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Verizon Will Stop Selling Unlocked iPhones to ‘Combat Theft’

Calling it an “extra step” in helping to prevent fraud and the theft of its valuable hardware, Verizon announced Monday that it plans to begin locking the phones it sells online and via its retails stores, CNET reports.

America’s largest wireless carrier has opted to implement the policy change as a way to deter criminals from stealing phones, noting how stolen devices are often “on route to retail stores, or from the stores themselves” at the time they’re stolen.

“We’re taking steps to combat this theft and reduce fraud,” said Tami Erwin, Verizon’s executive vice president of wireless operations. “These steps will make our phones exponentially less desirable to criminals.”

What Does This Mean for Verizon Customers?

Essentially, Verizon’s decision to lock its new phones means they won’t be compatible with any other carrier’s SIM card (unless Verizon authorizes your unlock request).

It’s worth noting that, at least for the time being, any new phone purchased directly from Verizon will automatically be unlocked just as soon as the customer signs up for and activates Verizon service for it.

“Later in the spring” Verizon will shift its policy back in line with the mobile industry’s general protocol, which in most cases involves maintaining that new phones stay locked to their host carrier for “a period of time” after they’ve been purchased.

Such is the case with AT&T who requires its customers to not only pay off their phone entirely, but also be active on the carrier’s network for at least 60 days prior to being eligible for an unlock. Sprint and T-Mobile have similar terms and “wait periods” of 50 and 40 days, respectively, following device payoff.

Will I Ever Be Able to Unlock My Verizon Phone?

To be clear, under its new policy, Verizon will not be doing away with unlocked phones in their entirety.. Rather, customers who purchase a new device — including any of Apple’s iPhone models, present and future — through Verizon, will simply have to wait for this “period of time.”

Unfortunately, Verizon stopped short of providing guidance of how long its customers will have to wait, after purchasing their new device, before it’s eligible to be unlocked, saying only that the company will provide an official update ahead of the policy going live.

So, starting [sometime] this spring, if you own a locked Verizon phone, you’ll have to contact the carrier or visit a retail store to have it unlocked — assuming Big Red will grant you its blessing, of course — before trying to swap out your SIM card.

Verizon assures its customers that “a wait period” is necessary to help “deter scammers from signing up for service using stolen identities” — in a fraudulent bid to obtain a new phone, turn around, and sell it for personal gain, for example. It’s also possible, however, that Verizon is merely trying to protect its cushy position amid the ever-competitive U.S. carrier wars..

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Verizon to stop selling unlocked iPhones to combat theft

Verizon is going to stop selling unlocked iPhones, CNET reports. The carrier tells the outlet that it plans to begin locking the phones it sells to customers, for an undetermined period of time, beginning in the spring…. Read the rest of this post here

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Verizon will start locking iPhones to deter theft

Verizon plans to start locking all phones, including iPhones, to its network for a certain period of time. The carrier is hoping the move, which will prevent customers from using other SIM cards in Verizon devices, will help it fight theft. It’s common for carriers to lock the devices they sell to their own network. […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Uber and Waymo Agree to Settle Case Involving Uber’s Alleged Theft of Self-Driving Technology

Over the past five days, Uber and Waymo have been entangled in a court case over Waymo’s allegations that Uber stole its self-driving LiDAR system. Today, the two companies have announced that they reached a settlement agreement, under which Uber will pay Waymo a 0.34 equity stake, “amounting to about $245 million at Uber’s recent $72 billion valuation” (via CNBC).

Additionally, Uber has agreed that it will not incorporate Waymo’s self-driving technology into any of its own hardware or software. Alongside the settlement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a letter that the company “does not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber,” nor that Waymo’s tech was used by Uber in any way, but expressed regret for the ongoing trial over the past year and the events that led up to it.

To be clear, while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work.

While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward. I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology.

Waymo’s lawsuit concerned Uber and its acquisition of self-driving trucking startup Otto, with Waymo believing that employees at Otto stole information from Alphabet-owned Waymo and shared it with Uber. Despite Khosrowshahi’s belief that no such data was seen or used by Uber, the company appears ready to put the legal battle behind it through the settlement and payment to Waymo.

As the fight between the two companies stretched throughout last year, Waymo began a self-driving car test in Phoenix, Arizona, which eventually expanded to testing an autonomous ride-hailing service with no safety drivers. With its fleet of more than 600 minivans, Waymo is considered one of the leaders in the field of self-driving technology, which Apple is now attempting to catch up with through “accelerating” its self-driving efforts in California.

Tags: Uber, Waymo

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Essential sued by Keyssa for theft of trade secrets in battle of ex-Google execs

Essential may be a startup in the mobile space, recently releasing its first smartphone, but apparently that doesn’t mean it’s safe from being sued. While Apple’s legal spat with Qualcomm got most headlines so far in 2017, today we learn about a new fight – and it’s interesting from one point of view at least. Keyssa Inc is suing Essential for alleged theft of trade secrets relating to a new technology that allows phones to connect to devices like cameras wirelessly. Yes, that is exactly how Essential’s 360-degree camera accessory sends data to its phone. Keyssa is backed by Tony… – Latest articles

Can you join a class action suit if you use Equifax’s free identity theft protection?

Credit reporting agency Equifax’s July data breach leaked information on 143 million US-based people, almost half the country’s population. But if you want to be part of a class action lawsuit that was recently filed against the company, accepting its free identity protection service might make things harder. That’s because Equifax’s terms of service force users to settle complaints individually, using a common and widely criticized legal clause. This clause might not apply to the data breach, and Equifax might not intend to enforce it — but its broad ambiguity has legal experts worried.

When the leak was revealed yesterday, Equifax set up a page offering free enrollment in its TrustedID Premier monitoring service. The page asks people…

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Arrested Bitcoin exchange leader might be linked to Mt. Gox theft

Greek authorities arrested a leading member of the BTC-e Bitcoin exchange on suspicion of money laundering, though the ultimate charges haven't been disclosed. That's because the person in question — a Russian citizen named Alexander Vinnik — was d…
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Bitcoin exchange chief arrested amid new questions about Mt Gox theft

Greek police have arrested one of the central figures in the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e on suspicion of money laundering. Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece at the request of US law enforcement, according to a Reuters report.

The BTC-e exchange has long been a favorite of criminals, as its headquarters in Russia places it outside the reach of US and European law enforcement. Recent Google research found that 95 percent of ransomware cash-outs occurred through the BTC-e exchange, although it’s unclear whether the exchange itself would be liable for those payments.

Those payments have made BTC-e one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, regularly handling more than 3 percent of total Bitcoin transactions. The exchange has…

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