Mark Wilson

Apple and Nokia end all litigation as they sign patent license and business cooperation agreement


Apple is dropping its lawsuit against Nokia. The iPhone manufacturer and the Finnish company reached an agreement to not only bring the intellectual property dispute to an end, but also to start a multi-year patent license.

Described as a "meaningful agreement", details of the new arrangement are confidential, at least for the time being, but Apple does shed a little light on what's going to be happening moving forward. Apple will receive network infrastructure product and services from Nokia, and the company will also resume carrying the Withings health products Nokia bought.

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Privacy warning: Netgear routers copy Windows 10 and start 'collecting analytics data'


A firmware update to the Netgear R7000 router adds a new feature that will concern privacy advocates. The update allows Netgear to start "collecting analytics data" and the release notes warn that: "NOTE: It is strongly recommended that after the firmware is updated to this version, you log back in to the router's web GUI and configure the settings for this feature."

Netgear says that the data collection is to help it "isolate and debug technical issues" and does not -- according to the company -- include details such as the websites that are visited, but it will still be a cause of concern for many people. It's hard not to draw parallels with Windows 10 which has managed to upset many users with its telemetry settings.

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Leaked documents show how Facebook censors users, and reveal policies on sex, terrorism and hate

Image credit: AlesiaKan / Shutterstock

At the moment, Facebook appears to be more concerned with keeping fake news out of users' news feeds and clamping down on clickbait and propaganda, but there has also been a lot of interest recently in how the social network moderates -- or censors -- content posted by its users. A leak of what has been dubbed The Facebook Files gives a fascinating insight into how the company moderates content, shedding light on just what its secret internal guidelines are.

Some of the rules are surprising -- livestream of self-harm, for instance, will not be censored, still images of animal abuse are fine -- others less so -- promotion of terrorism and terrorist groups is not permitted, ditto direct threats to someone's life (although the wording of the threat is important). With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook employs an incredibly small team of moderators, and the leaked documents show they have a very tough time.

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Facebook is finally doing something to make Messenger less of an unusable mess


The Facebook Messenger app for iOS and Android is an utter mess of ideas at the moment. The confused interface is all over the place and decidedly user unfriendly. All that is set to change, though, thanks to an update that rolls out this week.

The update brings a slightly updated look which makes navigation a little easier. Tabs help to keep things better organized so you can jump to where you want to be more easily. The changes do not go as far as letting you kill the endlessly irritating Messenger Day/Stories feature, but it does go some way to improving things.

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Leaked images show off Microsoft's upcoming Surface Pro


Panos Panay may have said that the Surface Pro 5 does not exist, but that certainly does not mean there's not a Surface Pro 4 successor. Microsoft has an event scheduled for Monday in Shanghai, and Panay himself has already indicated that it is Surface-related.

Ahead of the event, writer and serial leaker Evan Blass has revealed a number of images of the upcoming device which drops the numbering and is to be known simply as the Surface Pro.

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Facebook wants to keep headlines like this out of your News Feed


Facebook recently announced that it wants to do more to cut down on the amount of spam and clickbait that appears in users' News Feeds. Now the social networking company is putting the wheels in motion, working on updates that will help it to identify such content.

In the crosshairs are two different types of clickbait headline: those that exaggerate information, and those that leave out key pieces of information in a bid to get readers to click through. Facebook is also paying more attention to individual posts rather than focusing on the overall output of accounts and pages.

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Facebook hit with massive fine for providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover


The European Commission has hit Facebook with a €110 million ($122 million) fine for "providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover". The Commission previously expressed concern that the social media giant had not correctly communicated planned changes to its privacy policy.

The changes meant that Facebook was able to match data gathered from WhatsApp users to their Facebook account, even though the company said this was not the case. The "proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook" is designed not only to punish Facebook, but also to send a message to other companies involved in mergers and acquisitions.

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Google Play Protect is the latest line of defense against dangerous Android apps


There's no getting away from the fact that Android has something of an issue with dangerous and malicious apps. Google's latest weapon in the fight against such apps is Google Play Protect which uses machine learning and app usage analysis to weed out the bad guys.

The new system sees Google not only checking apps as they are submitted to the Play Store, but monitoring the apps you already have installed. By analyzing app behavior, Google is able to identify suspicious software that may have slipped through the net or has been installed from outside of the Pay Store.

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Android Go is Google's stripped-down OS for cheap phones


With Android phones, just as with the iPhone, the focus has long been on the latest and greatest hardware. But this ignores the fact that not everyone in the world has an ultra-powerful handset. This is something that Google recognizes, and its solution is Android Go.

Android Go is an optimized version of Android that’s designed to be used on less-powerful, cheap phones. By this, Google means phones that could have under 1GB of RAM, and the operating system -- which is essentially an offshoot of Android O -- is due to make an appearance in 2018.

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Time to check your Twitter settings as company updates its privacy policy and personal data usage


Fire up the Twitter app on your phone or tablet, or visit the Twitter website, and you'll probably be greeted by a message inviting you to check your settings. And you may well want to do so. Twitter is introducing key changes to its privacy policy which will enable it to use more personal data to personalize the user experience. In other words, ads and data sharing.

At the same time, the company is adding new controls which enable you to stop tailoring content to you based on your location, interests and other data. A new Your Twitter Data is a nod to increased transparency which not only shows you what data Twitter is storing about you, but allows you to control how it is used -- to a certain extent.

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Google Home to get hands-free voice calling, proactive assistance and will spread to more countries


Google Home is getting smarter. Today at Google I/O, Google revealed that the Amazon Echo rival will not only be spreading to more countries this summer (Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan specifically) but it will benefit from more new features than you can shake a stick at.

In all, there are more than 50 new features coming to the smart little device including Proactive Assistance, integration with the likes of Soundcloud and the free tier of Spotify, as well as hands-free voice calling. There's also expanded Bluetooth support to transform Google Home into a more useful speaker, and much more.

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After WannaCry chaos, ShadowBrokers threaten 'Data Dump of the Month' service, including Windows 10 exploits


News over the past week has been dominated by the fallout from the WannaCry ransomware. Now the hacking group that released the NSA's hacking tool kit into the wild has announced plans to start an exploit subscription service in June.

ShadowBrokers used a blog post to announce that next month will see the launch of "TheShadowBrokers Data Dump of the Month" service. Described as "being like wine of month club," such a subscription service would attract a great deal of interest from intelligence agencies and would-be hackers alike, particularly if -- as the group suggests -- it includes access to Windows 10 exploits.

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Facebook partners with LGBTQ group for Messenger suicide support, and expands mental health tools


In the US, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Facebook is using this to raise awareness of the tools it offers for those in need of help. The social network says that it wants to help people connect with the help they need to promote good mental health and well-being.

The company is also expanding its suicide prevention tools -- something it has offered for a decade now -- by working with new partners. The latest addition to the fold is The Trevor Project to help offer support to LGBTQ youth, and Facebook also says that its overall arsenal of tools has been improved by advancements in technology.

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Pirated copy of Pirates of the Caribbean 5 used to hold Disney to ransom


Just a couple of weeks since a leak of season five of Orange is the New Black was held to ransom, the same is now happening with the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Yesterday Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that hackers had stolen one of the company's movies, and it has since transpired that it is the upcoming Johnny Depp flick.

Subtitled "Dead Men Tell No Tales", Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is due to hit the big screen next week, and hackers are demanding a ransom from Disney to avert a leak ahead of the official launch. This is the latest move in the world of piracy that shows a marked shift from the previous aim of release groups simply wanting to be the first to push out a decent quality rip of a movie.

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Data breach at DocuSign leads to massive phishing campaign

Data breach wall writing man

E-signature and security firm DocuSign has confirmed a data breach in which attackers gained access to a database containing customer email addresses. The company says that no other data was revealed in the security breach, but it led to a large phishing campaign.

Attackers used the stolen email addresses to spam people with emails containing an infected Microsoft Word document. The company insists that its core service remains secure, but coming in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack, people around the world are on high alert.

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