Tag Archives: Smartphones

Verizon’s Super-Cookies Are A Super Privacy Violation

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

Verizon is informing customers that they can opt out of having their personal information shared by visiting the company’s MyVerizon website. But here’s something Verizon is neglecting to mention. Any visit to MyVerizon will result in — you guessed it — a cookie being generated for your computer or wireless device that will automatically enroll you in what Verizon calls its Relevant Mobile Advertising program, which oversees all online tracking. Think about that: Verizon will violate your privacy even as you go through the steps the company has set up to protect your privacy. Read More ›

iPhone Users Sue Claiming False Advertising, Cloud Storage Hawking

by Laura Northrup, Consumerist

The iPhone users’ attorneys claim that users aren’t told how much of their already meager storage capacity they will lose when upgrading their phone’s operating system. “Apple fails to disclose that upgrading from iOS 7 to iOS 8 will cost a Device user between 600 MB and 1.3 GB of storage space – a result that no consumer could reasonably anticipate,” they point out. … Once space runs out, the iDevice asks the user whether they’d like to rent some additional iCloud space. “For this service, Apple charges prices ranging from $0.99 to $29.99 per month,” the complaint notes. Read More ›

CFPB Lawsuit: Sprint Made Millions Off Consumers Acting As A “Breeding Ground” For Bill-Cramming

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

sprint logo

The CFPB reports that most affected Sprint customers were initially targeted by the third-party products online. “Consumers clicked on ads that brought them to websites asking them to enter their cellphone numbers,” officials with the CFPB say in a news release. “Some merchants tricked consumers into providing their cellphone numbers to receive ‘free’ digital content and then charged for it. Many others simply placed fabricated charges on bills without delivering any goods or communicating with consumers.” Read More ›

The Creepy New Wave of the Internet

by Sue Halpern, The New York Review of Books

Apple offered a glimpse of how the Internet of Things actually might play out, when it introduced the company’s new smart watch, mobile payment system, health apps, and other, seemingly random, additions to its product line. As Mat Honan virtually shouted in Wired: “Apple is building a world in which there is a computer in your every interaction, waking and sleeping. … telling you how many steps you took, how high you climbed and how many calories you burned. … THIS IS THE NEW APPLE ECOSYSTEM. APPLE HAS TURNED OUR WORLD INTO ONE BIG UBIQUITOUS COMPUTER.” Read More ›

Americans Say They Want Privacy, but Act as if They Don’t

by Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

Pew offered some evidence that people are inured to the trade-offs of using digital services: Ninety-one percent agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control over how their personal information is collected or used by companies. They are unsure what to do about it, though. Nearly two-thirds say they would like to do more to protect the privacy of their personal information online. About the same number think the government should do more to protect them. Read More ›

Apple Mobile Devices Vulnerable To App Attack, FireEye Says

by Jeremy C. Owens, San Jose Mercury News

Apple mobile devices can leak users’ information through an attack using apps distributed outside the company’s App Store, a prominent Silicon Valley security company disclosed Tuesday. … Hackers could offer a mobile app through the Web that would mimic a legitimately downloaded application on a user’s device, siphoning important information such as login info or emails. An example provided showed that a third-party app called “New Flappy Bird” could replace the Gmail app and access cached emails, using the same “bundle identifier” that Apple uses for the Gmail app. Read More ›

Lured by Verizon into Giving up Cellphone Privacy

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

Similar tactics are employed by practically all other telecom, financial and Internet companies. But Verizon Wireless has been unusually clumsy in its efforts to coax customers into abandoning their privacy. … It’s using the prospect of money-saving deals as an enticement for people agreeing to let the company peer over their shoulder. [One analyst] said programs such as Verizon Smart Rewards represent “a location gold mine” that can be used by wireless carriers for “big data analytics and advertising.” The wireless industry could be looking at nearly $2 billion in extra revenue by 2019. Read More ›

SB 962: Governor Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Legislation

An Assembly floor vote is expected Aug. 7. “The companies that make 97 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. have removed their opposition to the bill, yet [CTIA-The Wireless Association] remains opposed,” Max Szabo of the District Attorney’s Office told The San Francisco Examiner. “It raises the question of whether these insurance giants are hiding behind this lobbying group in an attempt to protect the profits they’re reaping at the expense of public safety.” Read More ›

Survey: Most smartphone owners support kill switch; industry lobbyists remain opposed

by Jonah Owen Lamb, The San Francisco Examiner

With Senate Bill 962 (Leno) set to go to the Assembly floor Aug. 7, a majority of the public – 99 percent – backs laws requiring shut-off technology in smartphones to combat thefts. “The companies that make 97 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. have removed their opposition to the bill, yet [CTIA-The Wireless Association] remains opposed,” Max Szabo of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said. “It raises the question of whether these insurance giants are hiding behind this lobbying group in an attempt to protect the profits they’re reaping at the expense of public safety.” Read More ›

You’ve been jacked!: On why Sacramento smartphone thefts are big money for thieves and telecoms

by Raheem F. Hosseini, Sacramento News & Review

Stealing a mobile device is the “easiest, quickest way to get your hands on several hundred bucks,” said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. Legislative fixes are meeting resistance from a powerful telecommunications industry that rakes in more than $38 billion selling smartphone-theft insurance and replacement mobile devices. Companies like AT&T and Sprint rake in “several billion dollars a year in phone-theft insurance,” said Holober. “This is an industry that pretty much owns the Legislature.” Read More ›

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