Mobile phone and broadband services need ‘radical improvement’

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The head of the UK National Infrastructure Commission has called for urgent action to tackle poor mobile phone coverage. Lord Adonis has written to the telecoms regulator Ofcom urging it to take action to deal with the issue. It follows a report that one million homes have poor broadband and large parts of the UK have no 4G coverage. On Friday Ofcom said calls and text messages could not be sent on all four mobile phone networks in 30% of the entire UK landmass. It is not the first time…

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Uber used undercover agents, court letter says

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It is critical evidence in Uber’s legal battle with Waymo, the self-driving car company that accuses the ride-sharing firm of stealing its technology. The letter, sent by lawyers representing a former Uber employee, sparked an internal investigation when it was sent to Uber in May, but has not been made public until now. In a statement, Uber said: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter – and, importantly, any related to Waymo – our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and…

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Hundreds of HP laptop models found to have hidden keylogging software

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A security researcher has revealed that some HP laptops have hidden software which can log everything typed on its keypads. More than 460 models have been affected, dating back to 2012, according to the list released by the Company. The discovery was made by researcher Michael Myng who found the keylogging code in the pre-installed Synaptics Touchpad software on these laptops.Keyloggers record every key that is pressed on a keyboard. This means the laptop users are at risk of having their passwords, bank details, private communications and search history recorded…

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The technology industry needs to think more seriously about device addictions

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Mobile programmers have the ability to build software that provides deep layers of penetration to the end user through sophisticated targeted notifications. Consumers with their chosen apps, have hundreds of notifications turned on and thus are brought back to their phones at an alarming frequency. A recent study shows that many people consult their phone as much as 150 times a day. Everyone is screaming to the consumer and doing whatever they can to get their attention while not considering the long term ramifications of such excessive stimuli. With the…

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Researchers can determine what smartphone a photo was taken on by analyzing it

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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have discovered a way to identify smartphones by analyzing just a single photo taken by the device. The researchers centered on a flaw in digital imaging called photo-response non-uniformity (PRNU) to do so. PRNU happens when the imperfections in the manufacturing process of each camera’s sensors create tiny variations. Those variations can cause the millions of pixels in the camera’s sensor to project colors that are slightly brighter or darker than normal, which creates a systemic distortion in the photo called pattern noise. This…

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Microsoft makes Azure Bot Service generally available for developers

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Microsoft introduced the Azure Bot Framework more than two years ago and companies have been building chatbots for a variety of scenarios ever since. Today, the company made generally available the Microsoft Azure Bot Service and Microsoft Cognitive Language Understanding service (known as LUIS). “Making these two services generally available on Azure simultaneously extends the capabilities of developers to build custom models that can naturally interpret the intentions of people conversing with bots,” Lili Cheng, corporate vice president at the Microsoft AI and Research division wrote in a company blog post…

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Apple ‘to buy Shazam for $400m

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Apple is close to buying the music recognition app Shazam for about $400m (£300m), media reports say. Shazam, a UK company founded in 1999, allows people to use their smartphone or computer to identify and buy music through a snippet of sound. Shazam, which says it has more than 100 million monthly users, makes most of its revenue from commissions paid on referrals to Apple’s iTunes Store. Neither Apple nor Shazam have commented on the reports on the TechCrunch site. If the deal is confirmed, the music identifying App will…

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German spy agency warns of Chinese LinkedIn espionage

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China is using fake LinkedIn profiles to gather information on German officials and politicians, the German intelligence agency (BfV) has said. The agency alleges that Chinese intelligence used the networking site to target at least 10,000 Germans, possibly to recruit them as informants. It released a number of fake profiles allegedly used for this purpose. BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen said the accounts show China’s efforts to subvert top-level German politics. “This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies,” he said. China has denied similar…

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Google Maps will soon tell you when it’s time to get off your train or bus

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Google is about to launch a small but useful update to Google Maps that will give you live guidance and interactive real-time notifications during your journey. The idea here is to give you real-time updates while you are on your transit journey. These updates will appear in the Google Maps app and, maybe most importantly, on your Android lock screen. To get started, you search for your transit directions in Google Maps as usual. So far, so good. What’s new here is that you’ll soon be able to tap a…

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Facebook appears to axe feed for tracking your friends’ activity

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As Facebook continues to tinker with its layout and services to spur more interactions and engagement, it seems that not even the most well-known or oldest features are spared. In the most recent development, it looks like Facebook has quietly removed the Ticker, the box that used to appear to the right of your News Feed to summarize what all your friends have been liking, commenting on, and generally doing on the social network. The removal has come after several weeks of people reporting the feature suddenly disappearing for them.…

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