Samsung Exec Denies All Charges

Jay Y. Lee, the chief of Samsung, pled not guilty in court today. Lee is charged with bribery and embezzlement in a case that has also ensnared South Korea President Park Geun-hye. Lee’s lawyers claim the prosecution’s case is built on conversations and other evidence that was not witnessed first hand. “It is unclear what kind of order Lee Jae-yong is supposed to have given” regarding the bribes, said Lee’s lawyer, Song Wu-cheol. Samsung itself and other executives caught up in the case also denied any wrongdoing. The office for the special prosecutor believes Lee arranged for about $36 million in bribes to be paid to the office of President Park to facilitate certain low-level mergers. Park herself was impeached in December and has no governmental powers pending a review of the case by Korea’s Constitutional Court. The prosecutors believe the case against Lee, which they are calling the “trial of the century,” will be wrapped up by the end of May.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Google's Allo Messaging App Finds Its Way to Android Auto

Users of Google’s Allo mobile messaging application can now use the service from the comfort of their car. The latest update, available in the Google Play Store, brings support for Android Auto to Allo, which joins several other messaging services that are already accessible when in drive mode. Google says the latest update also adds animated emoji. Allo, which integrates the Google Assistant and yet doesn’t support SMS, is free to download from Google’s app store.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

In U-Turn, Uber Will Stop Using Greyball To Evade Law Enforcement

Uber will stop using its Greyball tool to evade law enforcement efforts, the ride-hail company announced Wednesday, just days after it defended the controversial program as necessary to protect its drivers from harm.

“We have started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date,” Uber’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote in a blog post. “In addition, we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward.”

Uber’s backtracking comes less than a week after the New York Times revealed that the company had been serving up an alternative (and non-functioning) version of its app to public officials in cities where its service violated regulations. It also comes shortly after the company reversed course on applying for a permit to test self-driving cars in California.

The “Greyball” program used geolocation data, credit card information, social media accounts, and other data to profile app users they believed to be involved in sting operations. It was used in Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland, and Oregon, as well as France, Australia, China, South Korea and Italy.

The systematic effort to evade law enforcement raised questions about the legality and ethics of a company already under fire from a series of scandals.

In recent weeks, Uber has faced significant backlash over allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, a viral video of CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver who complained of lowered fares, and the company’s apparent non-participation in a New York City taxi strike in protest of Donald Trump’s travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries.

The $70bn behemoth is also facing a lawsuit from Waymo, the self-driving car company spun-off from Google, alleging that Uber orchestrated the “calculated theft” of secret technology.

Widespread criticism — and a viral #DeleteUber social media campaign — prompted rapid backtracking from the…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

How Can I Stop My Laptop and TV from Spying On Me?

The publication by WikiLeaks of documents it says are from the CIA’s secret hacking program describe tools that can turn a world of increasingly networked, camera- and microphone-equipped devices into eavesdroppers.

Smart televisions and automobiles now have on-board computers and microphones, joining the ubiquitous smartphones, laptops and tablets that have had microphones and cameras as standard equipment for a decade. That the CIA has created tools to turn them into listening posts surprises no one in the security community.

Q: How Worried Should Consumers Be Who Have Surrounded Themselves with These Devices?

A: Importantly, the intrusion tools highlighted by the leak do not appear to be instruments of mass surveillance. So, it’s not as if everyone’s TV or high-tech vehicle is at risk.

“It’s unsurprising, and also somewhat reassuring, that these are tools that appear to be targeted at specific people’s (devices) by compromising the software on them — as opposed to tools that decrypt the encrypted traffic over the internet,” said Matt Blaze, University of Pennsylvania computer scientist.

The exploits appear to emphasize targeted attacks, such as collecting keystrokes or silently activating a Samsung TV’s microphone while the set is turned off. In fact, many of the intrusion tools described in the documents are for delivery via “removable device.”

Q: Once Devices Are Compromised They Need To Be Internet-Connected in Order To Share Collected Intelligence with Spies. What Can Be Done To Stop That?

A: Not much if you don’t want to sacrifice the benefits of the device.

“Anything that is voice-activated or that has voice- and internet-connected functionality is susceptible to these types of attacks,” said Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. cyberwar operations officer and CEO of the cybersecurity company Dragos.

That includes smart TVs and voice-controlled information devices like the Amazon Echo, which can read news, play music, close the garage door and turn up…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Key Issues in Trial of Samsung Heir Charged with Bribery

Lee Jae-yong, the billionaire Samsung Group heir, will stand trial Thursday in a Seoul court. He is charged with, among other offenses, offering bribes to President Park Geun-hye and a close friend of hers to strengthen his control over Samsung, the conglomerate founded by his grandfather that is South Korea’s largest and most successful business. Four other Samsung executives will also stand trial.

Documents from special prosecutors detail allegations that Lee and his aides used Samsung corporate funds to purchase expensive horses for the equestrian daughter of Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil. They also say the presidential office pressured the national pension fund to facilitate a father-to-son leadership succession at Samsung in exchange for 43.3 billion won ($38 million at current exchange rates) from Lee.

Samsung says it did not seek any favors and it denies any wrongdoing. “Future court proceedings will reveal the truth,” it said in response to the documents prosecutors released Monday. Below are issues that Lee and prosecutors will be contesting at court, and Samsung’s responses.

Is Lee a Bribery Suspect or Victim of Coercion?

Prosecutors believe Lee and other Samsung executives gave or promised to give the $38 million to four entities controlled by Choi as a form of bribery. Samsung will likely contend it was coerced into giving the money.

About half of the $38 million went to two nonprofit foundations and a winter sports center under Choi’s control that purport to support Korean cultural and sports activities. Samsung promised to give $19 million to the German-based sports agency that oversaw the equestrian training of Choi’s daughter. Before the scandal unfolded, Samsung paid 6 million euros out of the promised amount, which in part covered the costs of the horses for Choi’s daughter. Prosecutors believe that in transferring the 6 million euros to the German-based company Samsung forged documents and…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Shining a light on Blackberry Aurora

The Blackberry Aurora Effect

Shining a light on Blackberry Aurora

Hot off the heels of the Blackberry KEYone finally being announced this year at MWC 17, news of another Blackberry handset has broken: the Blackberry Aurora. As with most things to do with the once-great smartphone giant, the handset is interesting. Or, rather, the existence of the handset is non-standard.

For a start, the handset isn’t made by Blackberry, the holders of the Blackberry IP, or Blackberry Mobile. For those who haven’t been paying attention to the Canadian brand, Blackberry Mobile is the offshoot of TCL who is making the hardware for the Blackberry KEYone. TCL are rather large: they also own the Alcatel brand. You may remember that they released the DTEK 50, which itself was a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4, layered on top with the secure Blackberry implementation.

But the Blackberry Aurora is something of an anomaly. Instead, the handset was made in partnership with an Indonesian Joint Venture called PT BB Merah Putih.

Shining a light on Blackberry Aurora

Specs

The handset itself is being released with Android 7.0. This should be standard by now, seeing as Android Nougat came out back last year. You would have expected other manufacturers to have been able to push out the update to their unlocked handsets by now. Yes, we’re looking at you Samsung for your Galaxy S7 line.

Anyways, back to the Blackberry Aurora, which has a 5.5 inch screen at a 720 pixel resolution. On top of that, the information we have currently is that it is packing a 3000 mAh battery and a Snapdragon 425 processor.

The Blackberry Aurora couples that with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. For photography duties, there’s a 13 MP camera on the back and an 8 MP front facing camera, because Lord forbid you don’t take the best shot for your corporate photo. In terms of pocketability, it comes in at 152 x 76.8 x 8.55 mm, which isn’t the craziest thing I’ve heard.

All in all, it seems like a very thoughtfully put together handset for someone who wants to be in touch on the move and throughout the day, without worrying overly about their phone dying on them. The Snapdragon 425 processor is pretty efficient, if not the most powerful one in the lineup, but if you aren’t intending to do a lot of gaming on your 720 screen, then that’s another smart move.

And if you’re thinking that the screen resolution feels a little low in 2017? Think of it this way: the less the processor has to work out what the pixels are doing, the longer the battery lasts.

The Blackberry Aurora has been slated to come out in Indonesia only on March 13th. The chances of us seeing it in the U.K. are likely slim, but stranger things have happened.

Press Release: 

BB MERAH PUTIH INTRODUCES BLACKBERRY AURORA TO THE INDONESIAN MARKET

Through its strategic licensing partnership, BB Merah Putih launches its first BlackBerrybranded device in Indonesia, the BlackBerry Aurora

Jakarta – March 9, 2017

Today, BB Merah Putih, one of Indonesia’s leading smartphone manufacturers, unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone in Indonesia – The BlackBerry Aurora. The launch represents the first BlackBerry smartphone released by BB Merah Putih under its new brand licensing agreement signed with BlackBerry Limited in September 2016. Offering the first Indonesian manufactured BlackBerry-branded device, powered by the world’s most secure version of Android, customers can expect very exciting features and applications, equipped with BlackBerry’s trusted software security and mobility solutions.

“We are very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to launch the BlackBerry Aurora in Indonesia. The BlackBerry Aurora is not only the first BlackBerry-branded device to ever be produced in Indonesia, but it is the first BlackBerry device in the world to be equipped with dual-SIM functionality,” says Stanly Widjaja, Vice President BB Merah Putih. “This new device is designed specifically to fulfill the needs of Indonesian customers with full entertainment features packaged in a premium device that also delivers the productivity, privacy and security that the BlackBerry brand delivers.”

“We sincerely congratulate BB Merah Putih on the new BlackBerry Aurora, the latest device launched under our software licensing strategy and new model for delivering the “smart” in the smartphone,” said Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions for BlackBerry. “Our customers in Indonesia are very important to BlackBerry, and as we focus on software innovation, we are very excited about our partnership with BB Merah Putih to deliver high-quality devices with the BlackBerry security DNA our customers are so familiar with.”

BlackBerry has a long history in Indonesia, connecting and protecting millions of mobile customers that use secure BlackBerry products to grow their businesses and stay in touch with friends and family. With this partnership, BB Merah Putih and BlackBerry are continuing to deliver a high quality mobile experience with the security and productivity that customers expect with the BlackBerry brand, but with features that are specifically designed for Indonesian customers.

The beautifully designed BlackBerry Aurora comes with a number of features that are uniquely BlackBerry. Out of the box, the device runs OS Android 7.0 Nougat – giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps – and will receive regular security updates. It will come pre-loaded with BlackBerry Hub®, a unified messaging inbox which combines emails, texts and messages from any social media account.

What really sets a BlackBerry smartphone apart from other Android devices are the enhanced security features built into every device right from the start. From a hardened operating system to BlackBerry Limited’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust by adding security keys to the processor, the BlackBerry Aurora is intentionally designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible. The BlackBerry Aurora comes pre-loaded with DTEK™ by BlackBerry, offering constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps by letting you know when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. A quick glimpse lets you see the overall security rating for your device and allows the user to easily improve their security status. This BlackBerry security application monitors other apps, alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.

THE BLACKBERRY AURORA EXPERIENCE

The BlackBerry Aurora is a dual SIM 4G LTE smartphone that operates with Android 7.0 Nougat, with a 5.5” inch screen and 4GB RAM memory. Fusing the latest technology with 4G LTE network speed, vibrant HD 720p wide screen and 4GB memory, the BlackBerry Aurora delivers the best performance to fulfill one’s needs for a smartphone.

Beyond the design and security features that make the BlackBerry Aurora so distinct, these additional features truly reinvent mobile communications for the business user by ensuring that a business user has continuous, secure and productive mobile access to their office regardless of where they might be in the world. At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is a Qualcomm® Snapdragon ™ Quad-Core 1.4GHz processor with a 3,000 mAh Li-ion battery – allowing the device to receive optimal performance and connectivity for 30 hours straight.

James Cathey, Vice President and President, Asia Pacific and India from Qualcomm has congratulated BB Merah Putih for the launch of BlackBerry Aurora. “We are very happy to be able to collaborate with our strategic partner, BB Merah Putih to help transform an important business in the Indonesian market through the launch of the BlackBerry Aurora,” says Cathey. “As an innovator that has continually pushed the evolution of mobile communications, Qualcomm, together with BlackBerry and BB Merah Putih, is committed to contribute to the creation of valuable user experiences for the people of Indonesia and we will continually support the growth of local mobile industries.”

As part of the exciting launch of the BlackBerry Aurora, Rudiantara, The Minister of Telecommunication and Information attended the ceremony to congratulate BB Merah Putih for the launch of the BlackBerry Aurora in the Indonesian market.

Minister Rudiantra says, “BB Merah Putih is a symbol of the pride and spirit of Indonesia and the launch of the BlackBerry Aurora is evidence of Indonesia’s ability to manufacture high technological products to a global standard. We believe that the BlackBerry Aurora will set the benchmark for the performance of local industries and manufacturers and will also create opportunities for the growth of the smartphone industry in Indonesia.”

From today, BlackBerry Aurora can be purchased at a price of Rp. 3,499,000 through preorders in various online e-commerce in Indonesia starting on Friday, March 3, 2017 until Sunday, March 12, 2017. Throughout the pre-order period, customers have the chance to receive a special prize as well payment options with a one-year instalment. BlackBerry Aurora is also supported by quality network services in big cities across Indonesia.

Source: BBMerahPutih

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    Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News
  • Facebook Trots Out Virtual Reality App for Samsung Gear VR

    Facebook today announced Facebook 360 for Gear VR, a dedicated app to help Samsung device owners find and consume 360-degree Facebook content. The app is available to compatible Galaxy devices, such as the Note 5, S7, and S7 edge. The app features four main feeds for finding VR content. The Explore tab lets people find the most popular VR content from media companies and organizations, while the Following tab lets people find the content created and shared by their friends and family. The app also allows people to save 360-degree content from their News Feed into a dedicated folder, as well as relive memories via the Timeline function, which highlights the user’s own 360-degree photos and videos. The Facebook 360 for Gear VR app also supports social interactions, such as likes. Facebook claims there are more than 25 million 360-degree photos and more than 1 million 360-degree videos available on Facebook. The Facebook 360 for Gear VR app can be found within the Oculus app on compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

    Apple Releases Fifth Wave of Betas

    Apple made iOS 10.3 beta 5 available to developers on Wednesday. The most notable new feature of iOS 10.3 is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. iOS 10.3 also makes the jump to the Apple File System (APFS), refreshes the Apple ID profile, tweaks animations, and provides more details concerning iCloud storage use. This latest beta is meant for developers. Apple normally makes public beta builds available a day or two after it releases developer betas. Apple also released fifth developer betas of macOS 10.12.4, watchOS 3.2, tvOS 10.2, and a fourth developer beta of Xcode 8.3.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News