The U.S. has the most broadband subscribers in OECD countries, but that’s because we’re the biggest. The OECD’s new broadband penetration stats showcase how far we need to come in future-proof broadband tehcnology. Read more »
A new Sanford Bernstein research note susses out the potential damage to U.S. tech companies — especially in China — in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures. Read more »
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
… but they’re forging ahead anyway. In their expansion mode they will also face growing competition from local providers, especially in China. The Week in Cloud. 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.
… or at least the year we learned about it. In this week’s Structure Show we discuss the news avalanche touched off by Edward Snowden’s disclosures. Read more »
P2P piracy may be less in the spotlight than it used to be, but people are still trading a whole lot of files: Data published by Torrentfreak shows that the Pirate Bay saw file uploads surge by 50 percent in 2012, despite various legal attacks against the site that forced it to change domains multiple times, and resulted in it being blocked in a number of European countries. In November of 2013 alone, 74,195 torrents were uploaded to the site. Two years ago, that number was at just 38,319. Those torrents are shared by around 19 million people at a time, according to Torrentfreak.
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.
After a frenzy of media attention focused on a global social-networking study that said Facebook was “dead and buried” for younger users, the study’s author qualifies his comments — and takes some of the blame for the flaws in the viral story Read more »
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 »
Germany’s Der Spiegel has published details of some of the techniques used by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit, which allows the agency to perform targeted, aggressive hacking. Read more »
Should Softbank’s Sprint unit acquire T-mobile, Softbank’s plan to build the world’s largest mobile internet company would take a big step forward. But regulatory hurdles remain. Read more »
Under a little known law, Queen Elizabeth II has pardoned Alan Turing, the computer and math whiz who helped break German code. It’s a posthumous move — Turing died nearly 61 years ago. Read more »
So much for a pre-holiday slump, this week in cloud witnessed a couple huge acquisitions and a major move by U.S. cloud purveyors Amazon and IBM into the potentially huge China market. Read more »
The Cologne district court seems to have realised it messed up when it allowed a law firm to send thousands of cash-demanding letters to users of the porn platform RedTube. Read more »
Startup Spotscale claims its service — which uses drones, software, 3D printers — will generate photo-realistic models of buildings or landscapes. Read more »
Another day, another addition to our pool of knowledge regarding U.S. and British surveillance activities. According to the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times, targets of the intelligence agencies have included (deep breath): Unicef, Médecins du Monde, the UN development program, the UN food program, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, Israel’s former prime minister and defense secretary, the head of the Economic Community of West African States, other African leaders and their families, French defense contractor Thales, French oil giant Total, and EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia — although he was in charge of the EU economy at the time. File under “Diplomatic Disasters.”
A French company wants to put a $25 sensor in the fuel tanks of vehicles to help the engines burn cleaner and more efficiently. The sensor takes a “fingerprint” of the fuel, informing car computers how to respond. Read more »
The Spanish handset maker Geeksphone has released some specifications for its Revolution phone, which will allow users to change operating systems without voiding the warranty — it will come with Android as standard, but users will also be able to install Mozilla’s Firefox OS (or Boot2Gecko, as it’s known in the case of non-Mozilla partners such as Geeksphone). Now we know the Revolution will be based on a 1.6GHz Intel Z2560 processor and will sport a 4.7-inch IPS qHD screen. It will have a 2,000mAh battery and an 8-megapixel camera with flash. It will also have expandable storage, although Geeksphone hasn’t specified the built-in storage yet.
The European Commission’s competition head has said Google’s latest proposals still don’t eliminate the Commission’s concerns — but the company still has a chance to tweak them. Read more »
Apple shied away from an earlier plan to standardize on a common phone charger, but it won’t be able to dodge this new, environment-driven piece of legislation. Read more »
The newly-launched Jolla smartphone, made by a crew of mostly ex-Nokia employees, is now available for purchase by people in the EU, Norway and Switzerland through the firm’s new online shop. This will be the third batch of €399 ($546) Jolla handsets to go on sale, with the last one having been largely aimed at patriotic Finns. Jolla said on Thursday that already-ordered phones would be delivered in time for Christmas – there’s been a hold-up due to “some technical logistics issues” — while newly-ordered devices will ship from January.
The British government forced ISPs to turn on porn filters by default. Who could have guessed these filters would block things like sex education and domestic abuse support services? Read more »
The world of technology looks a whole lot different at the end of 2013 than it did at the start. Here’s to the year that changed everything by demonstrating the extent and power of state — and commercial — surveillance. Read more »
U.S. web firms may have to agree to a new set of rules for handling European citizens’ data, if draft recommendations issued on Wednesday become the real deal next year. Read more »
The messaging service is now tightly integrated with Microsoft’s PC-slash-tablet OS, although the recently-launched Viber Out feature doesn’t appear to be included. Read more »
Got an Android phone? You can use Samsung’s Gamepad controller with it; the accessory is optimized for Galaxy devices but can be used with any phone running Android 4.1 or better. Read more »
U.K.-based network operator EE announced one of many expected roaming partnerships on Monday with the first being with AT&T. The carrier bills itself as the biggest and fastest in the U.K and says AT&T customers from the U.S. can expect average speeds of 24 to 30 Mbps in major cities. This freedom isn’t expected to come free, or even cheap though, says ZDNet. Last week AT&T announced a similar deal with Canada’s Rogers Communications with international data plans for roaming starting at $30 for a measly 120 MB per month.
Cloud storage outfit Tresorit still hasn’t been hacked, it would like the world to know. Having posted a $10,000 hacker bounty in April, the firm has now upped the stakes to $25,000 and invited researchers from the likes of MIT and Stanford to take up the challenge. Tresorit is trying to pitch itself to the security-conscious – it encrypts data before it leaves the device, and it recently moved its operations from Hungary to Switzerland, claiming Swiss neutrality laws would provide extra jurisdictional protection for its users.
The new version of the Norwegian software firm’s gesture-centric browser also claims speed and security enhancements. Read more »
Walther White’s lawyer is returning to the TV screen, and viewers in Europe and Latin America will get him exclusively via Netflix. Read more »