Verizon will pay a $7.4 million fine to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end a privacy investigation that accused the company of not informing two million landline customers that their personal information would be used for marketing purposes. The FCC new about the problem dating back to September 2012, and Verizon informed the FCC in January 2013.
If the new Verizon customers received privacy notices in their first bill, they would have learned about their ability to opt out of future marketing promotions. Verizon now is sending opt-out notices with every phone bill to customers.
"In today's increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform customers of their privacy choices and then to respect those choices," said Travis LeBlanc, FCC enforcement chief, in a statement. "It is plainly unacceptable for any phone company to use its customers' personal information for thousands of marketing campaigns without even giving them the choice to opt out."
The celebrity photo scandal that took the Internet by storm over the weekend likely was caused by computer forensics technology used by the police. Using the Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB) software, designed for police and government agencies, people who purchase the software can snag photos from iCloud backups.
Instead of using iBrute to steal a user's iCloud login and password, using EPPB allows criminals to download an iPhone or iPad backup into a single folder - in addition to photos and videos, they can access application data, text messages, contacts, and other data. Apple released a carefully worded statement that said its iCloud and Find My Phone services were not hit by a data breach.
The use of Elcomsoft's software, along with Oxygen, Cellebrite and other similar programs have given cybercriminals the ability to compromise users in an easier, streamlined manner. EPPB is available for $399 - and doesn't require any government or police credentials - and can also be found on piracy websites.
Open WebOS has been given a name change, now known as LuneOS, and has been designed as an open source alternative to Google Android and other mobile operating systems.
LuneOS currently only supports the Google Nexus 4 and HP TouchPad, but designers hope to create a stable offering for these devices - and slowly expand to other smartphones. Instead of trying to directly compete with Android or Apple's iOS, LuneOS wants to bring back a bit of nostalgia for users that enjoyed webOS back in the day.
The secretive U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane recently moved beyond 600 days in orbit as part of a classified test mission that doesn't have a scheduled end date in the near future. The space plane launched on Dec. 11, 2012 onboard an Atlas 5 rocket, and has spent almost one year and nine months in orbit.
Details about the X-37B's exact specifications - and what it is doing in space - remain unknown, but the aircraft is 29 feet in length and stands 9.5 feet tall, with a wingspan of almost 15 feet. Using solar panels, the aircraft is able to stay in space for longer durations, but is still nowhere near the longevity of many U.S. satellites currently in orbit.
"The Air Force continues to push the envelope of the solar-powered X-37B capabilities," said Joan Johnson-Freese, National Security Affairs professor at the U.S. Navy War College.
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) manufactures the Canadarm and Canadarm2 robotic arms for space research, but has joined the KidsArm project to help bring a mini-arm to pediatric surgery. Testing indicates the technology could be used to operate on blood vessels without actually damaging them, along with connecting vessels to other parts of the body.
The KidsArm system utilizes vision-based technology that helps direct a surgical arm to precise locations to carry out medical procedures. The tool tip is guided to a specific location using a "3D point cloud" to help determine where to suture.
"The goal of the robotic arm is to help doctors perform certain procedures many times faster than if they were only using their hands, and with increased accuracy," said Thomas Looi, director of the Center for Image-Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention at the Hospital for Sick Kids (SickKids), noted in a statement. "Some of this would be done autonomously. While we are not quite there yet, KidsArm is able to perform three to five suture points autonomously."
Samsung has announced that its 4K ultra-high definition 31.5-inch monitor, the UD970, will be released later this month with a $1999.99 MAP price. The UD970 features support for a 3840 x 2160 resolution and has 40 percent more viewing area than a regular 27-inch monitor - and is designed for digital imaging and video professionals. Live demonstrations with the monitors revealed bright, clear and vivid pictures, thanks in part to the screen's 10-bit color processing capability.
"For today's professionals, UHD display technology unlocks a new dimension of rich and detailed imagery, enabling them to take their creativity and productivity to a new level," said Tod Pike, Samsung Enterprise Business Division SVP. "Samsung has a long history of leadership in display technologies and we're excited to bring this new advancement to creative professionals and enterprise users."
The cost of professional UHD displays are steadily dropping - as they were drastically more expensive just one year ago - but are working their way closer to mainstream consumers.
Lenovo has just announced its new Tab S8 tablet, a new slate that is powered by an Intel Atom processor and runs Android 4.4. This is Lenovo's first Intel-powered, Android-based tablet, with a 1.3GHz processor inside that will take care of the processing side of things, and if things get heavy, it'll go into burst mode to 1.86GHz.
The new Tab S8 features an 8-inch 1920x1200 display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal flash storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera backed up by a 1.6-megapixel front-facing shooter. The Intel processor found inside is an Atom Z3745 processor, which features Intel's Burst Performance Technology. The Tab S8 weighs 294g (or 0.65lbs), with it being just 0.78cm (or 0.31 inches) thick.
We also have optional 4G capabilities, and Wi-Fi for the communication side of things. Lenovo has also provided Bluetooth 4.0, and Dolby-enhanced dual front speakers to handle the audio side of things. Best of all, we will see the Lenovo Tab S8 priced at just $199, with the 4G model being more expensive, but the company hasn't unveiled the pricing or availability of the 4G-powered Tab S8 just yet.
After quite a few rumors and reports, Sony's new Xperia Z3 is totally official. The Xperia Z3 arrives with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 20-megapixel rear-facing camera that is now able to reach 12,800 ISO sensitivity.
The lens on the Z3 now includes a 25mm-equivalent field of view, where it can capture more of the scene you're shooting. There's also improved image stabilization abilities for video, which should keep your video nice and still - 4K video recording included. The Z2 already feels like an amazingly well-built smartphone, but according to The Verge, the Z3 is a "little bit thinner, lighter, and easier to handle." The company has also cut down around 1mm of thickness from the Z3, without taking away any of the 3100mAh battery.
Sony says that the Z3 smartphone will last two days on a full charge, compared to the 1.4 days on the Z2 and 1.2 days on the Z1. The Z3 smartphone will launch later this year.
Our man on the ground at IFA 2014 is Johannes Knapp, who has just had some hands, or wrist-on time with the new ASUS ZenWatch. His video is below, and below that we'll have a quick recap on what the ZenWatch is made of.
Knapp notes in the video that it looks and feels like a good quality watch, where it's quite thin, too. We have a 1.63-inch 320x320 AMOLED display, a 369mAh battery, a Snapdragon 400 processor and a price tag of $260.
Toshiba has announced its new Chromebook 2, which comes in two configurations. The first is an entry-level model with modest specifications, while the higher-end models amps it up a little, with both configurations featuring a 13.3-inch display.
The entry-level model features a 1366x768 resolution on its 13.3-inch panel, while the higher-end model features a Full HD IPS-based 1920x1080 resolution. The $249 model features 2GB of RAM and Intel's dual-core Celeron N2840 processor. The $329 model increases the specs to 4GB of RAM and a higher-clocked Celeron processor.
Both of the new Toshiba Chromebook 2 models will include Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a full-sized HDMI output, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and an SD card reader. Toshiba will make the Chromebook 2 available as of October 5, with three colors available: Charcoal, Aqua, and Rose.