Evernote funder Sequoia Capital — and with VC legend Michael Moritz on the 6Wunderkinder board — task-management app Wunderlist should soon become more lightweight and stable, and more widely available. Read more »
OnApp CEO Ditlev Bredahl claims OnApp version 3.1, which provides on-demand access to pretty much everything in the data center, is the platform he wishes he’d had when he was running hosting businesses. Read more »
Netflix continues to be by far the biggest source for residential internet traffic in North America, and the company is starting to have an impact on Europe’s ISPs as well. Read more »
Deutsche Telekom said on Sunday that it will buy GTS Central Europe, a 20-year-old telecommunications firm that focuses on the business market. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, is worth €546 million ($731 million). GTS Central Europe is currently owned by a private equity consortium. The buy will provide much-needed fixed-line infrastructure for Telekom in Poland and the Czech Republic in particular, although it’s worth noting that GTS also has a fair amount of data center infrastructure that might come in handy.
Although LinkedIn and Slashdot had no knowledge of it, the GCHQ agency used fake versions of their webpages as way of sneaking malware onto the networks of major mobile connection exchanges. Here’s how that worked. Read more »
The latest Snowden scoop, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel: the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have thoroughly infiltrated the computer systems of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The NSA has already been shown to be spying on Brazil’s Petrobras.
Meanwhile, reports in Australia indicate the country’s intelligence agency – a regular partner of the NSA and GCHQ – spied on Japanese firms for the benefit of Australian companies during trade negotiations. Particularly favored were “firms that provide employment and cover for spy operatives.”
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated an attack that can reveal the PIN codes for sensitive apps, such as those for banking, by tapping into the device’s microphone and camera. Read more »
Google has declared a white space broadband trial in Cape Town, in which it participated, a resounding success. The firm said on Friday that the 6-month trial, which involved running wireless broadband in the fragmented buffer zones between chunks of TV spectrum, did not interfere with the complex TV broadcast set-up in the city. I went to see the pilot in June and am delighted to learn that the network will stay operational for the schools that have been using it, even though the trial is over. Similar experiments are taking place around the world.
It’s not exactly a surprise, but confidence in the cloud has taken a battering in Germany after the Snowden revelations. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released on Thursday suggested 22 percent of German companies now see the risk of using cloud services as “very high,” up from 6 percent before the leak; 54 percent say risk is high or very high.
Thirty-eight percent said they were now looking at email encryption and 25 percent at encryption of mobile communications while 15 percent want to switch to European tech providers that won’t cooperate with American or British intelligence services.
The heads of the UK’s highest-profile intelligence services, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, all appeared before a parliamentary committee on Thursday to not explain why Snowden’s surveillance revelations have harmed the country. Read more »
Coresystems creates apps for mobile field force efforts and software that ties in with SAP Business One. Former SAP exec Peter Zencke participated in the round. Read more »
Gartner says the PC market is shrinking faster than expected in western Europe, and nowhere more so than in Britain. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now… Read more »
Should public figures have the right to purge search engines of images that depict their embarrassing behavior? A court in Paris has said yes, and ordered Google to delete images of Max Mosley. Read more »
A coalition of lawyers, journalists and internet freedom activists launched legal action against the Dutch government, in an attempt to get it to stop using information about Dutch people gleaned from NSA surveillance. Read more »
Just months after throwing $40 million in Shazam’s direction, Carlos Slim has made another big bet on the startup scene. This time the beneficiary is Mobli, which already has a (mostly) impressive lineup of celebrity backers. Read more »
What’s the sensible reaction to the NSA spying on European countries (with, ahem, some cooperation of those countries’ own intelligence agencies)? According to European Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is in charge of justice, the answer is… more spying!
Reding apparently told a Greek newspaper on Monday that the EU should have a proper counterpart to the NSA — “so we can level the playing field with our U.S. partners” — by 2020. She may have been speaking “off the cuff” and it’s very unlikely to happen (member states handle their own national security), but it’s still an odd suggestion when spying victims such as Germany are trying to rein in the global espionage frenzy, not ramp it up.
There won’t be any commercially-available handsets that support such speeds for at least a year, but EE’s claim to the LTE-Advanced crown is more plausible than most. Read more »
The shuffling of Telefonica’s cards continues: the Spanish telecoms giant is set to sell off a $3.33 billion controlling stake in its Czech and Slovakian operations, with the buyer being Petr Kellner’s investment vehicle PPF Group. Read more »
Privacy International has asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to investigate whether telecoms giants such as BT and Verizon Enterprise broke human rights rules by cooperating too much with British intelligence and not fighting back on their customers’ behalf. Read more »