To Manage Big Data, Think Like the Customer

by Jeff Wiener on July 31, 2015

As you no doubt know, your technological devices collect massive amounts of data about you that in turn is collected and compiled by an indefinite number of companies to create a fairly comprehensive profile of, well, you. So called “Big Data,” that is, the widespread collection of massive amounts of information about people, has given companies unprecedented pictures not just what customers think about, but, in fact, how they think, offering insights into consumer habits that companies have been overly quick to monetize.

The result, to adapt a classic line from The Simpsons, is that companies who collect big data are a little like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how they got it, and danged if they know how to use it! This unawareness of the privacy and security implications of collecting such massive amounts of data has led to some of our most devastating breaches of recent memory, thankfully prompting businesses to rethink their collection practices and how best to employ the data they do collect.

In fact, it’s time businesses gained a new appreciation for the power of big data collection, rethinking how that data is collected, stored, and deployed. For saying nothing about the threat of that data getting stolen, the fact that businesses know so much about customers is disconcerting at times to those very customers…and it’s pretty pointless to have comprehensive consumer profile on customers who have already left your business behind.

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FCC Fines Local Atlanta Carrier for ‘Slamming’ and ‘Cramming’

by Matt Klassen on July 31, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission has come down hard on regional telecom provider GPSPS, after receiving several hundred complaints over the Atlanta-based company’s shady practices. In a press release this week the FCC explained that it has fined GPSPS $9.065 million over multiple violations, including switching consumers’ long distance carriers without their authorization (a practice known as “slamming”), billing customers for unauthorized charges (a practice known as “cramming”) and falsifying evidence to government officials that all of this was authorized by consumers.

“Companies that engage in these practices betray consumers who trust that their telephone bills will contain only authorized charges,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau.  “Today’s announcement makes clear that the FCC will take strong action against those who switch consumers’ telephone carriers without authorization and then mislead the government to try to avoid detection.”

While granted GPSPS is certainly not alone in these sorts of underhanded operations, hopefully this stands as evidence of the FCC’s commitment to clean up both telecom and wireless industries that have run amuck.

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AT&T Calls $100 Million FCC Fine “Unprecedented and Indefensible”

by Istvan Fekete on July 31, 2015

The proposed $100 million FCC fine of AT&T for not being transparent enough with its grandfathered unlimited data plan is “unprecedented and indefensible”, AT&T said in a filing with the FCC, reports Fierce Wireless.

As a result, the carrier wants the regulator to withdraw the proposed fine because the decision in the case is arbitrary, excessive, and exceeded its statutory authority, the response reads.

AT&T rebuked the FCC’s decision, saying it shows a “startling” lack of authority or reasoned decision-making and that the $100 million fine would represent a “massive forfeiture” for conduct the regulator has previously endorsed. Just to put the size of the fine into context, AT&T reported a wireless revenue of $18.2 billion just for the past quarter.
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Critical Android Texting Vulnerability Could Leave Many at Risk

by Matt Klassen on July 30, 2015

Last year more than 1 billion Android-powered devices were shipped around the world, and a security research company has found a critical vulnerability that affects 95 percent of them. Dubbed the “mother of all Android vulnerabilities,” mobile researcher Zimperium claims to have found a flaw in Android’s default media playback tool, called Stagefright, one that hackers could exploit with a simple text message, that once received, would give cybercriminals complete control over and access to the Android device.

So far the vulnerability has yet to be exploited, Zimperium told NPR, but it did say that the vast majority of Android phones are the world are at risk, meaning it’s just a matter of time before digital ne’er-do-wells discover this as well (like right now).

The news of this critical vulnerability in Android really comes as little surprise though, as the world’s most popular mobile operating system is also the world’s most insecure, as reports indicate that 99 percent of all mobile malware targets Android and so far Google has shown little concerted interest in solving the problem.

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Small Carriers Complain about “Unilateral” Provisions in Wholesale Roaming Contracts

by Istvan Fekete on July 29, 2015

Eastlink Wireless, Wind Mobile, and Videotron have filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), saying that the incumbent carriers are trying to set unilateral terms and conditions for wholesale roaming agreements, reports the Globe and Mail.

The complaint comes after a landmark ruling issued by the regulator two months ago that capped the wholesale roaming rate Rogers, Bell, and Telus charge smaller rivals, the aim of which was to boost competition in the Canadian mobile landscape.

The regulator plans to set the exact rates after a follow-up process scheduled for this fall to assess the carrier’s actual cost, and then add a markup.
While the wireless industry awaits the final ruling, the CRTC has set a maximum rate of no more than the highest amount incumbent players were charging for text, data, and voice services under government caps introduced last year.
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Goodbye IPv4, Hello IPv6: Why Embracing Next Gen Internet Protocols is Essential to Help Your Business Evolve

by Matt Klassen on July 29, 2015

It may very well be one of the slowest migrations in history—and no, we’re talking about the Wildebeests of Africa—the transition from IPv4 (Internet protocol version 4, the underlying system that allows us to connect devices to the Web) to IPv6 (the next evolution of that same online identification and location system).

For years the Internet world has known that our old IP system (version 4) would eventually run out of available IP addresses (with some 4 billion IPs available), and it looks like doomsday has finally arrived. But while IPv6 stands waiting in the wings (and it has been waiting for many years now), the mast majority of Internet users—including much of the enterprise sector—are either unaware, uninterested, or unequipped to make the transition, and while it may not seem like a big deal to continue using the old IPv4 system, there are good reasons to consider preparing your business for the inevitable migration to IPv6.

As Stephane Bourque, President and CEO of Incognito Software Systems, explains, “Prepping your company’s backbone for IPv6 is essential to provide real data security, improve business to business communication, or expand into new markets.” The Internet is changing, and the more adaptable businesses are, the more uniquely positioned they’ll be to capitalize on the benefits of living in an IPv6 world.

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Facebook Optimistic About the Future of Internet.org

by Matt KlassenJuly 28, 2015

Facebook’s controversial Internet.org project began one year ago in Zambia and at first blush it seems to be a success, bringing Internet access to millions of people heretofore unconnected and allowing mobile operators to expand their services to those who previously thought it was beyond the affordability barrier. Now Internet.org has roughly 12 telecom partners [...]

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Wind Mobile Appoints Glen Campbell as New Chief Commercial Officer

by Istvan FeketeJuly 28, 2015

Wind Mobile, Canada’s fourth-biggest wireless player, has a new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), the company announced yesterday. Glen Campbell joins Wind Mobile from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was Head of Canada Equity Research and Global Coordinator for Telecom Services Research. He has covered Canadian telecom services stocks for the past 19 years. [...]

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BlackBerry to Cut New Phone Models to 1–2 Per Year

by Istvan FeketeJuly 27, 2015

BlackBerry’s CEO says the company will reduce the number of phones it releases per year. Until now, we’ve seen four new BlackBerry phones every year, but Jack Chen says he has plans to release only one or two high-end devices to save costs and focus more on enterprise software services. “We make four phones a [...]

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Complex Data Pricing Threatens to Alienate Consumers

by Matt KlassenJuly 27, 2015

Hounded by the threat of irrelevance wireless carriers have, for the most part, initiated an industry wide evolution, transitioning away from their traditional role as network service providers towards becoming more profitable content providers. But by expanding their products and services the wireless industry has been hit with an unforeseen issue, the increasing complexity of [...]

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