Privacy vs. Public Safety: FBI takes issue with enhanced mobile security

by Jeff Wiener on September 30, 2014

While the debate between user privacy and public safety and security is nothing new to the mobile world (as Blackberry is well aware), the fact that both Google and Apple have employed enhanced default encryption standards to Android and iOS respectively means that the debate is taking on a new life, one that sees user privacy now getting the upper hand over data accessibility by law enforcement agencies.

To that end, FBI Director James Comey went public last week with a strongly worded criticism aimed at Google and Apple, claiming that the new encryption standards go too far, as now law enforcement agencies have no avenue, even with a court order, to access the information on these devices. The concern, by extension, is that an entirely protected mobile world only truly favours the law-breakers, offering a safe communication haven for terrorists and kidnappers. Without access to mobile data, Comey warns, lives will be lost.

Unfortunately though, in the wake of the NSA Prism scandal this entire privacy vs. public safety debate has become entirely skewed towards privacy, as the concern of users and tech companies alike is now the unwarranted intrusion of Big Brother. But while enhanced encryption standards have all but eliminated the threat of unwarranted intrusion, have things gone too far, should privacy protection inherently allow for warranted (court ordered) access by law enforcement?

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After Years of Uncertainty, Wind Mobile Starts Expanding its Network Again

by Istvan Fekete on September 29, 2014

The biggest of all Canadian wireless startups, Wind Mobile, is apparently on the right track: the years of uncertainty are over, as its previous majority shareholder, the Russian VimpelCom, has sold its stake in the carrier. Anthony Lacavera, Wind’s CEO and co-founder, bought VimpelCom’s stake for $135 million and assumed $150 million in debt.

Lacavera was silent on the company’s future plans when announcing the sale, but he broke the silence last Friday when he uncovered Wind’s next steps for the near future while speaking to BCBusiness.

As it turns out, Lacavera is ready to step out and challenge the big three in other areas by expanding its coverage. But that’s just one of the long list of to-dos the Wind Mobile CEO has on its agenda.
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Apple’s “Bend-Gate” Scandal Continues Tradition of Faulty Design and Passing the Buck

by Matt Klassen on September 29, 2014

While Apple fans have come to expect inspiration and illumination from their iPhones, their implicit desires for their newest toys are much more practical and down-to-earth. You see, while Apple users think they want a sleek, inspiring design, what they really want is what we all want from our smartphones: durability and reliability. If we’re going to drop a few hundred dollars on Apple’s latest must-have phone, it better survive the trip home.

But as Apple’s fame continues to grow it seems the company may have lost sight of the importance of actually building a quality phone, as opposed to building something pleasing to the eye and intuitively simple to use. As I mentioned in passing last week, Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been hit with such controversy almost right out the box, as several users have posted images of their brand new iPhones now bent and misshapen from nothing more than resting in one’s front pocket.

It’s the sort of controversy that seems to plague Apple products, exacerbated greatly by the fact that Apple users likely consider the iPhone they just purchased to be an elite piece of technology, unrivalled in both quality and technological features (both not true), while Apple haters (of which there are many) relish the opportunity to show just how mediocre Apple really is. What Apple needs to do to quiet both parties, however, is quick and decisive action; what Apple will do, though, is likely what is always does…pass the buck.

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Cogeco Cable Proposes That CRTC Back MVNOs to Increase Competition

by Istvan Fekete on September 26, 2014

Cogeco Cable Inc. announced that it will make recommendations to the CRTC on the future of mobile wireless services in Canada during the public hearing held by the regulator on September 29.

In an effort to boost competition in the wireless market, the government has been pushing for a fourth national player, instead of fostering the growth of existing small wireless players. Fortunately, Cogeco has proposals for changes to wireless regulations that it will present to the CRTC next week. If the regulator implements its proposals, Cogeco president and CEO Louis Audet said the company would consider offering its own mobile wireless services, focusing on areas where it already provides cable.

As Audet pointed out, the company’s suggestion is that the regulator require that the incumbents let small players use their radio networks for a standard fee. This would be a radical change from how the commission currently regulates the industry.
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Google Finally Taking Climate Change Seriously

by Matt Klassen on September 26, 2014

I’m not sure what has changed over the last five years or so to suddenly lead an increasing number of technology firms to now admit that climate change may actually be real, as opposed to the liberal fear-mongering we’ve been told it is up until now, but don’t think I’m about to complain about the fact that some of the most influential companies in the world are finally taking the plight of Mother Earth a little more seriously.

In late August Microsoft attempted to distance itself from the climate change deniers—which still make up a significant part of Right Wing politics in America—by ending its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public-policy lobbying group that has championed the cause of the fossil fuel industry and hampered the development of green, renewable energies across the country.

Not to be outdone in the Altruism Department, however, Google has recently announced it will be ending its own involvement in the lobby group, stating that the only reason it was there in the first place is that ALEC was also once a strong voice for an Open Internet. But given ALEC’s clear anti-environment agenda, and that, as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt states, “The facts in climate change are not in question anymore,” the search engine giant has now come out railing against a group it has participated contently with for the last three years. So what’s changed?

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In-App Browsers Can Record What’s Being Typed, Even with A Secure Login Screen, Developer Warns

by Istvan Fekete on September 25, 2014

If you use Twitter or Facebook for iOS, you already know that these apps, along with many other apps, have a built-in browser. But did you know that every one of those apps could log every single character you type? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?

Craig Hockenberry, one of the developers behind Twitterific, has inked a blog post warning iOS users about in-app browsers, which he considers harmful, so you may want to change your usage habits and use the “open in Safari” command instead when clicking on a link inserted in any app that has a built-in browser.

So what does Hockenberry say? Well, his findings reveal that an unscrupulous developer would be able to create an application with an in-app browser and capture the username and passwords of users who login to websites such as Twitter and/or Facebook with the browser.
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Blackberry uses iPhone’s “Bend-Gate” Controversy to Promote Passport

by Matt KlassenSeptember 25, 2014

Although bendable and flexible touchscreens will likely be part of the smartphone scene somewhere down the road, I’m pretty sure the “bend-gate” scandal now plaguing Apple’s newly released iPhone 6 wasn’t what anyone had in mind, as the phone’s new aluminum body is reportedly prone to bending when subject to the normal rigors of smartphone [...]

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Canadian Telecom Service Prices Record Biggest Jump Since 1983

by Istvan FeketeSeptember 24, 2014

The Canadian telecom industry landscape has changed a lot during the past 30 years: the government has been vocal about its wireless policy to bring more choice, better service, and lower monthly costs to average Canadians. But there seems to be a discrepancy between the government’s goals and statements, and reality: after five long years, [...]

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Apple iPad Event Rumoured for October

by Matt KlassenSeptember 24, 2014

On the heels of releasing the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch it seems, as usual, that Apple has one more thing to show us. To that end, rumours continue to circulate that Apple is planning to update its second most popular product, the iPad, sometime in late October, brining a [...]

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Bell and Rogers Have Fastest Mobile Networks in Canada, Says PCMag

by Istvan FeketeSeptember 23, 2014

Canada’s #3 and #1 carriers (Bell and Rogers) have the fastest mobile networks in the country, according to PCMag’s own testing. Rogers’ download speeds are “unmatched” across much of Canada, but Bell’s lead on other factors. Actually, the PCMag’s tests show that although Rogers has the country’s fastest downloads, Bell has a better-balanced network. The [...]

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