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Mozilla becomes the first Silicon Valley heavyweight to oppose CISPA

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Mozilla speaks out against CISPA

Thousands of people oppose the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), including the Obama Administration and “Anonymous.” The bill, which was recently passed by the United States House of Representatives, looks to give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share cyber threats with one another in an effort to prevent online attacks. Internet privacy and neutrality advocates feel as if the bill does not contain enough limits on how and when private information can be monitored. Numerous technology companies — such as Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Intel and Oracle — have voiced their support for the bill. Mozilla on Tuesday, however, took a stand and announced its opposition against CISPA.

“While we wholeheartedly support a more secure Internet, CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security,” the company’s privacy and public policy lead said to Forbes. “The bill infringes on our privacy, includes vague definitions of cybersecurity, and grants immunities to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse. We hope the Senate takes the time to fully and openly consider these issues with stakeholder input before moving forward with this legislation.”

Mozilla’s Mountain View neighbor, Google, has yet to make its stance known, and is one of the last tech firms to do so. “We think this is an important issue and we’re watching the process closely but we haven’t taken a formal position on any specific legislation,” a company spokesperson said. The Internet giant has previously spoken out about the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), even going as far as censoring its homepage and urging visitors to oppose the bill.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 delayed for revisions

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

While we may finally have pricing and release dates for a majority of Samsung’s updated Galaxy line of music players and tablets, launch details for the Galaxy Note 10.1 that debuted at Mobile World Congress in February has remained a mystery. A company spokesperson told The Verge on Wednesday that Samsung has no release date to announce for the device yet, but the slate that was revealed in February may not match the final product that will will ship to end users. The “original” Galaxy Note 10.1 featured a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800-pixel display and was equipped with a dual-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM and a 3-megapixel rear camera. Earlier rumors have suggested that Samsung may upgrade the slate to a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor clocked at 1.5GHz.

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Verizon to cut 3,000 jobs following call center closures [updated]

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Approximately 3,000 people could lose their jobs following the shuttering of Verizon call centers in Texas, Michigan and Washington state. Local ABC affiliate ABC 13 reported on Thursday that up to 1,000 workers may be released as Verizon moves its call center out of the Houston, Texas region. Verizon will close call centers in Michigan and Washington as well, impacting a total of about 3,000 workers. It is unclear if the carrier intends to open new call centers to replace the shuttered facilities, or if it will look to increase head counts at other existing call centers. Verizon said in a statement that the closures are ”a very difficult but necessary business decision,” and a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 13 that it will find new jobs within the company for workers willing to relocate, though it is unclear if Verizon plans to cover relocation expenses. The carrier also said it will pay a severance to employees who do not secure new jobs within the company.

UPDATE: A Verizon Wireless spokesperson contacted BGR to clarify a number of inaccuracies and omissions in ABC 13′s report. The company does not plan to open new call centers following these three closures, however it will continue to operate 28 call centers across the country. 2,600 workers will be affected by shuttering of the facilities in Texas, Michigan and Washington, however all employees have been invited to relocate. Verizon will pay employees who move to new centers $10,000 in after-tax dollars to relocate, and workers who do not continue with the company will be provided with separation benefits.

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Verizon to cut 3,000 jobs following call center closures [updated]

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Approximately 3,000 people could lose their jobs following the shuttering of Verizon call centers in Texas, Michigan and Washington state. Local ABC affiliate ABC 13 reported on Thursday that up to 1,000 workers may be released as Verizon moves its call center out of the Houston, Texas region. Verizon will close call centers in Michigan and Washington as well, impacting a total of about 3,000 workers. It is unclear if the carrier intends to open new call centers to replace the shuttered facilities, or if it will look to increase head counts at other existing call centers. Verizon said in a statement that the closures are ”a very difficult but necessary business decision,” and a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 13 that it will find new jobs within the company for workers willing to relocate, though it is unclear if Verizon plans to cover relocation expenses. The carrier also said it will pay a severance to employees who do not secure new jobs within the company.

UPDATE: A Verizon Wireless spokesperson contacted BGR to clarify a number of inaccuracies and omissions in ABC 13′s report. The company does not plan to open new call centers following these three closures, however it will continue to operate 28 call centers across the country. 2,600 workers will be affected by shuttering of the facilities in Texas, Michigan and Washington, however all employees have been invited to relocate. Verizon will pay employees who move to new centers $10,000 in after-tax dollars to relocate, and workers who do not continue with the company will be provided with separation benefits.

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AT&T amends data throttling policy: 5GB for LTE smartphones, 3GB for non-LTE

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

AT&T on Thursday announced a revision to its smartphone data throttling policy, which impacts users who have chosen to retain the unlimited smartphone data plan AT&T discontinued some time ago. AT&T’s policy had been ambiguous until now, with the carrier stating simply that the top 5% of smartphone users would experience slowed data speeds until a new billing period began. It was unclear how much data a subscriber had to use in order to approach the top 5%, however, and a number of reports claimed users were being throttled after using 2GB of data or even less. Now, AT&T is clarifying that it will only begin throttling smartphone users with 4G LTE devices after 5GB of data has been used in a single billing period, and subscribers with non-LTE devices will be throttled after 3GB of usage. It has also been reported that AT&T increased the speeds experienced by users while their data speeds are being throttled, but a company spokesperson declined to comment. AT&T’s full statement follows below.

With mobile data usage continuing to skyrocket and the availability of spectrum scarce, AT&T, like other wireless companies, manages its network in the most fair way possible so that we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience for all our customers.

How we’re managing the network only affects a small minority of the heaviest smartphone data users still on unlimited plans. Put another way, this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers.

Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect. Here’s what customers need to know:

  • Customers with a 3G or 4G smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – will see speeds reduced if they use 3GB (gigabytes) of data or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle. For context, less than 5 percent of smartphone customers use more than 3GB per month.
  • For customers with a 4G LTE smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – data speeds will be reduced if usage is 5GB (gigabytes) or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle.

Customers will get a text message from us before experiencing a change in speed.

Even with reduced data speeds, these customers will still be able to email and surf the web, and continue to use an unlimited amount of data each month.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone.

We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible – especially when watching video, which is the most data-intensive activity.

That’s because data activity over Wi-Fi does not count against the threshold for unlimited customers that triggers reduced data speeds or against customers’ tiered data plans. Customers can find out more at www.att.com/datainfo

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Apple device manufacturer Foxconn increases wages for workers

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Foxconn confirmed on Friday that it has raised wages for its factory workers by 16% to 25%, Reuters reports. The original device manufacturer, which is the No.1 maker of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, has raised wages to 1,800 yuan ($285) per month and may again raise them above 2,200 yuan ($349) for workers who pass a technical examination. In comparison, pay three years ago was 900 yuan ($143) per month. “As a top manufacturing company in China, the basic salary of junior workers in all of Foxconn’s China factories is already far higher than the minimum wage set by all local governments,” the company said in a statement. Foxconn has come under fire on numerous occasions due to allegations of poor working conditions, however the company is working to improve. “We will provide more training opportunities and learning time, and will continuously enhance technology, efficiency and salary, so as to set a good example for the Chinese manufacturing industry,” a company spokesperson said. Foxconn’s announcement comes on the heel of the Fair Labor Association’s preliminary assessment of the company’s plants, which are said to have conditions that are better than most.

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All AT&T iPhones on sale at RadioShack starting Sunday

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

BGR has learned that RadioShack will be offering a limited-time sale on all AT&T iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 models beginning Sunday, December 11th. The nationwide retailer will discount each iPhone 4 and 4S model by $29.01, and the iPhone 3GS will remain free on contract. AT&T’s iPhone 4 8GB and its older iPhone 4 16GB models will each be offered for $69.99 on contract, down from $99, and the carrier’s 32GB model will cost $169.99. BGR has confirmed with multiple RadioShack locations that both older iPhone 4 models are still in stock. Apple’s new iPhone 4S will be available starting at $169.99 for the 16GB AT&T model. The iPhone 4S 32GB will cost $269.99 during the sale and the 64GB model will be discounted to $369.99. All sale pricing requires a new 2-year service contract. It is unclear how long RadioShack’s sale on all AT&T iPhone models will run, and a company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Pre-sales of ‘disappointing’ iPhone 4S fail to disappoint

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Despite assorted cries of disappointment following Apple’s iPhone 4S unveiling last Tuesday, pre-sales of the company’s latest smartphone have seemingly been nothing short of impressive. But this is hardly a surprise. AT&T sold more than 200,000 iPhone 4S handsets during the first 12 hours of pre-order availability, making this the carrier’s most successful AT&T iPhone launch to date according to a company spokesperson. No other carriers have revealed pre-order figures thus far, but Apple took in a total of 600,000 iPhone 4 pre-orders across all carriers and distribution channels last year on the first day of pre-sales availability. That figure was a record for Apple at the time. Read on for more.

As of Friday evening, less than one day after the iPhone 4S became available for pre-order, delivery estimates from Apple’s online store slipped from October 14th to “1-2 weeks,” indicating inventory from Apple’s first round of iPhone shipments has already been depleted. Apple’s new iPhone 4S features the same glass and metal build as its predecessor, but it includes an upgraded 8-megapixel camera and a dual-core A5 processor as well as Apple’s new voice-driven personal assistant software, Siri.

Despite preliminary complaints from an apparent minority, analysts still have high expectations for Apple’s latest smartphone and the iPhones 3GS and 4, which both saw price drops as Apple’s new iPhone model was unveiled. Wedge Partners’ Brian Blair, who modeled for an incremental iPhone refresh amid rumors of a redesigned iPhone 5, estimates that Apple shipped between 24 million and 25 million iPhones in the September quarter. The analyst sees that figure growing to 27 million units in Apple’s December quarter.

Apple announced earlier this year that it sold 20.34 million iPhones into sales channels in the June quarter, making it the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor by volume in the second calendar quarter this year.

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Sony Pictures breach confirmed to be authentic; Sony launches investigation

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

A small group of hackers calling themselves LulzSec on Thursday claimed to have breached a Sony website and gained access to personal information belonging to over 1 million Sony customers. The group posted a statement claiming it did not have the resources to download the massive database tied to SonyPictures.com, but it provided samples of the data accessed in order to prove the breach was real. The Associated Press contacted several of the purported victims using phone numbers posted by LulzSec, and it was able to confirm with multiple victims that the data, which included account passwords, was authentic and accurate. Sony has not yet confirmed the breach, though a company spokesperson did say Sony is currently investigating the claims. This new breach is the latest in a string of hacks on various Sony networks that have compromised personal data belonging to over 100 million Sony customers.

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Samsung reportedly installing keylogger software on laptops (update: official response)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

We’ll start by saying that we’ve reached out to Samsung for a response here, but as of now, no reply has been given — neither a confirmation nor a refusal of truth. Why bother mentioning that? If this here story proves true, Sammy could have a serious problem on its hands — a problem that’ll definitely start with a rash of negative PR, and a quandary that could very well end the outfit up in the courtroom. According to a report by Mohamed Hassan over at Network World, Samsung allegedly took the initiative to install a keylogger into his recently purchased R525 and R540 laptops. The app was noticed right away after a security scan on both systems, with StarLogger popping up with the c:\windows\SL directory. Where things really get strange is on the support line; reportedly, a supervisor informed Mr. Hassan (after an earlier denial) that the company did indeed install the software at the factory in order to “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used.” Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say if this is a widespread issue, or if the tale is entirely correct, but we get the feeling that Samsung will have little choice but to respond in some form or fashion here shortly. Naturally, we’ll keep you abreast of the situation — meanwhile, you may want to reconsider that hate-filled comment you’re about to bang out on your Samsung laptop, and instead, feast your eyes on the video just past the break.

Update: Kudos to Samsung for hitting this head-on. An hour after we inquired for comment, a company spokesperson tossed over this official quote: “Samsung takes Mr. Hassan’s claims very seriously. After learning of the original post this morning on NetworkWorld.com, we launched an internal investigation into this issue. We will provide further information as soon as it is available.”

Continue reading Samsung reportedly installing keylogger software on laptops (update: official response)

Samsung reportedly installing keylogger software on laptops (update: official response) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft to delay ‘NoDo’ update for Windows Phone; late March new target

Friday, March 11th, 2011

In a statement to Mobilized, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed what most had been expecting — another delay to the company’s planned, March Windows Phone update. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, had previously stated that NoDo would begin hitting handsets in early March. “After careful consultation with the team and our many partners, we’ve decided to briefly hold the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and that of our customers,” explained a company spokesperson. “As a result, we will plan to begin delivering the update in the latter half of March.” The first major update to Microsoft’s new mobile operating system — codenamed NoDo — is set to bring copy and paste functionality along with a host of other tweaks and improvements. The company’s spokesperson went on to confirm that this delay would have no impact on future update releases — specifically mentioning the multitasking update due later this year announced at Mobile World Congress.

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Samsung readying 8.9-inch Android tablet for first half of 2011?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

According to Korean based Yonhap News Agency, Samsung Electronics is readying an 8.9-inch Android tablet due in the first half of 2011. The publications cites Samsung as the source of the information and adds that a “company spokesperson” indicated that the 8.9-inch tablet “will be released in the global market through mobile operators.” Samsung currently offers a 7-inch tablet, the Galaxy Tab, and is scheduled to release a 10.1-inch tablet later this year. What do you say Goldilocks? Is 8.9-inches just right?

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