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SM Tickets caught selling their users’ data [Updated]

Your email address is in danger

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How much is your privacy worth? To most individuals, personal data is priceless. Without proper regulation, companies today classify privacy as commercial merchandise. Unfortunately, some of these companies hit closer to home than most people would prefer.

Such is the case with Redditor u/joshbeoulve. According to his Reddit post, he found evidence that the Philippines-based SM Tickets Online sold (or at least, gave) his data to another party (in this case, Manulife).


Image source: Redditor u/joshbeoulve

Tracking where data is transacted remains a complicated process. Thankfully, u/joshbeoulve uses temporary burner accounts to sign up for services. In this case, he created an email address specifically for SM Tickets Online. In other words, he gave that email address only to SM Tickets Online.

To his surprise, he received an email from a third party apart from the service in question — Manulife, a company closely affiliated with the SM-owned BDO. The email advertised an upcoming career recruitment event unrelated with any events from SM Tickets.

Image source: Redditor u/joshbeoulve

Burner account services (like Spamgourmet) are active deterrents against spam emails. They can accurately track where your email address ends up in. With u/joshbeoulve’s SM-exclusive account, it’s difficult to argue that SM didn’t handle his data.

Additionally, according to SM Tickets’ privacy policy, users will receive “a User ID which shall not be transferred or sold to another party” when they sign up for the service.

Unfortunately, the policy does not clarify what it means by “User ID” or “another party.” With the lack of clarity, the policy becomes another battle over legal lingo.

Regardless, the management and misuse of data is one of the most controversial topics today. Countries worldwide are cracking down on violations against user privacy. In the Philippines, the recently minted Data Privacy Act of 2012 has policed Philippine companies against privacy violations.

Update (6/2/2018): Since the incident, a representative from Manulife has reached out to Gadgetmatch with the following statement:

Manulife Philippines does not engage in list buying, and does not have any existing arrangements or agreements with any party that would have allowed the unauthorized use of data or of any official documents.

According to the company, the email was sent by a newly employed insurance adviser. After the incident, Manulife has placed the individual under investigation.

Currently, SM Tickets has not spoken out about the issue.

SEE ALSO: Facebook reinforces privacy and security amid growing threats

Enterprise

Huawei and Google release official statements regarding trade blacklist

Existing users shouldn’t worry

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The tech world erupted earlier today when a Reuters report claimed that Google is blacklisting Huawei devices after an executive order by US President Donald Trump imposed a trade ban between Huawei and the US.

To be specific, Huawei may not buy equipment from US companies without the approval of the North American government. At the same time, US companies also aren’t allowed to deal with Huawei for parts and services.


It was the deadly blow dealt after a years of accusations between the two camps. Previously, fellow Chinese brand ZTE experienced similar banning on North American soil because of concerns over security and data breaches.

With this order in action, Google must pull out its apps and services from future Huawei devices. These include YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Play store itself. To add insult to injury, other US-based tech companies have followed suit in the trade ban, namely Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm.

Fortunately — and this is the most positive spin to this developing story — Google released a statement explaining that existing Huawei products will continue to function and won’t be affected by this blacklisting.

The keyword here is existing, meaning Google isn’t promising support for future Huawei products. This hopefully doesn’t mean that other Chinese brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus will go through the same fate as Huawei’s.

Huawei had its own statement to share, and it’s just as reassuring to existing users:

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

The sentence in bold may be the biggest takeaway here. Not only is Huawei committed to providing promised firmware updates and support for current Huawei device holders, sub-brand Honor is part of the company’s reassurance, as well.

This also confirms that current Huawei and Honor users don’t have to sell or trade away their gadgets. Even a newly bought unit from the companies’ present lineups will work just fine with Google’s services and apps.

In effect, only future products will be affected, which brings into question how Honor will treat the Honor 20 launch in London tomorrow, as well as what the landscape will look like by the time Huawei’s flagship Mate 30 rolls in.

Additional questions at the moment are: How will upcoming Huawei smartphones look and function without an Android operating system? Will Huawei release its own OS in time for the next batch of handsets? Will American companies soon block trades with other Chinese manufacturers, too? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.

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Enterprise

Globe, Smart downplay Huawei ban imposed by US government

Subscribers won’t be affected — at least for now

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In light of recent (and shocking) news about the US government’s ban on Huawei, Philippine telcos have issued their respective statements to guarantee subscribers who are using Huawei devices on their networks.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the PLDTSmart group assured its subscribers that Huawei handsets and other devices availed via official PLDT-Smart channels will continue to work despite the trade ban.


“In light of the recent trade ban of the United States government on Huawei products, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. wish to assure its customers who have availed of Huawei handsets and devices via its official channels that said products will continue to function normally on the PLDT-Smart network,” the statement read.

Moreover, PLDT and Smart promised to work closely with Huawei to address concerns regarding future firmware and software updates for its devices. Currently, Smart offers Huawei phones and pocket Wi-Fi devices on both postpaid and prepaid services.

Globe also reassured their subscribers about subsequent security updates and after-sales services of Huawei phones and devices. “We wish to assure our customers that the current situation at Huawei will not impact its network services,” the statement added.

Like PLDT and Smart, Globe also sells Huawei phones under their postpaid and prepaid line, plus they offer prepaid home Wi-Fi solutions using Huawei LTE routers.

Additionally, both major Philippine telcos use Huawei infrastructures to deploy their services nationwide. However, the reported Huawei ban mainly affects consumer devices like phones because they rely on software and parts provided by US companies as well.

SEE ALSO: Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm reportedly staying away from Huawei

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A colored, Bluetooth-enabled Tamagotchi is coming

Still very cute!

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The cutest 90s pet is back and they’re in full color!

The Tamagotchi Go is a refreshed version of our favorite digital pet. Available in glitter cases and now fitted with colored screens, the 2019 Tamagotchi hopes to capture this new generation the same way they did ours: Through adorable virtual critters!


You still take care of an incessantly needy pet but this device now allows you to connect with other users via Bluetooth so that your Tamagotchi can make friends, marry, and even have more Tama babies. And, good news, there will even be a new Tamagotchi Hotel feature which will babysit your pet on days you can’t just deal — that means less dead pets! (90s kids will know 😅)

Additionally,  there’s an app, to be released later on, that will allow users to connect to other Tamagotchi worldwide.

Despite the advancements, the Tamagotchi Go will still be a straightforward device which runs on AAA batteries and needs no connection to your smartphone or the internet to run. The new Bandai toys will be onsale starting July 28 and it will retail for US$ 60 a piece.

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