Enterprise

Google is listening to your private conversations

They admit to the leak

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Have you ever worried about voice assistants listening in on your private conversations? Apparently, your paranoia was right. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Google has admitted to the unsolicited voyeurism of its consumers’ voice recordings.

Like most voice assistants, Google Assistant records and analyzes its owner’s voice for intelligible commands. Consequently, Google Home responds with the adequate function requested by the user.

Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is still an imperfect art, dependent on human intervention. Currently, Google employs a team of analysts to improve their speech recognition technology. These experts contribute to the voice assistant’s efficiency. Whenever a user says “Hey, Google,” the device sends the conversation to Google’s servers, allowing experts to listen in. Thankfully, Google’s team listens to only “around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets.” Further, these snippets shouldn’t contain any sensitive user information.

Sadly, humanity isn’t perfect. “We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google said in a statement. As a rule, Google’s experts can’t transcribe or transfer conversations. The Dutch leak is a clear violation of Google’s policies.

In response, Google’s security team is already on the case. The company has already found the leak. In addition, they are also reviewing their safeguard policies to prevent future mishaps from happening again.

Regardless, the company’s blunder is a huge dent on voice recognition technology. Previously, Amazon also committed the same mistake with its Alexa technology.

SEE ALSO: Google provides official preview of Pixel 4

Enterprise

Globe launches network upgrade to improve connectivity by 2021

The telco is building more cell sites and rolling out fiber cable upgrades

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During the 2020 State of the Nation Address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte urged telcos to improve their service as most Filipinos work or learn from home. Now, Globe is embarking on its largest network upgrade to keep up with growing demands for a reliable and faster Internet connection.

A three-pronged strategy for Globe network upgrade

As part of its upgrade, the telco has laid out a three-pronged strategy to improve connectivity for customers. The first part of the strategy is building more cell sites throughout the Philippines. The telco is working with different government sectors to make this possible. Through the support of the Anti-Red Tape Authority and Bayanihan 2, the process of obtaining permits to build cell sites is much faster and simplified.

This simplified process enabled Globe to construct 900 cell sites alone in 2020. The telco obtained 190 permits from 80 local government units, making key upgrades in several areas of Visayas and Mindanao possible. It has also built 32 new towers in several barangays across Quezon City.

The second part of Globe’s strategy is diversifying 4G frequencies for increased frequency and speed. Through this, more Filipinos can now enjoy faster 4G speeds and coverage anywhere in the country.

The final part of Globe’s strategy is intensifying its fiberization efforts nationwide. The telco is upgrading its old copper cables to newer fiber optic cables. A rollout of fiber lines happened in key areas of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao del Sur within the span of eight months.

Overall, the rollout represented a full 51.4% increase over its 2019 fiberization efforts. By now, the telco is in the process of migrating customers from copper lines to fiber.

Moving to 5G

Globe is also busy rolling out next-generation 5G networks across the country. Recently, it expanded the reach of its 5G network to nine more cities within Metro Manila. The network expansion follows the initial rollout that happened in busy commercial districts such as Makati, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City.

Globe hopes to complete its network upgrade by 2021. It has already spent a considerable amount of money on undertaking this huge initiative. Hopefully, the promise of the better connection surfaces as the new year begins. After all, the Internet in the Philippines remains one of the slowest in Asia.

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Enterprise

Intel can legally supply Huawei with chips

Application approved

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Since last week, Huawei can no longer legally work with American companies or companies using American technologies. As such, the Chinese company is in total survival mode, stockpiling supplies to mitigate the losses. However, outside of their control, other companies are also working to restore balance to Huawei’s businesses. For one, Intel can legally supply Huawei with chips starting today.

Since the start of the Huawei debacle, barred companies can continue operations with Huawei through a government-sanctioned operating license. To get one, the companies must still apply for one. And the government hasn’t exactly rushed to approve applications.

Now, Intel’s application has officially passed approval from the government, according to a Reuters report. With the license, the chipmaking company can legally ship components for Huawei. The approval might help Huawei fill its stockpile for near-future smartphones or even find a permanent supplier for the long run.

Besides Intel, other component companies have also applied for similar licenses. Currently, China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation is pending approval to continue business with Huawei. According to another report, Qualcomm has also applied for such a license.

Without a doubt, component companies are also feeling the sting of Huawei’s ban. Though Intel received its approval, the successes of other companies are still shrouded in mystery. At this point, no one knows how the Huawei debacle will finally end.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Store is your one-stop shop for everything Huawei

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Enterprise

Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts

Reportedly China-sponsored and inauthentic accounts

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With the American presidential elections fast approaching, Facebook is taking an active approach against potential election interference. For one, the social media platform is moderating its content more stringently for misinformation. Now, erring accounts are on the chopping block. Today, Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts in the Philippines.

If you’re worried about a potential violation of the right to free speech, the platform claims that the ban affects “inauthentic Chinese accounts,” according to a new security report. In a list containing more than 200 accounts, most were potentially interfering in Asian and American politics. Facebook also included more than 40 pages, nine groups, and more than 20 Instagram accounts.

Most of the accounts were based in the Philippines, commenting (and supporting) China’s claims on the West Philippine Sea and President Rodrigo Duterte’s actions. They also criticized Rappler. Posts were in English, Filipino, and Chinese.

On the flip side, the smaller chunk of suspended accounts is in the United States, showing support for both Democrats and Republicans.

Whereas the American-based accounts have only around 3,000 followers, the Philippines-based accounts have amassed more than 376,000 followers at the time of suspension. Meanwhile, the implicated groups drew in more than 60,000 followers. The accounts spent US$ 60 on ad spending in Chinese yuan. They also spent a whopping US$ 1,100 in Philippine peso.

Undoubtedly, Facebook is taking a more active approach against political interference. It marks a renewed approach compared to its efforts in 2016. Back then, the platform received a lot of flak for affecting the elections in both the United States and in Southeast Asia.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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