Enterprise

TikTok has collected user information illegally

They know who you are

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For months now, the US has hounded TikTok for potentially enabling Chinese cyber espionage. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, is a Chinese company, making it a prime target for data collection. Of course, despite the numerous warnings, TikTok’s transgressions have only started appearing en masse recently. Today, a new conspiracy adds another drop to the overflowing bucket. Unfortunately, it’s a big one. Apparently, TikTok has collected user information illegally for over a year. TikTok knows who you are.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok collected and sent valuable MAC addresses and advertising IDs to ByteDance until around November of last year. Of note, Google prohibits this questionable practice, banning apps that practice the method. However, TikTok applied a layer of encryption that hid the practice from the Play Store.

For the unfamiliar, MAC addresses are much more valuable than IP address. While IP addresses constantly change, MAC addresses are more difficult to alter. Most users will usually cycle through the lifespan of a device without giving their MAC addresses a second thought. However, the MAC address is an incredibly unique identifier for your device. Only you should ideally have that address. That said, TikTok’s sketchy collection tactic is much weightier than normal.

According to TikTok’s policies now, the platform does not collect these identifiers anymore. However, it doesn’t bode well for long-time TikTok users since last year. At its most docile, the practice likely facilitated advertising opportunities for the platform. However, it is still highly illegal to collect that data without permission. If anything, the report will give cybersecurity pundits more ammo against the already struggling company.

More than a week ago, Trump had already signed a ban against the app, giving the platform only until September 15 to divest its American assets over to an American corporation.

SEE ALSO: French privacy watchdog is now probing TikTok

Enterprise

Apple: Leaks are causing wrongly sized iPhone cases

Issues cease-and-desist order

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Leaks have always been an important part of the smartphone cycle. Before a huge smartphone launch, leakers have always found a way to release information before the actual company. Premature information normally doesn’t affect the actual release. However, some companies certainly want to clamp down on leaks. Apple, for one, has always despised leaks. However, the company now has a different purpose for doing so: to prevent wrongly sized phone cases.

Reported by Vice, Apple has issued a cease-and-desist order against a Chinese citizen caught leaking info about upcoming iPhones. The leaker supposedly released prototypes for the devices to the public.

According to Apple, leaks ruin the surprise for consumers especially since they spoil the company’s plans. Additionally, the company says that releasing information outside of Apple’s purview will dupe case manufacturers into making cases of the wrong size especially if the actual products are of a different size.

Historically, Apple has been antagonistic against people leaking company secrets. The company has even filed lawsuits against employees caught smuggling out company secrets. Despite how much hype that leaks can generate for the company, Apple really doesn’t like its leaks.

Currently, there have already been a substantial amount of leaks surrounding the upcoming iPhone 13 series. There have also been hints for next year’s iPhone 14 series.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 series might use titanium chassis

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Samsung promises to make foldable phones more mainstream

According to new earnings report

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Ahead of its highly anticipated Galaxy Unpacked event this August 11, Samsung has released its earnings report for the previous quarter. Though the reported figures show some impressive progress for the company, Samsung surprised even more by detailing what it’s planning to improve for the future: making foldable phones mainstream.

The recent earnings report tells two sides of a story. On the one hand, the company declined from the previous quarter by making only US$ 2.8 billion in profit, compared to the previous quarter’s US$ 3.83 billion. Though it’s a considerable decline, it’s not that much of a surprise. The smartphone market has certainly gotten over the hype from the Galaxy S21 series’ launch earlier this year. It’s still quite a sharp decline, though.

On the other hand, the quarter’s figures are an impressive improvement from last year’s earnings from the same quarter. The company only made US$ 1.7 billion in profit this time in 2020, marking a 66 percent YoY increase. Samsung’s bounce back from the horrendous pandemic era is apparent.

The company is attributing the success to its several branches including semiconductors and smartphones. However, to bolster its hold in the smartphone industry, Samsung’s goal is to “mainstream the foldable category.”

Given the company’s plans for the near future, this is indeed true. Samsung’s TM Roh has already confirmed that the upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event will launch more foldables in the Galaxy Fold series, rather than a new Galaxy Note series. Samsung is looking for stronger players in the fairly new market segment.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Could these be the specs?

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Huawei plummets from top 5 smartphone brands in China

vivo is now the top dog

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Though 2020 was bad for all smartphone makers, it was especially troublesome for Huawei. For years, the American government issued, back away from, and reissued bans that prevented the Chinese company from doing business on the former’s soil. Naturally, the bans were going to affect Huawei. Now, according to a recent smartphone ranking, Huawei isn’t even on the top 5 list in China anymore.

As released by the International Data Corporation, the Chinese smartphone rankings no longer include the once-proud leader of the pack, Huawei. The company has now dropped below the top 5 and lumped together with the “Others” category listed on the rankings.

vivo currently hold the top spot, capturing 23.8 percent of the market share. OPPO isn’t far behind with 21.1 percent of the market. Xiaomi holds the third spot with 17.2 percent of the market, echoing its rise in other rankings. Finally, Apple and newly emancipated Honor round out the pack with 10.9 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively.

All of the top 4 have increased their sales from the previous year, potentially owing to the vacuum left behind by its competitor Huawei. On a similar note, Honor sold considerably less compared its performance last year. The former Huawei sub-brand is potentially still reeling from its time under Huawei’s bans.

Though the company is still planning to release new smartphones soon, Huawei is definitely feeling the crunch from the American bans, resorting to alternatives and in-house solutions to component shortages.

In the meantime, Huawei’s Chinese rivals have moved to fill up the gap left behind by the former leader of the Chinese smartphone race.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P50 series to debut on July 29

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