T-Mobile fined $40 million for using false ring tones on calls to rural areas

The FCC announced today that T-Mobile has been fined $40 million for not improving the delivery of calls made to those living in rural areas. In the FCC Consent Decree order announcing the fine, the agency accused the nation’s third largest carrier with inserting phony ring tones, giving a caller the impression that his/her call was going through. In reality, the connection was never made, and the phone owned by the recipient of the call never rang at all.

Besides making the caller hang up thinking that no one was available to answer the phone, using the false ring tones also shielded T-Mobile …


This Apple repair center sends 20 false emergency calls to 911 per day

Emergency 911 dispatchers in Elk Grove and Sacramento County in California have an odd case on their hands. Ever since October rolled in, they’ve been seeing on average of 20 false 911 calls every day, for a grand total of 1600 so far. As per one police dispatcher, Jamie Hudson:

We’ve been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple. We’re able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location.

The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and …

FALSE ALARM: Panic ensues as Emergency Alert Service issues missile threat for Hawaii

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Residents of Hawaii woke up to a terrifying notification on Saturday morning when the Emergency Alert Service issued a ballistic missile warning, telling residents to “seek immediate shelter.”

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the alert, which was delivered at approximately 8:07 a.m. HST, reads.

HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILEpic.twitter.com/DxfTXIDOQs

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018 Read more…

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False alert: Here's what OnePlus' Clipboard app actually sends to Chinese servers

 yesterday, we reported on yet another slightly-alarming security issue related to OnePlus’ devices and a potential security breach that had many worried their sensitive data leaked out to Chinese servers. This time, however, it would seem that this was a false alert as it turns out OnePlus is merely trying to prevent popular Chinese messenger Wechat from blocking certain links leading to some of the bigger Chinese online retailers. OnePlus’ Clipboard unblocks said links by sending a predefined hashcode token that essentially fools out Wechat into thinking the links are okay.

But why …

BLU smartphones are back on sale on Amazon “after a false alarm”

Earlier this week, Amazon halted sales of some BLU smartphones due to security concerns. Apparently, some of the phones launched by the US-based company were suspected of sending private user data to unknown servers in China.

Even though BLU denied security reports claiming its smartphones fail when it comes to user privacy, Amazon removed some of the company’s handsets from its store.

However, the affordable BLU smartphones that everyone loves to buy on Amazon are now back on sale. According to BLU, this was just “a false alarm,” so those who’re looking …

Apple sued over false advertising on device memory

When you buy a 16 GB iPhone or iPad, you do not actually get 16 GB of available memory. Same goes for a 32 GB iOS mobile device or a 64 GB iOS device. Despite the memory capacity advertised on the device packaging or marketing materials, the increasing size of Apple’s iOS operating system means buyers have less and less memory left over after the OS is installed. This has led a couple of enterprising young class-action lawsuit entrepreneurs to sue Apple, Inc., alleging that a misrepresentation of available device memory constitutes “unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business acts or practices.”

On one hand, these two fellows totally have a point. Apple’s iOS is getting massive, cutting deeply into buyers’ available memory and burdening systems with a slew of pre-installed bloatware apps. In many cases, the available memory on an iOS device is more than 20 percent less than advertised.

On the other hand, when you see two guys from Florida filing a class-action lawsuit in California, it ought to set off some sort of “typical class-action lawsuit that has no merit” alarm bells.

iphone-ipad-Apple-storage

And that’s the story of the lawsuit against Apple. The suit was filed in California on Dec. 29 by attorneys for Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, two guys who bought 16 GB iPhones and found them to have only about 12.7 GB of that memory available.

“Reasonable consumers do not expect this marked discrepancy between the advertised level of capacity and the available capacity of the devices, as the operating system and other storage space unavailable to consumers occupies an extraordinary percentage of their devices’ limited storage capacity,” the plaintiffs state in their complaint.

The amount a user is “shorted” depends on the device. By the plaintiffs’ calculations, a 16 GB iPhone 6 only comes with 13 GB of space. A 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus comes with 12.7 GB of space, and a 16 GB iPad Air comes with 12.6 GB of space. (Again, these figures are merely the plaintiffs’ calculations. These are not verified totals, but they do sound about right.)

The plaintiffs also argue that Apple engages in an extortion scheme by charging users money for extra iCloud storage. The 99 cents per month for 20 GB does not sound like much “extortion.” But the $19.99 per month for an extra TB of storage can really add up.

“Using these sharp business tactics, defendant gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,” the plaintiffs complain.

You can certainly argue that Android phones and tablets engage in the exact same scheme, and this is technically correct. But Android phones and tablets generally come with expandable storage via a microSD card. iPhones and iPads do not come with any expandable memory card capacities, and you never know how much of your available memory the next version of iOS is going to take up.

It should be noted that there is no guarantee this class-action lawsuit will move forward. The complaint has simply been filed, and the judge could take one look at it and toss it right out. Additionally, any monies won by the plaintiffs surely will not be shared with a larger population of iPhone users, or maybe a few users will get checks that amount to just pennies. That is the nature of class-action lawsuits.

But if these guys’ lawsuit results in more honest labeling of iPhone and iPad memory capacities, I would thank these guys for the memories.