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Samsung Edits Orwellian Clause Out Of TV Privacy Policy

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Following a storm of criticism relating to a creepy-sounding privacy policy covering its smart TVs, Samsung has today published a rebuttal and a more detailed explanation of the workings of its under-fire voice recognition feature. It has also edited the wording of its privacy policy to avoid sounding quite so eerily similar to George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia.

The original policy, which has been in place for some months, warned users of Samsung’s Internet-connected TVs:

Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.

Which sounded very much as if Samsung was asking its customers to self-censor their conversation when sitting in front of their own TV in their own home. An impression that was compounded by the lack of clarity about how exactly Samsung’s voice recognition feature worked — in terms of when and how it is switched into ‘listening’ mode (so when it’s sending your spoken words to the cloud for other companies to process).

In today’s blog, Samsung stresses that its SmartTVs “do not monitor living room conversations”, and has edited the wording of the policy to excise the offending Orwellian paragraph about sensitive info being snooped upon. Instead it now stresses that user agency is required to trigger the listening feature.

The policy includes the following section explaining the workings of the voice recognition, and also specifying that the third party processing user voice data is, in this instance, Nuance Communications. (Samsung’s policy changes are highlighted below by me in bold.)

If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Samsung will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request to the Smart TV by clicking the activation button either on the remote control or on your screen and speaking into the microphone on the remote control.

It’s certainly welcome that Samsung has made it plainer its TVs do not in fact squat in the corner recording your every utterance. And provided clarity that the full-fat voice recognition feature does not remain on by default but requires a specific user trigger each time it’s used — by the pressing of an activation button.

However the policy is still rather circumspect, referring somewhat vaguely to “some interactive voice commands” that “may be transmitted”. This vagueness is compounded by the fact the TV can also process basic “voice commands” without having to resort to a third party cloud service provider — yet the policy is still fuzzy on the distinction between basic voice commands and more complex speech commands.

The difference between plain old “voice commands” and “interactive voice commands” — in the Samsung SmartTV universe — is in fact clarified by the company in its blog. Here it notes voice recognition takes place in two ways: one being local to the device, with no cloud-processing (and so no third party data privacy concerns), and with support for only “simple predetermined TV commands such as changing the channel and increasing the volume” ; while the second type of voice recognition supports more complex voice commands, such as the ability to ask the TV to recommend a movie, and does involve data being sent off-site to a third party (Nuance) for processing.

There are also two microphones involved — one in the TV does the basic voice commands (which Samsung says does not record, track or store what it hears, listening only for commands to be spoken to trigger set TV actions); while a second mic, located in the remote control, opens the recording gateway to the cloud.

Its blog notes:

Voice recognition takes place in two ways:

The first is through an embedded microphone inside the TV set that responds to simple predetermined TV commands such as changing the channel and increasing the volume. Voice data is neither stored nor transmitted in using these predetermined commands.

The second microphone, which is inside the remote control, requires interaction with a server because it is used for searching content. A user, for example, can speak into the remote control requesting the search of particular TV programs (ex: “Recommend a good Sci-Fi movie”). This interaction works like most any other voice recognition service available on other products including smartphones and tablets.

As I wrote earlier, the bottom line here is that companies building ‘smart’ services need to be thinking about privacy by design — at the very front and centre of the devices and services they are building — not tacking on auxiliary clauses to catch-all privacy policies which are designed to fly under users’ radars anyway.

Relying on vague wording to obfuscate function and keep users in the dark as to how their technology really operates does no one any favors. It breeds mistrust, and triggers overblown concerns. If the privacy policy sounds creepy, the implication is the service provider is also doing something creepy — or at very least trying to hide its activity from plain sight. Which makes people naturally suspicious.

A further problem here, which Samsung has still not addressed in today’s updates, is that users of its voice recognition feature also — presumably — become subject to a third party (Nuance’s) privacy policy. That is not made clear in Samsung’s amended privacy policy. Nor is there a link to Nuance’s privacy policy (which notes, for instance, that Nuance may use information gathered by use of its services for “advertising and marketing”). We’ve asked Samsung about this omission and will update this post with any response.

As the smart home takes shape, consumers are going to be asking increasingly probing questions about what previously innocuous but-now-connected-to-the-cloud home gizmos are actually doing with the data they’re sniffing. To keep buyers on side, device makers will not only need great services; they’ll need sparkling privacy and spectacular security too.

A core part of the solution will be privacy by design, and privacy policies written in plain language that are displayed proudly, as an asset, held up in plain sight.

But even those are only partial fixes if the transparency peters out at the gateway to the cloud. It’s not good enough for device makers to pass the baton and the buck to any third party entities they have looped into processing user data off-site. The parameters of associated third party operations also need to be made clear to the user. Or that’s just a whole new layer of transparency failure inviting censure.

source:http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/10/smarttv-privacy/?ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29#XiR3Jj:bCd

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How to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to a Mac or other Apple devices

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  • Hands down, AirDrop is the easiest way to send files like photos, documents, and even web pages from an iPhone to a Mac (or to another Apple device).
  • AirDrop is automatically available on your iPhone ‘s sharing option whenever there’s another AirDrop-compatible device in range.
  • You may need to set up AirDrop on your Mac before being able to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to that computer.

Compared to the ancient days of floppy disks, it’s like we’re living in a science fiction future today. After all, it’s easy to share large files via email or on cloud services like Dropbox.

But Apple offers an even easier option: AirDrop. Armed with AirDrop, you can send files even ones too big for email from your iPhone to a Mac with just a tap, as long as the Mac is in range to receive them.

What’s “in range”? AirDrop uses a combination of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transmit files, so your Mac or other Apple device has to be within about 30 feet of the phone, according to Apple .

To successfully AirDrop, you’ll need to configure AirDrop on a Mac you only need to do that once and then you can send files from your iPhone quickly and easily.

Activate AirDrop on your Mac or another Apple device

1. Click “Go” in the Finder menu and then click “AirDrop.”

 

airdrop mac
airdrop mac

2. If your Mac’s Bluetooth or Wi-fi is turned off, you will be asked to turn them on.

3. In the AirDrop window, choose who can AirDrop you. Click “Allow me to be discovered by” and choose either “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.”

 

apple airdrop
apple airdrop

For Apple devices other than a Mac, including an iPhone, you can access the same permissions by going into your Settings, clicking General, and then selecting AirDrop to choose whether you can receive an AirDrop from “contacts only” or “everyone.”

Limiting AirDrop only to your contacts is more secure, but choosing “everyone” is more convenient if you frequently have to receive files from a lot of different people.

It’s generally easier to choose “Everyone.” But be aware that if you are working in a public place (like a coffee shop), anyone in your vicinity will be able to try to send you files, so be careful whom you accept AirDrop files from.

Send a file from your iPhone

1. On your iPhone, open the app that you want to AirDrop from. To send a photo, for example, open Photos.

2. Select the file or photo you want to send (you can select more than one at a time).

3. Click the Share button.

4. In the AirDrop section of the Share screen, you should see icons for all of the AirDrop-compatible devices in range (it might take a moment for them to appear). Tap the icon for the Mac you want to send the file to.

 

airdrop 3
airdrop 3

If you’re in range, you should see a button for your Mac (and other AirDrop-compatible devices).

That’s all you need to do on the iPhone; now the Mac or other device needs to accept the file.

Receive a file on your Mac or another Apple device

1. You should see a notification appear on your desktop or device’s screen. Choose “Accept.”

2. On a Mac, choose whether to open the file or save it to the Downloads folder.

 

airdrop 4
airdrop 4

3. Open Downloads in Finder on your Mac. The file should be the most recent.

If you run into trouble

Like any technology, sometimes it doesn’t work the way you expect. If you’re having trouble with AirDrop, there are a few common things to check:

  • Is your Mac AirDrop-compatible? It needs to be running Mac OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-fi are enabled on both your Mac and your iPhone.
  • It’s possible the devices are too far apart, especially if you can’t see the Mac on the iPhone’s AirDrop list. Bring the two devices closer together.
  • Make sure that the iPhone isn’t connecting to the Internet via a personal hotspot. Open Settings and make sure Personal Hotspot is “Off.”

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Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10 and 5G phones unveiled at Unpacked event

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  • Samsung has revealed its latest S10 smartphone in San Francisco
  • Here is a hands-on first look at the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E
  • The Korean giant has unveiled a folding phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Samsung has launched a new 5G smartphone
  • Why Samsung’s folding phone could be a blueprint of the future

Samsung has unveiled a folding phone that doubles as a tablet, which the Korean company hailed as the biggest development in smartphones in a decade.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was launched alongside four other smartphones on Wednesday evening, functions as a typical smartphone but can be unfolded to a second 7.3-inch touchscreen.

The device, which will be released in April, will cost at least $1,980 (£1,516), making it by far the most expensive smartphone on the market.

It is the first of its kind from a major smartphone company, with Samsung claiming the device “answers sceptics” who claim that innovation has dried up in the industry

Samsung’s folding smartphone that transforms into a tablet

Samsung also unveiled the latest version of its flagship smartphone line, the Galaxy S10, releasing three models that cost between £669 and £1,099.

The phones – the cheaper S10E, the S10 and the S10+, feature a fingerprint scanner embedded within the touchscreen and three rear cameras that allow for wider-angle photos.

The smartphone-maker also teased its largest phone yet, the S10 5G, which offers 6.7 inch display and promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity. The phone will be available later this year, when 5G networks, that offer faster mobile data connections, come online.

The company is hoping 5G support will give it a leg up over Apple, which is not expected to unveil a 5G phone until next year.  All these devices are capable of wirelessly charging other Samsung phones and accessories.

Image result for samsung fold

The Galaxy Fold in its “closed” form

Phone makers have spent years attempting to develop flexible touchscreens that allow devices to fold in two, answering consumers’ demands for ever-bigger phone screens, without sacrificing portability. Several manufacturers are now working on their own foldable phones, hoping the technology will breathe life into a saturated smartphone market.

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market,” Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh said. “We are here to prove them wrong.”

Samsung said folding the phone out into a bigger-screened version will allow multi-tasking features such as split-screen apps and better video watching.

However, the high price of the device means it is likely to sell in small numbers. Some versions are likely to sell for more than $2,000, just 18 months after Apple introduced the first $1,000 17 months ago.

The presentations are winding down, and Samsung has left us with their vision of the future in their latest commercial featuring the classic song made famous by Doris Day.

But there’s more to come, keep up to date with the latest Samsung news here and follow @JamesTitcomb on the ground as he elbows everyone out of the way for a first look at the folding phone.

Samsung’s 5G phone

The Galaxy S10 5G is being introduced with a fanfare – a 6.7 inch display that promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity.

This is the biggest screen on a Galaxy device. It comes with a 25-watt charger, so it will charge a lot faster. It has a 3D depth-sensing camera.

Verizon customers will be the first to receive the handsets.

New smartwatch with a full week’s charge

Samsung’s new Galaxy watch features a battery that lasts up to a week and can continually analyse your stages of sleep – this is a huge part of the company’s push into healthcare.

They include heart monitors and “continuous stress tracking when life gets overwhelming”.

Galaxy Buds with Bixby

Samsung has just launched wireless, Apple-style earbuds. Hot take from the Samsung stage: “They are so cool”.

They feature a high efficiency chip set for which allows for 5 hours of calls on a single charge. They are also Bixby-enabled, so you can interact with them remotely and give them instructions (and why wouldn’t you?). They will be available from March.

Incidentally, Bixby can now apparently tell the difference between the Queen’s English and English from Queens (cue laughter from stage). Samsung’s AI assistant also understand three different languages.

S10 price starts at £799 and will be available from March 8

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will start at £799, up to £999. The S10 Plus will start at £899 with a £1,099 version. The S10E will begin at £669.

You can find pre-order details on the Samsung Galaxy S10 here.

Samsung bets on Instagram feature with the S10

The S10 presentation featured Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri, who presented an “Instagram mode” that will allow users to quickly post any photo onto the social media site.

Of course, there was a rather awkward selfie on stage with DJ Koh….

Here is everything you need to know about the new S10

Matt Field has gone through all of the bells and whistles of the new phones here – here are the highlights and how they differ from the S9.

S10 specs

First photos of the Samsung S10

Here’s the S10

The S10 introduction has come hot on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. But what does it bring to the table? Read Matthew Field’s guide to the new devices to find out more.

Forget the £1,000 smartphone.

“Samsung just announced the price of the fold – $1,980 and up – and the crowd here literally went ‘ooooooooh'” like a pantomime,” says James Titcomb.

The era for smartphone innovation is not over

DJ Koh Samsung presents the Galaxy Fold.

Samsung chief executive DJ Koh said that the company will prove critics wrong with the lineup of products and services launched this evening. He said:

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the Smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market, we are here to prove them wrong”

“Today marks a new beginning, a shift.

“The next decade of progress and innovation. I am excited by what we have achieved, but I am even more excited by what we have enabled.”

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Price and availability

The new device will cost $1,980 (£1,516) and will be available from April 26.

Six cameras, but kind of clunky

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Galaxy Fold: the specs

The new Galaxy Fold has a 9nm processor and 12GB of RAM, making it one of the most powerful smartphones on the market (and ever). It has 512GB of on board memory. Because the phone folds up like a tablet from essentially two “smartphone” bodies, it has a dual battery, one in each side of the device that link together.

Samsung has claimed that the Galaxy Fold will fit in the palm of the hand when it’s folded.

Galaxy Fold, revealed

It’s here – within a couple of minutes of the launch, we’ve seen the first official photo of the foldable phone. The first official description is “It’s gorgeous”.

Samsung has called the new device part of a “whole new category” and confirmed the name: Samsung Galaxy Fold – with a 7.3-inch folding infinity display that folds the phone out into a tablet.

Samsung says it has invented a whole new hinge system with “multiple interlocking gears” that are hidden away.

And… here we go

It’s kicked off in San Francisco, with some distinctly creepy music. It looks like they are starting with the folding phone…

Watch it live here

The expert’s take

We’ve been stuck in a camera race, Peter Jarich of analyst firm GSMA Intelligence argues, as smartphone makers have struggled to stand out with a “series of black rectangles”.

“If you’re trying to convince people to buy, then foldable is the way to go, ” he says. “This is all taking place at the same time as 5G. Will this have 5G? Doubtful.”

Could Samsung launch the iPhone killer?

Samsung’s launch today could provide the smartphone market with a much-needed jolt this year. In January, Samsung was forced to issue a profit warning as sales fell 11pc and profits dropped dropped 29pc on the back of slowing phone and chip sales; just days after Apple chopped its sales forecast due to an economic slowdown.

So can the S10, a foldable phone or a 5G device turn the tide? One market analyst told us this evening that the smartphone market is so competitive that Samsung can’t afford not to try.  “What if this were the next big thing and they missed out on it?”

Live from San Francisco

James Ticomb (@jamestitcomb) is up and running from the launch in San Francisco. First thoughts?

“Samsung has to pull off the trick of convincing us that the S10 matters and is worth buying, and that phones these days are so boring that you need one that folds in half.”

View image on Twitter

A folding phone is on the cards

Rumours ahead of the launch included a foldable phone, nicknamed Samsung Galaxy X or Galaxy F (for fold), which was teased back in November. It would be a first for the technology company and could be a game-changer in the smartphone market.

Why foldable phones are the next big thing

But that’s not all. Several rivals are rumoured to be launching 5G smartphones at Mobile World Congress next month, which could prompt Samsung to release a rival product today.

Here’s what we know so far

Samsung’s main new phone tonight is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S10. It is due to feature some “very significant” design changes, according to Samsung’s mobile chief executive DJ Koh. You can read all the rumours here – but we’re expecting more cameras, more memory and a larger display.

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Business

Mercedes-Benz sells 180,539 vehicles, January

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Mercedes-Benz delivered 180,539 vehicles to its customers worldwide in January (-6.7%).

The second-best start to a year for sales was influenced by important model changes in the high-volume SUV and compact-car segments.

In particular, the model change of the B-Class, CLA and GLE, each with a double-digit sales decrease, had a negative impact on total unit sales worldwide despite the ongoing high demand for the cars with the star insignia.

From today’s perspective, the company expects the model changes to affect deliveries in the first quarter.

With a high degree of probability, the full year will be affected also by exogenous challenges and geopolitical risks, the company announces in its global sale report for January.

A member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz cars marketing and sales, Britta Seeger, said “With more than 180,000 vehicles delivered, Mercedes-Benz has started the year 2019 with the second-best January ever”.

“With the B-Class, the CLA and the GLE, we look forward in the coming months to the new generations of models very popular with our customers and expect the model offensive in our high-volume segments to provide significant sales impetus”.

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