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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

News

LG launches the first 8K OLED TV in Singapore

Massive display at a massive price

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Image credit: LG

Remember when LG launched their first 8K OLED TV at IFA 2018? Fast forward to November 2019, they finally made it available in Singapore — a first in Southeast Asia.

Just a refresher, the LG 88Z9 boasts a vibrant 88-inch OLED bezel-less display with a massive resolution of 8K Ultra HD (7680 x 4320). It’s composed of 33 million self-emitting pixels that make it stand out from the competition. The additional Cinema HDR, Dolby Vision support, Advanced HDR by Technicolor (up to 4K), Hybrid Log Gamma, and HDR10 (up to 8K) all make up for a perfect viewing experience.

The α (Alpha) 9 Gen 2 8K processor is responsible for upscaling native 4K (or Full HD) clips to 8K content, all while reducing noise. It also processes ambient lighting conditions to achieve the perfect level of brightness. There’s also an integrated 80W speaker system, which is clear and rich. The 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos make it more immersive when watching flicks.

Other TV-inclusive features are the built-in Google Assistant and support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. These provide easier controls over the TV even with just a voice command.

LG’s skilled engineers manually assembled each unit. The sophisticated Art Furniture Stand features a top-of-the-line aluminum and is carefully crafted by hand. There are only a limited number of units being produced to ensure quality in the long run.

To prove its durability, LG runs a series of TV tests. There’s an Aging Test which makes it run for 168 hours. It’s also placed inside a room above 40 degrees Celsius for 48 hours to ensure perfect performance in harsh conditions. At last, there’s an additional quality test where the TV is simulated in various viewing scenarios.

The LG 88Z9 Signature OLED TV currently retails at SG$ 59,999.

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Google Pixel 4 XL fails a bend test

Apparently, made of plastic inside

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Image source: JerryRigEverything

Prior to its official announcement, Google’s Pixel 4 was one of the most leaked phones in recent history. Even before Google could say a word, the world has seen the latest flagship from all possible angles. Unfortunately, the Pixel 4’s buzz died down immediately after the official launch. Even sadder, the smartphone’s latest appearance in the news is about a failed bend test.

As you’ve likely read from the headline, the Google Pixel 4 XL has failed a crucial bend test. Administered as always by the infamous JerryRigEverything, the test ended in a hopelessly broken flagship. Like most bend tests, the vlogger applied hand pressure twice — on a front bend and a back bend.

The first front bend concluded without a hitch. However, the second bend test cracked the phone’s upper and lower portions. Notably, the upper crack ran below the device’s camera, alluding to a clear divide between inside sections.

After the first video dropped, the vlog went deeper, hollowing out the Pixel 4 XL’s insides to discover the cracks’ true cause. Apparently, despite the glass and aluminum covering the outside of the phone, a huge chunk of the inside is molded in plastic. The design decision makes the phone lighter than other phones of similar caliber. However, it also reduces the phone’s internal integrity.

The Google Pixel 4 XL starts at US$ 899. If you’re planning on making this smartphone your daily driver, keep it out of your back pocket.

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL still great for photos, now with 90Hz panel

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Accessories

This case turns your AirPods into an iPod Classic

It screams retro

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The iPod was a revolutionary gadget when it was launched. Back then the market was filled with bulky music boomboxes ranging from a Walkman to a simple MP3 player. Apple changed the course of portable media forever thanks to close integration between the iPod and iTunes.

Today, the iPhone combines all legacy music requirements along with streaming via Apple Music. Further, AirPods have been a huge success due to the closed ecosystem and near-native support.

Case manufacturer Elago wants to take things further. Their AW6 case mimics the look of the iPod, complete with the iconic click wheel —  the circular touch-sensitive navigation ring.

The case is made entirely from high-grade silicone. It’s flexible and impact-resistant, and thick enough to ensure that all accidental drops have some level of protection. For AirPods 2 owners, there’s a special cut-out to show the charging indicator.

The case has been deemed an Amazon Choice product and have received some pretty high praise online. Not only does it look funky, but they also deliver a retro-feel to the now-defunct iPod Classic.

Last month, Elago also launched an ‌AirPods‌ case that was looks like the original Macintosh, followed by an Apple Watch inspired case.

Elago’s AW6 Case (iPod Classic) for ‌AirPods‌ is available on the company’s website and on Amazon for US$ 11.99. It also comes in black with a red click wheel.

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