Sunday, October 26, 2014

We’re 100% committed to storing our users’ data securely at all times, says Xiaomi


Xiaomi’s grand Indian entry has faced the first hurdle. Earlier this week, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had accused Xiaomi phones of snooping and stealing data, and sending it to remote servers in China. In fact, IAF is also believed to have suggested all its air force officers and their families to refrain from using Chinese mobile devices.  previously, a similar security alert was also issued by the Indian Army against Chinese mobile applications.
Now, Hugo Barra, who is the face of Xiaomi or Mi in India has put up a Facebook post on behalf of the Xiaomi infrastructure team, possibly in a bid to shield the company from all the allegations about stealing user data.
Barra talks about migrating some data on non-Chinese customers away from its servers in Beijing. He goes on to explain the whole process that will take place in three phases. Mi India shared Hugo Barra’s status and said that the company is 100 percent committed towards storing its users’ data securely. 
Data belonging to the privately owned company’s non-Chinese users will be moved in several phases to Amazon servers in the United States and data centres in Singapore, Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said in a Wednesday blog post on Google Plus.
The migration follows Apple”s move earlier this year to store Chinese user data with China Telecom Corp, the first time the iPhone maker has kept user data on the Chinese mainland.
User privacy remains a key issue for Xiaomi as it eyes overseas expansion, having risen in the three years since it was founded to become the top smartphone vendor in China, according to industry analysts. It has already faced several privacy controversies, including accusations from international security researchers and a government agency in Taiwan that it funnels unauthorized user data back to its servers in Beijing.
Apart from privacy, Barra also said the moving data to overseas servers has significantly boosted speed in markets such as Singapore, India and Malaysia. Xiaomi is targeting India and Brazil as its next big markets.
Technology companies typically keep data centres physically close to their user base to maximize service speeds, but the question of where to situate them has sometimes been politically wrought. Companies such as Google Inc, for instance, have chosen to store user data off mainland Chinese soil over concerns about privacy and the need to comply with Chinese censorship laws.
Moving data offshore “better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations,” Barra wrote. “This is a very high priority for Xiaomi as we expand into new markets over the next few years.”
Barra’s post came days after the Chinese web monitoring group Greatfire.org accused Chinese government-affiliated hackers of seeking to obtain Chinese Apple users’ personal data. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook discussed information security with a top Chinese official while visiting Beijing this week, according to Chinese state media.
Barra said Xiaomi will also begin using Akamai Technologies Inc’s content delivery service, which in the past has served clients ranging from Apple to Netflix.

Can Microsoft offer Windows 10 as a free update to Windows 8?

Windows 10 is seen in this screenshot. AP
The technical preview of Windows 10 (and not Windows 9) is out. It is still an unfinished version and doesn’t include most of the features that will eventually make it to the final cut. Moreover, the company has ample of time to add tweaks changes to suit the needs of different consumers before users can upgrade. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 has so far met with a good response from tech critics, too.  Now, the key question is – will it be made available for free?
While Microsoft hasn’t officially announced any details about the pricing or whether it will be available for free, there has been buzz about the OS coming as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users. Unlike other OSes, Microsoft’s OS has always come with a price tag. However, looks like the company is ready for change. It did set a precedent by offering the Windows 8.1 upgrade for free, something it has never done before.
According to the Indonesian news site Detik.co,  Andreas Diantoro, the president of Microsoft Indonesia had ‘confirmed’ that ‘Windows 9′ (now named Windows 10) will be a free upgrade for all Windows 8 users. So we know that Microsoft has at least considered that as an option.
And, why not? After the not-so-pleasant experience with adapting to the not-so-user-friendly Windows 8 UI, a free upgrade could definitely serve as an incentive to win back a bunch of disillusioned users. Windows 8 wasn’t widely accepted and, to an extent, detested by many. It was also the reason why many chose not to upgrade from Windows 7. It should be noted that Windows 10 is an attempt at bringing back the Windows 7 feel with the return of the Start menu and several other useful tweaks. However, Microsoft has also retained some features from Windows 8, which it felt were moderately accepted.
Above it all, free updates are not a new thing anymore. Mobile OSes such as iOS, Android have always been made available for free. With OS X Mavericks, even Apple started rolling out free Mac OS updates for free for the time. A free update to the Windows 10 OS might just work in Microsoft’s favour, if the company is desperate to recover from the bad mojo set by Windows 8. But is it desperate enough?

Startup raises US$ 89,000 for home security innovation

Google's Nest thermostat is installed in a home is seen in this photo. Reuters
A startup, which has developed an innovative home security device, has raised nearly US$ 89,000 US from 690 backers on crowd funding platform, Kickstarter.
Mindhelix’s Rico is a sensor-equipped hardware that works by itself or with a spare smartphone to detect and alert users about changes inside a home, for example, in temperature, humidity, noise levels or movement, and the presence of smoke, Carbon Monoxide or cooking gas.
It allows users to watch live video feeds of the rooms and can also be used to control home appliances remotely.
A startup, which has developed an innovative home security device, has raised nearly US$ 89,000 US from 690 backers on crowd funding platform, Kickstarter.
Mindhelix’s Rico is a sensor-equipped hardware that works by itself or with a spare smartphone to detect and alert users about changes inside a home, for example, in temperature, humidity, noise levels or movement, and the presence of smoke, Carbon Monoxide or cooking gas.
It allows users to watch live video feeds of the rooms and can also be used to control home appliances remotely.

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