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      If you really want kids to spend less time online, make space for them in the real world | Gaby Hinsliff / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 2 April - 05:00

    Tech firms can do more, but it’s the government’s job to ensure children have safe places to play – and it’s not doing it

    Three-quarters of children want to spend more time in nature. Having spent the Easter weekend trying to force four resistant teenagers off their phones and out for a nice walk over the Yorkshire Dales, admittedly I’ll have to take the National Trust’s word for this. But that’s what its survey of children aged between seven and 14 finds, anyway.

    Kids don’t necessarily want to spend every waking minute hunched over a screen, however strongly they give that impression; even though retreating online satisfies the developmentally important desire to escape their annoying parents, even teenagers still want to run wild in the real world occasionally. Their relationship with phones is complex and maddening, but not a million miles off adults’ own love-hate relationship with social media; a greasy sugar-rush we crave but rarely feel better for indulging. Yet lately, longstanding parental unease over children’s screen habits has been hardening into something more like revolt.

    Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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      Smartphone app could help detect early-onset dementia cause, study finds / TheGuardian · Monday, 1 April - 15:00

    App-based cognitive tests found to be proficient at detecting frontotemporal dementia in those most at risk

    A smartphone app could help detect a leading cause of early-onset dementia in people who are at high risk of developing it, data suggests.

    Scientists have demonstrated that cognitive tests done via a smartphone app are at least as sensitive at detecting early signs of frontotemporal dementia in people with a genetic predisposition to the condition as medical evaluations performed in clinics.

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      Wearable AI: will it put our smartphones out of fashion? / TheGuardian · Sunday, 31 March - 11:00 · 1 minute

    Portable AI-powered devices that connect directly to a chatbot without the need for apps or a touchscreen are set to hit the market. Are they the emperor’s new clothes or a gamechanger?

    Imagine it: you’re on the bus or walking in the park, when you remember some important task has slipped your mind. You were meant to send an email, catch up on a meeting, or arrange to grab lunch with a friend. Without missing a beat, you simply say aloud what you’ve forgotten and the small device that’s pinned to your chest, or resting on the bridge of your nose, sends the message, summarises the meeting, or pings your buddy a lunch invitation. The work has been taken care of, without you ever having to prod the screen of your smartphone.

    It’s the sort of utopian convenience that a growing wave of tech companies are hoping to realise through artificial intelligence. Generative AI chatbots such as ChatGPT exploded in popularity last year, as search engines like Google, messaging apps such as Slack and social media services like Snapchat raced to integrate the tech into their systems. Yet while AI add-ons have become a familiar sight across apps and software, the same generative tech is now making an attempt to join the realm of hardware, as the first AI-powered consumer devices rear their heads and jostle for space with our smartphones.

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      How Huawei made a cutting-edge chip in China and surprised the US / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 November - 14:37

    montage of logos and chips

    Enlarge (credit: FT)

    In late 2020, Huawei was fighting for its survival as a mobile phone maker.

    A few months earlier, the Trump administration had hit the Chinese company with crippling sanctions, cutting it off from global semiconductor supply chains.

    The sanctions prevented anyone without a permit from making the chips Huawei designed, and the company was struggling to procure new chips to launch more advanced handsets.

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      Brute-Forcing a Fingerprint Reader / Schneier · Friday, 26 May, 2023 - 18:41 · 1 minute

    It’s neither hard nor expensive :

    Unlike password authentication, which requires a direct match between what is inputted and what’s stored in a database, fingerprint authentication determines a match using a reference threshold. As a result, a successful fingerprint brute-force attack requires only that an inputted image provides an acceptable approximation of an image in the fingerprint database. BrutePrint manipulates the false acceptance rate (FAR) to increase the threshold so fewer approximate images are accepted.

    BrutePrint acts as an adversary in the middle between the fingerprint sensor and the trusted execution environment and exploits vulnerabilities that allow for unlimited guesses.

    In a BrutePrint attack, the adversary removes the back cover of the device and attaches the $15 circuit board that has the fingerprint database loaded in the flash storage. The adversary then must convert the database into a fingerprint dictionary that’s formatted to work with the specific sensor used by the targeted phone. The process uses a neural-style transfer when converting the database into the usable dictionary. This process increases the chances of a match.

    With the fingerprint dictionary in place, the adversary device is now in a position to input each entry into the targeted phone. Normally, a protection known as attempt limiting effectively locks a phone after a set number of failed login attempts are reached. BrutePrint can fully bypass this limit in the eight tested Android models, meaning the adversary device can try an infinite number of guesses. (On the two iPhones, the attack can expand the number of guesses to 15, three times higher than the five permitted.)

    The bypasses result from exploiting what the researchers said are two zero-day vulnerabilities in the smartphone fingerprint authentication framework of virtually all smartphones. The vulnerabilities—­one known as CAMF (cancel-after-match fail) and the other MAL (match-after-lock)—result from logic bugs in the authentication framework. CAMF exploits invalidate the checksum of transmitted fingerprint data, and MAL exploits infer matching results through side-channel attacks.

    Depending on the model, the attack takes between 40 minutes and 14 hours.


    The ability of BrutePrint to successfully hijack fingerprints stored on Android devices but not iPhones is the result of one simple design difference: iOS encrypts the data, and Android does not.

    Other news articles . Research paper .

    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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      Huawei’s foldable is thinner, lighter, and has more battery than Samsung / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 28 March, 2023 - 21:56 · 1 minute

    Giant Huawei logo onstage.

    Enlarge (credit: Huawei )

    Huawei is still making phones, even if the US-China trade war puts most of the stalwart Android component vendors in a complicated relationship with the Chinese tech company. Huawei's new phones are the flagship Huawei P60 Pro slab phone and a flagship foldable, the Huawei Mate X3 .

    The trade war makes these phones unique in the world of Android. First, it has a Qualcomm chip, but Huawei isn't allowed to use the latest technology from Qualcomm, so the chip in both of these phones is the "Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G Mobile Platform." Besides being last year's chip, this is a special, Huawei-only version of the chip that is branded as "4G." It has had the 5G bands stripped out of it—both mmWave and sub 6 GHz.

    The other oddity is the lack of Google Play apps internationally. Huawei isn't allowed to ship the Google apps due to the export ban. While that's normal in China (where Google Play isn't available), internationally it means the phone is missing standard Google apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, the Google Assistant, Docs, Search, Photos, and other apps that make Android a competitive consumer OS. Instead of the Google ecosystem, you'll be getting the OS with Huawei Mobile Services , which includes the Huawei AppGallery, Huawei Petal Maps , the Huawei Assistant (which appears just to be a search tool and some widgets, not a voice assistant), Huawei Pay, and Huawei apps for books, music, and video.

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      Tech makers must provide repairs for up to 10 years under proposed EU law / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 23 March, 2023 - 18:37

    DIY repair mobile phone at home. Woman repairing mobile phone at home, changing damaged part.

    Enlarge / Smartphone repairs could be required for up to five years, while other products, like washing machines, may require up to a decade of vendor repairs. (credit: Getty )

    Makers of numerous product categories, including TVs, vacuums, smartphones, and tablets, could be required to enable repairs for their products for up to 10 years after purchase, depending on the device type. The European Commission on Wednesday announced a proposal it has adopted that would implement long-term repair requirements on electronics makers, if the European Parliament and Council approve it.

    The regulation would apply to any devices with repairability requirements in the EU, including vacuum cleaners, washer-dryers, welding equipment, servers, and data-storage devices. The EU is currently hammering out right to repair requirements for smartphones and tablets.

    Already, the EU requires vendors to repair or replace products within two years of purchase for free if the product is defective. The new regulation would require companies to provide a free repair (instead of replacing the product) if doing so would be the same price or cheaper than replacing it.

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