AT&T admits to testing “unique tracker” on smartphones, offers opt-out option

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Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:55
Category: iPhone, News, security, wireless

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This isn’t the best news.

According to Forbes, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have ceded that they’re tagging their customers with unique codes that are visible to third parties, making smartphone users far easier to track on the Web than they’ve ever been before, targeted advertising being that much easier to create as a result of this. After the findings by researchers, AT&T admitted it’s “testing” a new way of tracking its customers for ad display purposes.

“There’s nothing ready to announce,” said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel. “We’re still testing.”

But that means, yes, AT&T customers are being tagged by AT&T in a way that’s visible to the websites they visit, but AT&T says it’s building in what it considers to be a privacy-protective measure: the unique code for each user will change every 24 hours. Siegel says this is happening now, but Kenneth White, one of the researchers who discovered the tracking, says that is “categorically untrue,” saying he found three identifying codes being sent by AT&T that were persistent.

“AT&T does not currently have a mobile Relevant Advertising program. We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” read a statement from AT&T. “For instance, we are testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices to use in programs where we serve ads to the mobile device. This daily rotation on the numeric code would help protect the privacy of our customers. Customers also could opt out of any future AT&T program that might use this numeric code.”

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MCX responds to Apple Pay blocking controversy with questionable responses to issues at hand

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:46
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

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The most recent shot in the NFC payment wars has been fired.

And it kind of made MCX look like a bunch of jerks.

Per 9to5Mac, MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’

The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.

In a blog post which MCX says is designed to “set the record straight,” as it were, MCX responded to some of the recent concerns levied against it.

Responding to the fines issue, the company offered the following comment:

Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines.

Nobody has suggested there are. What has been suggested–and which MCX has not denied–is that members are fined if they accept other forms of mobile payment, like Apple Pay, alongside CurrentC.

The consortium gets off to a marginally better start on privacy, with a statement that consumers “can choose to limit the information they share through our privacy dashboard, which means they will have the ability turn off location based services and opt out of marketing communications in our app.” However, that does nothing to limit the storage of other sensitive information, nor to address claims that merchants will share purchasing data amongst themselves.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook cites over one million Apple Pay subscriptions in first 72 hours

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:48
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News

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Apple may have gotten a pretty quick leg up in the NFC market.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview today, stated that Apple Pay received more than one million registrations within the first 72 hours.

“The early ramp [of Apple Pay] looks fantastic,” Cook said in an interview with WSJ managing editor Gerry Baker.

Cook referred to recent revelations that Merchant Consumer Exchange retailers like Rite Aid and CVS are now blocking Apple Pay, characterizing the situation as a “skirmish” that will ultimately be decided by consumers “over the long arc of time.”

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CVS, Rite Aid refusing to accept Apple Pay system, lend support to current CurrentC payment system

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:32
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

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Call it a trade blockade of sorts, but you might not be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items at CVS or Rite Aid for a while.

Per the New York Times and 9to5Mac, Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets.

As with CVS, Apple Pay initially worked in Rite Aid stores, indicating that the company has made a deliberate decision to switch off support.

While Apple has declined to comment, MasterCard said that it was the wrong decision.

“We think consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

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Rumor: Apple in negotiations to use NFC technologies as entry keycards, transit tickets

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:14
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

If NFC technology isn’t as widespread as it could be, Apple wants to increase its presence. According to 9to5Mac and The Information, Apple is actively scouting out partnerships to increase the utility of the NFC chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Right now, the chip can only be used for payments through Apple Pay as the API is not available to third-party developers.

Sources have stated that the company is talking to potential partners about using the technology for things like building security, public transit tickets and more. The report names that Apple has already been in talks with HID Global and Cubic, who make electronic ‘keycard’ secure building access and transit fare systems.

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The Apple representatives have talked to technology providers like HID Global and Cubic, which enable secure access to buildings and transit fare systems, respectively, said people briefed on the discussions. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment about any discussions with Apple, but executives there discussed how they could integrate their systems with the iPhone.

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Visa, Mastercard publish list of financial institutions that will support Apple Pay in the coming weeks and months

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Date: Friday, October 24th, 2014, 07:01
Category: Finance, iPhone, iPod, News

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In as much as I grouse about Visa and MasterCard (also known as the “Dark Sith Overlords of Ever-Climbing, Interest Monster Debt”), this might come in handy. Per 9to5Mac, Visa and MasterCard have published a list of banks and financial institutions that will support Apple Pay in the United States “in the coming weeks,” while MasterCard has its own list of supported banks arriving in the coming months. The mobile payments service officially launched on Monday, October 20th and currently supports cards issued by Bank of America, Capital One, Citi Bank, Chase and Wells Fargo Bank. A full list of banks coming soon from Visa and Mastercard below:

Visa:
1st Colonial Community Bank
1st Community Federal Credit Union
A+ Federal Credit Union
Actors Federal Credit Union
Advantage Federal Credit Union
Advantage One Federal Credit Union
Affinity Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union
ALPS Federal Credit Union
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Altra Federal Credit Union
Amarillo National Bank
Amegy Bank National Association
America First Credit Union
American Airlines Federal Credit Union
American Chartered Bank
American Heritage Bank
American Savings Bank
America’s Christian Credit Union
America’s Credit Union
AmeriCU Credit Union
Andrews Federal Credit Union
APCO Employees Credit Union
Arlington Community Federal Credit Union
Artisans Bank
Arvest Bank
Auburn Bank
Avidbank

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Apple Pay to launch on Monday, October 20th

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Date: Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 13:21
Category: iOS 8, iPhone, News, Software

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Apple Pay will launch in four days.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple announced that it will launch its Apple Pay service for use with the NFC-equipped iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced that the company has signed up 500 additional banks since first announcing initial partners last month. The banks will roll out Apple Pay this year and next, according to Cook. Initially the service will only be available for users in the US.

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Apple launches Find My iPhone page to help cut down on stolen iOS device purchases

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Date: Friday, October 3rd, 2014, 11:18
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

This might prove useful.

This week, Apple launched a web-based tool to check the Activation Lock status of iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Here, users can go to a web site, enter the device’s IMEI number or serial number and see if the Find My iPhone feature has been activated.

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Rumor: Apple Pay to premiere with iOS 8.1 rollout later this month

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Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:32
Category: iOS, iPhone, Rumor, Software

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The rumor mill has it that iOS 8.1 will include the first incarnations of Apple’s anticipated Apple Pay feature come October 20th.

Per the coolest of cats at The Mac Observer and BankInnovation, Apple will reportedly release iOS 8.1 on October 20, and the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system update will include Apple Pay support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The company launched iOS 8 in mid-September without Apple Pay mobile payment support, but Apple promised it would be enabled as part of an October update.

News of Apple’s plans comes from unnamed sources. Those sources also said Apple may have other big improvements in store for iOS 8.1.

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iPhone 6 “Bendgate” scandal leads to copycat efforts

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Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, 11:33
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

Never underestimate the power of stupidity in the face of an Internet trend.

Per Daily Dot, two 15-year-old UK residents going by the names of “Kylie” and “Danny” recorded footage of themselves entering an iPhone 6 Plus and bending at least one iPhone 6 Plus handset, using the display table as leverage.

Since the iPhone 6 was released two weeks ago, it’s been plagued by claims that it’s easy to accidentally bend, something multiple people have already put to the test in videos. But not like this.

The two uploaded the following video, which was later removed, then reposted via a mirror.

Without a contract, the iPhone 6 Plus retails at US$649.
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