Man walks into Apple store and calmly smashes every iPhone in sight

Who knows what happened to the man to send him into such an anti-Apple rage? Maybe he bought a brand new iPhone 7 only to discover that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
  
Who knows what happened to the man to send him into such an anti-Apple rage? Maybe he bought a brand new iPhone 7 only to discover that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
 
Perhaps he’d had some kind of tech glitch that sent him over the edge – or a message on a dating app that sent him into a meltdown.  Or maybe he just really hates the company. 
 
For whatever reason, the unknown unhappy customer decided to let loose with a metal ball in a French Apple store, calmly and methodically smashing up every iPhone in sight. Untroubled by security for some time, the man – wearing sunglasses and a backpack – used what appears to be a metal pétanque ball to cause the damage.
 
He muttered in French as he did so, before a guard eventually came over and challenges him. The identity of the man is not yet known.
 
It is also unclear exactly where the incident took place or if he was arrested. Bizarrely, it looks like he was just allowed to walk out of the shop, which some Twitter users have suggested was in Dijon. The video proved a hit after being posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon and has already received more than 4,000 retweets.
 
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.  
 
 
 

Bid to block US net handover rejected

A judge in Texas has rejected a last-ditch legal challenge to halt the final handover of internet naming power from the US government to a non-profit group.
  
A judge in Texas has rejected a last-ditch legal challenge to halt the final handover of internet naming power from the US government to a non-profit group.
 
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has administered the naming system since 1998. But from Saturday it will operate without the ultimate oversight of the US government. Four US states filed a joint motion on Thursday in an attempt to block the handover from going ahead, arguing it could disrupt freedom of speech.
 
“We’re disappointed with the ruling,” said Marc Rylander, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general. “It’s a dire day in our country when the President is allowed to unilaterally give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish. We will continue to weigh our options as the suit moves forward.”
 
Backers of the move said it was essential to preserve the independence of the internet amid growing pressure to remove the US’s dominance over the Domain Name System (DNS), a crucial component of how the web operates. It links easy to remember domain names, such as bbc.com, to the harder to remember IP addresses, strings of numbers that points to the correct server containing the website.
 
Icann has had the task of administering this system for almost three decades, but the US government has held the power to veto any decision it made – something it very rarely did. The handover will remove this power, instead making Icann – which is a body consisting of many interested parties, including nation states – entirely independent.
 
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), acting on behalf of the global technology industry, filed an amicus brief – essentially a group statement – to the Texas court in support of the handover plans.
 
“This effort by a small number of attorneys general is misguided and inconsistent with the founding values of the Internet,” said ITI president Dean Garfield. “It is an ironic endeavor because the transition will actually keep the internet an open and flourishing engine of innovation and open global communication.”
 
The judge agreed – and the handover is now set to ahead as planned.
 
 

US states challenge internet administration handover

Four US states are challenging government plans to give control of core internet administration functions to the non-profit group Icann.
  
Four US states are challenging government plans to give control of core internet administration functions to the non-profit group Icann.
 
The transfer concludes a lengthy process in which Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has been given more of these tasks. Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada have started lawsuits, saying the decision needs Congressional approval. The handover is scheduled for today.
 
Icann keeps an eye on the core addressing system of the internet, known as DNS, via a subsidiary called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. DNS translates the names that humans use to navigate the web into the numbers computers use. Since the early days of the internet, a division of the US Commerce Department, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has been involved in approving changes to the core DNS servers. The NTIA’s involvement in this process is due to come to an end on 30 September.
 
Attorneys general in the four states have challenged the transfer, claiming that it cannot go ahead because US politicians have not formally approved it. In addition, says the lawsuit, the NTIA does not have the power to broker such a deal and it has not consulted the American public about the decision.
 
The lawsuit also alleges that the transfer does not put in place sufficient protections for the .gov and .mil domains that serve the US government and its military. The NTIA said it would not comment on the legal challenge.
A judge is due to make a decision on the lawsuit today. If the judge dismisses it, Icann will assume sole control of DNS.
 
The plan to stop US involvement in the administration of DNS has won attention from the US Senator Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Both claimed the handover would dent the freedom of speech online and give Russia and China more control over the net.
 
Icann has dismissed these claims, saying: “The US government has no decreased role. Other governments have no increased role.”
 

The IPO said the increased availability of such devices presented a “significant challenge”. “We are aware that set-top boxes, while perfectly legal in their own right, are frequently adapted by criminals to illegally receive TV channels protected by intellectual property rights,” a spokesman said. “The government is working with its partners in industry and with police forces across the country to target criminals looking to profit from this activity. We are also working closely with our international partners to target the cross-border infrastructure that underpins illegal streaming.”
 
In August, an investigation by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) led to the arrest of three men who are accused of retransmitting subscription television channels online.

 
Some traders sell so-called “fully-loaded Kodi boxes”, which are preloaded with third-party add-ons that can access pirated content. These are currently the subject of a legal case. The developers behind Kodi have said they do not support “piracy add-ons” and have criticised those who advertise “fully-loaded” set-top boxes for sale.
 
The group said it would maintain a “neutral stance on what users do with their own software”, but would battle those using the Kodi trademark to sell a “fully-loaded Kodi box”. Discussions about “pirated content” and add-ons that provide access are removed from its message board.
 
 
 
 

 

Apple iPhone 7 explodes in transit to new owner

An iPhone 7 has exploded while in transit, with the owner of the affected device posting a string of images of the unusable phone on Reddit.
  
An iPhone 7 has exploded while in transit, with the owner of the affected device posting a string of images of the unusable phone on Reddit.
 
The handset arrived with a series of severe dents and appears to have been on fire, too. Scorch marks can be seen across the back of the iPhone. Reddit user kroopthesnoop said that the phone was broken when it arrived and that it had not exploded while he was using it.
 
That suggests that the problem is a one off, rather than indicative of a wider problem with iPhone 7 batteries. That will be a relief to Apple, especially as its key rival Samsung is in the midst of a global recall of its new Galaxy Note 7 after a number of units blew up while charging.
 
Apple has yet to comment on the pictures, although the user is likely to be entitled to a new device from the his network, AT&T. 
 
Apple  are not releasing overall sales figures for its latest iPhones, although research suggests numbers are down by as much as 25% compared with 2015.
 
 

Piracy fighters battle Kodi ‘epidemic’

Tackling the use of Kodi and other set-top box software to stream pirated videos is now the top priority for rights-holders, a report says.
  
Tackling the use of Kodi and other set-top box software to stream pirated videos is now the top priority for rights-holders, a report says.
 
Some boxes or “TV sticks” support software add-ons that can stream subscription movies, sport and TV channels over the internet for free. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said about half of its current investigations concerned the devices. It said boxes configured to receive premium content for free were illegal. The statements were made in the annual crime report of the government’s intellectual property office (IPO).
 
Kodi is free software, built by volunteers, that is designed to bring videos, music, games and photographs together in one easy-to-use application. Some shops sell set-top boxes and TV sticks known as Kodi boxes, preloaded with the software. The developers behind Kodi say their software does not contain any content of its own and is designed to play legally owned media or content “freely available” on the internet.

 
However, the software can be modified with third-party add-ons that provide access to pirated copies of films and TV series, or provide free access to subscription television channels.
 
“Streaming boxes have steadily increased in popularity in recent years,” said Ernesto van der Sar, from the news site Torrent Freak. “Most use the entirely legal Kodi software, but some are augmented with illegal third-party add-ons.
“They are seen as convenient, as the set-top box format is ideal for the living room. Nowadays people often prefer to stream pirated content instead of using traditional torrent sites. They see streaming as more convenient and less cumbersome than downloading.”
 
Fact said set-top boxes configured to receive premium content for free were “an emerging threat to the audiovisual industry”.
 
“This is becoming an epidemic,” Kieron Sharp, director general of Fact, said. “If you are not paying for Sky, BT or one of the pay-TV providers for your subscription channels, you are clearly in possession of an illegal box.”
 
The IPO said the increased availability of such devices presented a “significant challenge”. “We are aware that set-top boxes, while perfectly legal in their own right, are frequently adapted by criminals to illegally receive TV channels protected by intellectual property rights,” a spokesman said. “The government is working with its partners in industry and with police forces across the country to target criminals looking to profit from this activity. We are also working closely with our international partners to target the cross-border infrastructure that underpins illegal streaming.”
 
In August, an investigation by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) led to the arrest of three men who are accused of retransmitting subscription television channels online.

 
Some traders sell so-called “fully-loaded Kodi boxes”, which are preloaded with third-party add-ons that can access pirated content. These are currently the subject of a legal case. The developers behind Kodi have said they do not support “piracy add-ons” and have criticised those who advertise “fully-loaded” set-top boxes for sale.
 
The group said it would maintain a “neutral stance on what users do with their own software”, but would battle those using the Kodi trademark to sell a “fully-loaded Kodi box”. Discussions about “pirated content” and add-ons that provide access are removed from its message board.
 
 

 

Police warns of Android tap-and-go thefts

Law authorities have warned they believe criminals are using Android phones to trigger fraudulent tap-and-go payments.
  
Law authorities have warned they believe criminals are using Android phones to trigger fraudulent tap-and-go payments.
 
The alert comes in Europol’s annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment report. Experts had previously said that the rollout of smart wallet systems could raise such a threat. However, the police are unsure exactly how the attacks are being carried out and how common they are.
 
“The possibility of compromising NFC [near field communication] transactions was explored by academia years ago, and it appears that fraudsters have finally made progress in the area,” the report says. “Several vendors in the dark net offer software that uploads compromised card data on to Android phones in order to make payments at any stores accepting NFC payments.”
 
The report’s authors add that one consequence of the novel crime is that shops might not know how to react even if they detect the deceit. “Currently, when merchants detect a fraudulent transaction, they are requested to seize the card,” the report says. “However, the confiscation may not be feasible when the compromised card data are recorded on the buyer’s smartphone.”
 
The report concludes that smartphone and touchless payment terminal manufacturers should “take action to design out security flaws”.
 
Europol is the EU’s law enforcement agency, which helps members states’ police forces co-ordinate operations and intelligence. Its report is intended to flag emerging cybercrime threats.
 
One of the body’s advisers acknowledged that investigators were still unclear whether the payments were triggered being by customised apps or via Google’s own Android Pay software. “It’s anecdotal evidence at the moment – it could be either or both,” said Prof Alan Woodward, from Surrey University. “But whatever the case, evidence that it is happening is mounting.”
 
Prof Woodward said the criminals were probably using Android handsets rather than iPhones because Google did not prevent third-party apps using a device’s NFC chip, but Apple did.

 
“Apple systems are locked down, but you can typically write code to get at NFC, wi-fi and Bluetooth on Android-based devices,” he said. “It’s just easier to write things on there if what you are doing is pretending to be a contactless card or otherwise sending communications to a contactless payment terminal.”
 
Prof Woodward added that the threat did not mean people should stop using Android Pay, but rather that all members of the public should remain vigilant against unusual transactions.
 
A spokeswoman for Google said: “Security is at the centre of Android Pay; we verify cardholders’ identities with banks before enabling them on Android Pay, and we work closely with our banking and payments partners to suspend fraudulent cards.”
 
 

Blackberry stops designing its own phones

Blackberry is to stop designing smartphones in-house after 14 years, the company has announced.
  
Blackberry is to stop designing smartphones in-house after 14 years, the company has announced.
 
Once a market leader, the company has struggled to keep pace with modern handsets produced by rivals such as Apple and Samsung. In May, the company’s chief executive, John Chen, said he would know by September whether the hardware business was likely to become profitable. Now, Blackberry says it will outsource hardware development to partners. But the company has not yet confirmed when any further Blackberry phones will be released. 
 
“Blackberry can’t keep producing its own phones indefinitely just to serve a small subset of its clients addicted to its home-grown devices,” said Ben Wood of the CCS Insight consultancy. “Blackberry had made no secret of the fact that it might shut down its own phone-making business. Pushing it out to a third party is a sensible solution – but any manufacturer making Blackberry branded devices will ultimately face the same challenges.”

 
Mr Chen has been candid about the future of Blackberry’s handset business, saying he would consider closing the division if it could not become profitable. In May, he told Bloomberg that he would know by September whether that was likely.
 
“The first time I made that statement was September a year ago,” said Mr Chen. “When people ask me, ‘How long will it take?’… I said a year. So, it’s going to be September this year.”
 
In October 2015, Blackberry changed the direction of its handset business by producing its first smartphone running Google’s Android operating system, rather than its own BB10 software. However, Mr Chen has admitted the device, which featured a slide-out physical keyboard, was too expensive to appeal to a mass market.
 
The company has since launched a less expensive touchscreen-only Android handset, based on a phone released by Alcatel owner TCL.
 
 

 
 

Fewer drivers on mobile phones ‘caught by police’

The number of drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel has almost halved in five years, new figures reveal.
  
The number of drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel has almost halved in five years, new figures reveal.
 
Some 178,000 people were stopped in 2011-12 by police in the UK, compared with under 95,000 last year. The National Police Federation said the drop was due to fewer traffic officers. A road safety charity said too many people still used their mobile phone while driving. 

The responses from 37 of the 43 police forces in the UK under the Freedom of Information Act.
 

Kent Police had the biggest drop in the number of drivers stopped for using a phone at the wheel, from 4,496 in 2011-12 to 723 in 2015-16 – a reduction of 84%.
 
Cyclist Lee Martin, 48, was killed when he was hit by a van travelling at 65mph on the A31 near Bentley, in Hampshire, in August last year. His brother Darrell said the driver was writing an “inane” text message behind the wheel – an offence he had been caught eight times for in the past. “He had nine seconds of clear road that he could see my brother at. The text message – think about how inane this is – it was about meeting his mate later and taking his dog for a walk. That’s what killed my brother.”
 
“It’s horrendous,” he said. The driver, Christopher Gard, from Alton in Hampshire, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

 
Ch Con Suzette Davenport, from the National Police Chief’s Council, said: “This problem cannot be solved by enforcement alone – we need to build awareness and make it socially unacceptable to use a mobile phone while driving.”
Jayne Willetts, from the Police Federation for England and Wales, said: “It’s no surprise that our figures have dropped because the number of operational roads policing officers whose core role would be to target the mobile phone offences has significantly dropped as well. Since 2000 [the number of officers] has almost halved. The two go hand in hand.”
 
However, Insp Alan Nicholls, from the Sussex and Surrey road policing unit, said the figures could be viewed with “a positive spin”. “It could be people are getting the point and not committing this offence anymore,” he said.

 
Under new rules expected to come in next year, drivers will get six points on their licence and face a £200 fine. Newly qualified drivers could be made to retake their test the first time they are caught.
 
Alice Bailey from Brake, a road safety charity, said: “We carried out our own research and found anything between 15 and 50% of people, depending on their age range, admit to using their phone behind the wheel. It shows the message hasn’t got through.”
 
Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director, said stiff penalties and “adequate policing which convinces drivers they will be caught” were needed to deter mobile phone use. “These figures suggest the second part of the equation is missing,” he said.
 
 

 

Candy Crush Saga hits level 2,000

Smartphone owners’ appetite for pixelated confectionery seems to be insatiable: Candy Crush Saga is about to unveil its 2,000th level and there’s more to come.
  
Smartphone owners’ appetite for pixelated confectionery seems to be insatiable: Candy Crush Saga is about to unveil its 2,000th level and there’s more to come.
 
The match-the-sweets puzzle game launched in 2012. In app terms, it’s ancient. Yet the four-year-old remains one of the top grossing games on Google Play, the Apple App Store and Facebook. “We didn’t expect it to be such a long-lasting title,” admits Sebastian Knutsson, chief creative head of its developer King.
 
For a time King was prince of the indies, having mastered how to convince sizeable numbers of players to pay for extra moves and other in-game items within its “free” titles. These days, however, it’s a division of Activision Blizzard following a $5.9bn (£4.5bn) takeover. The US giant splashed out in large part because of the otherwise hard-to-reach audiences that Candy Crush and the other Saga puzzlers offered.
 

“Our core players are very much women, aged 25-plus,” Mr Knutsson says. “And the people who do pay, spend about $25 [£19.20] a month. That’s not a huge number per player, but our revenue comes from a huge number of players.”
 
The 2,000th level is intended to be a tempting treat that attracts back those who had set the game aside. It features a story inspired by the fears computer systems would fall foul of a “millennium bug” at the end of 1999, and that’s just as well, as King has struggled to replicate its success in genres beyond the match-puzzler and some are concerned about how long their appeal can endure.
 

“King reported it had 409 million monthly active users at the end of June 2016,” notes Jack Kent from the research firm IHS Markit. “That’s its lowest level since 2013 and a drop from a peak of 550 million users in early 2015. It still has a huge audience to monetise… but it needs new intellectual property or a revamp of its existing titles to achieve significant growth.”

 
Mr Knutsson counters that King’s titles are prone to “seasonality” and typically do better in the “winter dark months”. But he acknowledges that it’s been “hard or even impossible” to replicate the success of the match puzzle titles.
 
“We have a lot of games in development – but the bar of launching a game is increasing all the time,” he says. “We start with prototypes, we’d expect half of those never to get to production with a bigger team. And when you do go to production, the game may not be as good as you think or player reception is not what we expect, so at least half are culled again. So, the majority of the game ideas that we start never make it to market.”
 
Hero – a fantasy-themed role playing game – and Paradise Bay – a tropical island-set simulator – prove the developer is trying to stretch itself, but neither has made much impact to date. Mr Knutsson confirms King is also working on a shooter, but declines to reveal more. So, for now, King’s fortunes depend on the Saga series, and a forthcoming feature could prove as lucrative as it is divisive: the introduction of adverts.

 
“The vast majority [of players] never pay anything within our games,” Mr Knutsson says. “We could offer them more features if we could use advertising to create funds.”
 

King’s plan is to offer in-game bonuses if players agree to pause their play to watch short videos – a tactic already employed within Angry Birds and elsewhere. Mr Knutsson says it will be a “win-win” for all involved. But the risk is that the interruptions will undermine the addictive spell the games cast over players, weakening their hold. From the outside, it might look like Activision is trying to exploit King’s assets before interest in them wanes. But Mr Knutsson denies being pressured into making the move.
 
“We did ads within our Facebook web games three years ago,” he recalls. “When we moved to mobile we didn’t have enough time to focus on that business model. I think it’s a signal of the maturity of the mobile industry and our games that now is the time to start to explore that area again.”
 
Pokemon Go proves a new type of game can still capture the public’s attention. In July, the monster-hunting app overtook Candy Crush Saga’s record for having the highest number of US players active on the same day. There are doubts about whether Pokemon Go will have the same staying power, but King isn’t ignoring the competition.
 

“To me, it’s not the augmented reality that makes it interesting, it’s more the physical aspect of walking around and the social aspects it has created, where you interact with strangers that you meet about town,” Mr Knutsson says. “We don’t look at trying to be the first on new technology – whether that’s virtual reality or augmented reality. But anything that has mass market appeal is quite interesting to us as that’s our audience, essentially. Having games with a physical connection to the real world is definitely something we will explore at some point.”
 
He adds that King will also keep a close eye on Nintendo’s launch of its first Mario title smartphone later this year. “It’s going to be a threat for stealing time from our players – it’s going to be interesting to see what audience they appeal to.”
 
What Mario, Pokemon and, indeed, the Saga games all have in common is the power of strong brands. A few years back – when King and other indies rose to prominence – it seemed like app stores might act as a kind of primordial soup, allowing new ideas from small studios to prosper, in contrast to the console sector where big publishers and their sequels dominate.

 
But Mr Knutsson suggests it is unlikely many of today’s indies will be able to replicate King’s success. “Very few new entrants have made the top 10 lists in the past 24 months,” he comments. “The demands on your skills at marketing a game, the demands of working with data, the investment you have to make in a team – these are continuously going up. So, it’s harder and harder for a small indie team to achieve this than was possible. Today you need a certain experience level and size to make something that cracks into the top 10.”
 
 

 

Vodafone signs up ot Ofcom’s home broadband code

Customers joining Vodafone UK’s home broadband service or upgrading their package will be guaranteed accurate minimum and maximum download speeds after the Company signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice.
 

  
Customers joining Vodafone UK’s home broadband service or upgrading their package will be guaranteed accurate minimum and maximum download speeds after the Company signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice.
 
In addition, Vodafone UK is providing details of upload speeds, which falls outside the code, but are important to customers when using applications such as posting photo’s or images to social media sites.
 
Under the code, new and upgrading customers will be able to view online the actual speeds they can expect, not just theoretical ones. They will be free to leave if the minimum guaranteed download speed is not achieved after 28 days from notifying Vodafone.
 
Today’s announcement follows last month’s removal of line rental on Vodafone’s unlimited fibre broadband products in an industry first and is also in line with our unique network satisfaction guarantee, allowing new and upgrading mobile customers 30 days to try us, love us or leave us – with no strings attached.
 
Vodafone applied to sign up to the Code after completing a major investment programme to improve and extend its business-grade fixed fibre network to exchanges which now pass more than 24 million UK premises.
 
Vodafone UK’s Commercial Director Glafkos Persianis said: “Having allowed customers to break free from broadband line rentals and try out our mobile network, we are now giving them greater transparency on home broadband speeds. Since we entered the market just over a year ago, we have pledged to make a difference by scrapping the out dated and often misleading practices, which have plagued this market. The days of promising theoretical “up to” speeds are over – if a customer does not receive the speeds that they were promised, we will try to fix that, and if that does not work then they are free to leave, no questions asked.”