Yahoo is asking the U.S. government to provide further clarity on requests for user data, following reports that said the internet company secretly scanned customer emails for terrorism-related information.
On Wednesday, Yahoo sent a letter to James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, saying the company has been “unable to respond” to news articles earlier this month detailing the alleged government-mandated email scanning.
“Your office, however, is well positioned to clarify this matter of public interest,” the letter said.
The scanning allegedly involved searching through the email accounts of every Yahoo user and may have gone beyond other U.S. government requests for information, according to a report from Reuters.
However, Yahoo has called the Reuters report misleading. “The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems,” the company said.
A separate report from The New York Times suggested the email scanning was done on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice and was intended to look for signs of code belonging to a foreign terrorist group.
The recent news stories on the email scanning have “provoked broad speculation” about Yahoo and U.S. government activities, the internet company said in its letter. Although Yahoo respects the need for confidentiality, the company is urging more transparency over how the U.S. government goes about legally obtaining users’ private communications.
“Transparency underpins the ability of any company in the information and communications technology sector to earn and preserve the trust of its customers,” the letter said.
Yahoo has agreed to be sold to Verizon as part of a $4.8 billion deal. But the internet company’s value may have diminished on news of the secret email scanning and a massive data breach publicized in September.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alphabet Inc unit Google has inked a deal with CBS Corp to carry the network on its planned web TV service and is in advanced negotiations with 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc to distribute its channels, three sources told Reuters.
The service, which will be part of Google’s YouTube Platform, is expected to launch in the first quarter and will include all of CBS’ content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.
Google’s so-called “skinny bundle,” with fewer channels than a typical cable subscription, will cost $30 to $40 a month, the source said. It was unclear which Fox and Viacom networks would be part of the Google service, two of the sources said.
The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment.
Google will be launching into an increasingly crowded market. Dish Network Corp and Sony Corp, which in the past year have launched skinny bundles to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable.
And both AT&T Inc and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, have streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said Google was also in advanced talks with Walt Disney Co.
A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment.
Google has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years, but its plans have just ramped up over the past few months, one of the sources said. Apple Inc had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being, sources had previously told Reuters.
Alphabet Inc’s Google unit and automakers express their dissatisfaction with California’s proposals to set new, mandatory rules for testing self-driving cars in the state, which industry officials said could hobble their efforts in the home to much of self-driving vehicle testing and development.
Automakers and Google raised a litany of concerns about California’s proposal at a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday. They expressed opposition to the state proposal to require compliance with guidelines that federal regulators issued last month, but made voluntary.
They questioned why California would require a new autonomous vehicle data recorder and what data they would be required to test, and they objected to a proposal they said would force a 12-month delay between testing a vehicle and deploying it on public roads.
Automakers also questioned whether police should be able to get any self-driving data within 24 hours without seeking a warrant or subpoena.
California regulatory policy is important to automakers and technology companies because of its impact on operations in the state, and because the policies enacted in the most populous U.S. state often influence what other states and other countries do.
The proposed requirement that manufacturers generate a year of driverless testing data before applying for an operating permit drew objections from General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co, Ford Motor Co, and Google.
The state’s approach “could greatly delay the benefits that self-driving vehicles can bring to safety and mobility for individuals,” said David Strickland, who heads the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets that includes Google, Ford, Lyft, Uber Technologies Inc and Volvo Car Group.
Brian Soublet, deputy director of the California DMV, said Wednesday the department wants concrete suggestions to help improve its proposal. Soublet said the department will be considering potential changes over the next several months but he did not give a timetable for finalizing the rules.
“The goal is making sure that we can get this life-saving technology out on the streets,” Soublet said.
California’s proposal would allow for the absence of a human driver and a steering wheel in advanced self-driving cars. In December, California had proposed to require licensed drivers and controls in self-driving vehicles.
Ron Medford, director of safety for Google’s self-driving car project, said California’s proposal to require manufacturers to obtain local approval is “unworkable.” The rule could prevent manufacturers from testing a vehicle that can travel from one area to another.
Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog urged California to prohibit autonomous vehicles without a human driver until federal regulators enact enforceable standards.
Singapore has signed an agreement to begin testing self-driving buses, as the city-state pushes ahead with its vision of using autonomous technology to help deal with the challenges posed by its limited land and labor.
Countries around the world are encouraging the development of such technologies, and high-density Singapore is hoping driverless vehicles will prompt its residents to use more shared vehicles and public transport.
“They say big dreams start small, so we are collaborating with NTU (Nanyang Technological University) on an autonomous bus trial, starting with two electric hybrid buses,” Singapore’s transport regulator said in a Facebook post.
The Land Transport Authority hopes eventually to outfit existing buses with sensors and develop a self-driving system that can effectively navigate Singapore’s traffic and climate conditions.
It did not specify when the trial would start.
Earlier this week, Singapore said it would seek information from the industry and research institutes on the potential use of self-driving vehicles for street cleaning and refuse collection.
Self-driving vehicles are also being tested in another western Singapore district, where a driverless car collided with a truck on Tuesday when changing lanes. Developer nuTonomy, which started trials of the world’s first robo-taxis in August, said it was investigating the accident.
The new Trojan is called TrickBot and first appeared in September, targeting users of banks in Australia. After a closer analysis, researchers from Fidelis Cybersecurity believe that it is a rewrite of the Dyre Trojan that plagued online banking users for more than a year until the gang behind it was dismantled by Russian authorities.
While TrickBot is still a work in progress and doesn’t have all of Dyre’s features, there are enough similarities in their components to suggest that at the very least, one served as inspiration for the other. At the same time, there are also significant differences in how some functions have been implemented in the new Trojan, which also has more C++ code than its predecessor.
This leads the Fidelis researchers to conclude that TrickBot is a reimplementation of Dyre rather than a continuation of the older project.
“It is our assessment with strong confidence that there is a clear link between Dyre and TrickBot but that there is considerable new development that has been invested into TrickBot,” the researchers said in a blog post. “With moderate confidence, we assess that one or more of the original developers of Dyre are involved with TrickBot.”
Dyre, which stole tens of millions of dollars from customers of more than 1,000 banks, financial institutions and other organizations worldwide, disappeared almost overnight in November last year.
It remains to be seen if this new Trojan will reach or even surpass the previous size of the Dyre operation. According to the Fidelis researchers, the TrickBot gang is also trying to rebuild the Cutwail spam botnet which was previously used to distribute Dyre.
Online banking Trojans are designed to inject malicious code into financial websites when displayed locally in browsers on infected computers. The rogue code can hijack transactions in the background or ask users for sensitive information, like payment card details which can then be used for fraud.
Users should run an up-to-date antivirus program and if able, should perform online banking transactions from a separate dedicated computer, an OS running from a live CD or from a virtual machine.
The X50 modem won’t ship until the first half of 2018, and 5G networks aren’t expected to go commercial until 2020. But Qualcomm will have a lot to say about the new technology at its 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. At the same event, it’s announcing plans around its gigabit-speed X16 LTE modem.
The X50 will offer download speeds as high as 5Gbps (bits per second), where networks support them, using millimeter-wave frequencies and futuristic techniques for beaming signals to devices, according to slides prepared for the 4G/5G Summit. Qualcomm shared the materials in advance.
The X50 initially will use the 28GHz band, which is also the focus of 5G development work at the Verizon 5G Technology Forum and Korea Telecom 5G Special Interest Group. It’s one of several millimeter-wave bands that are widely expected to be used for 5G.
Cellular networks up to now have stayed below 6GHz, because higher frequencies don’t naturally travel as far or go through objects as easily. But a lot more bandwidth is expected to become available in millimeter-wave bands in the coming years. Qualcomm says the X50 will be able to use a combined 800MHz of spectrum, compared with up to 80MHz for the X16.
The future modem will use several emerging techniques to make this work. Key tools are beam-forming and beam-tracking, in which a cell can focus its signal to reach a specific mobile device and then follow that device as it moves around. The X50 will even be able to bounce its signal off hard surfaces in order to get around objects between the cell and the user.
Qualcomm expects the X50 modem to ship to system makers in sample quantities starting in the second half of next year. Combined with a gigabit-speed LTE modem, the X50 will form the basis of dual-mode 4G/5G devices. LTE and 5G are expected to coexist for many years.
Meanwhile, the X16 LTE modem will be coming out in a consumer device in the next few months. The NetGear Mobile Router MR1100, a mobile hotspot that provides a Wi-Fi connection on the go, will be sold by Australian carrier Telstra, Qualcomm announced Tuesday.
Qualcomm’s Sy Choundhury, Senior Director of Product Management, talked to the media audience in Hong Kong at the 4G and 5G summit about the security mechanisms and machine learning capabilities of Snapdragon processors.
He came up with a nice reference when talking about security, saying it is comparable with talking about hygiene. You don’t know where it starts and where it stops and this topic doesn’t get a lot of traffic unless one gets hacked / compromised.
Sy talked about security beyond fingerprint and predicts that eye-based security will happen with a lot of OEM devices next year.
Fingerprint sounds secure and it is good enough for most customers, but it looks like eye-based technologies will take over in more devices over the next year.
Microsoft and HP launched rather low volume Windows-based phones, first with iris-based recognition last year. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the high volume phone that got positive reviews on iris recognition and security performance.
Unfortunately, Samsung canned the Note 7 due the battery issues but there will be more phones with iris security in the near future. Some companies chose to use the retina recognition, which is interesting as it doesn’t require any additional hardware. While iris recognition needs additional hardware that adds a few dollars to the Bill of Materials (BOM), retina scanning uses the RGB camera that you already have on your phone.
The downside is that you need a lot of computation power on both the CPU and GPU side, but since the SoCs are getting better and faster this should be a matter of software optimization to really make good use of the mobile chipsets.
Iris scanning seems to be an industry leader, and it will coexist with retina scanning, but it can take up to 4 years for both iris and retina sensors to be as widely used as fingerprint sensors are used now. Not to mention, security experts will love the fact that with iris and fingerprint sensors, you can get a two-factor authentication.
Companies like AliPay are investing a lot of money and they acquired EyeVerify, the company that was working on a retina-based verification solution. AliPay naturally works on a secured payment and as many of you know Apple Pay, along with Android Pay and Samsung Pay do rely on a fingerprint and with that authentication they do quite a good job.
Face recognition is also something that might be used by some devices and there is a lot of research about it as apparently your face has enough distinctive features to make it work reliably.
The future will bring some additional ways of security, and should be viewed as a good thing. Despite the whole fuss, most computers still use passwords, and most homes still use a physical key to unlock.
Qualcomm has surprised the audience at the 4G/5G summit this week in Hong Kong by launching the world’s first 5G modem. The Snapdragon X50, as it is called, supports operations in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band.
It will employ Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques. Before we get you any additional details, we want to let you know that with 800 MHz bandwidth support, you get to peak download speeds of 5Gbps. That translates to about 625MB/s maximum download speed.
Qualcomm’s X16 modem is the world’s first gigabit-class modem that can theoretically get you to 1000Mbps, or 125MB/s maximal speed.
One of the limitations of the mmWave spectrum is that it doesn’t really penetrate walls, but with the help of beam forming and beam tracking the signal can propagate off walls and get you the desired speeds.
Snapdragon X50, on the other hand, is a chip that works together with Snapdragon 4G modems. Since Snapdragon X50 is launching in the second part of 2017, it should launch in devices in 2018. Fudzilla wrote before that 2018 is the year when real life trials of 5G networks will start around the world. The real deployment is expected by 2020 by at least major telecoms, but you got to start somewhere.
“The Snapdragon X50 5G modem heralds the arrival of 5G as operators and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase,” says Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, QTI and President, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “Utilizing our long history of LTE and Wi-Fi leadership, we are thrilled to deliver a product that will help play a critical role in bringing 5G devices and networks to reality. This shows that we’re not just talking about 5G, we’re truly committed to it.”
The 5G modem will need a 4G modem to use the standard LTE 1 Gbps class services. The Snapdragon X80 is designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband via dual connectivity.
The Snapdragon X50 will provide 5G services while Snapdragon X16 will provide traditional 4G LTE-A services. Naturally with times we can see that the 4G part will get integrated in the 5G modem, but this is a bit down the road from now.
If you have any doubts that 5Gbps peak speeds are too much, you think about 360 videos, 4K and 8K video, virtual reality streaming, and you will quickly realize that we will one again be able to eat up the data.
The data caps will largely increase, but just give it some time. T-Mobile in the US has a sort of unlimited data plan today, and things will only get better from this point.
Under the agreement, which is a non-binding letter of intent, Tesla said it will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with its energy storage products Powerwall and Powerpack.
The Japanese company is already working with the U.S. automaker to supply batteries for the Model 3, its first mass-market car.
Panasonic is expected to begin production at the Buffalo facility in 2017 and Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells, Tesla said in a statement, adding the agreement is contingent on shareholders’ approval of its acquisition of SolarCity.
Last week Tesla and SolarCity Corp shareholders agreed to vote on the proposed merger on Nov. 17, and the automaker said it would provide plans for the combined company ahead of the vote.
“Facebook has demonstrated the power of social media to engage more people to register to vote, helping thousands take a big step to casting a ballot this November,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a statement. “For many who may be new to the political process, an invitation to register can be a powerful nudge to get involved.”
Facebook dove into the voter registration process this fall. On Sept. 23, Facebook sent reminders to its U.S. users, who were at least 18 years old, about registering to vote. The effort, which ran through Sept. 26, provided a link to voter registration sites at the top of Facebook’s News Feed.
According to Padilla, it caused a “major surge” in online voter registrations in California.
The state reported that on Sept. 23 alone, 123,279 Californians completed registrations or updates of their registration information on the Secretary of State’s online voter registration site. The next day another 43,888 registrations were completed online, and on the 25th, there were 29,256 more registrations or updates.
Padilla said that before the Facebook reminder went up, there was an average of 9,307 completed registrations or registration updates per day in September, and many of those registering were younger voters.
California reported that 23.8% of these registrations and updates were from people between 17 and 25 years old. Another 29.7% were between ages 26 and 35.
Facebook, which has provided users with Election Day reminders for the past eight years, wanted to do more this year to encourage voter registrations.
“Going back to 2008, we’ve been reminding people on Facebook to vote on Election Day and directing them to information on where to vote,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s product manager for civic engagement said in an email to Computerworld. “This is the natural next step. We want people to have a voice in the process, and getting registered means that there’s one less hurdle for them.”
The fourth-quarter impact on Samsung Electronics’ operating profit will be “in the mid-2 trillion won range,” the company said in a press release early Friday. Using the midpoint of 2.5 trillion South Korean won, that would be about $2.2 billion. The damage will continue in the first quarter of next year, with an impact of about 1 trillion won, Samsung said.
The company announced Tuesday it had permanently stopped production of the Note7. It had launched a recall of the phone just weeks after it went on sale because of fires and explosions that destroyed some of the devices. Then, some replacement units it sent out as part of the recall had the same problem.
Also on Friday, the company said it would make significant changes in its quality assurance processes to enhance product safety for consumers.
Samsung didn’t forecast how the Note7 incident would affect sales in the coming quarters, but said it will “normalize” its mobile business by expanding sales of other high-end phones, such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.
On Wednesday, the company estimated the Note7 problem would cut about 2.6 trillion won out of a third-quarter operating profit of 7.8 trillion won. It also expects to report revenue of about 47 trillion won, down from the 49 trillion won it had forecast earlier.
The U.S. government has issued an emergency ban of Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note7 devices from all flights, strongly urging device owners to take advantage of the company’s exchange and refund offers.
Owners of Galaxy Note7s may not transport the devices on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked luggage, Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration said. The smartphones also cannot be shipped as air cargo under the ban, which goes into effect Saturday at noon Eastern Time.
Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are “increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident,” the agencies said in a press release. Anyone violating the ban could face criminal prosecution and fines.
Samsung said it is cooperating with the ban. The company is working with airlines to communicate the ban, a spokeswoman said by email. “Any Galaxy Note7 owner should visit their carrier and retail store to participate in the U.S. Note7 refund and exchange program now,” she added by email. “We realize this is an inconvenience but your safety has to remain our top priority.”
Samsung started selling the phone in the U.S. in August, and users almost immediately reported exploding devices. In early September, the FAA advised owners not to turn on or charge their devices on flights.
Samsung has twice recalled the devices, but some replaced phones have caught fire as well. The company stopped selling the phone earlier this week. Some owners have hung onto their devices, however.
“The fire hazard with the original Note7 and with the replacement Note7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall,” Elliot Kaye, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a press release. “I would like to remind consumers once again to take advantage of the remedies offered, including a full refund. It’s the right thing to do and the safest thing to do.”
Roosevelt, Utah has officially become the first city in North America to have a flying car school. The location was chosen both for its mountainous terrain and concentration of reputable instructors, according to Mark Jennings-Bates, vice president of sales for PAL-V.
Operators of the PAL-V Liberty flying car will be required to have a pilot’s license, which in the U.S. usually entails a minimum of 40 hours of flight time. During instruction, trainees will be taught to communicate with traffic control, navigate using the vehicle’s instrumentation and maneuver.
Instruction will take place on existing gyroplanes, the same flying technology used by PAL-V’s own flying cars. Unlike helicopters, the blades on a gyroplane are not directly powered by an engine, which means that the gyroplane can’t land and take off vertically. Instead, a motor either at the back or front of the vehicle creates horizontal thrust and organically rotates the blades on top as the gyroplane gains speed. This generally makes them safer and easier to operate because, even in the event of an engine failure, the gyroplane can glide to the ground.
PAL-V is still in the process of receiving approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for its flying car, though the company says that EASA has certified all the vehicle’s individual components and it’s now just a matter of putting them all together. If all goes well, PAL-V plans on rolling out its flying cars to customers in 2018.
The car will come in two configurations. The PAL-V Liberty Limited Pioneer Edition, which will cost $599,000 and the PAL-V Liberty Sport at $399,000. Though the cars will still fly like a gyroplane, Jennings-Bates says the design will be quite different from what we’ve seen with the PAL-V One prototype.
The car will come with two engines and a lowered suspension, Jennings-Bates says. The new design is expected to be revealed within the next few weeks.
Amazon.com Inc said it would add more than 120,000 seasonal workers in the United States for the holiday season, an increase of 20 percent more than last year, highlighting the growing threat the e-commerce giant poses to traditional retailers.
U.S. retailers such as Macy’s Inc, Target Corp and Kohl’s Corp have said they plan to hire fewer temporary workers or to keep seasonal employment levels little changed this holiday season.
More than 14,000 seasonal positions were transitioned to regular, full-time roles after the holidays last year, and the company expects to increase that number this year, Amazon said on Thursday.
The U.S. National Retail Federation earlier this month forecast a 3.6 percent rise in holiday sales this year, with online sales expected to climb 7 percent to 10 percent.
U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers’ biggest challenge in recent years has been tackling the growth of online retailers, specially Amazon, which offer the same products at lower prices and have made shopping more convenient.
They are also keeping sales expectations and inventories low – and hiring light – ahead of the holiday season to avoid a repeat of last year, when unusually warm weather hit sales and piled up unsold goods.
Just moments after Samsung officially confirmed that it is stopping production of Note 7 and halting all sales, the first realistic Galaxy S8 rumors have emerged.
According to a leak on the Weibo social network there will be two variants of the Galaxy S8 – the 5.1-inch and 5.5 inch. We are quite sure that the 5.5-inch version comes with an edge shaped screen and it is likely to be imaginatively called the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge.
According to the leak, both versions of the S8 will use Super Amoled screens. The 5.1 version comes with a QHD (2560×1440) while the 5.5 version might have a 4K display.
As we indicated before, there will be two processers powering the Galaxy S8 phones. One is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 while the other is the Exynos 8895. The Snapdragon 830 can be safely called the 10nm successor of Snapdragon 820. The Exynos 8895 will likely use the same processor.
It is likely that Samsung will offer Exynos powered phones in the European market and leave us with a less attractive modem. The US and some other markets will end up with the better Qualcomm variant.
The Galaxy S8 comes with two main cameras, that is the current trend for high end phones and it will incorporate the UFS 2.1 flash storage.
One not so surprising announcement is that the Samsung’s S Voice might be replaced by the Viv assistant. Samsung just bought Viv – the digital assistant that was created by one of the people who gave the world Siri.
Most of the leaked information make sense, but again, we will have to wait and see if the information is really accurate. It would make a lot of sense to see Galaxy S8 phones with the specifications mentioned above. Some colleagues are confident that the phone may launch on February 26 2017. We are confident the launch might take place a day or two before the Mobile World Congress 2017, that takes place in Barcelona and starts on 27 February.