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Apple's iPhone XR is the best selling smartphone of 2019 so far: report – MobileSyrup

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A report from Counterpoint Research claims that Apple’s entry-level flagship from 2018 is the phone that most people are buying around the world in 2019.

The firm has been analyzing smartphone sales quarter by quarter and of the three quarters it’s measured so far, the iPhone XR has taken the crown.

The full list of phones is as follows:

  • iPhone XR
  • Samsung Galaxy A10
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
  • Oppo A9
  • iPhone 11
  • Oppo A5s
  • Samsung Galaxy A20
  • Oppo A5
  • Xiaomi Redmi A7
  • Huawei P30

By looking at the list, you can see that both Apple and Samsung dominate sales, but interestingly enough Samsung’s flagships didn’t make the cut.

The new iPhone 11 also made the list, but it didn’t sell enough to sell the very similar iPhone XR from last year. It’s likely that the iPhone XR is sold for a cheaper price since it’s a year old and still offers many of the same features.

Source: Counterpoint Research Via: 9to5Mac

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Ring’s Traffic Stop feature is about bringing more accountability to policing – The Verge

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On Thursday, Ring, the home security subsidiary of Amazon, released a new dashcam embedded with a novel feature called “Traffic Stop” that could help bring more accountability to policing. That could be a powerful thing, especially as tens of millions of people have poured onto the streets in cities across the country to demonstrate against systemic racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. It could also be a privacy nightmare.

The Ring Car Cam, which will cost $199, has two cameras: one pointed out the front windshield and one that points toward the car’s interior. The camera can send alerts whenever an event such as a break-in, towing, or accident is detected, and owners can tap into the cameras’ feeds to see what’s happening. The Car Cam relies on either Wi-Fi or LTE for connectivity.

But the most interesting feature is Traffic Stop. All a driver needs to do is say “Alexa, I’m being pulled over” to trigger the cameras to start recording and save their footage to the cloud. At the same time, a notification will be sent to a list of emergency contacts specified by the user during initial setup, informing them of the traffic stop.

Essentially, what Ring has created is a tool for “traffic stop counter-surveillance,” said Elizabeth Joh, a professor of law at UC-Davis and an expert on policing, technology, and surveillance.

“In policing, technology is all about power,” Joh told The Verge. “Redistributing that power can be an important means of police accountability.”

There’s nothing particularly new about using dashcams as a means of recording traffic stops, but the novelty of Ring’s Traffic Stop feature is that it automates the process, Joh said.

“We’ve always been able to pull out our phones… and try to record it,” she said. “But by embedding it in the landscape of our cars, by simply just saying ‘I’ve been pulled over,’ makes that recording much more likely.”

That’s especially meaningful when you consider that police body cameras can be unreliable, hard to obtain, or subjective in what they capture. “Easily recording a traffic stop from a driver’s perspective is going to be able, in theory, to give us an important part of what’s happening in these encounters that sometimes go badly wrong,” Joh added.

And if people are willing to share the footage from their traffic stop with academic researchers, that can be incredibly useful for better understanding excessive force and police violence during traffic stops.

But there are also privacy implications. After all, it’s a camera that sits on your dashboard and sends video, audio, and perhaps GPS information to the cloud. Passengers in vehicles equipped with the Ring Car Cam may not be able to consent to being filmed before the device starts recording. And Ring as a company has been criticized for sharing data with police departments without informing their customers.

“What if the prompt is used for bad purposes?” Joh asks. “Say you’re not actually being pulled over or someone just wants to record you. And if the traffic stop video has embarrassing information, it’s in the cloud.”

She added, “There are good questions about who has access to that information. And I’m not just talking about the police, but somebody who works at Ring. Do they just get to watch it?” (A spokesperson for the company did not respond to a request for comment.)

Ring has said the most important thing about the Car Cam is access to the footage. While many dashcams include a removable SD card, Ring’s camera automatically uploads the footage to the cloud, giving customers more immediate access to what was recorded.

“The most important thing in these situations is to make sure that you have the video and so we’ll be streaming the video from the Car Cam to the cloud in real time,” Ring’s head of mobile products, Nathan Ackerman, told CNET.

As for who else should have access to that footage, Ring is still working through those questions. “We’re working through some of the ins and outs of exactly when the [emergency contacts] get notified, whether they can jump in and view the live stream or if it’ll be available after the fact,” Ackerman said.

These will be important questions for Ring to answer, especially if it hopes to win over people who are aware of the company’s controversial partnerships with police departments.

“I think for privacy-minded and civil liberties-minded consumers, they’re going to be really skeptical about whether or not Ring has some other purpose or agenda in mind in making this video capturing really easy,” Joh said. “But maybe that’s beside the point, because if Ring doesn’t do it, I think it was inevitable that another technology company was going to do it.”

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The 4 reasons Ring thinks you’ll trust its flying camera

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At first glance, it’s a tough ask: allow Amazon-owned Ring to fly a mini drone carrying a camera around your house, all in the name of security. Ring Always Home Cam was undoubtedly the weirdest of the announcements at yesterday’s big Amazon Fall hardware event, but while it may seem like an Onion gag the security firm insists it’s headed to your living room in 2021.

Reactions were, as you could probably expect, mixed. Some people instantly loved the idea of a camera that wasn’t limited to the traditional pan, tilt, and zoom we’re familiar with from existing security systems, instead being able to move the lens to where it’s actually needed.

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Others, though, weren’t so convinced. After all, the prospect of an extension of Amazon’s AI taking flight around your home requires a fair degree of trust, and there are plenty of people who aren’t all that comfortable at the thought of cohabiting with a fixed connected camera. Ask Ring, though, and there are four good reasons why you shouldn’t’ be worried about Ring Always Home Cam.

You tell Ring Always Home Cam where to fly

Although we’ve seen drones get increasingly smart, and develop autopilot systems, Ring’s flying camera errs on the dumber side – and that’s by design. Although it has features like obstacle avoidance, to stop it from colliding with unexpected objects, the actual flight plan is all preset. Indeed, you set that up when you first take the Ring Always Home Cam out of the box.

Each flight path is established from day one. So, if you don’t want the camera to go into your bathroom or bedroom, you can make sure they’re off-limits.

You’ll always hear Ring Always Home Cam coming

If you do find yourself in a room where the flying camera can roam, you shouldn’t ever be surprised by it. “We even designed Always Home Cam to hum at a certain volume,” Ring explains, “so it’s clear the camera is in motion and is recording. This is privacy you can hear.”

Drones generally aren’t quiet things when in operation: after all, having multiple rotors, even little ones, make some noise. If anything, the flying camera is undoubtedly more easily spotted when it’s in action compared to a traditional, fixed camera. They usually only have an LED to show they’re active.

Ring Always Home Cam can’t be piloted manually

Should the flying camera spot something while you’re not home, you’ll be notified in the Ring app. What you can’t do, however, is log in remotely and pilot the Ring Always Home Cam using manual controls. Unlike a traditional remote-control drone, there’s no way to manually operate it.

Again, that’s by design. “It cannot be manually controlled,” Ring points out, “ensuring that it will only record and see what is important to you.” Of course, that also means that you’ll want to think carefully about where you do set up the preset flight paths, since the camera won’t be able to stray from those areas.

When Ring Always Home Cam lands, it’s blind

Adding to the “you’ll always know when it’s recording” reassurance is the nature of the drone camera’s dock. When the Ring Always Home Cam lands, the camera isn’t just switched off, it’s fully enclosed. “The device rests in the base and the camera is physically blocked when docked,” Ring explains. “The camera will only start recording when the device leaves the base and starts flying via one of the preset paths.”

Even if someone could hack it to turn on while it was landed, all they’d be able to see would be the dark insides of the docking station itself. To change that, it would have to take off, and then you’d hear it. Plus, Ring is delivering end-to-end encryption later this year to further minimize the potential for unwanted app intruders.

Clearly, there’s still some way to go before the idea of a $250 flying security camera is palatable to everyone. As ideas go, however, Ring’s design is a little less creepy than it might first sound. Whether that will translate to actual sales when the Ring Always Home Cam takes flight next year remains to be seen.

Source:- SlashGear

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Ring's Flying In-Home Camera Drone Escalates Privacy Worries – Threatpost

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Privacy fears are blasting off after Amazon’s Ring division unveiled the new Always Home Cam, a smart home security camera drone.

Ring’s newly announced robot drone – a connected device that flies around homes taking security footage – is causing privacy experts’ concerns to take off.

Amazon on Thursday unveiled the Always Home Cam as part of its Ring division, which will cost $249.99 and starts shipping next year. The autonomous indoor security camera can fly around in the home on paths that are pre-approved by users, allowing them to check to see if they left a window open or forgot to turn the stove off – or to check to make sure robbers aren’t breaking in.

However, the new device has also sparked a firestorm of privacy concerns on Twitter about how Ring – whose connected doorbells have already created plenty of privacy controversies – will collect, use and share the collected data.

“For privacy advocates, the concept of an untethered IoT [Internet of Things] device surveilling the house is disturbing,” Rick Holland, CISO and vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows, told Theatpost. “Coupled with Ring’s controversial privacy practices, the adoption of the drone could be low. However, those that have already embraced the concept of in-house security cameras are likely to be excited. The prospect of having a single drone monitor your house instead of multiple individual cameras could be alluring.”

Privacy Concerns

Ring for its part said that it has built privacy features into the physical design of the Always Home Cam. When the drone is docked in its charging base, the camera is physically blocked. The device has also been designed to hum at a certain volume, so it’s clear that the camera is in motion and recording, said Ring.

But Emma Bickerstaffe, senior research analyst at the Information Security Forum, told Threatpost that Ring needs to better address how it’s securing and using the sensitive personal data that’s being collected. If sold to advertisers, for instance, this type of data could allow companies to track individuals’ daily life, habits and preferences, and use this information for commercial gain, she said.

“Smart home devices, such as Ring, collect an inordinate amount of sensitive personal data in real time – this is typically transmitted to a cloud service for processing,” she said. “A critical question is, who has access to the data collected by the device, and whether it is processed and stored in a lawful manner that protects personal data from unauthorized use.”

For users who do opt for the security drone, the proper configuration will be critical to minimize security and privacy risks as much as possible, Holland urged.

“Consumers must enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) and automatic software updates to ensure that any vulnerabilities are quickly resolved,” he said.

Ring Privacy Efforts

During its Thursday product launch, Ring highlighted several privacy and security steps it is taking. For one, it said it aims to make end-to-end encryption easier for connected-home device users to control, saying that later this year, users will be able turn on end-to-end encryption for video from their Control Center.

“Privacy, security and user control are foundational to us at Ring,” said the company in a press statement. “Launching today in the Control Center, Video Encryption Controls let you learn more about how we currently encrypt and protect your videos.”

The changes come after media reports shed light on serious security holes in the Ring connected doorbells. For instance, Ring owners aren’t notified of suspicious login alerts when devices are accessed on various IP addresses — and there are seemingly no limitations for incorrect login attempts. Ring has addressed these issues by mandating two-factor authentication (2FA) security measures.

Ring is also allowing doorbell users to completely disable its “Neighbors” service, a controversial feature that allows Ring owners to share video footage captured from their cameras with law enforcement. The app has raised worries about racial bias, surveillance and privacy.

Smart-Home Privacy Problems

IoT devices – many of which have security measures described as a “ticking time bomb” by researchers – are dramatically increasing in homes, which could potentially open the literal door to private and sensitive user data.

Researchers have previously discovered several deep-rooted issues that exist around connected devices: Earlier in 2020, researchers found that at the most basic level, 98 percent of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted, exposing personal and confidential data on the network.

Several smart home devices have been found to have specific security holes. In August, researchers disclosed vulnerabilities in Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant platform that could have allowed attackers to access users’ personal information, like home addresses – simply by persuading them to click on a malicious link. Also in August, researchers urged connected-device manufacturers to ensure they have applied patches addressing a flaw in a module used by millions of IoT devices.

These security fears are exacerbated now that much of the world is working from home due to the pandemic, Bickerstaffe said. Cybercriminals are looking to smart home devices as a way to access and compromise valuable business information on the same network.

With this in mind, “close attention should be paid to the security controls adopted by Ring,” Bickerstaffe told Threatpost. “Cybercriminals are already maximizing the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in smart home devices as a stepping stone to target the network on which these devices are installed.”

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