• The Urgency for Speed in 2019: New #research Finds 45 Percent of Customers Won’t Buy From a Slow…

    The Urgency for Speed in 2019:New Research Finds 45% of Customers Won’t Buy From a Slow SiteBy Sarah Gooding, Communications and PR Manager at UnbounceWe’ve all experienced a slow web page. We’ve felt the frustration that builds for every second that little icon continues to spin.We all know the feeling: We want that page open, and we want it open NOW.As consumers, we expect to be able to browse the web, buy products, and find the answers to our questions quickly — and instantaneously would be even better. Unfortunately, this expectation is often unmet. In 2019 the average size of a webpage has ballooned, and with it, the length of time consumers have to wait for a page to open. Things are even slower on smartphones. The average web page has doubled in size over the past 3 years, so consumers (...)

    #marketing #landing-pages #ecommerce #page-speed

  • Augmented Reality: Market Potential and Practical Applications

    The present generation of smartphones and other devices do a fine job of immersing us in digital experiences. Augmented reality takes a route different by magnifying our physical surroundings by enriching them digital data snippets.Sounds curious, isn’t it? Well, the first augmented reality system took birth in 1992. Louis Rosenburg from the USAF Armstrong’s Research Lab developed what Virtual Fixtures which placed information atop physical objects. The idea was to improve worker efficiency by supplying information readily. The same concept was replicated at Boeing factories where aeroplane engineers used AR to visualize wire layouts on physical boards using computer-generated images.A Boeing employee using AR for creating wire layouts on physical boards.Ever since then, the scope and (...)

    #mobile-app-development #ai #augmented-reality #artificial-intelligence #virtual-reality

  • Guardian Project – People, Apps and Code You Can Trust

    About the Guardian Project

    While smartphones have been heralded as the coming of the next generation of communication and collaboration, they are a step backwards when it comes to personal security, anonymity and privacy.

    Guardian Project creates easy to use secure apps, open-source software libraries, and customized mobile devices that can be used around the world by any person looking to protect their communications and personal data from unjust intrusion, interception and monitoring.

    Whether your are an average citizen looking to affirm your rights or an activist, journalist or humanitarian organization looking to safeguard your work in this age of perilous global communication, we can help address the threats you face. Visit our introductory how-to site, watch on online mobile security training we held recently, or view our full list of apps to get started.


  • Exciting Tech #predictions We Can Expect to Take Place in 2019

    Every year, the gadgets around us are evolving. These tech gadgets have become an essential part of our lives. From smartphones to televisions, we depend on these gadgets even for basic things like communicating, information, entertainment and so much more. 2018 was an amazing year for smartphones — we got to see different technologies come to life. Even laptops saw a considerable improvement in the last year. Most of the gadgets like televisions, cameras, fitness bands and smartwatches saw a great deal of improvement. 2019 has just started and there are a lot of expectations from this year already.We are going to see the launch of foldable & 5G smartphones, 8K TVs, roll-able TVs, better desktops and so much more. While most tech enthusiasts are gearing up for the CES 2019 which will (...)

    #technology #technology-predictions #future #tech-predictions

  • The Importance of Community in #crypto

    By Alex LibertasWhat is Community?Throughout history, communities have played an intrinsic part in how humans come together to share ideas, collaborate and align themselves with each other to incorporate a common identity.Community can be defined as:“The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.”Since the dawn of time it has been embedded in our DNA to naturally form tribes, factions or groups in order to work together with like-minded people and produce better results than if we were to operate alone.Fast forward to 2019 and communities are as prevalent as ever in today’s society but with one major difference — the majority of our social groups have now been digitised and the largest communities we form are now online.The invention of smartphones has now (...)

    #bitcoin #digital-marketing #blockchain #cryptocurrency

    • Il y a bien du #shutdown dans l’air, chapeau de Nature :

      Update, 9 January: The release of the World Magnetic Model has been postponed to 30 January due to the ongoing US government shutdown.

      avec les conséquences pratiques (imperceptibles, pour the rest of the world)

      Beggan said the recent shifts in the north magnetic pole would be unnoticed by most people outside the Arctic, for instance using smartphones in New York, Beijing or London.

      Navigation systems in cars or phones rely on radio waves from satellites high above the Earth to pinpoint their position on the ground.

      It doesn’t really affect mid or low latitudes,” Beggan said. “It wouldn’t really affect anyone driving a car.

      Many smartphones have inbuilt compasses to help to orientate maps or games such as Pokemon Go. In most places, however, the compass would be pointing only fractionally wrong, within errors allowed in the five-year models, Beggan said.

  • Anonymous Answers to Three Questions at a #blockchain Conference

    2018 is a year the blockchain industry wishes it could forget.During the past year, many ambitious promises were made but never quite delivered. Many coins’ price dropped. Roadmap deadlines pushed back. Investors have become much more cautious.Where is blockchain heading to? What are some of the questions that need to be answered now?We came up with 3 questions and interviewed some people from the speakers’ list for our upcoming conference “Blockchain Connect Conference 2019”. Since many of them are currently working in the blockchain industry, we decided to leave out their names.1. Will blockchain technology trigger an upgrade of hardware technology in the future?From bitcoin mining machine to blockchain smartphones to cold wallet, hardware has been playing an important role in the (...)

    #blockchain-questions #blockchain-connect #blockchain-conference #academic

  • #bitcoin for the Unbanked: How Mesh and Microfinance Could End Poverty as We Know It

    Image courtesy of Barak BruerdNote: I am not receiving any compensation from any of the products listed in this article. Nothing below is investment advice and should be viewed purely as a hypothetical exercise.Over the last 30 years, the amount of people living on less than $1 USD a day has been reduced by more than half. This is an incredible milestone of which many people aren’t aware, but there is still much work to be done — according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, the average income of people living in sub-Saharan #africa is still just $1 USD/day.While it is true that African nations are poor, specifically those in the fragile states of sub-Saharan Africa, it is also common nonetheless to see shoeless Africans wielding smartphones. Indeed, according to a study done by (...)

    #mesh-networks #investing #emerging-markets

  • 5 Books That Explain Why It Seems the World Is So Fucked

    1. Democracy for Realists – Christopher Achens & Larry Bartels
    “an eye-opening and sober look at the data on democracy and what makes it effective/ineffective. Hint: people are stupid. Or as my favorite Winston Churchill quotes goes: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    2. The Coddling of the American Mind – Jonathan Haidt & Gregory Lukianoff
    “The kids aren’t alright. No, really—I know every generation says that, but this time it’s true. Kids who grew up with smartphones (and have begun to enter the university system) are emotionally stunted, overly fragile, and exhibiting mental health issues at alarming rates.”

    3. Who owns the Future – Jaron Lanier
    “Lanier, one of the internet’s earliest engineers, argues with passion and seemingly endless wit that pretty much all of our problems boil down to one thing: for some reason, at some point, we all decided that information should be free.”

    4. The Death of Expertise – Tom Nichols
    “Speaking of the value of information, Nichols goes on a rampage in The Death of Expertise, ripping apart the growing anti-intellectualism. But whereas Lanier focused on information technology, Nichols takes aim at our culture.”

    5. Bowling Alone – Robert Putnam
    “The title refers to the fact that more Americans bowl than in the past. Yet, there are fewer bowling leagues than ever before. Meaning: more and more, people are spending time alone.”

    (all quite US-centric though…)

  • #technology meets The Real Deal: #qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 8cx

    Qualcomm has always conquered the world of smartphones and androids since its day of the first release. The evolution of smartphone processor has always been through the hands of Qualcomm Snapdragon. Not only smartphones it has also powered many modern technologies to the next level. Now Qualcomm Snapdragon is stepping towards the future of technology with the help the latest Snapdragon processor, Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 8cx.Lets talk about Snapdragon 855 first………..The first processor to support 5G. To explain 5G in simple, it is the successor of 4G and promises to provide uninterrupted high-speed internet up to 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps). The snapdragon 855 delivers transformable 5G experience. It is worlds first 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz mobile solution and World’s first 2 Gbps (...)

    #technical-analysis #tech #innovation

  • 6 Interesting Smartphone Trends to Look Out for in #2019

    2018 has been an amazing year for #smartphones. We saw a lot of new technological advancements emerge this year. Features such as AI, AR, triple camera setup, bezel-less display (all kind of notches), in-display fingerprint scanner and wireless charging, were some of the common technological trends that we saw on most smartphones in 2018. But, now we are almost done with 2018, so what do the smartphones in 2019 hold for us? Year after year, we see a lot of technological advancements, especially in the smartphone market.If the rumour mills are to be believed, the next year has a lot to offer in terms of upcoming smartphones. Smartphone manufacturers are all set to take the lead next year with better innovations. Without further ado, here are our top picks on the 6 interesting trends to (...)

    #tech #2019-trends #smartphone-trends

  • What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz

    I had not registered for this session, and had to convince the conference bouncers that my press pass allowed me entry. They allowed me to attend on the condition that I wouldn’t take up a precious chair.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software.
    I agreed and sat in a chair at the far end of the room. Slowly, several people, all of them white, nearly all of them women, joined our table. One worked for a community bank in Wisconsin. Another for Freddie Mac. Two of the women, it turned out, worked for the company my brother co-founded, which often helps financial firms with Salesforce.

    This was the closest I had come to understanding what Salesforce is actually good for, beyond throwing swanky parties. Everyone at the table had used Salesforce to solve problems at their companies. It had worked well. They had many more problems, and wanted to figure out the best way to use the platform to solve those, too. As they discussed how best to “leverage Financial Services Cloud,” their heads nodded.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software. Yes, it is several years now since Marc Andreessen wrote that “software is eating the world.” But it’s not just the smartphones and websites that we have come to be familiar with as “software.” It’s literally everything. Do anything in a modern city and it will trigger a long string of computational processes. Test-drive a car, express interest in an insurance plan, apply for a loan, contribute to a nonprofit, use a credit card, call airline customer service, change a t-shirt order from “large” to “medium,” and you will be entered into a database, added to annual reports, sent automated emails, plugged into “people who buy X also buy Y” algorithms. This is obviously true for hip startups like AirBnb. It is also true for boring, ancient, bailed-out behemoths like Freddie Mac.

    Usually, the software that runs in the dark server rooms of non-tech companies either comes with hefty license fees or is barely functional, hacked together over years by in-house coders who have come and gone. Information relevant to the company may be spread across hundreds of spreadsheets and thousands of emails, accessible only from certain computers or networks. One of the chief complaints of the woman from Freddie Mac was that the company has “a lot of legacy systems” that need to be modernized.

    “Enterprise software”—specifically “customer relationship management” software—aims to solve, or at least alleviate, such problems. Benioff’s insight was to do so using the “cloud.” Instead of charging people for a license to use your software, a la Windows XP, have them pay for a subscription to use your service, which can be accessed anywhere. It’s like Gmail, but for all of the mind-numbing tasks of the modern salesperson, customer service representative, or middle manager, like inputting what happened on a call with a customer or generating inventory reports. No more understaffed IT departments, no more inaccessible spreadsheets, no more massive upfront costs.

    These days, most people use several cloud-based services, like Spotify or Dropbox. It’s why the Google Chromebook can be a thing, and why Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, can get by without ever using a computer. It’s why Salesforce can count among its several mascots SaaSy, named after “Software as a Service,” a dancing white circle with arms and legs, but no face, that displays the word “software” in a red circle with a red line crossing it out. Nothing to install, just the cloud. That is sassy.

    But Benioff was onto the idea early. Less than 20 years have passed since he staged a sassy fake protest at the annual conference of the incumbent CRM giant, Siebel Systems, with protesters chanting, “The internet is really neat, software is obsolete!” Now 89 of the companies on the Fortune 100 use Salesforce. For the past three years, Salesforce has grown over 20% year-over-year every single quarter.

    What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz

    Giving more people access to high-paying tech jobs. Looks great.

    Soon after that, though, a darker, less altruistic interpretation of “inclusive capitalism” began to emerge. One that sees it not primarily as a way to bring in the excluded, but to boost the Salesforce brand, to fortify the cult, to attract talent and investors. To establish a place in history.

    After the PepUp Tech video, another told the story of billionaire Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli, who uses Salesforce at his company. Cucinelli was himself in attendance. After the video finished, he took the microphone and spoke directly to Benioff in rapid-fire Italian, through an interpreter, as if he were the effusive prognosticator of an ancient king.

    “For your birthday,” Cucinelli pronounced, “I have a special request to submit to you.” This was how I learned that the keynote speech was happening on the day of Benioff’s 54th birthday.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff.
    “I would like you, in this special world, which is the cradle of genius, you should envision something that lasts for the next 2,000 years,” Cucinelli continued. “In ancient Greece, Pericles 2,500 years ago stated, ‘as long as our Parthenon is standing, our Athens will be standing, too.’ In ancient Rome, Hadrian stated, ‘I feel responsible for the beauty in the world,’ and he states, ‘my Rome will be there forever.’ In my Florence, during the Renaissance, there is Lorenzo the Magnificent, another genius, who basically sits around the same table, Michelangelo, Leonardo, all together, and they design and plan for eternity…I think you, Marc, you could be the new Lorenzo the Magnificent of this side of the world.”

    Benioff was certainly positive about the first video, but this speech appeared to affect him in a deeper way. Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco. There is a children’s hospital in the city with his name on it. Maybe not quite 2,000 years, but those will last. And with Time under his belt, Benioff is in a position to become known as the guy who figured out how to improve the world while making loads of cash. He has deflected suggestions that he intends to run for political office by saying he can do even more good as a CEO.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff. He’s a large, imposing, wealthy white man with ties to cultural icons and A-level politicians, but also to community leaders and local activists. Instead of making grand, world-changing gestures to “cure all diseases,” his focus is local, on things he has a personal stake in and can observe, like the well-being of the Bay Area. He has a chief philanthropy officer. Salesforce develops tools that make charitable giving easier for companies and organizations. His intentions appear to be good.

    But it’s also true that Benioff probably couldn’t have bought Time magazine, or built such a tall tower, if not for the exclusive capitalism that he hopes to rid the world of. This is the hard thing about being a billionaire who wants to do good: they only feel responsible for the beauty in the world so long as they still get to have lots and lots and lots of money. Benioff can donate tens of millions of dollars, marginally expanding the set of people who benefit from the status quo, without really losing any of his own wealth. And if anything, it raises his status even further.

    But if “inclusive” and “capitalism” turn out to be incompatible, would he be willing to give it all up for the greater good?

    #USA #capitalisme #action_charitable #affaires

  • #5g Networks Can Change The Way We Live : For Better or Worse ?

    Telecom cell towers (Source: iStockPhoto)The advances in wireless communications has led to an exponential growth in mobile devices i.e. smartphones. The deployment of 4G and LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks has delivered us more rich content, from video streaming to live gaming. It is taking its toll on bandwidth, which now needs to be addressed as demand grows. This time around a new class of applications that are bandwidth intensive like VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and OTT will require it. The telecom industry have specified a new standard called 5G to meet the growth of network demands. High speed data communications made possible by more bandwidth sounds like an excellent business proposition for wireless carriers to expand their networks, appease users and (...)

    #healthcare #cybersecurity #internet-of-things #telecommunication

  • How Would a Foldable #smartphones Enhance Our Everyday Usage?

    Over the years, smartphones have been rapidly bringing in new innovations and designs. We went from classic Nokia phones to touchscreen mobile phones in a span of a few years. However, for quite some time now, we haven’t seen a major technological or innovational change in smartphones. We have better smartphones today, but nothing has changed for a long time. But, things are expected to change soon. For years now, we have seen various concepts, patents and prototypes of foldable smartphones appear online.It is no hidden fact that many smartphone companies have been working on perfecting a foldable smartphone. And now finally, it looks like we might get to see these flexible smartphones in 2019. These devices will come with different form factors. While some smartphone will come with an (...)

    #futureofsmartphones #technology #foldable-smartphone #foldable-phone

  • A Beginner’s Guide to #bootstrap and #materialize Design Framework

    The latest innovations and advancements in the field of technology have helped mobile technology to grow and greatly evolved over the years. However, the fascinating aspect of mobile technology is that it is still evolving with each passing day. Still, experts in the field of telecommunications have been putting in extra efforts to ensure a great user experience to the ones who are browsing the internet through their smartphones and tablets. A recent study conducted by experts revealed that approximately 17 percent smartphone users in the United States use their phones for internet browsing.As a result, most website designers and developers have been putting in extra efforts to customize their websites in order to make them fit into the screen of smartphones and other mobile devices. (...)

    #web-development #bootstrap-design #design-framework

  • Why Your #shopify Website needs a Mobile App ?

    A few years ago, a Shopify website was enough for every retailer to run their online store.Then, it happened! The prominence of mobile commerce or m-commerce began to rise.Globally, 53 percent of internet users shop online using their smartphones. And 64 percent of global mobile commerce orders come from iOS devices.Today, the global app economy is growing from $1.31tn to $6.35tn between 2016 and 2022. In the wake of this new trend, your Shopify website needs a major companion.It is yearning for an intuitive mobile app!Reasons to Convert Your Shopify Store into A Mobile AppAs you can see from the above graph, a user session comparison between the top 1000 mobile apps and mobile web properties proves the point. The session duration is significantly higher on mobile apps, showing that it’s (...)

    #ecommerce-web-development #mobile-app-development #mobile-apps

  • The importance of #decentralization

    If you cast your mind back to the early days of the Internet, many of the services were built on open protocols owned by the Internet community. Big platforms like Yahoo, Google and Amazon started during this era, and it meant that centralised platforms, like AOL, gradually lost their influence.During the Internet’s second growth phase, which largely started in the mid-2000s, the big tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon built software and services that left open protocols trailing behind. The skyrocketing adoption of smartphones helped propel this as mobile apps started to dominate the way we used the Internet. And, even when people did access the open protocol that is the worldwide web, they usually did it through the medium of Google and Facebook etc.On the one hand, (...)

    #crypto #opinion #business #blockchain

  • Nodle Releases #rap Video For the Holiday and Celebrates 1 Million Daily Nodes“Connecting the world’s IoTMaking it easy for you and meWe use Bluetooth, that’s the keyIt’s superior #connectivity” is the first low power network for the IoT, announcing today the release of our rap single for the holiday and the connection of one million daily nodes.We provide internet connectivity to IoT devices by crowdsourcing a network of smartphones and other IoT devices. We dramatically reduce the cost of device-to-device communication and are dedicated to making the internet accessible to everyone, everywhere. The Nodle network, called The Citizen Network, is made up hundreds of thousands of “crowd sourced” devices that work collectively to provide internet access.Nodle’s network is the largest dedicate IoT network (...)

    #internet-of-things #telecommunication #blockchain

  • Japan Shipping Line Yusen Said to Develop #Digital_Cash for Crew - Bloomberg

    Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s largest shipping line by sales, is introducing its own digital currency for crew members, people with knowledge of the matter said.

    The goal is to make it easier for seafaring workers to manage, send and convert money into their local currencies, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public yet. The shipper is developing its own digital cash, pegged to the U.S. dollar to avoid wild swings in value. It wasn’t clear whether it would use #blockchain, or be a #cryptocurrency variant.

    Most sea crew are usually paid in cash or have their pay transferred into a bank account. Because they hail from multiple nations and often have to move money from one country to another, digital cash offers the possibility of making it easier for them to track and spend their incomes. Yusen’s initiative, which will use smartphones, is on track to debut in the first half of 2019, the people said.

  • 6 Measures to Eliminate #business Risks

    Image SourceThere once was a time when companies were concerned about letting their employees connect to their corporate network from home. Many articles were written on this topic, discussing the risks and how to create policies that mitigate them. This is something that still hasn’t changed today. In fact, the only real change is that employees are now using their personal laptops, tablets, wearables, and smartphones to make these connections. Experts believe the number of these devices will continue to grow exponentially, which means employees’ personal data will grow more mixed in with the business data on these devices. As an organization, you must take steps to protect everyone who’s involved here.Determining Your RisksThe first step you must take is to perform a high-level risk (...)

    #cybersecurity #security #eliminate-business-risk #business-risk

  • The Art of Dodging #cryptocurrency Scammers

    Spotting “Scam Coins” in a World Where Coin Market Cap lists over 2,000 tokens.Unfortunately, as I’ve spent more and more time in cryptocurrency, I’ve gotten better and better at spotting scams. The world is progressing at an alarming rate. While we look at the advancements in technology like smartphones and marvel at how far we’ve come, we’ve advanced in other areas as well.For example, scammers.What I imagine scammers look like in person.We all know them, whether its the #ethereum giveaway bots that spam tweets under everything Vitalk Buterin says, or those strangely friendly folks who pop up in your telegram asking to speak to an admin — chances are if you’re in this industry, you’ve encountered a scammer or two.Much like smartphones, scammer technology has made impressive leaps forward. When (...)

    #cryptocurrency-investment #bitcoin #crypto

  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche

  • Push #notifications Are Not That Bad, You Just Need To Take Control Again

    Just a year ago, the first thing I did when I woke up was picking up my phone and instantly reviewing my notifications. Despite what Tristan Harris said about tech hijacking my morning routine, I was still doing it.I didn’t want to check my social media in front of my employees. I wanted to show to an investor or client that emailed me overnight that I was working early in the morning. I needed to know if an important email would impact my morning meetings.As a startup founder, I always had a good reason to do it.And it seems that I’m not the only one. According to a recent survey from the tech analyst company ReportLinker, 46 % of Americans admitted to checking their #smartphones before they even get out of bed in the morning.How did that happen?Push Notifications Become Part Of Our Daily  (...)

    #mobile #attention #attention-economy