AmazonSmile Arrives on iPhone App

· Charlotte Henry · News

AmazonSmile logo on the iPhone

AmazonSmile is now available on the online retailer’s iPhone app, having previously only been available on the web and Android.

Amazon Releases New Fire HD 8 Tablets

· Charlotte Henry · News

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

Amazon has unveiled new Fire HD 8 tablets which come with a 64 GB memory option and a kids-specific offering.

The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway: HBO Now, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+, More

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Pick Your Streaming Service & Device Giveaway: HBO Now, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+ & More

We have a giveaway for you today called The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway. The winner can choose a streaming device, including, but not limited to: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Google ChromeCast. And, a 1-year subscription to the streaming service of your choice — including, but not limited to: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and Disney+. Cool, right? To enter, register for our deal emails (which you should do anyway). If you’re already registered, click the Enter to Win button on the giveaway listing.

How Jeff Bezos Built a Data Collecting Empire

· Andrew Orr · Link

BBC News published an inside look into “Why Amazon knows so much about you.”

“They happen to sell products, but they are a data company,” says James Thomson, one of the former executives interviewed.

“Each opportunity to interact with a customer is another opportunity to collect data.”

Founder Jeff Bezos frames it in terms of being a “customer obsession”, saying the firm’s first priority is to “figure out what they want, what’s important to them”.

TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#4) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Charlotte Henry on Background Mode

Charlotte Henry is a London-based technical journalist. A self-described media junkie, she writes about Apple — and now for the Mac Observer as well as our UK Associate Editor. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, the Independent on Sunday and CapX. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special episode, Charlotte and I discuss the various streaming TV services: Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, CBS All Access, Britbox, Peacock, and Quibi. We chat about our favorite shows, our experiences viewing, the pricing, and the prospects of success for the new guys on the block. Charlotte loves The Bold Type (Netflix). John waxes poetic about The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Picard.

Amazon Will Sell Your Face for as Low as 40 Cents for Facial Recognition

· Andrew Orr · Link

Reporters at The California Sunday Magazine recently published an overview of facial recognition technology. It’s a long read and it provides a lot of information on this technology and how it works. Among the tidbits that caught my eye I wanted to share this one:

Why has the use of facial recognition become such a hot-button issue now? The most obvious answer is that the technology has been improved, streamlined, and commercialized to the point that it has become widely accessible, available for purchase for as low as 40 cents an image if you opt for Amazon’s facial-recognition software plan.

Amazon’s 2019 Transparency Report Shows Slight Decline in Government Requests

· Andrew Orr · Link

Amazon’s 2019 transparency report says it received 1,841 subpoenas, 440 search warrants, and 114 other court orders in the second half of 2019.

We previously reported on how Amazon’s transparency reports have purposefully become more vague over the years rather than clearer — bucking the industry trend. At just three pages, the company spends most of it explaining how it responds to each kind of legal demand rather than expanding on the numbers themselves.

Two other notable findings: Apple was the only other company to report a decline in government requests. And Amazon’s Ring surveillance product hasn’t released a transparency report.

Amazon’s Ring Surveillance App is Loaded With Trackers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Not only are Ring doorbell cameras used as surveillance, but the app itself too. Like many apps, it’s loaded with third-party trackers and analytics tools. The EFF examined the Android app.

As we’ve mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network. In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address.

Amazon Boasts Record Holiday Sales

· Charlotte Henry · News

Amazon reported a record-breaking holiday season as U.S. online sales overall hit a record high according to a new report.

VICE Tests Amazon Ring’s Security, and it’s Not Good

· Andrew Orr · Link

Journalists at VICE tested the security of Amazon Ring security cameras, and they call it “awful.”

Ring is not offering basic security precautions, such as double-checking whether someone logging in from an unknown IP address is the legitimate user, or providing a way to see how many users are currently logged in—entirely common security measures across a wealth of online services.

Save $15 on a $100 iTunes Gift Card on Amazon

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Amazon is offering two deals on iTunes gift cards in time for the holiday season, one for a US$100 gift card and a US$50 gift card.

Flash Deal: Get $10 off a $50 iTunes Gift Card on Amazon

· Andrew Orr · Link

Amazon is offering a US$50 iTunes gift card for US$40. But you have to buy one in the next 90 minutes because it’s a Lightning Deal.

One card, millions of ways to enjoy it. Use the App Store & iTunes Gift Card to get apps, games, music, movies and TV shows. Available in a variety of denominations – spend it on in-app content, books, TV show subscriptions or even iCloud storage to secure files from all your Apple devices.

Amazon Ring Surveillance Cameras Leak Customer Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Data Leak

Romanian security company Bitdefender found that Amazon Ring doorbell cameras were leaking customer data like Wi-Fi credentials.

Bitdefender researchers have discovered an issue in Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro IoT device that allows an attacker physically near the device to intercept the owner’s Wi-Fi network credentials and possibly mount a larger attack against the household network.

At the moment of publishing this paper, all Ring Doorbell Pro cameras have received a security update that fixes the issue described herein.

You can view the whitepaper [PDF] here.