Enterprise

US Military is now trying to fight fake news

The elections are coming

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Fake news and spread of misinformation has been super fast thanks to the Internet. The issue has been noticed in almost every country and there is little authorities are able to do about it.

US President Donald Trump is known to have tagged quite a few reports as “fake news” and his popularity has indirectly made it a buzz word. But, the most concerning thing is, fake news has the power to alter opinions, translating to a rigged election in the real world.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the US Department of Defense is launching a project to counter large-scale automated attacks. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intends to use software that can identify propaganda or fake images.

Ahead of the 2020 elections, the officials are working to prevent outside hackers from flooding social channels with false information. Even deepfakes have been getting extremely complex and accurate, making it more difficult for data-driven software to spot.

“The algorithm testing process will include an ability to scan and evaluate 250,000 news articles and 250,000 social media posts, with 5,000 fake items in the mix. The program has three phases over 48 months, initially covering news and social media before analysis begins of technical propaganda. The project will also include week-long hackathons” the report noted.

There have been allegations against Trump for using fake news to bolster to his campaign. Secondly, the Russians are suspected of launching a systematic disinformation campaign that is believed to have actually helped in changing voters thinking process.

Spread of fake news over WhatsApp has caused a few deaths in India and the local authorities are struggling to find a solution. Since all the messages are encrypted on the instant messenger, it’s practically impossible to track down the source.

Enterprise

Essential shuts down, ending the Essential Phone

Rest in peace

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Years ago, the Essential Phone earned its bit of the limelight. Going up against a downpour of identical phones, Andy Rubin’s smartphone promised a refreshing change for a disenchanted market. On launch, it delivered on its grand promise, outing a powerful, edge-to-edge display for a workable price.

Unfortunately, Essential, the company, never developed a promising follow-up for the Essential Phone. In fact, Essential’s history has been tumultuous since the Essential Phone’s launch. Since then, Essential has downsized the company, repeatedly reduced the original phone’s price, and failed to deliver on promised devices. Most recently, the company stopped further production of the Essential Phone.

Now, the inevitable has finally happened. In an official blog post, Essential is closing shop, ending operations as a company.

In its final exit, Essential is leaving behind an unfinished Project GEM. After shutting the Essential Phone 2 down, the company hinted at an extra-long smartphone, a new mobile experience unlike any other. Because of today’s announcement, Project GEM will never see the light of day. “Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers,” Essential said.

Further, Essential has also released its final update for the Essential Phone, rolled out on February 3. Though still functional indefinitely, Essential Phone users will not receive any support from the company anymore. When it was still operation, the company outed consistent updates for its fans, including one of the earliest accesses to Android Pie. If anything, Essential will provide development resources to the public, ensuring crowd-sourced support, at the very least.

Regardless, Essential is officially dead. For real this time.

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Enterprise

Google Station winds down, bids goodbye to free Wi-Fi

Passing the torch to Smart Communications

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More than 400 venues offering free Wi-Fi will wind down through 2020, as Google Station bids goodbye. In a report by Manila Bulletin, an anonymous source stated how partners are losing money due to a lack of sustaining advertising revenue ultimately leading to Google shutting down the service.

Google responds

However, Google denied the claims that Google has not provided support to partners resulting in revenue loss. In a statement, Google expounds on how the change in landscape and scalability is the reason why Google Station is winding down.

“4G is getting prevalent in a number of markets and data prices are dropping globally. This, combined with the complex and varying technical requirements across partners and countries, makes it a challenge to scale and sustain Station.”

“This has made us re-evaluate our plans and we have decided to wind down the program through 2020. We are working with our partners to support our users and them to gradually transition. We remain committed to look for ways to make the internet more accessible for users around the world,” a representative from Google added.

Passing the torch

Google’s current installations for the Google Station project will be taken over by Smart Communications, its local partner. Passing the torch, Smart Communications will be rebranding the current project, continuing Google’s promise of fast, free, and reliable connectivity in its current locations — only with Smart on its name.

Google Station will wind down through 2020 in the Philippines, alongside India, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, and Vietnam.

Source: Manila Bulletin

 

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Enterprise

France punishes Apple for slowing down iPhones

Specifically for not notifying users

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Apple’s planned obsolescence is a well-known controversy by now. The iPhone maker notoriously slows down old phones after their respective life cycles. In Apple’s defense, the obsolescence apparently prolongs the device’s life. Consumers, however, are angry over being forced to upgrade.

Since then, lawmakers have tried to sue companies for purposefully slowing down their phones. For example, the Italian government successfully challenged Samsung for similarly doing the same thing.

Now, France is suing Apple for the same controversy. Sort of.

France’s case doesn’t explicitly deal with Apple’s practice. Instead, the French are suing Apple for not notifying users of the practice. According to the case, Apple did not do wrong by slowing down phones. Apple did wrong through “deceptive commercial practice by omission.”

Regardless, Apple’s fine is quite hefty, even for a global corporation. Because of the case, Apple must pay EUR 25 million in fines (or around US$ 27 million).

Of course, the fine is ultimately just a minor fender bender in Apple’s cash-making machine. However, it is still enough to institute some form of change, especially in France. As part of the punishment, Apple is required to display notices on its French website.

Since the initial controversy, Apple has practiced better transparency in explaining the need for the slowdown. Still, no one likes slow phones. Even in 2020, Apple’s planned obsolescence is still a hot topic.

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