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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

Laptops

ASUS unveils prices of new ZenBook and VivoBook laptops

From the cheapest one to the most premium

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After showing off the new notebooks during Computex 2018 in Taipei and IFA 2018 in Berlin, ASUS has now brought all of them to the Philippines. Check out the prices of the new ZenBook and VivoBook laptops.

VivoBook S330 — starts at PhP 45,995
VivoBook S430 — starts at PhP 47,995
VivoBook S530 — starts at PhP 56,995

ZenBook S (Core i7/8GB/256GB) — PhP 74,995
ZenBook S (Core i7/4K/16GB/512GB) — PhP 99,995

ZenBook Pro 14 — starts at PhP 99,995
ZenBook Pro 15 (Core i7/16GB/1TB/GTX 1050Ti) — PhP 119,995

ZenBook 13 (UX333) — starts at PhP 54,995
ZenBook 14 (UX433) — starts at PhP 62,995
ZenBook 15 (UX533) — starts at PhP 74,995

All the new VivoBook and ZenBook notebooks will be available nationwide starting October.

Check out our hands-on videos here:

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News

Huawei serves “juice” to Apple fans

It’s apparently “apple-free”

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Huawei has this trolling thing down to a T. While Huawei Singapore pulled off a “power move” of a stunt, Huawei UK was out on the streets handing out apple-free juice to Apple fans waiting in line for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

The company sent out a van loaded with “Huawei JU%CE that lasts” and equipped with charging stations for the battery-depleted phones of those who queued up for the new iPhones. It wasn’t exactly free though. People who wanted the “JU%CE” needed to post on social media using #HigherIntelligence to get their fix.

While the stunt is a clear dig at the iPhones’ battery life struggles, Huawei’s Director of Marketing in the UK and Ireland Justin Costello made it clear that this is a sign of things to come on October 16 when the company is set to unveil the Mate 20.

“We want people to know that there is an alternative to having a phone that lacks juice and lets you down when you most need it,” said Costello.

It’s quite a brilliant stunt that both hijacked the launch day of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max while also promoting Huawei’s own launch of their upcoming flagship. If that’s not hitting two birds with one stone, I don’t know what is.

Huawei threw the first jab when they thanked Apple for “keeping things the same” during the launch event of the iPhone XS and XS Max. The company effectively threw more punches with these stunts which begs the question: Should we expect a haymaker once the Mate 20’s launch comes around?

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20: What to expect

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Amazon makes a grand announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices

A smart home has to have these

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Amazon continues to make a mark in the smart home market with their announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices. The company announced a slew of devices, but let’s know more about the key Echo products that now have new upgrades.

Amazon Echo Dot

The new Echo Dot gets redesigned to look stylish and more modern. The plasticky design of the previous model is a thing of the past; the new model now has a fabric design that comes in three colors. The new model is also claimed to sound louder and better, but it’s still priced at US$ 50.

Amazon Echo Plus

The new Echo Plus also has similar upgrades with its new fabric design. It comes with an upgraded 3-inch speaker for stronger bass and clearer mids and highs. Like the Dot, the new model is still priced like its predecessor which is at US$ 150.

Amazon Echo Show

The gigantic Echo Show has been redesigned as well. It features a new body with a large 10-inch HD display. Of course, the new display comes with a new sound system composed of two 2-inch drivers with a passive radiator and Dolby audio processing.

It also comes with a new 5-megapixel front-facing camera for HD video calls. Alexa will soon support Skype audio and video calls, so you will be able to use Skype straight from your Echo Show. Additionally, it now has a built-in web browser. Pricing remains at US$ 230 like with the previous model.

Amazon Echo Auto

The Echo Auto is probably the most intriguing of the bunch. It’s a US$ 25 accessory (the cheapest Echo, yet) designed to let you access Alexa even while in your car. It powers itself from your car’s power outlet or a USB port and connects to the Internet via Bluetooth through your phone.

Using the Alexa app on your phone, it can play music or give you turn-by-turn navigation. You can also ask it pretty much anything you’d ask with other Echo devices.

The new Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show are already up for pre-order and will go on sale starting October 11. The Echo Auto is also up for pre-order, but by request only.

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