Friday, May 6, 2011

A lot of technology goes into making your cellphone work. So you would think that we would be more understanding of dropped calls and garbled conversations. Nope. Nothing gets geeks into a seething tech frenzy like poor cellphone reception... and it doesn't help that we couldn't resist the glossy black smoothness of the iPhone and AT&T sucks for cellphone service. Sad.

Well quit staring at your one-bar-worth of signal strength and pick up this handy Cellphone Signal Extender for your home or office. Simply mount the included antenna near a window and run the coax cable to the base booster unit. You get 2500 square feet of prime signal area (enough to cover 2-3 rooms on two different floors). We went from 1 bar... to 5 at our headquarters and made our iPhones very happy in the process.

Important Note:
You will need to have some signal (at least one bar), for the Cellphone Signal Extender to work. You can't extend what's not there... right?

Send Email and SMS with this Digital Pen

'Looks can be deceptive. Really deceptive when it comes to the digital pen. Fountain pens are a thing of the past. And you would rarely see anybody except your grandfather use it. This fountain pen by D-scribe is digital and the coolest pen in the world. Communication has risen to a whole new level and getting in touch with people was never this easy. This Digital pen can send sms and E-mail messages.

All you need is a surface to write on and bluetooth enabled mobile phone. It converts your handwriting into digital form and is ready to send your sms or Email message via Bluetooth enabled phone. Simply write your message and circle the name of recipient to indicate who to send it to. There is a small built-in LED screen that updates you on the status of your message.

What are your waiting for? Get this device and pen your thoughts not forgetting to put it across. Now you can speak your mind whenever and wherever! Your friends are just a scribble away!

Sony: PSN will be 'safer,' 'more secure'; credit card data encrypted

In a new Q&A posted on the official PlayStation blog, Sony says they are working to resurrect the breached PlayStation Network and make it "safer and more secure."

The company used the Q&A to answer several lingering questions related to the breach, which some security experts have said may be one of the largest data breaches ever.

Sony is still unsure whether credit card data was taken, but adds that the info was encrypted and no security codes -- the three-digit numbers on the back of a credit card -- were swiped.

"If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained," the Q&A reads.

Sony says it is also taking extra steps to keep users' personal data safe in the future, including "moving our network infrastructure and data center to a new, more secure location, which is already underway."
Along with a FBI investigation into the case, Sony adds they are also working with a "recognized technology security firm" to conduct an investigation of the breach.

Sony's full Q&A can be found here.

The PlayStation Network first shut down last Wednesday, and Sony revealed two days later the service suffered an "external intrusion." On Tuesday, the company revealed the full extent of the incident: a data breach exposing the personal data of 77 million registered PSN accounts.

Source: Click Here

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Google Faces $50 Million Lawsuit Over Android Location Tracking

Google has maintained that the collection of the location data is entirely opt-in. “We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices,” Google spokesperson Randall Safara told Ars last week. However, the class action lawsuit claims that Google very well knew that “ordinary consumers acting reasonably would not understand the Google privacy policy to include the extensive location tracking at issue in this case.”

The plaintiffs believe that Google’s actions violate the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, various state consumer protection laws, as well as “common law rights” to privacy.

“It is unconscionable to allow Google to continue unlawfully and without proper consent to extensive tracking of Plaintiffs and proposed Class members,” according to the complaint. “If Google wanted to track the whereabouts of each of its products’ users, it should have obtained specific, particularized informed consent such that Google consumers across America would not have been shocked and alarmed to learn of Google’s practices in recent days.”

The lawsuits asks the court to require Google to either give up tracking Android users or to clearly inform users of “its true intentions about tracking,” including whether that information is released to third partis are used for marketing. It further seeks monetary damages “in excess of $50,000,000.00″ as well as punitive damages on top of that amount.

Both Apple and Google plan to attend a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on May 10 to discuss the very issues called into question in the lawsuit. Representatives from the US Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, Center for Democracy and Technology, and others will talk about what the latest mobile technology means for privacy and the law. Justin Brookman, who will be testifying at the hearing for the CDT, believes the law needs to be updated to account for the reality of modern mobile technology.

The best way to address these cross-platform, cross-industry questions is through public policy,” Brookman recently wrote in an editorial on “We need legislation that establishes fair information practices for commercial collection, disclosure and use of all consumer data—but especially for sensitive data, like geolocation information—and we need the courts and Congress to update the rules for governmental access, to require a judicial warrant for tracking the location of cell phones and other mobile communications devices.”

 Source: Click Here

Apple speaks out about iPhone privacy issues

Apple spoke out about iPhone users' privacy concerns after reports that the iPhones keep records of the users' locations. 

Talk to an iPhone or iPad owner, and odds are, you'll find a special bond between human and gadget. But like most relationships, there can be unsettling revelations.

Last week, experts found that every iPhone and iPad has been keeping track of everywhere you've brought it for nearly a year. All the information was reportedly stored in a hidden file on the Apple gadget and easily accessible to someone who knew where to look.

While some iPhone users found the news creepy, professor Jack Lerner at USC Law, who specializes in technology privacy issues, said it's worse that creepy.

"We're dealing with security issues here," Lerner said. "Someone could use it to follow you, someone could use it to determine when you're home and when you're not home.

Lerner says Apple is already facing a class-action lawsuit dealing with privacy issues.
The Cupertino-based company released a written statement on Wednesday saying it uses some of the recorded data to speed up an iPhone or iPad's location-based programs, and that it was a mistake to store the longer term locator data.

"Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly," the statement read.

"Be that as it may, the fact that this was just an unencrypted file that's sitting with indefinite amounts of information about exactly where you've been is very very disturbing," Lerner said.

Still, many iPhone users said they don't know how to read Apple's intentions.

"It's disturbing in theory, but I guess it really doesn't affect me. I don't really have anything to hide," said iPhone user Emily Chen.

The Apple controversy comes right before the release of its latest gadget - the much-anticipated, long-delayed white iPhone 4. It goes on sale on Thursday.

Source: Click Here

Apple Risks Following Google as Europe Leads Privacy Probes

Apple Inc. (AAPL) may face greater scrutiny in the European Union than the U.S. as regulators investigate possible data-privacy lapses betraying the location of iPhone and iPad users.

The Apple probes in Europe echo similar inquiries that have dogged Google Inc. (GOOG) over wireless Internet data collected by its Street View service, said Nick Graham, head of the London Internet and data protection group of law firm SNR Denton.

“Issues that may not look terribly serious in the U.S. can have much greater significance and seriousness here in Europe, as Google has found out in connection with the WiFi,” said Graham. “There is this tension between the U.S. rules which are much narrower and the EU rules which are much broader.”

Regulators in Germany, France and Italy said last week they are checking whether Apple’s iPhone and iPad products violate privacy rules by tracking, storing and sharing data about the locations of users. Irish officials are also examining “a number of complaints about this issue,” Diarmuid Hallinan, a spokesman for the country’s data protection commissioner, said in an e-mail today.

U.S. lawmakers this week sent letters to six companies, including Apple and Google to determine how location data is stored on mobile device systems and how it’s transmitted.

The investigations followed a report by O’Reilly Radar, a website owned by Sebastopol, California-based publisher O’Reilly Media. It said Apple devices log latitude-longitude coordinates along with the time of visits to locations across the globe.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said yesterday it isn’t tracking the users’ location and plans to reduce the amount of data the iPhone stores.


“Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone,” the company said in a statement. “Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”

It said the iPhone saves information on WiFi hotspots and cellular towers near a handset’s current location, which helps the phone determine its location when needed by the user.

Data protection has been a thorn in the side of U.S. technology companies in Europe. While Google has been targeted by regulators across the EU for its Street View program, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped a probe last October after the world’s biggest Internet search company said it would improve privacy safeguards.

‘Big Brands’

“Sometimes the regulators in Europe will go for big brands like Google, and Apple is a big brand,” said Graham. “It will be perceived as a brand that should be demonstrating greater privacy compliance because of its market position.”

Google was fined 100,000 euros ($147,000) in France last month for violating the country’s privacy rules. Dutch watchdogs on April 19 gave the company three months to inform users about private data collected via WiFi by its Street View cars.

Apple has “seen what happened with Street View, they’re not just going to go ahead and ask afterwards whether it was OK,” said Carsten Casper, research director at Gartner Research in Berlin. The more Apple and Google “mature and the bigger and commercially successful they become, the more they’re getting scrutinized.”

Any tracking technology has to be “proportionate” and allow “users to give consent,” said Matthew Newman, a spokesman for EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. The issue will be tackled in proposals for an overhaul of the EU’s 16- year-old data-protection rules later this year, he said.

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office said while it’s aware “of the existing concerns” it won’t contact Apple about this issue.

‘Fleeting Moment’

Users should be informed if their handsets collect data on their location “for more than just a fleeting moment,” Lysette Rutgers, a spokeswoman for the Dutch data protection agency, said in an e-mail.

Operating-system developers “must not assume that the user implicitly agrees with the storage of his data on the device,” Rutgers said, declining to comment on specific investigations.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said all location-sharing on phones based on its Android software requires an opt-in from the user.

“We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices,” said Google spokesman Ollie Rickman in an e-mail.

Even where a U.S. company says data is anonymous, it may still breach EU rules, depending on how the scope of personal data is defined, Graham said.

‘Sent Anonymously’

“The most important thing may be to prove that the data is being sent anonymously,” said Jeff Fidacaro, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group in New York. “It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.”

Separately, the U.K. and Irish information watchdogs said they will investigate the hacking of Sony Corp. (6758)’s PlayStation Network after the company warned 77 million customers may have had their personal data stolen.

The Irish Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said it asked Sony for a report on the breaches. The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office will make additional enquiries before deciding whether to take further action, the regulator said yesterday.

Austrian regulators will “most likely contact Sony regarding this to seek clarification,” Eva Souhrada, executive director of the country’s data protection commission, said in an e-mail today.

Source: Click Here