Identity-Theft Security Firm Lifelock Fined $100M For Lapses

Washington (AFP) – A company which sells identity-theft protection services agreed Thursday to pay a fine of $100 million for failing to protect consumer data in the largest settlement on record, officials said.

The US Federal Trade Commission said its settlement with LifeLock came after the company failed to comply with a 2010 federal court order requiring it to secure consumers’ personal information and prohibiting deceptive advertising.

It is the largest monetary award obtained by the commission in an order enforcement action, the FTC said.

“This settlement demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to enforcing the orders it has in place against companies, including orders requiring reasonable security for consumer data,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

“The fact that consumers paid LifeLock for help in protecting their sensitive personal information makes the charges in this case particularly troubling.”

LifeLock charges customers between $10 and $30 month to monitor the Internet for information that could lead to identity theft.

It claims to scan “a trillion data points” daily for threats and offers a $1 million guarantee, according to its website.

A company statement Thursday said the settlement would “enable LifeLock to move forward with a singular focus on protecting our members from threats to their identity.”

It said the allegations by the FTC related to ads and practices that have been discontinued.

“There is no evidence that LifeLock has ever had any of its customers’ data stolen, and the FTC did not allege otherwise,” the statement said.

Under terms of the settlement, the company will pay $100 million which may be used to reimburse customers claiming they were deceived by LifeLock. Some $68 million of the total will be paid to participants in a class-action lawsuit.

The FTC and others claimed LifeLock made false claims about safeguarding the personal information it collects from customers, including “falsely advertising that it protected consumers’ sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions.”


Business, News

Apple Insider Becomes Chief Operating Officer

San Francisco (AFP) – Apple on Thursday made shifts to its executive team, naming its first chief operating officer since Tim Cook moved into the chief executive job some four years ago.

Jeff Williams became Apple’s chief operating officer, formalizing a role some contend he was already handling at the California-based technology colossus.

Williams joined the company in 1998 and “played a key role in Apple’s entry into the mobile phone market with the launch of the iPhone,” according to a release.

Since 2010, Williams duties have included overseeing Apple’s supply chain along with service and support.

“Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with,” Cook said.

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, a familiar face to any who have tuned into the company’s product unveilings, will expand his role to include heading the online App Store, according to the company.

The head of Apple’s chip business, Johny Srouji, was named senior vice president for hardware technologies.

“Johny’s team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year,” Cook said.

Cook also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple early next year as vice president of marketing communications, reporting Cook.

“We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple’s executive team,” Cook said.

Cook was chief operating officer at Apple from 2007 to 2011 and took over as CEO from co-founder Steve Jobs, who died that year.



After A 12-hour Block WhatsApp Service Restored in Brazil

Sao Paulo (AFP) – The popular WhatsApp smartphone messaging application came back to life Thursday in Brazil as a court threw out a two-day suspension that had infuriated millions of users.

Brazilians had woken up shocked and cranky because of the order issued Wednesday night by a judge.

That judge acted because the Facebook-owned service failed to disclose information requested by prosecutors as part of a criminal investigation.

The free service is widely used in Brazil where cell phone tariffs for texting and calls are among the highest in the world. The app is installed in nine in 10 smartphones in the country.

It was to have remain suspended until midnight Friday. But in the end, the cut-off lasted around 12 hours as a court in Sao Paulo overturned the judge’s order.

“Because of constitutional principles, it is not reasonable that millions of users be affected,” the Sao Paolo court overseen by judge Xavier de Souza wrote.

Authorities said they could not disclose details of the probe that triggered the original ban because it is an ongoing case.

Many saw the complaint against WhatsApp as being driven by Brazil’s telecoms companies trying to preserve their high-margin cell phone rates from competition from the free app.

But one television network, SPTV, said the judicial pressure on WhatsApp stemmed from an investigation into a gang that used it to commit bank and ATM robberies.

Brazilian service providers had received the judge’s order and had no choice but to comply, Eduardo Levy, chairman of Brazil’s association of cellphone service providers, told the G1 website Thursday morning while the suspension was still in effect.

At least one of the four major providers has appealed the order, arguing the suspension affected millions of people out of the blue.

“This hurts consumers, and overnight it affected millions of users. There was not even time to issue a statement to customers. They are going to think the problem is with their service provider,” Levy said.

– Life without WhatsApp –

Like people just about everywhere, Brazilians are addicted to their cellphones and WhatsApp is the go-to way to send texts, video and photos.

Twitter positively lit up with messages about the shutdown.

One of the trending topics read #Nessas48HorasEuVou, which translates as “Over the next 48 hours I am going to…”

One user said they were going to binge-watch movies “before some judge has the bright idea of shutting down Netflix.”

“I am going to sit down and cry,” someone else wrote on Twitter.

Before the service was restored Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said “we are working hard to get this block reversed.”

“This is a sad day for Brazil,” he said, noting the country’s history of support for an open Internet.

“I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.”

A Sao Paulo state court said WhatsApp had been asked several times to cooperate in the criminal investigation, but had repeatedly failed to comply, exposing it to a fine and the ban.

Instant messaging service Telegram, backed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, said it had registered some 1.5 million new users in several hours due to the blockage.

Another Brazilian writing on Twitter was more sanguine about life without WhatsApp for a couple of days.

This person recalled living through the so-called Y2K problem, or Millennium bug, when there were fears of global chaos as computers designed in the 20th century began digesting the number 2000.

“I survived the end of the world in 2000, and I went 12 years before signing up to WhatsApp. So don’t anyone think I am going to go mad now.”


Life Hack, News

Zuckerberg: Muslims Will Always Be Welcome On Facebook

Zuckerberg today came out in support of Muslims through a Facebook post which went viral. The following is his message

Mark Zukerberg

Zuckerberg has said that “the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism” but insists “we must not lose hope”. Facebook for a long time has received criticism for choking freedom of speech by siding with local censorship laws in certain Islamic countries in the Middle East. Though advocates of free speech want Facebook to simply refuse to operate in those Islamic countries, Zuckerberg counters it by saying:

A government passing a law that you can’t say something is one barrier against people having a voice. We try to push back whenever we get requests to block something.

Continuing to operate can help the country in other ways, such as allowing people to connect with loved ones, learn, and find jobs. So I think overwhelmingly our responsibility is to continue operating.



Facebook Tweaks The Mobile App To Improve News Feed & Offer Offline Feature

For several months now Facebook has been tweaking its mobile app and is making improvements to enhance user experience even at slow internet speeds. Few more updates are rolled out now to improve the way users access and use the FB app on slower internet connections.

In a recent Facebook blog post, the company stated that “our mission with News Feed is to connect people with the stories that matter most to them, but if people’s News Feeds aren’t loading because of poor internet connections, we can’t show them the most relevant stories.”

Facebook also added, “as a next step in improving people’s experiences on slower internet connections, we are shipping several changes that will more efficiently show you relevant stories in your News Feed when you’re on a slow connection and will let you compose comments on posts when you’re offline.”

Facebook is currently testing an important update in which it tracks and monitors all the previous downloaded stories on a user’s phone to identify the most relevant and and unread important stories and rank them based on importance. This will significantly reduce the loading as that Facebook can now display relevant stories that aren’t seen yet, instead of showing the loading icon (a spinner), while user looks for new stories.

This is a significant update especially for countries like India and other South Asian countries, where the average mobile internet speed is relatively low.


Business, News

#Samsung Will Pay #Apple $548 Million For Infringing Patents

Samsung has finally accepted to pay the $548 Million fine for infringing the patents owned by Apple. However Samsung did not give up before without offering a tough fight. It tried its best to avoid paying Apple, but Samsung now says it will hand over the $548 Million it owes to Apple for infringing the patents and designs.

Samsung filed the papers in the Federal Court in San Jose, California on Thursday, saying that it will make the payment by December 14 2015, if Apple sends them an invoice.

Asked if it had done so, Apple declined to comment on Friday.

The final amount accepted is much less the amount stated in the original verdict, as the US appeals court last May decreased the amount by $382 Million.

Samsung has not given up hope even after agreeing to pay the amount, it has told the San Jose court that it expects to be reimbursed if it succeeds in the forthcoming appeal.

“We are disappointed that the court has agreed to proceed with Apple’s grossly exaggerated damages claims regardless of whether the patents are valid,” a Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement.


Gadgets, News

Microsoft is working on a Google Cardboard-rival called VR Kit

Microsoft is currently working on a new Google Cardboard killer, they have named it as the Microsoft VR kit. Microsoft is hosting a Virtual Reality hackathon in Russia, where it will be handing out Microsoft VR headsets to developers.

This is a leaked information and there is no official information about the event as yet.

According to a report by Thurrott, the event will be held next year and that microsoft will aggressively promote this event. However there is no information about when these devices will be available for the general public.

The device is a combo of a lumia device and a cardboard box. It is speculated that Microsoft may release the design for free just as Google did.



The New Google Cardboard Camera App Can Create 3D VR Images

Google recently launched a new mobile app for the Cardboard. The app named as the Cardboard Camera lets you create stunning panoramic virtual reality photos, with 360 degree coverage. The app is available in the Google Play Store for most android devices.

Taking pictures is a breeze with this app, the user simply has to move the camera for a whole 360 degree in a circle take a panoramic photo using this cardboard camera app.This app also has the ability to record audio and the image when seen using the cardboard will appear to be 3D.

Google says VR photos are three-dimensional panoramas that come with slightly different views for each eye. Near things look near and far things look far, and one can look around to explore the image in all directions.

“With Cardboard Camera, anyone can create their own VR experience. So revisit the mountaintop that took hours to hike, or the zoo where you saw (and heard) the monkeys, or your birthday party with the cake out and candles still lit. Capture the moments that matter to you and relive them anytime, from anywhere,” Google further explains in a blogpost.



Mac OS X 10.6.7 Build 10J868 Seeded to Developers by Apple

Apple has now again released a new Build of Mac OS X 10.6.7 to Registered MacDevelopers.This Build has been released two weeks after the previous Build was seeded. The previous version Build was 10J860 and Now 10J868 has been released for Developers.

Apple has released this Build because they want Developers to mainly focus on Safari, Mac App Store, AirPort, Bonjour, SMB, and Graphics Drivers. But Still Apple haven’t gave any Public release date for Mac OS X 10.6.7.



Microsoft beta-fies Home Server PP3 for Windows 7

Microsoft is looking for guinea pigs to test Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 beta, which is – predictably – built around Windows 7.

Pioneering souls with Windows 7 on a home computer or currently running Windows Home Server can sign up here on Microsoft’s site.

Power Pack 3 expands the ability to create image-based backups to Windows 7 machines in addition to XP SP2 and Vista machines.

Microsoft is also pitching PP3 as a storage and backup solution for netbooks and other small, cheap computers as a way to augment their limited storage space. The latest update now supports a resolution of 1024×600 so netbook owners can use their miniature screen as the interface and playback device for Home Server.


Power Pack 3 also lets users share music, photos, and videos to Windows 7 Libraries, allowing the content to be shared from a central addressable location across all other Windows 7 computers attached to the network.

Windows Search 4 is baked into PP3 for speedier search times, indexing times, and stability across all document libraries on the network. Files encrypted with Encrypting File System (EFS) are now supported with search.

The TV Archive option in Windows Media Center will now lets users record television to the home server running PP3 beta in smaller resolutions for Windows Mobile devices (320×240, 500 Kbps) and the Zune (640×480, 1500 Kbps). It appears Microsoft is still keeping the format of the videos limited to WMV files — so non-Microsoft devices that can take advantage of this new feature are still rather limited.

Microsoft has the full runaround of its Windows Home Server PP3 beta program on its Home Server blog. ®