New Bill Being Proposed in California to Combat Burner Phones

Technology and the law are constantly racing, with each one taking steps to catch up with the other. From the arguments Apple and the FBI are having regarding privacy and encryption to something as simple as Segways being illegal in public, technology is creating new gadgets and systems and the law is creating laws to either change or catch up with the issue. An issue that has long plagued law and the courts is burner phones, but a new bill in California could change that.

Burner phones follow a simple concept, you pay for them and the credit you need to use them. Once they are finished with, you can either dispose or top up the phone. Due to the throwaway nature, they are used by people with stuff to hide, with it recently being revealed that the terrorists who attacked Paris used burner phones not encryption to avoid detection.

The new bill, dubbed the “Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act Of 2016″ would require anyone who sells prepaid devices to register and record the identity of those who purchased the phone. The specifics are the customer would be required to provide a credit card, social security number or driving license number, the same requirements people are required to provide for mobile contracts.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California is the one proposing the bill and states that the ” bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Refutes Tax Avoidance Claims

Apple has been accused of tax avoidance and exploiting loopholes in US legislation to move profits to tax havens. For example, Apple’s tax base is in Ireland with a 12.5% corporate rate while the US taxation figure is around 35%. As a result, some critics have argued this is a sophisticated way to either delay paying tax or reduce Apple’s bill. Recently, Tim Cook described the current US tax system in an interview with Charlie Rose on the programme 60 Minutes:

“This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It’s past time to get it done.”

Cook became quite aggravated and described the claims of tax avoidance as:

“total political crap.”

He also went onto say that moving the assets into the US would have severe financial implications:

“Because it would cost me 40% [in taxes] to bring it home. And I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do,”

Clearly, Tim Cook believes that the current US tax system is completely broken and in need for huge reforms. Not only that, he made bold statements about Apple’s behaviour and the amount of tax they put into the US economy:

“There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe,”

“We pay more taxes in this country than anyone.”

This is an interesting statement to make, and the idea that Apple pays a large amount of tax seems fairly credible. However, the amount paid is due to how successful Apple is compared to other companies. What really matters is the percentage of tax paid in regards to Apple’s total earnings. Are they actually paying the full amount, or employing complex schemes to maximize profits? Sadly, I don’t think we will ever know unless there is an independent investigation.

Image courtesy of newspaperplus.com

Facebook Revoked Internship for Exposing Privacy Loophole

Facebook has axed a Harvard student called Aran Khanna, who was about to start an internship after he publicly exposed a privacy flaw within Facebook Messenger. Khanna discovered each message contained data pinpointing the sender’s location and created an app allow users to track their friends’ whereabouts. Instead of keeping this private, he decided to upload the “Marauders Map” as a public plugin on the Google Store.

According to Technology Science, Facebook became irate and demanded the tool to be removed instantly. Supposedly, the company felt embarrassed and believed publishing any flaw in public wasn’t in-line with their code of conduct. Despite this clear warning, Khanna was told his internship offer had been withdrawn only hours before he was due to fly to Facebook’s Headquarters. While this does seem a little harsh, Facebook are adamant that Khanna refused to remove the software. Matt Steinfeld, Policy Communications and Public Affairs at Facebook told Boston.com:

“Despite being asked repeatedly to remove the code, the creator of this tool left it up.”

It’s difficult to judge who to believe, but one piece of evidence collaborates Facebook’s story. Currently, you can still download the App via the Google Chrome Store and add it as an extension. However, judging by the latest reviews, it seems Facebook has fixed the location loophole. Many companies offer financial incentives to find privacy coding errors meaning this was an unfair, albeit understandable dismissal. The moral of the story is, don’t show up the company you want to work for in public.

Thank you Boston.com for providing us with this information.

Jeremy Clarkson Finds Legal Loophole for New Car Show

Is this really to do with tech? Possibly, as this is a presenter who worked on a show that brought you a pickup truck attempting to drive through the English Channel, building your very own vehicle in the case of a Kit car and nearly freezing to death while navigating themselves to the magnetic north pole in an adapted Toyota.

If you haven’t heard, Jeremy Clarkson has left Top Gear after allegedly lamping a producer over a Prawn Sandwich. It was thought that Clarkson, May and Hammond have a clause in their contract which states that they will be unable to work for any other UK competitive channel until at least 2017. But there might be a workaround after lawyers found that it could be possible to broadcast a car style show in the US, before selling the rights to the program back to for example ITV or Channel 4.

It’s like Geo Blocking within web content, if you are inside a country which restricts access then you cannot view a program, but if you are somewhere else, then technically you are not inside the same place where it was banned. This may also be interesting in the future if program makers decide to sell their shows to Internet TV sites for example Netflix. If a company sells a show, for example to BBC 2, but then sells the same show to Netflix which is an American company, and then allowing viewers to watch said program in the same place where rights have already been sold to a broadcaster, this could be a headache for normal TV channels if they paid for an exclusive and it’s not.

As tech has shifted, so has the wider issue of TV itself, will there be a BBC or ITV in the future if digital content is ubiquitous?

Thank You The Independent for providing us with this information

D-LINK Issues Apology to Consumers for Cloud Routing Loophole

Today, D-link has issued an apology to the users of 17 of their routers due to a coding loophole which has allowed hackers to get access to sensitive information such as banking details and passwords. This is estimated to affect roughly 300 million users worldwide. This particular hack has been a lot easier to implement as all the hacker has to do is change a few router parameters to gain access to everything you do online.

D-Link has now formally issued an apology and has released firmware updates which aim to fix said security issue. A security expert, Liujian Hao stated “If in the background of targeted hacking software is installed, we can easily hijack these appliances connected to the router traffic to analyze the bank account passwords and other privacy.”

The 17 models in question:

● DAP-1522 (B1)
● DIR-629 (A1)
● DIR-300 (B1)
● DIR-600 (B1)
● DIR-815 (B1)
● DIR-816L (A1)
● DIR-817LW (B1)
● DIR-818LW (A1)
● DIR-820LW (B1)
● DIR-850L (A1)
● DIR-850L (B1)
● DIR-860L (A1)
● DIR-860L (B1)
● DIR-865L (A1)
● DIR-868L (A1)
● DIR-880L (A1)
● DIR-890L (A1)

We recommend anyone using D-Link products to check the router list and update all passwords and information, just to be safe.

Thank you to Firenews for providing us with this information

GBA4iOS Deemed As The Best Game Boy Advanced Emulator for Apple’s Smartphones

It’s hard to find an original Game Boy nowadays or even buy games for it from a handful of 3DS eShops that still survived up until today. Game Boy fans have to resort to emulators in order to play their favourite old titles.

Smartphones appear to have become the best emulation alternatives in order to get that Super Mario Land game loaded and play it on-the-go due to the low hardware requirements needed to actually simulate the Game Boy and the game itself.

Up until now, Android users were able to emulate these games on their mobile devices. The Play Store has a variety of emulators, granting its customers a large list of applications to choose from. However, Apple has not been too kind when it comes to emulators, having them restricted from its AppStore.

Up until now, two Game Boy iOS emulators by the name of gpSPhone and GBA.emu were available and limited only to jailbroken devices, having them as the only options available for the platform at hand. GBA4iOS, developer Riley Testut’s creation, however aims to be a more simple and easy solution to iOS emulators. It is said to use a loophole in Apple’s app installation system, having the user set the smartphone’s date back one day. The app can be directly downloaded via the GBA4iOS website and the best part is that the app is free!

Besides the above mentioned, the app is said to be the best GBA emulator on any platform, having full support for Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy support, accelerated speed, multiple and locked save states, as well as customizable skins and Dropbox syncing for saves between multiple devices. It is said to even use some iOS features as well, such as AirDrop and the MFI Bluetooth controllers.

The app does however have some flaws. For example, it does not have any advanced emulation features such as video and sound filters. There is also word of a 2.1 update scheduled to be released at the end of the summer, which promises multiplayer support via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct.

THank you The Verge for providing us with this information