Iran starts to roll out its own ‘domestic internet’

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Iran, much like China, is not a country that has the best reputation when it comes to granting citizens unfettered access to the internet. Now, a new initiative is underway, which sees the roll out of its own ‘domestic internet’, dubbed the National Information Network. The country is rolling out its own national internet in a bid to provide affordable internet access to people, but there are concerns that there will be severe limits placed on online activity. Iran already blocks access to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and a government-controlled internet, it is feared, could lead to a… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Facebook embraces algorithms and eschews human headlines in trending topics

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Facebook’s Trending Topics feature has faced a good deal of criticism in recent months, including claims that it showed a liberal bias. A little while back the company announced that it was to change how the feature works, and now there is a further change which sees human headline writers being defenestrated, and algorithms ushered in the front door. What this means is that the Trending Topics list will no longer feature an explanation or description next to it, only the topic heading or hashtag will be displayed. Facebook will no doubt hope that this will help to eliminate future …Continue reading on BetaNews

Opera sync servers hacked, usernames and passwords at risk

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Opera Software is advising all users of the sync feature of its Opera browser to change their passwords following a security breach. Details are a little scant at the moment, but the company says that servers were breached earlier in the week and user data may have been compromised. Opera Sync is used to synchronize user data between different computers but it is apparently used by under “0.5% of the total Opera user base”. However, with a user base of 350 million this means that upwards of 1.7 million people could be affected. Coming shortly after advice from Dropbox to… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Information Commissioner to investigate data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook

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WhatsApp’s plans to share user data with Facebook are to be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK. The change in privacy policy goes against a previous public commitment not to share data in this way. The ICO has the power to regulate how companies make use of data belonging to people located in the UK, even if the companies themselves are located elsewhere. A key concern is whether there will be compliance with data protection laws. Users are particularly upset about the data sharing plans because when Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in 2014, the company said… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Serious security vulnerability that left iPhones open to hackers is patched in iOS 9.3.5

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Security researchers have unearthed three serious security flaws in iOS that made it possible to install spyware and other malware on iPhones. Software exploiting the vulnerabilities (described as “one of the most sophisticated pieces of cyberespionage software we’ve ever seen”) can be installed with a single click, opening up victims’ devices to full-scale surveillance. The security holes have already been abused by NSO Group — linked with selling hacking and surveillance software to governments — but Apple has now issued a fix in the form of iOS 9.3.5. The update fixed two kernel vulnerabilities and one in WebKit, all discovered… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Dropbox tells some users to change their passwords following 2012 security incident

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Dropbox users around the world are being told to change their account passwords. Anyone who has been using the cloud storage service since before the middle of 2012 and has not changed their password may have had some of their account details ‘obtained’ in an incident in 2012. Dropbox says that email addresses plus hashed and salted passwords were grabbed four years ago. The company stresses that there are no indication that accounts have been improperly accessed and the security measures are being taken on a preventative basis. If you receive the email from Dropbox, you should visit your account… …Continue reading on BetaNews

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy reveals it will share data with Facebook for targeted user ads

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The ever-popular messaging tool WhatsApp is to start sharing more user data with its parent company Facebook. The updated privacy policy means that WhatsApp will now share users’ phone numbers with Facebook to “offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads”. The updated policy also communicates the fact that end-to-end encryption has rolled out, but it is the privacy side of things that will be of greater interest to many people. WhatsApp says that the change in policy is necessary to allow it to “explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Microsoft reveals the secrets of HoloLens’ specs, including a 24-core processor

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At the Hot Chips conference this week, Microsoft has shed some light on the hitherto secretive specifications of its augmented reality HoloLens. Now that anyone with $3,000 spare is able to buy a headset, there’s never been more interest in what’s actually inside the case powering the AR goodness. The holographic processing unit (HPU) at the heart of HoloLens is a seriously multi-cored beast. The Register reports that it is a “TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores”. Of course, there’s much more to the device than just this chip. The HPU is capable of processing a trillion… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Android 7.0 Nougat starts to roll out to Nexus devices

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There have been numerous beta versions of Android 7.0 Nougat, and now the official rollout is underway. This is not a full-scale rollout just yet — it’s limited to the Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, 9, and Nexus Player, as well as the Pixel C and General Mobile 4G. You’ll notice that the Nexus 5 is missing from the list, but the remainder of the handsets are in line for an OTA update anytime over the coming weeks starting today. If you’re impatient, you can always download the factory images and flash your device manually, but whichever route you go down,… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Privacy-flaunting, Apple-only social app Lifestage is Facebook’s desperate attempt to stay relevant to teens

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Facebook has become so ubiquitous that even your mum is using it. This is just one of the many reasons the social networking giant has lost any vestiges of coolness, but the company is keen to try to claw some back. The latest attempt to get down with the kids is a new social app called Lifestage. Aimed at ‘high schoolers’ the app is available for iPhone and iPad and for those with a profile it “makes it easy and fun to share a visual profile of who you are with your school network”. It looks and sounds godawful, and… …Continue reading on BetaNews

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