Iran reportedly to block Telegram due to ‘national security’ concerns

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After posting about its impressive 200 million user count, messaging service Telegram has been dealt another blow. The Iranian government is reportedly preparing to block the platform, citing concerns of “national security.”

This follows not too long after Telegram lost an appeal in Russia, where the government there ordered the company to hand over its encryption keys, again with nods to national security. In Iran’s case, the report comes from Mashreghnews.ir, who quotes Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran.

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[Update: New info on device] Facebook delays smart speaker reveal due to heightened privacy concerns

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Facebook has decided to delay the unveiling of a new line of smart speakers “in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network’s data-privacy practices,” sources tell Bloomberg. The home devices were apparently planned to debut at Facebook’s developer conference in May, well ahead of their scheduled fall release date.

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[Update: New info on device] Facebook delays smart speaker reveal due to heightened privacy concerns was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Huawei committed to competing in U.S. despite government security concerns

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro hands-on video

Huawei has had a pretty rough few months, with AT&T and Verizon reportedly deciding not to sell the Mate 10 Pro due to pressure from the U.S. government and then Best Buy allegedly opting to stop offering all Huawei products. Despite all of this, though, the company isn’t giving up its U.S. ambitions.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, says that Huawei will continue working to establish itself in the U.S. and earn consumers’ trust. Yu’s statement to CNET:

“We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation. We would never compromise that trust.”

Yu went on to say that the security concerns that the U.S. government has about Huawei are “based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair.” He added that Huawei is open having a discussion with the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA so long as it is based on facts.

While Huawei has a significant international presence, the company hasn’t been able to gain much traction in the U.S. That’s because to date, it’s only ever sold it’s best phones unlocked, while most U.S. consumers buy their phones through their carrier. It’s good to hear that Huawei is going to keep plugging along in the U.S. because products like the Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro look like solid smartphones, but it’s going to be difficult for the company to gain a significant foothold in the U.S. unless it can convince carriers to sell those products.

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Apple cooperation on India’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ iPhone app torpedoed over privacy concerns

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Despite nominally coming to an agreement to help India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) with an iPhone version of its "Do Not Disturb" app, Apple has effectively stopped cooperating, a report indicated on Tuesday.
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Facebook delays smart speaker reveal due to heightened privacy concerns

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Facebook has decided to delay the unveiling of a new line of smart speakers “in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network’s data-privacy practices,” sources tell Bloomberg. The home devices were apparently planned to debut at Facebook’s developer conference in May, well ahead of their scheduled fall release date.

News of the decision to delay closely follows the breaking of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which it was found that that company gathered and stored the personal data of some 50 million Facebook users without their consent.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: Worth the Security Concerns?

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Huawei is a Chinese company that has been methodically working to get its phones in store shelves here in the north American market for years now.

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Tim Cook kicks off China Development Forum, talks trade war concerns and more

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As we noted yesterday, Tim Cook is in China this weekend to serve as co-chair of the China Development Forum, which is taking place amid increasing fears of a trade war between China and the United States. Speaking at the event today, Cook said that he hopes “calm heads” will ultimately prevail…

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These Are The Concerns Slowly Killing Ad-Tech

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times-square-parade

Black Mirror, recently bought by Netflix, is a hugely popular TV series that is a dark, twisted but spot-on portrayal of the possible ramifications of technology in the future. Advertisements for the show are ironically targeting ad block users, and some argue, are “intentionally creepy.” For better or worse, ad tech is an industry that somehow finds itself embroiled in controversy. Ad blocking was the controversy du jour, until recently when ad blocking rates have leveled out or even dropped. Ad tech’s explosion in recent years, due to the overwhelming user demand for free digital content, has caused the mighty backlash of ad blocking.

Ad tech executives are finally taking a breath after ad blocking has stabilized, yet another monster (or two) have been slowly eating away at the industry: ad fraud and transparency issues.

The International Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimates the economic cost of ad fraud to be around $ 8.2 billion annually. Most of this fraud comes from non-human traffic, which if eliminated would save more than $ 4 billion annually.

A lack of transparency

Today, the ad tech industry is best described as being like the mortgage industry during the subprime days. Advertisers are spending money for short term goals, while not paying attention to whether they’re getting real long term value.

A lack of transparency has enabled fraudsters to build companies based on sales teams, rather than actual technology. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Association of National Advertisers found that in 2015, between 3% to 37% of ad impressions were driven by bots, whereas in the previous study bot traffic ranged from 2% to 22%.

Legitimate ad tech businesses meet a set of proven criteria. They gain their competitive advantages from one of three areas: they own or enable unique supply, have unique data, or own the advertiser relationships.

On the other hand, fraudulent companies rely on arbitrage, and rent the traffic rather than owning it. Other cases involve compromising the user experience.

Common ad fraud threats

Modern ad fraud has evolved significantly from the days of click fraud where advertisers had to deal with fake clicks on their ad campaigns. Today, there’s a variety of technical exploits marketing professionals need to keep an eye on.

Pixel stuffing and ad stacking

Pixel stacking occurs when ads are placed into tiny 1×1 pixels, making them virtually impossible to see. Despite this, when the page is loaded, the session counts as an impression. Ad stacking is fairly similar in that it involves ads being placed over each other so that while only one is seen, impressions still register for both ads.

Ad injection

Ad injection comes in a few different forms. Ads can be placed on top of existing ads (causing ad stacking), or they can completely replace existing ads. The most common form of ad injection is a fake warning telling the user their computer is infected with a virus or that their PC performance isn’t up to par.

Domain laundering

This is when fraudsters take a low quality domain and make it look like it’s actually a more reputable publisher. When advertisers recognize the name, they’ll pay a premium. In addition to costing advertisers money, this threat also potentially leads to questionable ad placements which can harm the advertiser’s reputation.

Best practices for prevention

Even though automated systems are rapidly evolving to combat ad fraud, that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let technology solve the problem. Below are a few best practices you can follow to ensure ad fraud doesn’t harm your company.

  • Request transparency from your publishers: Simply asking your publishers where their traffic originates from can significantly help to reduce fraud. If they aren’t straightforward with you, then that’s a potential red flag.
  • Time your ads: Since bot fraud is more active during specific times of the day, timing your ads properly can help to avoid the bulk of fraudulent traffic.
  • Constantly assess your traffic: Always review your campaigns in order to monitor where the best clicks come from, and adjust your campaigns accordingly.
  • View your site in incognito mode: This allows you to view how your website is displayed to the general public. You’ll also be able to see any sites which have stolen your domain, or ads which may have been injected.

In addition to the previously mentioned action items, it’s also best to consider going with networks with a brand safety department which keeps media, programmatic and direct publishers clean and safe.

Typically these networks have the technology to detect, monitor, and exclude invalid traffic. Additionally reputable companies have different categories for brand safety (adult and nudity, file sharing and illegal content, etc).

An ongoing battle

In order to make sense of the continuously evolving landscape, it’s crucial to keep an eye out on industry trends so you always have a handle on where things are headed.

While it’s impossible to fully eliminate ad fraud, the damages can be minimized by following industry best practices while also trusting your instincts when it comes to dealing with publishers and other entities.

The post These Are The Concerns Slowly Killing Ad-Tech appeared first on ReadWrite.

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AmazonBasics power banks recalled over fire hazard concerns

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AmazonBasics is great choice for everything from HDMI cables to coathangers and a whole lot more. Apparently "whole lot more" also extends to unintentional fire sources. The shopping juggernaut has recalled a half-dozen power banks sold between Decem…
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Trump Prohibits Broadcom’s Takeover of Qualcomm Due to National Security Concerns

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United States President Donald Trump this afternoon issued an executive order blocking Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm in a deal that would have been worth more than $117 billion, reports Bloomberg.

The president’s order came following a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, despite Broadcom’s efforts to save the proposed transaction over the course of the last few weeks. U.S officials believed Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm, which has been under investigation by the CFIUS, could threaten national security.


The CFIUS previously said that a Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm could undermine Qualcomm’s leadership in 5G wireless technology, allowing China’s Huawei to become the dominant 5G provider in the world. Broadcom, a Singapore-based company, promised not to sell Qualcomm 5G assets, announced plans to redomicile in the United States, and pledged to invest billions in the United States, but that did not ease regulators’ concerns.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Ltd.” by acquiring Qualcomm “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in the order released Monday evening in Washington.

Trump also said that “any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited.”

Broadcom first made an offer to acquire Qualcomm for $70 per share in cash and stock back in November of 2017, marking the proposal of the “largest technology acquisition ever, which Qualcomm turned down.

Qualcomm also turned down subsequent offers of $121 billion and $117 billion, and had not agreed to the acquisition at the time that it was blocked by Trump. Broadcom had been attempting to add merger-friendly individuals to Qualcomm’s board, but today’s order makes it clear that no merger or acquisition between the two companies will be allowed.

Broadcom may intend to fight the order as earlier today, the company said in a statement that U.S. national security concerns are not a risk as “Broadcom never plans to acquire Qualcomm before it completes redomiciliation.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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