Your wireless carrier is definitely throttling video, but not because of network congestion (Verizon's the worst)

Northeastern University assistant computer science prof Dave Choffnes built an app called Wehe that monitors network usage and throttling; it has users in 161 countries and has been used to produce one of the most comprehensive looks at video throttling by wireless carriers. Read the rest

Your life will be better if you turn off push notifications (and all notifications)

Motherboard editor Jason Koebler thinks you should turn off push notifications and boy, do I agree: I have had notifications turned off on everything except SMS, Twitter DMs and Signal messages for years, and I have trained all the people who can send me messages using those protocols that the only time to send me a message over them is when something is extremely time-sensitive. I check in on everything else (email, Twitter mentions, etc) several times a day, but I don't have anything, on any of my devices, that interrupts me to tell me that someone, somewhere is thinking about me. Read the rest

Snapshot from the heroic era of mobile computing

MJ Carlson calls this photo from a 1980s computer science textbook "the most glorious stock photo of all time." She is correct. Read the rest

Android's keyboard will no longer autocomplete "sit" with "on my face" thanks to me

Last week, I sent an SMS to our babysitter that said, "Hey, are you free to sit on," and rather than offering autocomplete suggestions like "Saturday" or "Friday," the default Android keyboard suggested "on my face and." Read the rest

Desperate Facebook poisons the well, spamming disenchanted users with torrents of notifications, including through 2FA

As Facebook users drift away from the platform, the company is becoming increasingly desperate to lure them back, doubling down on its obnoxious tactic of spamming users whose activity has fallen off with notifications intended to pique their interest in using the service again. Read the rest

Thieves use free-to-play games to turn stolen credit-card numbers into cash

Markets for video-game assets, sanctioned and unsanctioned, are a major target for credit-card scammers, who use bots to open fake Apple accounts using stolen cards, which are then used to buy up in-game assets that are flipped for clean, untraceable cash to players. Read the rest

Chinese iPhones crash when users try to type Taiwanese flag characters

A now-fixed bug in Ios caused Chinese-localized Iphones to reboot any time the user tried to enter the character combination for a Taiwanese flag or the word "Taiwan"; the bug was caused by Apple's China-only censorship and surveillance software. Read the rest

The world's most popular smartphones are underpowered, unusable hot messes

The "next billion" are the holy grail of tech and mobile companies -- the next billion users to come online, from the poor world, whose preferences and norms regarding technology have yet to be formed. Read the rest

Supreme Court: no government location tracking without a warrant

The Supreme Court has ruled in the closely watched Carpenter v. United States case, which questioned the constitutionality of warrantless location surveillance, a widespread practice among US law enforcement and surveillance agencies. Read the rest

Here are 15 privacy settings you should change from defaults, from Linkedin to cellphones to smart TVs

The Washington Post rounds up 15 privacy defaults that no one in their right mind would want to leave as-is, and provides direct links to change 'em (hilariously and predictably, Verizon/Oath/Yahoo's privacy settings dashboard times out when you try to load it) -- once you're done with that, go back and follow his links to unfuck the privacy defaults for Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and #DeleteFacebook. (via Reddit) Read the rest

Chinese city has a "zombie walkway" for slow-walking smartphone users

The city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province has designated one of the sidewalks on Yanta Road for "phubbers" -- slow-walking smartphone users who shuffle while they read and text. Read the rest

Redditor claims Chinese border guards installed malware on his phone

BigTyPB: "I saw the installation process, an icon appear on the home screen, the police ran the application and then the icon hid itself. Not sure if it rooted my phone or what. I know something was running on my phone because they used a handheld device to confirm our phones were communicating with their system before letting us go." Read the rest

Uganda's unenforceable social media tax is augmented by a biometric requirement for SIM card purchases

Uganda's social media tax may be an unenforceable mess, but that doesn't make it harmless (it opens the door to selective enforcement and invites programs of censorship and mass surveillance in the name of fighting "tax evasion") but that's only half of dictator Yoweri Museveni's plan to control the internet. Read the rest

Governments all over the world buy spy products that let them track and eavesdrop on global cellphones, especially US phones

Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] has sent a letter to the DHS with his view that "nefarious actors may have exploited" the cellular phone system "to target the communications of American citizens." Read the rest

Telegram: ever since Russia's blocking demand, Apple has prevented us from updating our app

Last April, the Kremlin ordered a ban on the private messaging app Telegram, blocking millions of IP addresses that formed Amazon and Google's clouds in order to prevent users from accessing the service; not only was it an ominous moment in the evolution of the internet as a system for oppressive control, it was also an object lesson in how internet concentration has made the internet more susceptible to censorship and control. Read the rest

The military sysadmins in charge of Trump's cellphones can't get him to give up wildly insecure practices

The White House Communications Agency, staffed with military information security experts, is in charge of making sure that the President's cellular phone isn't getting hacked by adversaries who might otherwise be able to listen in on his calls, capture his messages, intercept his search history, and remotely operate his camera and microphone. Donald Trump routinely ignores their advice. Read the rest

App that let parents spy on teens stored thousands of kids' Apple ID passwords and usernames on an unsecured server

If you're the kind of parent who wants to spy on everything your kids do, you can force them to install an app like Teensafe, which only works if your kid doesn't use two-factor authentication; you have to give it your kid's device ID and password, so if that data leaks, it would allow anyone to break into your kid's cloud and plunder all their private data. Read the rest

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