Verizon Fined for Violating Subscriber Privacy Rights

In yet another case of the telcos not looking out for customers’ best interests, Verizon has been slapped with a $7.4 million fine for failing to notify subscribers of their privacy rights. The settlement between Verizon and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was announced last week. According to a FCC release, Verizon failed to disclose privacy rights to two million new customers and ended up using that information to market products to them. The Communications Act requires companies to obtain consent from consumers before undertaking such acts. “In today’s increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor

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Google Paying Up for Children’s In-App Purchases

Google is facing a massive payout to reimburse consumers who were unfairly billed for in-app purchases made by children. The tech giant has agreed to a $19 million settlement in response to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint calling the billing practice unfair. It’s been a hot issue for some time. Families can be charged hundreds of dollars for purchases made by their children, who do not understand what they are doing when playing a game or using an app. Many have pointed the fingers at distributors that don’t put proper payment authorization steps in place as being at fault.

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Wind Mobile Lowers Domestic Roaming Rates

Wind Mobile – a Toronto-based carrier that operates in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – has announced serious price adjustments for data, voice and text. The news comes on the heels of a recent move by the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to lower domestic roaming, even passing a cap on how much carriers can charge customers. In the past, customers traveling outside of Wind’s main Canadian service areas paid $1 per megabyte in roaming fees. The recently announced cuts are significant – customers will now pay a mere five cents for the same service. In an interview, Wind’s chief

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Russian Yota Devices Relocating to Canada

Up-and-coming Russian smartphone maker Yota Devices has decided to make the switch from its homeland to Canada. The company’s CEO told the Financial Post that it plans on moving its head office from Moscow to either Toronto or Waterloo, Ontario by the end of 2014. Yota Devices is known for its YotaPhone, an Android device which has, in addition to a regular LCD screen, a touch-sensitive e-ink panel on its back. CEO Vlad Martynov was quoted as saying that the company aims to take advantage of Canada’s talent pool, which was left behind by BlackBerry in the “wake of its

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Apple’s iOS is the Safest OS Against Spyware

With security being an increased concern in the digital world as of late, it is important to know if your phone is vulnerable to attack. According to a test done by FinSpy, iPhone users can rest easy knowing they are the safest. FinSpy, spyware commonly used by law enforcement to monitor mobile devices, conducted a test to see how easy it was to break into different phones based on their operating systems. As it turns out, FinSpy was successful with all versions of Android and BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows 6.1 and 6.5. The only OS they could not crack was

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Are Landline Users Less Likely to Smoke and Drink?

Two of every five households in the U.S. have ditched their landlines for cellphones only and a new study has drawn interesting connections between wireless households and risky lifestyle choices. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), those living in cellphone-only households are more likely to smoke and drink heavily. They are also less likely to have received their flu shot. “There’s something about these people’s personalities that may lead to health risk behaviors,” suggested the study’s lead author Stephen J. Blumberg. However, it may be more complex than it appears on

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Parents Distract Teen Drivers

We all know distracted driving is dangerous and that cellphone use behind the wheel causes thousands of accidents each year. While teens often get a bad rap for texting and talking instead of focusing on the road, a new study reveals that parents are often to blame for the behavior. According to results presented at the American Psychological Association’s convention, over 50 percent of teenaged respondents reported speaking with their parents on the phone while driving. In many cases, kids say they are always expected to answer a call from a parent no matter the circumstances and parents will often

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BBM Comes to Windows Phones

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has proved to be a bit hit for BlackBerry, Android and iOS devices. And as of July 31, Windows smartphone users can now download the popular chat app. BlackBerry recently announced its collaboration with Microsoft, which allows Windows 8 phones and higher to use BBM. BBM already has 85 million monthly users. “We are intent on bringing the most popular application experiences to Windows Phone, and with BBM, we are pleased to bring many of its top features to the Windows Phone platform,” Bryan Biniak, Microsoft vice president and general manager of developer experience, was quoted as

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Unlimited Data = Throttled Users

Mobile users who have held onto unlimited data plans tend to guard them with their lives. The treasured flow allows them to surf the web and stream video to their hearts’ content without hitting any caps. But that doesn’t mean the experience is always pleasant. While Verizon is the latest to face criticism for its plans to throttle data, it appears none of the major providers are innocent. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have all been known to throttle unlimited data users as they gobble up bandwidth. Not all of them use the same methods, but results are the same –

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Questions Over the Fate of the Samsung Z

It was big news when Samsung announced its next smartphone model, the Samsung Z, would run the Tizen OS instead of Android. Now, Samsung has said that the Z’s release date has been delayed, with no information as to when it will hit the market. The smartphone was originally supposed to be rolled in Russia in the third quarter of this year, but Samsung said in a statement that it needs time to “enhance the Tizen ecosystem.” Meaning, the company is likely increasing the number of apps running on the OS. Neither Samsung nor Tizen has commented on their plans

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