Archive for January 15, 2020

hayu launches on Telus Optik TV

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

Now, Canadians’ favourite reality TV shows are more accessible than ever: NBCUniversal International (NBCUI) and TELUS announce today that hayu – the all-reality subscription video- on-demand (SVOD) service – is available to all TELUS Optik TV customers in Western Canada. Canadians in B.C. and Alberta can access hayu directly within TELUS Optik TV, via either channel 336 or from the app home page. TELUS is the only carrier in Canada to offer customers a dedicated hayu app directly within the TV interface.

The addition of hayu to Optik TV’s theme pack options makes it even easier for reality TV fans to stream to their hearts’ content. In May 2019, TELUS launched a new, streamlined packaging structure for Optik TV which, for the first time in Canada, featured streaming services bundled directly within traditional TV packages. When Optik TV customers include hayu as part of their TV package, their hayu subscription fees will appear directly on their TELUS bill. Best of all, customers will pay less in total than with separate bills.

hayu delivers thousands of hours of top reality content, curated in one place, with more than 7,000 episodes from over 250 reality shows, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real Housewives and Million Dollar Listing franchises. The platform offers extensive choice, with a wide variety of unscripted sub genres including: Home and Design, Dating, Cooking, Crime, and Fashion – as well as nostalgic favourites like The Simple Life and exclusive content, such as Love Island (UK and Australia). Subscribers to the service don’t have to worry about spoilers as the majority of shows are available on hayu the same day they premiere on TV.

For more details, please visit telus.com/hayu.

Canadian Startup Shows How 1000s Of Outlets Cover The Same Story

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd
Aiming to break down echo chambers and combat polarization, a new platform launching today enables users to easily compare how sources from across the political spectrum and from around the world are covering the same news event.
At a time when many people find themselves overwhelmed and under-informed as they piece together patchwork information from social media and conflicting news sources, the Ground News Pro mobile app offers visualization and comparison tools that quickly provides users with the objective information they need to analyze, understand, and draw their own conclusion about a developing news story. Launching two weeks before the first votes are cast in the U.S. presidential race, it is the world’s first news source comparison platform, drawing from more than 40,000 news sources worldwide and featuring an average of 30,000 news stories per day.
Unlike traditional news aggregators, which utilize crowd-sourcing and algorithms that tend to reward sensational stories designed to draw clicks, Ground News Pro puts a priority on helping users understand the news based on critical data like media bias, geographic location, and time. Each media outlet is categorized based on bias data provided by Media Bias/Fact Check, AllSides.com, and The Media Bias Chart, three third-party nonprofits dedicated to monitoring and rating news sources along the political spectrum.

 

For any news story, users can scroll left and right to see headlines and how a story is being covered, as well as whether diverging narratives are emerging based on the bias of the outlets. A side-by-side comparison chart also allows users to quickly see if a story is receiving balanced coverage or if it is only being covered by left-leaning or right-leaning media, which can lead to increased political polarization.
Other highlights of Ground News Pro include:
  • Geographic location: Users can see a story has been adapted to fit a geopolitical agenda by spinning a globe to compare coverage from around the world. They can also view coverage categorized by local, national, and international media
  • Publication date and time: Where a story originated and whether it was published by a reputable news source is critical. Ground News Pro lets users see how a story changes and evolves over time with a video that marks where and when a story was published on the globe.
Ground News Pro is available for $0.99/month or $9.99/year through the App Store and Google Play Store’s subscription services.
A mobile and web-based version of Ground News is available for free.
A free Basic version of Ground News has been in the App Store and Google Play Store for over a year and has received over 4,000 4.5 star ratings and reviews.

Canada #2 Globally When It Comes To Technology Adoption, But Falling Behind In Other Areas: Cisco

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

Today, Cisco released its 2019 Global Digital Readiness Index, measuring the digital readiness of 141 countries across seven areas, including business & government investment, technology adoption and technology infrastructure.

So how does Canada stack up? Canada ranked second in the world for Technology Adoption, coming behind only the U.S., but is falling behind in Ease of Doing Business (18th), tech infrastructure (18th), Business & Government Investment (20th) and Startup Environment (26th).

The strongest components of digital readiness include: “Basic Needs,” “Human Capital,” and “Technology Infrastructure.” In general, improvements in these three components will have the most impact overall on a country’s level of digital readiness.

You can find a whitepaper detailing the index here and the interactive map here.

 

You Can Get Microsoft’s Chrome Based Browser Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

About a year ago, Microsoft announced plans to move their Edge browser to Chromium  which is the open source version of Chrome. As in Google’s Chrome. While that announcement raised eyeballs pretty much everywhere, it does make sense. By using Chromium, Microsoft can simply not worry about compatibility issues and bring features to multiple platforms at the same time.

Today Microsoft announced that you can get Microsoft Edge in its new Chromium form on the following platforms:

  • Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and Windows 7. Support for Windows 7 seems a bit weird to me as support for that OS ended yesterday.
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android

Fun trivia fact: For Mac users, this is the first time Microsoft has put out a browser for the Mac since 2003.

You can download the new Edge browser here. My question for you is will you use the new Microsoft Chrome Edge? Leave a comment and share your thoughts please.

Surprise! Many Popular Apps Transmit Lots Of Data About You To Advertisers Without You Knowing About It

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

The Norwegian Consumer Council published an analysis of how popular apps are sharing user data with the behavioral ad industry. TechCrunch reports the findings. You might want to sit down for this:

A majority of the apps that were tested for the report were found to transmit data to “unexpected third parties” — with users not being clearly informed about who was getting their information and what they were doing with it. Most of the apps also did not provide any meaningful options or on-board settings for users to prevent or reduce the sharing of data with third parties.

“The evidence keeps mounting against the commercial surveillance systems at the heart of online advertising,” the Council writes, dubbing the current situation “completely out of control, harming consumers, societies, and businesses,” and calling for curbs to prevalent practices in which app users’ personal data is broadcast and spread “with few restraints.” 

“The multitude of violations of fundamental rights are happening at a rate of billions of times per second, all in the name of profiling and targeting advertising. It is time for a serious debate about whether the surveillance-driven advertising systems that have taken over the internet, and which are economic drivers of misinformation online, is a fair trade-off for the possibility of showing slightly more relevant ads.

“The comprehensive digital surveillance happening across the ad tech industry may lead to harm to both individuals, to trust in the digital economy, and to democratic institutions,” it also warns.

And:

The 10 apps whose data flows were analyzed for the report are the dating apps Grindr, Happn, OkCupid,  and Tinder; fertility/period tracker apps Clue and MyDays; makeup app Perfect365; religious app Muslim: Qibla Finder; children’s app My Talking Tom 2; and the keyboard app Wave Keyboard.

Frankly,  I am not shocked by this because you have to assume that if you install an app on your phone, the possibility of it slurping up your data and sending it to a third party exists. And it is questionable if you could stop these apps from doing that. The one thing that I will note is that this report is heavily slanted towards the Android platform because there are more Android phones out there. The report points out that this is less of a problem on iOS. Though you have to do some work to make sure that info that you don’t want sent to advertisers isn’t sent to them as the relevant settings that limit this sort of thing are not on by default. But having said that, if you run iOS 13, they do seem to be effective.

The take home message is this. Assume that you’re being tracked and your data is being sent to third parties as there is nothing to suggest that this isn’t going on.

Verizon Launches OneSearch Which They Claim Is Privacy Focused….. Yeah Right!

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

Privacy is a “thing” at the moment and I guess that Verizon sees that and wants to cash in on this trend by creating a privacy focused search engine via their Verizon Media division:

Verizon Media, the media and digital offshoot of telecommunications giant Verizon, has launched a “privacy-focused” search engine called OneSearch. With OneSearch, Verizon promises there will be no cookie tracking, no ad personalization, no profiling, no data-storing, and no data-sharing with advertisers.

With its default dark mode, OneSearch lets you know that Advanced Privacy Mode is activated. You can manually toggle this mode to the “off” position which returns a brighter interface, but with this setting deactivated you won’t have access to privacy features such as search-term encryption. With Advanced Privacy Mode on, links to search results will only be shareable for an hour, after which time they will “self-destruct” and return an error to anyone who clicks on it. More broadly, the OneSearch interface is clean and fairly familiar to anyone who has used a search engine before. But at its core, it promises to show the same search results to everyone given that it’s not tailored to the individual.

I had a look at the OneSearch privacy policy and it says that Verizon will store a user’s IP address, search query, and user agent on different servers so that it can’t draw correlations between a user’s specific location and the query that they’ve made. Another point is that it also says that it will monetize its new search engine through advertising. But  the advertising won’t be based on browsing history or data that personally identifies the individual it will only serve contextual advertisements based on each individual search,

Call me cynical, but I can’t see how OneSearch can call itself privacy focused. DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store any of your information. That’s true privacy as far as I am concerned which is why I use it and not Google, Bing, or anything else. And it’s not what Verizon is doing with OneSearch as they are collecting your information, but simply storing it in different places which nobody on the planet can consider to be privacy focused. That alone makes me gunshy about ever using this search engine. But if you want to give it a try, OneSearch is currently available on desktop and mobile web, with mobile apps coming later this month.

The FBI Could Access The iPhones At The Center Of The Latest Apple v. FBI Fight At Any Time….. So Why Don’t They?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 15, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday I posted a story about the latest Apple v. FBI fight in which I called for some sort of middle ground that would stop stuff like this from happening. In the last few hours, this story has evolved.

First US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to push for the unlocking of the iPhones that are at the center of this fight:

And at about the same time, it came to light that the iPhones that are at the center of this are an iPhone 5 variant and an iPhone 7 variant. Why is that important? Well, the FBI already has the ability to unlock them without needing Apple to do it for them. Whether the FBI via a company like Cellebrite who was the company that the FBI used to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5C a few years ago gets it done, or using a device like the ones sold by Grayshift which allegedly the FBI already owns, or using a vulnerability called “checkm8” that is present in every iPhone up until the iPhone X, the FBI could unlock these phones at any time.

So why are the FBI and Trump demanding Apple unlock these phones? It’s simple:

  • If Apple could somehow do this, it would set a precedent and the FBI would in theory have the ability to access any iPhone. Including current models which are much harder to crack.
  • If Apple refuses then they could push Congress to create legislation to force Apple to give them the ability to access any iPhone they want by painting them as the bad guy.

The fact is that this fight isn’t about these specific iPhones, it’s as I said yesterday about being able to access any iPhone of anybody that is of interest to them. And the FBI and company are just leveraging these iPhones to get to that end goal. This has nuanced my view of this situation a bit. I still feel that there needs to be some sort of middle ground when it comes to situations like this. But this is a pretty brazen and cynical attempt to get more than a compromise when it comes to this issue. It will be interesting to see what happens when this ends up in court. Which it will.