From the BlackBerry outage, to Yahoo giving it the boot, BlackBerry makers Research in Motion (RIM) have not been having the best week, and many are concluding that it is the beginning of the end for the beleaguered company. Whether it is the end, or just a series of unfortunate events, there is no doubt that they’re are struggling fiercely to stay afloat amidst market-dominating Apple, and their runner-up, the Android market.
Are smart meters (or as some call them “smartmeters”) the next great energy saver, or are they a privacy risk for someone hacking your wifi, Internet, or electricity usage data? Maybe both. Some are calling them a great way to save energy and money on our monthly energy bills, some are saying they are a sign that big brother is tightening his grasp, but either way, smart meters are stirring up some serious controversy. From public meetings in Vermont, to gun-toting homeowners chasing utility company workers who are aiming to install smart meters off their property, these tiny little devices have not arrived quietly.
While Dropbox file-sharing service is intended to be a mostly consumer-based product, many companies use it as a means to share files between employees. The problem with using cloud-based services, such as Dropbox, for business purposes is that businesses don’t have proper controls over the data stored in the cloud. This was driven home this week when Dropbox announced that an employee’s password was stolen and the hackers made off with some sensitive information, including user email addresses which led to the spamming of Dropbox’s European user-base.
Google has found themselves in hot water over privacy issues yet again. As we previously reported, it was discovered that the Google Street View vehicles were collecting data illegally, while taking street pictures in the US, Australia and Europe. In fact, they were doing it for three years, between 2007 and 2010, by harvesting personal data through open wifi routers as the Street View car drove by. This data included entire emails, site visit history, passwords, and other private information that the average citizen probably does not want floating around.
We’ve been hearing reports of the LTE 4G iPad going to sleep connected to 4G, but not finding it again upon waking up. In fact, we often experience it ourselves – we will be working on the 4G iPad, and then either ‘sleep it’ with the button or simply let it go to sleep on its own – and when we wake it up again, it will have full bars of service, but no 4G. It’s annoying, but not fatal, and here are the easiest ways to deal with it.
If you have the new iPhone 4S, you may find that Siri has her hand in your pocket. According to new research, using Siri can as much as double how much data your iPhone uses, which can be costly indeed. Sure, Siri is fun – but is she worth it?
This interesting little tidbit landed in our inbox just moments ago: Borders sold all of their customer data to Barnes and Noble, including information about your DVD and other video purchases! And, clearly, your associated email address! Or, another way to look at it is that Barnes and Noble purchased your customer data from Borders. And promptly added you to a mailing list without your consent to use your personal data from Borders, which they *also* obtained without your consent. Either way you look at it, neither of them come up smelling like roses.
As if it isn’t bad enough that Facebook is sharing your private phone number with all of your Facebook friends, there has been quite a stir this week over the news that Facebook is moving forward with their plans to allow third parties to access your contact information, including your address and telephone number. While Facebook denies this in the press, Facebook themselves confirmed it in a formal letter to the U.S. legislature, signed by Facebook’s VP of Global Public Policy, Marne Levine.
More information is coming to light about the situation with Google and David Barksdale, a Google engineer who used his access to the massive stores of data that Google has gathered about its own users to spy on the private lives (and data) of several Google users, who also happened to be minors. That’s right – Google employee David Barksdale was spying on children, even cyberbullying them, using the access that his position with Google afforded him to look at the private information of children. What’s more, it was going on for months.
Say goodbye to our little friend, the unlimited 3G data plan for the iPad 3G + Wifi. Yes, it’s true, less than a month after rolling it out, AT and T has announced that they will be replacing the unlimited 3G data plan for iPad with a new, limited 3G data plan, known as the AT and T DataPro plan, effective Monday, June 7th. And the current $15.00 for 250MB per month plan has been reduced to 200MB per month under the new AT and T DataPlus plan. This means that if you are thinking of buying an iPad 3G, now is the time to do it, so that you can sign up for the unlimited data plan by Sunday.
AT and T has taken the unusual step of publicly admitting that they can’t handle the amount of data that their smartphone (mostly iPhone) using customers are using, and have indicated that they are going to try to “educate customers about what represents a megabyte of data.” And then they are going to start penalizing “heavy users.” With so many Apple iPhone complaints about lost calls, dropped calls, and poor coverage and other iPhone problems, it’s about time that they did something, although we’re not sure that cajoling, educating, and threatening users is the right ‘something’.
Countless thousands across the country are without service this Labor Day Weekend as the Tmobile 3G and Edge data network which services the G1 Android phone went down, and remains down as of the time of this writing.
A group of Facebook users has sued Facebook for violation of their privacy, and privacy law in general. The group, which includes two children under the age of thirteen, an actress, and a professional photographer, have sued Facebook in California Superior Court, alleging that Facebook’s practices violate California online privacy laws which make it illegal to reveal users’ private data for commercial gain.