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One of my major complaints about Android has always been related to security.  It has always sucked, to be blunt, and in no small part it has sucked because not only is the code a mess internally (I can speak to this directly because I've ported it twice to different devices in order to get a later version than what the manufacturer shipped after they refused to update it) but in addition carriers, at least in the US, have effective strangle-holds on firmware updates.

This means that without the active cooperation of the carrier updates and future releases are late if ever to come.  That's unacceptable as a security paradigm unless the carriers are willing to accept legal liability for security flaws, and they're not.

The PRIV is the first Android device that gets around this in fact.  Oh sure, there are allegedly "monthly updates" available from Google to Android itself, but unless you have a Nexus device you will almost never see them or, if you do see them, you'll see them late.  Never mind that monthly is too damn slow in many cases, especially if and when something pops up "in the wild."

BlackBerry has now changed that paradigm -- and this is a disruptive, not incremental change. Not only is BlackBerry they pledging to follow and immediately release the monthly security updates for any device purchased directly from them (as has been the case for BB10 devices bought directly since 10.3) they have also included the mechanism and willingness to use direct patches in the event of an emergency security incident even with devices purchased from a carrier and which would normally be subject to their potential (and often, actual) delays.  Further, they are supporting enterprise-managed updates when connected through BES.

Nobody else does either in the Android marketplace.

If security is important to you, and it damn well should be, you have exactly one Android device you can buy today.

That's the BlackBerry PRIV.

I will have a full review up here as soon as mine gets to me and I have the opportunity to use it for a bit in order to form an opinion on the "as delivered" experience.

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You knew it wouldn't last, right?

Free, unlimited, yeah.... right?


Here are the changes:

We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.

100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.

Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

Note that while there are periods of time for existing users to either pay up or move this impacts everyone using the service.

So much for "storage is getting so cheap we can give unlimited amounts of it away!"

That was always smiley and anyone with a brain knew it.

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2015-11-03 06:58 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 358 references

So you want to watch TV eh?  Ok, fair enough.  You turn it on, and the TV has access to a bunch of data with the program that comes over the air or cable, especially in this world of digital signals.  The name of the program, the time, exactly what episode you watched, etc.

These TVs are "smart" too; they have sensors in them and adjust to your ambient light level in the room, etc.  Oh, and they might know if someone is actually in the room too; it's not very difficult or expensive to determine that.  Your cellphone knows it's up against your ear, you know; it uses what's called a "time in flight" sensor to detect how far from a solid thing (your head!) it is, and whether that's moving.  TVs might have the same sort of sensors in them.

It gets even better though when you think about the data that can be passed in via HDMI and other digital sources that aren't OTA -- you know, your "Call of Duty" video game, right?  You don't think they might embed data in that stream of video too, do you?  Of course they do.

What happens to that data?  It's yours, right?

No, it's not.

VIZIO is transforming the way consumers discover and experience media content through our connected entertainment platform. Since our founding in 2002, we have sold over 65 million televisions and audio and other products and built an industry-leading brand. We have achieved significant U.S. market share of both Smart TVs, or Internet-connectable televisions, and sound bars. Our strong brand, technological leadership and go-to-market strategy have driven the broad adoption of our Smart TVs, creating a community of over 8 million VIZIO connected units, or VCUs. A VCU is a Smart TV that has been connected to the Internet and has transmitted data collected by our Inscape data services. Our Inscape data services capture real-time viewing behavior data from our VCUs and enable us to provide it to advertisers and media content providers. The scale of our VCU community, together with our engaged user base and our Inscape data services, position us at the nexus of the connected entertainment ecosystem.

Got it?

Oh, they claim it's "anonymized."  Suuuure it is.  Let me point out that even if Vizio and others collecting this data attempt to make it "anonymous" it is virtually impossible for it to remain that way.  Your smartphone, for example, provides more than enough data back to Google and other ad networks that can profile where you work, where you live, what church (if any) you attend, how often you go out to drinking establishments and when you tend to do so, whether you like firearms or any other sort of thing that someone might consider "evil" and between all of this and more it is trivially easy to put together not only a quite-accurate profile of your behavior but also to link it to you personally with nearly 100% accuracy.

Inscape Data Services. Our Inscape data services capture, in real time, up to 100 billion anonymized viewing data points each day from our over 8 million VCUs. Inscape collects, aggregates and stores data regarding most content displayed on VCU television screens, including content from cable and satellite providers, streaming devices and gaming consoles. Inscape provides highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy, which can be used to generate intelligent insights for advertisers and media content providers and to drive their delivery of more relevant, personalized content through our VCUs.

And don't worry about your viewing habits.  It would never be used for, oh, classifying you for various purposes by big data aggregators, would it?

Oh wait....

And to think you invited the monster into your home as soon as you plugged that nice shiny new TV into the Internet, either wireless or via cable -- and of course companies like Netflix didn't drive you to do that and give up all that data on yourself, with a device collecting it right in the middle of you living and bedrooms!


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This is exactly what I've been very worried about for more than 20 years.  It's a concern that has plenty of merit too, particularly given the durability of data in the "big data" social universe.

Thomas Insel, who has been director of the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, is leaving at the end of the month to join Google. A major force behind the Obama administration’s BRAIN Initiative, he stirred major controversy by pressing for an overhaul in the way mental illness is diagnosed. At Google, he’ll be exploring how the company’s technological expertise can be applied to mental-health issues.

Uh huh.

Think about what he's saying for a minute here folks:

One of the possibilities here is, by using the technologies we already have, technologies that are linked to a cellphone, technologies that are linked to the Internet, we may be able to get much more information about behavior than what we’ve been able to use in making a diagnosis.

Technologies that are linked to a cellphone, technologies that are linked to the Internet?

You mean "technologies" that involve monitoring what you do and say, right -- without disclosure of what the data is intended to be used for and who it will be disclosed to or what they may do with it?

Oh by the way, that analysis and disclosure will be retrospective too.  Why not?  There's nothing to prevent it.

Think this is crazy?  It most-certainly is not.  And what's worse is that the government is in the middle of giving the firms involved in this blanket immunity when they give them said data even if they violate your privacy and you are subjected to wrongful harassment or even arrest as a consequence!

Still want to be on Facebook and use "Search" eh?

You might want to think about that very carefully.

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Heh heh heh... affirmative action eh? So it's not about whether you're good, it's really about what's between your legs?

Theranos, a biotech company founded over ten years ago, promised to revolutionise blood testing using low-cost handheld devices. It was founded in 2003 by Elizabeth Holmes, then a 19-year old chemical engineering major at Stanford University. Over ten years and a $9 billion valuation later, and it seems that the company has very little to deliver.

According to the Journal, Theranos has virtually abandoned its own blood-testing technology. According to one senior employee, at the end of 2014, the company had performed 190 blood tests on traditional lab machines but only 15 on its handheld ‘Edison’ devices.

Furthermore, the Journal reports that when Edison devices have been used, they have produced results that are wildly different from conventional blood tests. In a number of cases, doctors who referred patients to Theranos quickly stopped once the inconsistencies in their tests became clear. Still, while Theranos might not be a case study for building a product, it’s certainly a case study for building hype.

Isolated incident?  Well, the jury is out on Theranos, and I liked the story -- if, of course, it was true.

What if it's not, and a big part of why it got where it did was the sex of their CEO?


Ellen Pao perhaps?  Or how about Marissa Mayer?  Meg Whitman?  Or, for that matter, Carly Fiorina?


You know, there's a general problem with the so-called innovative Silicon Valley of late, and it's that it doesn't really innovate.  I'd even put Zuckerburgler in that category, but of course the market loooooves him -- for now.  Whether there's anything particularly innovative about getting American schmucks to give up all of their privacy and carry around a little spying device while insisting that they identify themselves in a form compatible with the government while using it is hardly "innovative" -- unless you're last name is Hitler or Tse-Tung.

But when part of your credit is your sex, well, that could be a problem.

I think this is an interesting premise, and one that perhaps deserves a bit of examination.

Which, I'm sure, it won't get.

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