Displaying items by tag: United States

200 million US citizens have had their sensitive personal data exposed accidently by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee. The data – which included 1.1 terabytes worth of information such as birth dates, home addresses, telephone numbers, and political views of about 62 percent of the entire US population – was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server.

The vulnerable data, according to a BBC report, was discovered by Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with the security form UpGuard. The huge amount of data appears to have been collected from a wide range of sources, including posts on controversial banned threads on social network Reddit, to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party.

The data was stored in spreadsheets uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics, a media analytics firm. According to the BBC, it has last been updated in January when President Donald Trump was inaugurated and had been online for an undisclosed period of time.

Alex Lundry, the founder of Deep Root Analytics, told tech website Gizmodo: “We take full responsibility for this situation. Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked.” Lundry added: “Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access setting and put protocols in place to prevent further access.”

The data included very personal details about US citizens such as their suspected religious background and affiliations, their ethnicity and political stances, such as where they stood on controversial issues like gun control and abortion rights. The file names and directories suggested that the data was supposed to be used by Republican political organizers to create a profile on as many voters as possible by using all available data.

A blog post by Dan O’Sullivan on UpGuard’s website reads: “That such an enormous national database could be created and hosted online, missing even the simplest of protections against the data being publicly accessible, is troubling.”

O’Sullivan added: “The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into questions the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations.”

The information leak is said to be the largest in the US to date and has caused grave concern among privacy experts because of the sheer scale of the data gathered. Privacy International’s policy officer, Frederike Kaltheneur told the BBC: “This is deeply troubling. This is not just sensitive, it’s intimate information, prediction about people’s behavior, opinions and beliefs that people have never decided to disclose to anyone.”

Published in Government

Telia Carrier announced that it has launched two PoPs in the Portland area in Oregon, US, bringing improved diversity and high speed connectivity to service, content and cloud providers in the Pacific Northwest.

Telia’s new PoP locations include Hillsboro, a key connection point for sea cable landings coming from the west as well as international traffic from Asia. Telia’s expansion to the Portland area gives (OTT) providers, hyperscale cloud networks and carriers the ability to directly connect in market rather than backhauling traffic to other regions, which adds latency.

The Portland metropolitan area or Silicon Forest as it is commonly referred to has become a hub for carriers and content providers as well as regional education and city networks connecting to greater Portland and Eastern Oregon. Tax incentives and green power sources have driven significant growth in the last two years. Large-scale data center construction in the region is accelerating due to terabit traffic demands and an abundance of sustainable, low cost hydro-power.

As a new market entrant, Telia Carrier’s two PoPs in the region provide unique network routing. The Hillsboro location is designed with long haul routes that establish diversity from downtown Portland, where many of the legacy carrier facilities are located.  Careful selection of the routing at river crossings ensures additional reliability.

“With continued investment in large-scale data centers and as new sea cable landings come online next year to support traffic demand from the Asia Pacific region, Hillsboro is a prime location for us to introduce new PoPs,” said Art Kazmierczak, Telia Carrier’s director of business and network development.

“By expanding to Portland, we continue to deliver best-in-class IP transit performance for education and broadband customers with minimal network hops, high resilience and inherent route diversity. These capabilities ensure our customers get the best possible connectivity and ultimately, they enhance the online experience for end users.”

Published in Infrastructure

Smartphones are now in 80 percent of U.S. homes – a six percentage point increase year-over-year (YOY) – and U.S. consumers now own 27 million more smartphones than they did just last year, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

CTA’s 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study also shows televisions remain the most popular technology device in the U.S., as they have for decades – almost every household (96 percent) owns at least one TV. Additionally, from 2016 to 2017, the U.S. market saw an increase in the overall installed base of connected devices including smart home devices, smart TVs, wearables and wireless speakers.

“Connectivity – the anytime/anywhere access to information and entertainment we now expect – is a driving trend of our time, supported by the continued growth we’ve seen in smartphone ownership,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA.

“Smartphones are our personal hubs for innovative technologies like smart homes, connected cars and voice-recognition services. And, as more of us recognize the ability of technology to change our lives for the better, smartphones will continue to be one of the most pervasive technologies owned in homes throughout the U.S.”

“Three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens – televisions, smartphones and laptops – and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they’ll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.

“U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today’s ‘screen culture,’ demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types.”

Smartphones and in-vehicle communications/safety systems saw the largest gains in household ownership among connected devices – both increasing by six percentage points YOY. Almost half (45 percent) of U.S. households now have at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communication system such as back-up sensors, rearview cameras or hands-free calling. Smart home devices, smart TVs, smartwatches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each saw an increase in household ownership of four percent YOY.

“Our research last year showed most consumers are excited about automated driving features and self-driving cars, but there’s still some hesitancy about the technology,” said Koenig. “This report is further evidence that, despite that wariness, more and more drivers want innovations that help keep them safer on the road. So, as a broader range of our driving tasks are automated via driving-assist technologies, eventually, riding in a self-driving car will be just an incremental step from the in-car tech we’ve all come to know and love.”

Among emerging technologies, 4K Ultra HD (UHD) television is enjoying the fastest growth in ownership. CTA’s research analysis shows 16 percent of U.S. households now own a 4K UHD TV – up nine percentage points YOY – and 11 percent of U.S. households plan to purchase a 4K UHD TV in the coming year. Other emerging technologies expected to experience significant YOY ownership growth in the year to come include voice-activated digital assistants, drones and virtual reality headsets.

The 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study ascertains ownership and purchase intent of consumer technology products among U.S. households across various categories. The report was administered via a dual-frame telephone interview to 2,014 U.S. adults between Feb. 2-13, 2017.

Published in Devices

Facebook CEO calls for a universal basic income

Written on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 05:20

Founder and chief executive of social media giant Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has suggested there should be a universal basic income for all people. This would allow people in society to take more risks, he said, allowing people more freedom to execute new ideas and business ventures, with the confidence that they won’t go without basic things needed to live.

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has been regularly suggested by technologists and people working in Silicon Valley. UBI would allow for mote redistributive policies, and would be important when automation starts to take people’s jobs.

Zuckerberg made the UBI suggestion during a speech at Harvard University. He spoke of how a universal basic income would be part of a “new social contract for our generation.”

Some speculated that the Facebook founder is laying the groundwork for a potential presidential run in the future. Zuckerberg has been on a tour around parts of the United States sharing his policy recommendations for improving society, but he has denied the rumors.

“We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful,” said Zuckerberg. “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”

He continued, “We’re going to change jobs many times, so we need affordable child care to get to work and healthcare that aren’t tied to one company. We’re all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. And as technology keeps changing, we need to focus on continuous education throughout our lives.”

“And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it,” said Zuckerberg. “Many of you will do well and you should too.”

Published in Government

Apple recently launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download from Apple’s iBooks Store.

App Development with Swift is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.

Starting this fall, six community college systems serving nearly 500,000 students across the United States will be among the first to offer the innovative curriculum. At many campuses, local businesses will also offer students mentoring and internships.

“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”

The curriculum will be offered by the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College and San Mateo Community College District, among others. Select high schools across the country will also be teaching the App Development with Swift curriculum starting this fall. Houston Community College is opening an iOS Coding and Design School that will teach Apple’s new curriculum.

“The world calls Houston a knowledge capital because of the incredible concentration of ideas and innovation in our great city,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Apple’s investment in our community with the launch of the app development curriculum will tap into the creativity of our students, inspire new possibilities and foster our culture of technological transformation.”

“We are focused on preparing our students for life in a global and technological society, and in 2017 that means making sure our students have access to a state-of-the-art coding curriculum,” said Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado.

“We are thrilled Apple is offering this incredible opportunity to advance student learning, which will especially help us bridge the gap in computer science training for minorities and women. We can’t wait to see what these students will do and already have local businesses offering mentoring and internship opportunities.”

App Development with Swift is an extension of Apple’s existing K-12 Everyone Can Code curricula which offer everyone the power to learn, write and teach coding. Swift is Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software.

Popular apps including Airbnb, KAYAK, TripAdvisor, Venmo and Yelp are all created with Swift. In addition to over 1 million downloads of Swift Playgrounds, there have been over 430,000 downloads of the additional Everyone Can Code materials and over 1,000 schools across the US plan to teach with Everyone Can Code materials in the fall.

Earlier in the month, Apple announced the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund focused on creating jobs in the US throughout our supply chain, with an initial investment of $1 billion. The new Swift coding curriculum is another example of Apple’s commitment to economic development and will help create even more career opportunities for students across the country. Apple now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including more than 1.5 million jobs attributable to Apple’s app economy.

Published in Apps

Apple granted mmWave license by FCC to test 5G

Written on Thursday, 25 May 2017 09:54

Apple has been granted an experimental millimeter wave (mmWave) license it requested from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The technology is part of Apple’s mandate for future deployments of 5G networks. The FCC cleared Apple for future testing of the technology.

The purpose of mmWave technology is to enable quicker data speeds on mobile networks, and improve cellular performance on mobile phones. According to Business Insider, Apple plans to use the license issued by the FCC to ensure compatibility of its iPhone devices with future 5G mobile networks.

Apple, according to its application to the FCC, said it plans to “assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of device on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”

Apple says the testing process, which will take place in two locations in California, will take longer than one year. Telecom operators in the US and around the world are already planning their paths towards launching 5G and have begun conducting trials, despite the fact that 5G standards are yet to be confirmed. Given Apple products’ heavy reliance on mobile networks to function, the company’s move is no surprise.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has announced a proposal to add an alert option to the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) to help protect the United States’ law enforcement officers.

Called a “Blue Alert,” the option would be used by authorities in states across the country to notify the public through television and radio of threats to law enforcement and to help apprehend dangerous suspects.  The Chairman unveiled the proposal at an event hosted by the Department of Justice announcing the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network.

 “As we have learned from the very successful AMBER Alert initiative for recovering missing children, an informed public can play a vital role in assisting law enforcement,” Chairman Pai said.  “By expanding the Emergency Alert System to better support Blue Alerts, we could build on that success – and help protect those in law enforcement who risk their lives each day to protect us.”

Blue Alerts can be used to warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer.  As a result, a Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect could be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe.

Chairman Pai’s proposal would amend the FCC’s EAS rules by creating a dedicated Blue Alert event code so that state and local authorities have the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers.

Some states have individual Blue Alert programs that use various methods to issue warnings.  The Chairman’s proposal would build on these efforts through the development of a nationwide framework that states can adopt.  This goal is consistent with the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015.  The Act, which is being implemented by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), directs cooperation with the FCC.  The COPS Office has expressed the need for a dedicated EAS code for Blue Alerts.

The Chairman plans to ask his fellow commissioners to vote on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at the FCC’s June 22nd Open Meeting.  If adopted, the NPRM would pose questions and invite public comment on the proposal.

Published in Government

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States was the subject of multiple recent DDoS attacks on Sunday, May 7, at midnight, according to Dr. David Bray, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the organization. Dr. Bray issued a statement regarding the cause of delays experienced by consumers recently trying to file comments on the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDos),” said Dr. Bray in his statement. “These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.  These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC. “

Dr. Bray added: “While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments.  We have worked with our commercial partners to address this situation and will continue to monitor developments going forward.” 

Published in Government

Fresh off its game-changing results in the US government’s historic 600 MHz spectrum auction and another industry-leading quarter, T-Mobile became the first US wireless company to announce plans for truly nationwide 5G. On top of expanding and strengthening its LTE coverage, the Un-carrier will use a portion of its $8 billion mother lode of low-band 600 MHz spectrum to deliver 5G coverage from coast to coast.
T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere laid out the Un-carrier’s strategy to deliver 5G coverage to customers across the country in a video blog published on May 2.

“5G will be amazing, and we can’t even imagine all the cool stuff it will bring, just like with our earlier network innovations. That’s why truly mobile 5G has to be nationwide -- period, the end,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “The carriers are using 5G to either distract from how badly they’re losing today or to give their shareholders some hope they can compete with Big Cable. Their ambitious vision for Fixed 5G to replace home internet will never provide mobile 5G coverage. It makes no sense.”
 
The Un-carrier will leverage multiple spectrum bands to deliver true nationwide Mobile 5G coverage. The Duopoly are approaching 5G much like a series of hotspots in select cities—with 5G coverage that will completely disappear once customers step outside these limited 5G zones, meaning their 5G experiences disappear too.
 
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray penned a blog explaining the breadth and depth of the Un-carrier’s nationwide Mobile 5G.
 
“There’s no such thing as ‘5G spectrum,’ and in the next decade we’ll see everything moving to 5G,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile CTO. “Nationwide Mobile 5G will require both high-band AND broad low-band coverage, and having unused nationwide 600 MHz spectrum means T-Mobile is in an ideal position to deliver.”
 
On top of its nationwide deployment, T-Mobile 5G will enable high bandwidth and massive throughput in urban areas using a combination of mid-band and millimeter wave spectrum.
 
T-Mobile’s 600 MHz 5G network will deliver increased radio efficiency, immense numbers of connected devices, lower latency and improved battery life and reliability, all of which Mobile 5G will make possible. T-Mobile expects to deploy 5G in its low-band 600 MHz spectrum quickly across its existing nationwide macro network, in contrast with the carriers’ millimeter wave spectrum plans, which would require a number of small cells so massive that providing broad coverage would be impossible.
 
“The 600 MHz spectrum will allow 5G to be deployed nationwide, bringing the ultimate experiences to T-Mobile’s enterprise customers and consumers throughout the United States,” said Borje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson. “We will support T-Mobile US with 5G radio development for this spectrum. Commercial availability of the product will be aligned with 3GPP standardization and ecosystem support.”
 
Beyond vastly improved speeds for mobile devices, T-Mobile expects to see a whole new class of innovative mobile applications and solutions emerge, built for broad 5G coverage.
 
“The 5G networks of tomorrow have the ability to usher in tremendous commercial opportunities for service providers, vertical industries and new entrants,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia. “Nokia is proud of its 20-year history of working alongside T-Mobile to build their next generation networks. With its future network plans to pursue Mobile 5G on 600MHz, we stand ready to take T-Mobile into the next decade.”
 
Along with device and infrastructure partners, T-Mobile will help drive 3GPP certification for 5G in 600 MHz. As 5G standards are defined, chipsets are delivered, and equipment comes to market, T-Mobile will quickly deploy 5G nationwide in a large swath of unused spectrum. 5G rollout is expected to begin in 2019 with a target of 2020 for full nationwide coverage.

Published in Telecom Operators

US communications service provider Sprint recently unveiled the Sprint Magic Box, the world’s first all–wireless small cell. Sprint Magic Box is a revolutionary new plug–and–play LTE small cell for businesses and consumers that dramatically improves data coverage and increases download and upload speeds on average by 200 percent.

The breakthrough new technology allows Sprint to very quickly and cost–effectively densify its nationwide LTE Plus network, and provide an improved experience for its millions of customers today and in the future.

The Sprint Magic Box is an indoor, self-configuring small cell, about the size of a shoebox, that’s easy for customers to install. It requires no implementation, labor, or rental costs that are a hurdle for many traditional small cell deployments. The unit is simply placed near a window and plugged into a power outlet. Sprint Magic Box connects to a nearby Sprint cell site and within minutes is up and running. Customers immediately have a better experience inside their businesses and homes while streaming videos, surfing the web, and using their favorite online apps and services.

Sprint designed the Sprint Magic Box so that customers in surrounding areas will also enjoy the benefits of the locally installed unit. One Sprint Magic Box provides average coverage of 30,000 square feet indoors and can benefit adjacent Sprint customers inside the building. The signal can also extend coverage 100 meters outside a building, benefitting Sprint customers in nearby buildings and improving street–level network performance.

Accelerating Sprint’s Network Densification Strategy

Sprint Magic Box greatly accelerates Sprint’s strategy to densify its network as it improves performance and builds a strong foundation for 5G. It uses Sprint’s ample, dedicated 2.5 GHz spectrum with backhaul provided by Sprint’s outdoor macro cell sites. This removes the cost of backhaul, along with many of the challenges typically associated with small cell deployments, providing a low-cost, effective way to make the Sprint network – already performing at its best–ever–levels – even better for customers.

“Sprint Magic Box is going to quickly transform our network, and it is key to delivering an amazing experience to customers today as we build the kind of dense urban infrastructures needed for 5G,” said Dr. John Saw, Sprint CTO. “By leveraging our deep spectrum trove, Sprint has the ability to blanket its network with an all-wireless small cell that delivers this kind of dramatic performance boost with zero backhaul, permitting, and engineering costs.”

Sprint Magic Box deployment has begun in several cities across the country such as Denver, San Francisco, Indianapolis, New York, Chicago, and Houston. In the past three months downloads speeds across these markets have significantly improved as Sprint rolled-out its toolkit of densification technologies such as Sprint Magic Box, outdoor small cells, three-channel carrier aggregation, and launched iconic new High Performance User Equipment (HPUE) smartphones.

Unleashing Sprint’s Spectrum Advantage

The development of Sprint Magic Box is part of Sprint’s ongoing program to improve its network through its Densification and Optimization strategy using some of the most advanced technologies in wireless. With 204 MHz of spectrum nationwide, and more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets, Sprint has more spectrum capacity than any other U.S. carrier, an advantage that Sprint Magic Box is designed to maximize.

Sprint Magic Box is one of many network innovations taking advantage of the company’s deep spectrum holdings. Sprint continues to improve coverage, reliability and speeds by adding more capacity where it’s needed with a toolbox of solutions including three-channel carrier aggregation and HPUE. In March in New Orleans, Sprint was the first carrier to debut Sprint Gigabit Class LTE on a live commercial network in the U.S.

Looking ahead, Sprint will continue its deployment of three-channel carrier aggregation on 2.5 GHz sites. The company also anticipates leveraging a multitude of advanced technologies including four-channel carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) and Massive MIMO to further enhance the capacity and coverage of its 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators
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