Smartphones With Popular Qualcomm Chip Secretly Share Private Information With US Chip-Maker

This data is sent without user consent, unencrypted, and even when using a Google-free #Android distribution. This is possible because of proprietary Qualcomm #software which provides hardware support also sends the #data. #USA

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    Vizio TV buyers are becoming the product Vizio sells, not just its customers / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 22:01

Promotional image for widescreen television set.

Enlarge / Vizio's 65-inch 4K OLED TV. (credit: Vizio )

Over the past several years, TV-maker Vizio has achieved a reputation among home theater enthusiasts as the company that makes TVs that provide superior picture quality relative to their cost. While the most expensive TVs from Samsung and LG beat Vizio's in quality assessment by reviewers, Vizio is widely regarded as one of the best bang-for-buck brands.

But for consumers, those competitive prices may come with a downside: becoming subject to targeted advertising and monetized personal data collection. As reported previously on Engadget , Vizio just posted its first public earnings report, wherein it revealed that profits from the part of its business that is built around collecting and selling user data as well as targeting advertising at users totaled $38.4 million in the quarter.

That's less than the $48.2 million of profit generated by device sales in the same quarter, but data and advertising profits grew significantly year-over-year while actual device sales grew comparatively slowly. These digital products are still nowhere close to device sales in total revenue, however; the data and ad-related business unit (dubbed Platform+) added up to only 7.2 percent of global revenue.

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    Electricity and CRISPR used to write data to bacterial DNA / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 January, 2021 - 13:55 · 1 minute

False color image of bacteria

Enlarge (credit: Rizlan Bencheikh and Bruce Arey, PNNL )

In recent years, researchers have used DNA to encode everything from an operating system to malware . Rather than being a technological curiosity, these efforts were serious attempts to take advantage of DNA's properties for long-term storage of data. DNA can remain chemically stable for hundreds of thousands of years, and we're unlikely to lose the technology to read it, something you can't say about things like ZIP drives and MO disks.

But so far, writing data to DNA has involved converting the data to a sequence of bases on a computer, and then ordering that sequence from someplace that operates a chemical synthesizer—living things don't actually enter into the picture. But separately, a group of researchers had been figuring out how to record biological events by modifying a cell's DNA, allowing them to read out the cell's history. A group at Columbia University has now figured out how to merge the two efforts and write data to DNA using voltage differences applied to living bacteria.

CRISPR and data storage

The CRISPR system has been developed as a way of editing genes or cutting them out of DNA entirely. But the system first came to the attention of biologists because it inserted new sequences into DNA. For all the details, see our Nobel coverage , but for now, just know that part of the CRISPR system involves identifying DNA from viruses and inserting copies of it into the bacterial genome in order to recognize it should the virus ever appear again.

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