Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, high-altitude aircraft, flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page. The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 60,000 feet (18,290 meters) and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.
Google parent Alphabet Inc has also poured money into delivering internet access to under served areas through Project Loon, which aims to use a network of high-altitude balloons to made the internet available to remote parts of the world.
Yael Maguire, Facebook’s engineering director and head of its Connectivity Lab, said in an interview that the company initially hoped Aquila would fly for 30 minutes.
“We’re thrilled about what happened with our first flight,” Maguire said. “There are still a lot of technical challenges that need to be addressed for us to achieve the whole mission.” He said he hoped the system might be brought into service “in the near future.”
Zuckerberg laid out the company’s biggest challenges in flying a fleet of Aquilas, including making the plane lighter so it can fly for longer periods, getting it to fly at 60,000 feet and creating communications networks that allow it to rapidly transfer data and accurately beam down lasers to provide internet connections.
Maguire said Aquila will go through several more test flights and hopes it will soon break the world record for the longest solar-powered unmanned aircraft flight, which currently stands at two weeks.
Facebook, which has more than 1.6 billion users, has invested billions of dollars in getting more people online, both through an initiative called internet.org – which offers a pared-down version of the internet to poor areas – and by building drones.
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission urged major U.S. phone companies to take immediate steps to make technology that blocks unwanted automated calls available to consumers at no charge.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in letters to CEOs of major phone companies, said so-called robocalls, automated pre-recorded telephone calls often from telemarketers or scam artists, continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”
Wheeler’s letters went to chief executives of companies including Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc, Sprint Corp, US Cellular Corp, Level 3 Communications Inc, Frontier Communications Corp, Bandwidth.com Inc, and T-Mobile US.
Wheeler said in a blog post on Friday that he wants answers from the companies “within 30 days with their concrete, actionable solutions to address these issues.”
The letters, reviewed by Reuters, noted that the FCC does not require phone providers to offer robocall blocking and filtering but the FCC has “strongly encouraged providers to offer these services” at no charge to consumers.
Tom Power, general counsel at CTIA, the wireless trade association, said on Friday that “unwanted calls and texts are a consumer issue the wireless industry works hard to address and we look forward to working with the FCC to help address this challenge together.”
The FCC gets hundreds of thousands of complaints annually about robocalls and unwanted text messages.
Wheeler’s letters also said providers can do more to ensure that incoming calls are not “spoofed,” when callers falsify the information transmitted to caller-ID displays to disguise their identity.
Scam artists often try to appear to call from a bank or a government phone to trick consumers into disclosing confidential financial or account information. Other scams pitch phony vacation or mortgage offers.
In the letters, the FCC said the phone industry should create a “Do Not Originate” list that would allow government agencies, banks and healthcare providers, among others, to register their phone numbers and would allow providers to block calls from outside the United States. Many phone scams based overseas target Americans.
The FCC said last year it agreed that phone companies should not block calls without customers permission. Wheeler noted that providers “have suggested that blocking should wait until new Caller ID authentication standards are in place, but that is not a valid excuse for delay.”
The FCC has brought 13 enforcement actions to combat robocalls since 2013. In 2015, the FCC fined a Florida company nearly $3 million for illegal calls promoting travel deals.
As announced earlier, Nvidia has officially lifted the NDA off its Geforce GTX 1060 allowing sites to publish reviews which also means that retailers/e-tailers now have the green light to start selling the new graphics card.
Based on 16nm GP106 GPU, the new Geforce GTX 1060 is the third Nvidia Geforce graphics card based on the new Pascal GPU architecture. The GP106 GPU packs 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs and 48 ROPs and it will be coming with 6GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit memory interface.
The new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, which will be apparently sold only by Nvidia, will work at 1506MHz and 1709MHz for the GPU base and Boost clocks while memory will end up with a reference clock of 8000MHz, which adds up to 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.
The reference Founders Edition comes with a standard blower-style cooler which is somewhat simplified and lacks both heatpipes or vapor-chamber, mostly due to the fact that the GTX 1060 has a 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 needs a single 6-pin PCIe power connector which leaves it plenty of headroom for further overclocking.
Performance-wise, the Geforce GTX 1060 is on par with the GTX 980 4GB, and since it comes with 2GB more VRAM, it is a better choice. More importantly, the Geforce GTX 1060 is faster than the RX 480 in most cases, which is its direct competitor on the market.
Unfortunately, the GTX 1060 lacks SLI support, probably because it would kill the sales of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.
Priced at US $299 for the Founders Edition and coming with a MSRP of US $249, the Geforce GTX 1060 is quite impressive, offering more performance than the recently launched Radeon RX 480 and bringing that impressive Pascal power efficiency to the mainstream market.
Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the price wars in the mainstream graphics card segment and will push the prices closer to the MSRP. Both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 offer decent performance per buck so it will be a fight to the bitter end.
Google’s intelligent cloud developer tools added new features with the launch of a new Cloud Natural Language API. The service is aimed at helping developers create applications that understand human language.
It’s an important move for Google, as public cloud providers race to host new applications built with intelligent capabilities. Natural language processing allows developers to build apps that can tackle the challenging task of understanding how humans communicate. It is also key for building intelligent assistants and chat bots.
This API can provide information about a block of text back to an application, including the overall sentiment of a passage and an analysis of the structure of a sentence. The system can also identify entities mentioned, including people, organizations, locations, events and products.
The API is based on the same research that Google used to create Parsey McParseface, an open source parser for English text that the company released earlier this year.
The natural language API entered public beta alongside Google’s already announced Speech API, which lets applications take in recorded voice clips and get text back. By connecting the two APIs, it’s possible for developers to build an app that can listen to a user’s voice and then understand what that person is saying.
By launching these two services in beta, Google continues its competition against Microsoft, Amazon and IBM, which are also launching intelligent capabilities in their public cloud platforms.
In a blog post titled “Master Plan, Part Deux,” Musk sketched a vision of an integrated carbon-free energy enterprise offering a wider range of vehicles, and products and services beyond electric cars and batteries.
The newest elements of the strategy included plans to develop car and ride sharing programs as well as commercial vehicles – businesses where other companies already compete, and in some cases have ample head starts on Tesla.
The new vehicles range from a commercial truck called the Tesla Semi to a public transport bus, a “new kind of pickup truck” and a compact SUV. The vehicles will be unveiled next year alongside Tesla’s existing fleet of electric cars.
Musk restated his argument that Tesla should acquire solar panel installer SolarCity Corp, where he is a major shareholder, and said he aims to make Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving system 10 times safer than cars that humans drive manually.
The plan did not detail how the new projects would be financed at a time when Both Tesla and SolarCity are burning through cash.
Musk summarized the plan saying Tesla aimed to “create stunning solar roofs (for homes) with seamlessly integrated battery storage. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.”
Musk said he envisions Tesla owners allowing others to use their vehicles through a smartphone application. He indicated there will be a “Tesla shared fleet,” but did not offer details of how that fleet would be managed.
Qualcomm has had a better than expected results in its Q3 earnings, beating street and even its own estimates.
Qualcomm offered $5.2 billion to $6 billion revenue guidance and it managed to make $6 billion. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was projected at $0.90 – $1.00 and Qualcomm actually managed to make $1.16.
The MSM chip shipments were guided at 175 million to 195 million while the company actually sold 201 million of these chips.
Total reported device sales was expected to be between $52 billion and $60 billion and in reality Qualcomm scored $62.6 billion. Qualcomm shipped between 321 million to 325 million 3G/4G devices and estimated reported 3G/4G device average selling price was at $191 – $197.
There are a few reasons for such good results, the first being Samsung. The company chose Snapdragon 820 for some markets with its flagship phones. The Snapdragon 820 ended up in 115 devices and it looks like one of the strongest high end phone chips in a while.
The introduction of the Snapdragon 821 will rekindle the fire and will make some additional sales for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and a few other high end phones including some phones from LG and others. The 4G modem business is in good shape but one has to be careful as Qualcomm might lose some of the iPhone business to Intel. Everyone wants carrier aggregation capable modems these days, that is Cat 6 and up and Qualcomm offers this from Snapdragon 430 to the Snapdragon 820.
It is interesting to notice that while Apple iPhone sales were down, Qualcomm did better mainly as when Apple declines at the high end, Qualcomm can make money from its high end Snapdragon chips.
We expect to see the announcement of Snapdragon 830 before the end of the year while devices shipping with the new chip in late Q1 2017 or early Q2 2017. As far as we know this might be the 10nm SoC but we will have to wait and see.
Qualcomm is investing heavily in improvements of 4G, current and future generations as well as a concentrated focus on 5G. From where we stand, Qualcomm still has the best chances to dominate the 5G market, especially due to the fact that 5G is an evolution of 4G with some new wave length and concepts added to it.
Last year’s loss of Samsung Galaxy S6 design win hurt a lot, and now the big customer is back, it seems that investing in a custom ARM Kryo core and dominating in Adreno graphics paid off.
That is enough to store most readers porn collections in just a couple of feet of data rather than the rooms it takes up now. Apparently you can stuff the entire contents of the US Library of Congress in a 0.1-mm wide cube — we guess that does not include the toilets and the cafe..
The atomic hard drive was developed by Delft University’s Sander Otte and his chums. It features a storage density that’s 500 times larger than state-of-the-art hard disk drives.
According to the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology, which we get for the impossible spot the proton competition, the technology is not exactly commercial yet.
Otte and the team placed chlorine atoms on a copper surface, resulting in a perfect square grid. A hole appears on this grid whenever an atom is missing. Using a sharp needle of a scanning tunneling microscope, the researchers were able to probe the atoms one by one, and even drag individual atoms towards a hole.
When a chlorine atom is in the top position, and there’s a hole beneath it, it’s a 1. Reversed, the bit is a 0. and it becomes a hard drive.
Each chlorine atom is surrounded by other chlorine atoms, which helps keep them in place, except near the holes. This method makes it much more stable than methods that use loose atoms. Using this technique, the researchers were able to perform write, read-out, and re-write operations in a one-kilobyte device comprising 8,000 atomic bits. It is by far the largest atomic structure ever constructed by humans.
During the experiment, the researchers preserved the positions of more than 8,000 chlorine “vacancies,” or missing atoms, for more than 40 hours at 77 kelvin. After developing a binary alphabet based on the positions of the holes, the researchers stored various texts, including physicist Richard Feynman’s seminal lecture, There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This data was stored atom by atom, bit by bit, on the surface of the copper sheet. The ensuing write/re-write speed was relatively slow—on the scale of minutes—but the demonstration showed that it’s possible to reliably write, store, and read data at the atomic scale.
The system cannot function in an everyday environment. In its current form, the atomic hard drive can only operate in clean vacuum conditions and at liquid nitrogen temperatures, which is -346°F (-321°C). Most readers porn collections are far too hot for it to handle.
Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.
As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.
After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.
The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.
Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021′ and replace that with ’2016′ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.
Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.
And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.
Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.
The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.
The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.
While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.
“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”
At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.
We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.
The Winograd Schema Challenge is a competition intended to reward technologists who can build a system that understands the kind of ambiguous sentences humans come out with all the time, but which are simple for other humans, even stupid ones, to understand.
Get it right 90 per cent of the time and $25,000 is up for grabs. And with things like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant, the Winograd Schema Challenge must surely be as good as obsolete by now.
The best two entrants at the event this week achieved correct scores only 48 per cent of the time, little better than randomly guessing the meaning of the sentences they were supposed to crack.
This is despite a decade of advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), which has barely shifted since the late 1950s, according to some.
The Challenge posed a series of ambiguously worded sentences to the entrants such as:
The trophy would not fit in the brown suitcase because it was too big (small). What was too big (small)?
The town councillors refused to give the demonstrators a permit because they feared (advocated) violence. Who feared (advocated) violence?
There is an ambiguity in the above examples, read literally, about what is too big (or small) and exactly who is fearing violence, although a semi-intelligent human should be able to work it out with ease.
The problem, according to Gary Marcus, a research psychologist at New York University, who acted as an advisor for the Challenge, is that computers lack common sense, and programming it into them is incredibly difficult.
Indeed, the MIT Technology Review said that most of the entrants in the Challenge used a combination of hand-coded grammatical understanding and a ‘knowledge base’ of facts. It still didn’t help much, though.
However, one of the two best-placed systems, led by Quan Liu, a researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China, together with researchers from York University in Montreal and the National Research Council of Canada, used neural network-based machine learning in a bid to train their computer to recognise the many different contexts in which words can be used.
Liu claimed that after fixing a problem in the AI, he was able to achieve a success rate closer to 60 per cent, which is still a long way from being able to go home with a cheque for $25,000.
The Challenge is deliberately designed to be different from the Turing Test, which tests only whether a human can be fooled into thinking that an AI program is human.
The trouble with this is that there are more than enough idiots who could be fooled into helping an AI system to pass that test. The language test, in contrast, provides a more objective test of genuine AI, argued Marcus.
The failure of the AI programs in the Challenge highlights how far chatbots and other supposedly revolutionary AI-based machines still have to go before humans can clock-off for the last time and leave running the planet to computers.
Some experts have claimed that its development will spark the next industrial revolution, while others, such as Apple co-founder and pontificator Steve Wozniak, suggest that we’ll be adopted as pets by robots.
Google, Microsoft and Facebook didn’t bother entering, perhaps because they feared outright humiliation. Maybe next year.
The emails to OneDrive account holders were the first step in a process that Microsoft announced last year as part of a broader reduction in cloud-based storage allowances. The free amount was to be lowered from 15GB to 5GB, and another 15GB that many had — the photograph-specific “Camera Roll” bonus that had been given to any who asked — was to be erased.
In April 2016, Microsoft warned OneDrive users that the automatic reductions and access restrictions would begin in July, when accounts with more than 5GB of content would be marked read-only. Users would be able to view and download files stored in such accounts, but they would not be able to add new documents, photographs or other files.
Microsoft has pledged that customers whose accounts exceeded 5GB will be able to access their files for nine months, or until around the end of April 2017.
Some OneDrive customers have received emails telling them that as of yesterday, July 13, their accounts were set as read-only. Others have gotten similar messages, but with a July 27 deadline, making the emails a 14-day warning and giving users two weeks to remove enough files to drop the total under the 5GB limit.
Additional restrictions are to be placed on OneDrive accounts next year. In April 2017, Microsoft will lock accounts in excess of 5GB, blocking users from accessing all files. Three months after that, Microsoft has said it may start deleting files in overstocked accounts.
OneDrive users with a free account subject to the 5GB limit have several options. They can reduce the quantity stored online, purchase additional storage, or request a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, a subscription service that comes with 1TB of OneDrive space.
More information about the OneDrive changes and their timing can be found in a FAQ on Microsoft’s website.
Down the road, the carrier said it might use a drone as a Flying Cell on Wings (COW) to enhance LTE coverage at a large concert or sporting event where thousands of fans can clog the network. Or a drone could be used in rapid disaster response, offering wireless coverage when a vehicle is unable to drive to an area hit by a storm or other catastrophe.
Some of those ideas were laid out in a blog this week by John Donovan, chief strategy officer for AT&T.
The blog includes a video showing how drones are already being deployed to inspect tall cell towers. The inspection drones use live video fed wirelessly to an engineer in an office who can do up-close inspections of cables and components high above the ground. The process is quicker and safer than using humans and allows access to parts of a tower that a person could not access.
Drones can also be connected to an LTE network in a specific area to capture data for analysis through remote AT&T servers to allow for networking changes and fixes in real time if problems occur.
Art Pregler, drone program director for AT&T, said the drone inspection information tends to be more accurate than what’s been available in the past. “This is exciting,” he said. “We’re in the infancy of drone use in the commercial sector. The sky’s the limit.”
As drones continue to evolve, so do robots and artificial intelligence, he noted. “We can see all of this coming together in a very interesting man-machine relationship,” Pregler said.
A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.
Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.
It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.
The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.
GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.
Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.
Open Source’s Mr Sweary, Linus Torvalds has dubbed his fellow Linux kernel creators and “brain-damaged” because of their C++ style punctuation.
On one of the kernel news groups, Torvalds threw his toys out of the pram over “brain-damaged stupid networking comment syntax style.”
This is the sort of thing that miffs him.
/* This is a multi-line format.
It does not look bad to us, but Linus hates it becasue it is not balanced */
“If the networking people cannot handle the pure awesomeness that is a balanced and symmetric traditional multi-line C style comments, then instead of the disgusting unbalanced crap that you guys use now, please just go all the way to the C++ mode.”
That is fighting talk in the Linux community where people have been killed for less.
Torvalds writes that he wants comment styles have a certain visual symmetry and balance.” It would probably be fine, but for the fact that following an internet law which states that if any comments on grammar or spelling, their post will have at least one such mistake in it, Torvalds misspelt symmetry.
He said that “networking code picked *none* of the above sane formats… but picked these two models that are just half-arsed shit-for-brains.”
“I’m not even going to start talking about the people who prefer to ‘box in’ their comments, and line up both ends and have fancy boxes of stars around the whole thing,” he adds. “I’m sure that looks really nice if you are out of your mind on LSD, and have nothing better to do than to worry about the right alignment of the asterisks.”
Torvalds snarled that if people thought this comment punctuation was ok then it was time to “start moving the whole kernel over to the C++ style.”
For now, he writes “I really don’t understand why the networking people think that their particularly ugly styles are fine. They are the most visually unbalanced version of _all_ the common comment styles, and have no actual advantages.”
A Democratic U.S. senator requested the software developer behind Nintendo Co Ltd’s Pokemon GO to clarify the mobile game’s data privacy protections, amid concerns the augmented reality hit was unnecessarily collecting vast swaths of sensitive user data.
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter to Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke asking what user data Pokemon GO collects, how the data is used and with what third party service providers that data may be shared.
The game, which marries Pokemon, the classic 20-year-old cartoon franchise, with augmented reality, allows players to walk around real-life neighborhoods while seeking virtual Pokemon game characters on their smartphone screens – a scavenger hunt that has earned enthusiastic early reviews.
Franken also asked Niantic to describe how it ensures parents give “meaningful consent” to a child’s use of the game and subsequent collection of his or her personal information.
“I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information without their appropriate consent,” Franken wrote.
“As the augmented reality market evolves, I ask that you provide greater clarity on how Niantic is addressing issues of user privacy and security, particularly that of its younger players,” he added.
Franken additionally asked Niantic to provide an update on a vulnerability detected on Monday by security researchers who found Pokemon GO players signing into the game via a Google account on an Apple iOS device unwittingly gave “full access permission” to the person’s Google account.
Pokemon GO on Tuesday released an updated version on iOS to reduce the number of data permissions it sought from Google account users.
Niantic did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Franken’s inquiry.
The company, spun off by Google last year, created the game in tandem with Pokemon Co, a third of which is owned by Nintendo.