Mobile apps may or may not be collecting your child’s data—but here’s why you should assume they are

This week two democratic senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate if children’s apps are tracking their data.

Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter on Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission, writing they are concerned that numerous apps are potentially violating the law.

Without explicit parental consent, it is illegal to collect data on children under the age of 13 according to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act, which went into effect in 2000.

This comes after last month when the New Mexico Attorney Generalsued the maker of app Fun Kid Racing, as well as the online ad businesses run by Google, Twitter and three other companies.

The suit accused the companies of violating the law, and that Google misled parents by allowing apps to remain in its Google Play store children’s section after it was notified by researchers that thousands of apps may be tracking young children.

“The problem is this – we don’t know where the onus lies,” New York Times reporter Edmund Lee told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview.

Lee says the law isn’t clear on whether it should be the platform such as Google or Apple to make sure the apps in their stores are complying with the law, whether it’s up to the game developer or if it should be up to the third party data firm tracking the data.

“So there’s a whole system in place that everyone keeps passing the buck and there’s no case law yet,” says Lee. “Even the legislation – it’s not entirely clear who is ultimately responsible.”

Fortnite

So what should a parent do if they are concerned their child is being tracked?

Lee says, “You should just assume it’s going to happen you should assume you’re going to be tracked.”

“Right now it’s the ‘Wild West’ there are very few protections, few sort of places of enforcement around it, and that’s why it’s hard as a parent and as a kid to navigate,” he added.

However, Lee notes most of these are harmless games, and the tracking data is used for advertising purposes, which is how these companies make money.

For parents worried about their child’s privacy – Lee says he tells his own daughter to keep her communication online only with people she knows.

“You’re not going to be able to look and know every single piece of data that’s being floated out there until there’s legislation and case law in place. But in the meantime make sure you know who your kid is talking to and it shouldn’t be strangers and it shouldn’t be someone they just met online.”

[“source=businessinsider”]

Xiaomi Mi 7 and 8th Anniversary Edition Phone Tipped to Launch in May; May Be Called Mi 8 Instead

Xiaomi Mi 7 and 8th Anniversary Edition Phone Tipped to Launch in May; May Be Called Mi 8 Instead

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mi 7 and 8th-anniversary edition smartphones expected
  • Xiaomi may unveil Mi 8 to align with its anniversary
  • New smartphone may have 3D facial sensing

Chinese mobile maker Xiaomi is expected to launch the successor to its premium Mi 6 smartphone this year. Xiaomi fans were expecting a Mi 7 handset to be launched at MWC 2018, but that did not happen, and the company went on to unveil the Mi Mix 2S in March. However, the latest leaks suggest that Xiaomi will launch the smartphone later this month. Interestingly, reports also suggest that the company either launch two smartphones this year or will reportedly skip its Mi 7 branding to go for just Mi 8.

As per a MyDrivers report, Xiaomi will launch two handsets in May 2018. While one of them is said to be the Xiaomi Mi 7, the other is said to be the firm’s 8th-anniversary edition. The leak claims that the special edition will be the highlight of the launch event. The new smartphone dubbed as the 8th Anniversary Edition phone is rumoured to be unveiled by the end of this month, and it may come with 3D facial recognition feature like the one present in Apple iPhone X. According to the report, it will be the first Android smarphone to feature 3D facial recognition. Similar to the Mi 7, Xiaomi’s 8th Anniversary Edition phone is said to be powered by the Snapdragon 845 coupled with 8 GB of RAM.

Coming to the nomenclature, Mocha RQ, a blogger in China wrote on microblogging site Weibo that Xiaomi will skip the Mi 7 name in favour of Mi 8. Chinese firms are usually obsessed with numbers. It is reminiscent of the time when another Chinese manufacturer OnePlus had skipped a OnePlus 4 smartphone because the number ‘4’ is considered unlucky in China. The blogger explained that Xiaomi wants the name to align with its 8th anniversary. Also, the blogger added that the handset will be announced in May this year.

To recall, another report in April claimed that Xiaomi may, in fact, be one of the first brands to unveil a handset with 3D facial sensing with the launch of the latest Mi flagship. The report had also claimed that Xiaomi’s plans to launch the smartphone with a Snapdragon 845 SoC in the first quarter this year have been delayed. Instead, the smartphone might see an unveiling after the third quarter.

In terms of specifications, the company CEO has already hinted that the Mi 7 will come with an under-display fingerprint sensor. Additionally, reports have suggested that the phone will come with 6GB RAM and Android 8.0.0 Oreo.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Consider these new products for savvy travelers. (Handout)

hape-shifting innovations put a twist on the familiar in this gear roundup.

Picture perfect

The quality of photos from a smartphone is so good that many travelers leave their clunky camera gear at home. To give you even more photographic flexibility, Pixter has introduced a pack of four compact specialty lenses that clip onto any smartphone.

The Pixter Pro Pack includes a wide-angle lens; a 238-degree super fisheye lens; a 10X macro lens; and a telephoto lens. The lenses come in a padded travel case and have front and back lens caps.

Cost, info: Pixter Pro Pack lists for $154.90 (lenses are about $55 apiece a la carte).

Twofer toy

Pillow Pets

Taking a buddy along can make children happier and when that pal is a plush companion that morphs from a toy into a pillow, you’ll please and placate your child.

Pillow Pets are chenille-stuffed animals (also some cute cars) that widen and flatten into a pillow with the release of a cinch strap. Sizes average 12- to 16-inches-square when fully open. All are machine washable.

Pillow Pets also come as zippered sweatshirts. Bunch up the garment for a nice, fat cushion or use just the padded hood part as a pillow and wrap the rest around your child for an extra-warm hug with pockets.

Cost, info: Pillow Pets run $20 to $25; animal-head hoodies cost about $20. www.mypillowpets.com

This bag does tricks

Eagle Creek

Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is just a trick; pulling a backpack out of a wheel-aboard bag? That’s magic.

That’s what the wizards at Eagle Creek Luggage have conjured with the new Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On. With a quick unzip, what had been a single 20½-by-13¾-by-9-inch roller bag separates into a backpack and a wheeled bag, offering about double the space you started with.

Both are made with polyurethane-coated polyester and have top- and side-padded grab handles, double lockable zippers and reinforced seams.

The wheeled bag has thick, treaded wheels; a hinged kickstand keeps the bag upright. The soft backpack has zip-away padded interior sleeves that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop and a tablet, as a well as a nifty built-in cord winder, a key fob and padded pouches for fragile electronics.

The backpack’s two trolley straps can slide over the wheeled bag’s telescoping pull handle. Zipped back together, the bag can be wheeled, or carried using the pack’s back straps.

All this abracadabra isn’t cheap, but it’s a class act, even without the wand.

Cost, info: Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On costs $329.

A bag that suits

Selk’Bag

Is anything as yummy as curling up in your tent inside a toasty sleeping bag on a chilly night camping? Is anything as awful as having to get out of that warm sleeping bag to go out into the elements?

No problem if you have the new SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag, designed to keep you comfy in and out of the tent.

It looks like a giant snowsuit, but lets you be much more mobile. It has zip-off booties, big kangaroo-style pockets and flaps at the wrists that let you quickly free your hands.

It’s made of ripstop nylon and polyester with hollow fiber polyester insulation, and its insulated adjustable hood extends from a high thermal collar.

The zip-off booties let you substitute your own shoes when you are active, and the booties’ reinforced nylon soles and lateral grips for traction make them tough enough for a stroll.

The bag comes in a range of colors and patterns, including Star Wars-themed designs, in adult and children’s sizes.

One quibble: The SelkBag is not equipped with a drop seat so you must wriggle out of the bottoms when nature calls. A fix is in the works.

Cost, info: SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag in adult sizes costs about $170 for the Original (warmest) model; a lighter, less-insulated model costs $99. Children’s SelkBags cost $69 to $89. www.selkbagusa.com

[“Source-latimes”]

Reliance JioMoney Could Well Be a Disruptor, but Not Just Yet

Reliance JioMoney Could Well Be a Disruptor, but Not Just YetReliance JioMoney Could Well Be a Disruptor, but Not Just Yet

HIGHLIGHTS

  • JioMoney is Reliance Jio’s digital wallet
  • You can use it to recharge your accounts or pay offline
  • Login issues plagued our usage over the whole week

Reliance Jio wants to empower 10 million merchants to make digital transactions. The JioMoney appwas supposed to roll out to merchants last week, while Jio users have of course been using it for recharges and P2P payments for a lot longer, ever since the test rollout started almost a year ago now.

At the announcement for Jio Money earlier this month, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani talked about how every Indian now has a digital money wallet linked to their bank account. He spoke about Aadhaar based micro-ATMs at Jio’s eKYC enabled stores. Ambani laid out a massive vision for JioMoney, one that could well disrupt the rapid development we’re seeing in the fintech world.

The ground reality is a little different though – we’ve been using the JioMoney app for a week now – or trying to anyway – and our finding is that much like JioCinema and JioMusic, the JioMoney experience is very much a work in progress at this point.

Both of those apps have been tweaked since we reviewed them, and some of the early problems have been resolved, while a few others still remain. A re-branding also involved a rethink of the UX, which was very welcome. Conceivably, it’s possible that Reliance Jio will put JioMoney through the same kind of process as well, because as of now on day one, or rather week one, there’s no doubt that this kind of re-imagining is required.

jio in app jio_in_app

First up, let’s talk about something basic – logging in. To log in, enter your Jio number and password, and then verify your date of birth. This worked a couple of times, and did not work on many other occasions. In short, simply logging in to JioMoney to start using the app is a frustrating challenge, as there are frequent “Error processing request” messages, which is not helped by the fact that – as a genuinely welcome security measure – you can only attempt to verify your account a set number of times per hour.

Once you actually get into the app, there are all the usual options – the design looks a little clunky right now, but that’s true for all of Jio’s apps during their early days, and like we mentioned earlier, there’s hope that this will eventually change. The app lets you send or request money, pay bills and recharges, pay at a shop, along with a section for coupons, and for giving to charity. The last of these is unusual but that notwithstanding, the offerings are pretty much in line with the industry. You should be able to use the app to pay your Jio bills as well, whenever that comes into effect.

Recharges are a smooth process, with little or no issue as long as you’re able to get into the app. You can recharge other prepaid phone connections, DTH connections, gas payments, and so on. You can transfer money to a bank account using IMPS by using its IFSC code and account number. You can use this to take your money out of Jio as well.

jio barcode jio_barcode

Pay at shop via the Reliance JioMoney app requires you to enter the seller’s phone number or scan a code, after which you enter your mPIN to authorise the transaction. This seems to be a workable way of doing this, but unlike other wallets, whose stickers now emblazon shop after shop, it’s very hard to know where you actually can use JioMoney. Although we were very hopeful that we’d have stories to share about using it in the real world, the sad fact is that all of our transactions – in between many logouts and request processing errors – took place online.

In contrast, we’ve used several other digital wallets throughout the week, to buy everyday items, pay for conveyance, and to grab a bite. A week is too short a time to expect Jio to be massively visible of course, but given Ambani’s pledge of reaching 10 million merchants very soon, it’s going to have to pick up the pace very quickly.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]