Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Galaxy Fold is Finally Launching in September

· Charlotte Henry · News

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The end of the Galaxy Fold saga may nearly be here after Samsung announced that the device is finally ready to officially launch in September.

LG Rolling Out HomeKit to TVs

· Charlotte Henry · News

LG AirPlay

LG announced that Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will become available on its 2019 AI TV lineup via a firmware update this week.

Anonymous Data is Not That Anonymous

· Charlotte Henry · Link

It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when you’re told that your data is being stored anonymously. One academic found that it is very easy to identify the person the data refers to. Indeed, they could reidintify up to 99.8 per cent of Americans. They explained their solution to the New Scientist.

Data anonymization is supposed to be irreversible, but it’s relatively easy to reverse engineer the process, as Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye at Imperial College London and colleagues have found. This is because the more pieces of data you have about someone the more likely it becomes they are the only person who fits the bill. However, all is not lost. New techniques will help the fight for privacy, as De Montjoye explains… “We developed a machine learning model to assess the likelihood of reidentifying the right person. We took datasets and we showed that in the US fifteen characteristics, including age, gender, marital status and others, are sufficient to reidentify 99.98 per cent of Americans in virtually any anonymised data set.”

What is Theresa May's Tech Legacy?

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Theresa May will leave Downing Street Wednesday, ending her three-year tenure as British Prime Minister. The date has been set for weeks now, but the day has finally arrived. Mrs. May’s relationship with the tech industry has not been an easy one. Back in June, Sky News’ Rowland Manthorpe looked at the outgoing PM’s tech legacy, and it is worth reading once again today.

Mrs May was not interested in them – and these “citizens of nowhere” found little appealing about her. Over the next two-and-a-half years, there were occasional signs of a thaw. After the election of 2017, Mrs May attempted to revive her government with a new industrial strategy: that meant cash for AI projects and extra visas for coders. But on the biggest questions posed by technology – from the future of work to the fragility of democracy – she remained conspicuously silent. In October 2018, two years after it first became clear that democratic elections in the US and Britain had been manipulated using social networks, the chair of the UK’s fake news enquiry admitted that he had never been asked to discuss the issue directly with the prime minister.

16-Inch MacBook Pro May Cost Over $3000

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Rumors about a 16-inch MacBook continue to circulate. AppleInsider summed up the latest developments. It included talk of an LCD display and price point of over $3000.

The 16-inch screen is again said to be a LCD model, running at 3072 pixels wide, by 1920. Assembly duties are said to be performed by Quanta and Foxconn. Should the new model have the same pixel density as the existing MacBook Pro, that suggests the screen is approximately a 16.4-inch display on the diagonal. Any such device would have to be at some point in the manufacturing process now. Prior to the 2016 MacBook Pro, milled shells of the new case enclosure started appearing in April, for the October refresh. At present, it isn’t clear if the report by UDN is uniquely sourced, or a repeat of previous predictions by Ming-Chi Kuo or other venues. UDN also believes that the model will come in starting at about NT$90000, over $3000.

FTC Workshop Could Help 'Nix the Fix'

· Charlotte Henry · Link

While all the attention was on Facebook in Washington, down the road the FTC looked into improving the Right to Repair. Wired looked at what went on at the workshop it ran.

The FTC-hosted panel, called “Nixing the Fix,” raised the question of whether consumers should be able to fix their gadgets themselves or bring them to a non-approved repair shop without incurring a penalty. Customers who choose to repair their tech purchases often risk voiding their warranty by doing so. The panel included both proponents of the Right to Repair movement—who say tech manufacturers are putting unnecessary restrictions on gadget repairs in order to perpetuate their market dominance—and those who believe there should be guardrails around personal electronics repairs, whether for safety or cybersecurity-related reasons.

Canadian Police Keep Cat Filter on During Murder Press Conference Live-Stream

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Police cat filter

People who run corporate social media accounts do have a hard time. Even more so if it is a public body like the police. When things go wrong, people notice. They certainly noticed when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of British Columbia left the “cat filter” on during a Facebook live-stream of a press conference about a double murder, Sky News reported.

Sergeant Janelle Shoihet, from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of British Columbia, blamed “technical difficulties” for the error. She was giving a briefing about the murders of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend, who were found dead on a remote highway earlier this week. Tweeting about the incident she said: “Yes we are aware and addressing it as it’s an automatic setting. Thank you, we will rectify and issue a video shortly”.

BMW Charging £85 a Year for CarPlay

· Charlotte Henry · News

BMW X5 M50i

BMW has introduced an £85 a year fee for CarPlay, becoming the first car manufacturer to charge an annual subscription for the service.

Mini-Robots Working Like Insects can Climb Stairs

· Charlotte Henry · Cool Stuff Found

Providing further evidence the robots are coming to get us, Reuters has a video of insect-like mini-robots. These devices combine and work together to overcome obstacles. This included stairs and rough terrain. A team of academics in the Reconfigurable Robotics Lab at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne created them.

Mini-Robots Working Like Insects can Climb Stairs

Google and Facebook Track Users on Porn Sites

· Charlotte Henry · Link

google privacy eye

A new report from Mircosoft researchers found that Google and Facebook secretly track users’ activity on porn sites. And they weren’t the only ones. Forbes reported that the researchers found that overall 93% of the porn sites they investigated leak user data to third parties.

While FaceApp was only ever accused (wrongly) of accessing photo galleries and user names, the nature of this latest social media exposure goes further, into the darkest recesses of the internet, because “analysis of 22,484 pornography websites,” the researchers say in their report, “indicated that 93% leak user data to a third party.” Despite privacy policies that “were written such that one might need a two-year college education to understand them,” and the false sense of security that private browsing might bring—”this only ensures browsing history is not stored on the computer”—the researchers found that Google and its ecosystem was tracking almost 75% of the porn sites, Oracle almost 25% and Facebook a still eye-watering 10%.

Equifax to pay $700 Million to Halt Data Breach Probes

· Charlotte Henry · Link

2017 equifax breach

Equifax is set to pay up to $700 million to halt probes into its massive data breach, CNN reported. 150 million people had data held by the company exposed in a breach revealed in September 2017. It is the biggest ever payout for a data breach.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that Equifax will pay at least $300 million and as much as $425 million to compensate affected people with credit monitoring services. That money will go into a fund that will also reimburse people who purchased credit- or identity-monitoring services because of the 2017 data breach. The amount of the settlement could change depending on the number of claims still to be filed by consumers. Equifax will also pay $275 million in civil penalties and other compensation to 48 states, Washington, Puerto Rico and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Russia Ponders Law Making Local Smartphone Software Mandatory

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Russia flag

Lawmakers in Russia are considering a proposal to make having locally made software on smartphones and other devices mandatory, Reuters reported. Apple is a key player in the Russian smartphone market, and I can’t see the company being happy with this idea.

The bill, tabled at the lower house of parliament on Thursday, would allow authorities to draw up a list of mandatory, locally-made software. If passed, it would come into force in July 2020. Russia’s cell-phone market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Huawei products. The bill also proposes fining companies that sell devices without pre-installed Russian software from 50,000 to 200,000 roubles (£630.94-£2,531.75) starting from January 2021.