News

T-Mobile agrees to $90M settlement over federal mobile cramming allegations

Federal officials alleged that the company charged customers millions of dollars for third-party subscriptions or services such as horoscopes, love tips and celebrity gossip that they never ordered or authorized. 

Iowa government to adopt mobile-based driver's license

In 2015, the Iowa Department of Transportation will allow residents to use a mobile-based digital driver's license as an official driver's license. Rather than using a physical identification card, Iowa law enforcement plan to accept a smartphone app during traffic stops.

CFPB sues Sprint for alleged unauthorized charges

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against Sprint for allegedly illegally billing its wireless customers tens of millions of dollars through third-party charges, says a Dec. 17 CFPB statement. The CFPB alleges that Sprint allowed third parties to put unauthorized charges on the accounts of mobile phone users.

Spotlight: DOT unveils sober ride mobile app

The Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled Dec. 16 a mobile application to help people who have been drinking get a safe ride home. The app allows...

New bill would prevent federal mandates to build backdoors into US software, hardware

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently introduced legislation that would prohibit any federal requirement to build backdoors or security vulnerabilities into American software and hardware products. The bill addresses U.S. government's secret phone and Internet surveillance efforts.

US regulators seek input on how to reduce smartphone theft

Federal communications regulators are seeking public comment on recommendations from a new report to help reduce smartphone thefts, which is conservatively estimated at about 1 million annually and growing.

UPDATED - Commerce OIG uncovers FirstNet contracting and ethics violations

The First Responder Network Authority, the board tasked with overseeing the development of a nationwide, wireless broadband public safety network, didn't properly disclose financial reports, monitor conflicts of interest or transparently award contracts, reveals a long-awaited report from an internal watchdog.

FCC issues warning against the use of cellphone jammers

Federal regulators this week issued a warning against the use of cellphone jammers – even by state and local law enforcement agencies – that block or interfere with communications, especially emergency calls.

Survey: Consumers in emerging markets use mobile Internet for personal advancement, education

People in emerging markets like Brazil and India are more likely to use mobile Internet services for personal advancement, self improvement and educational purposes than those in more developed nations, accoding to a new global survey released by Juniper Networks Dec. 10.

Google to pay customers refunds after FTC OKs order alleging unfair billing practices

Google will start contacting customers, whose children made unauthorized in-app purchases on Android devices, about potential refunds after federal regulators last week approved a final order regarding unfair billing practices.

DoD moves forward with mobile-friendly credentialing

Personal identity verification at the Defense Department could become more compatible with mobile devices, since the department approved Nov. 24 the first vendor to provide security credentials for Android, Apple and Microsoft mobile devices.

Spotlight: FirstNet establishes industry liaison, vendor profile capability

The First Responder Network Authority, which is responsible for standing up a nationwide, wireless broadband public safety network, announced Nov. 28 two ways it's furthering outreach to its vendor community.

Americans spend more time on mobile, while TV screen time remains flat

Agencies planning their strategy for citizen-facing mobile services should note that the battle for screen time is swinging in favor of tablets and smartphones. The time Americans spend on mobile devices is climbing while the time they spend at the television has plateaued, finds recent analysis from mobile marketing company Flurry Analytics, based on ComScore and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

ACLU files brief in criminal case against use of 'stingray' devices that track cellphones

The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed an amicus brief, supporting a Baltimore man – allegedly involved in a murder-for-hire plot – who said the use of a cell-phone tracker to trace and locate his whereabouts is illegal.

Cricket Communications to pay $2.2M fine to settle federal overbilling charges

Wireless provider Cricket Communications has agreed to pay a nearly $2.2 million fine after the Justice Department alleged that the wireless carrier overcharged federal law enforcement agencies for wiretaps. DOJ announced the fine Dec. 1.

 

WhatsApp jumping on mobile encryption bandwagon

On the heels of action by Google and Apple, yet another mobile messaging technology is expanding its use of encryption to protect user information – a move that has drawn criticism from law enforcement agencies. The Facebook-owned mobile messaging platform WhatsApp is working with Open Whisper Systems to provide end-to-end encryption, according to a blog post.

FCC considers WiFi, Bluetooth to help pinpoint emergency 911 callers inside buildings

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on a proposed roadmap that would use available WiFi and Bluetooth technology to help locate emergency 911 callers inside buildings, according to a public notice posted by regulators Nov. 20.

T-Mobile customers will get better info about mobile broadband speeds under FCC deal

Federal regulators recently announced a deal with T-Mobile that would provide customers with more accurate information about their mobile broadband speeds, especially those whose speeds have been reduced after reaching the monthly data cap. The Federal Communications Commission said Nov. 24 that T-Mobile will fully implement the agreement within 60 days.

CDT says mobile app developers should consider privacy as equal rights issue

Mobile app developers need to consider equal treatment of users' privacy needs as much as privacy itself, according to a recent blog post from the Center for Democracy and Technology.

US Marshals gathering mobile data with plane-based devices, reports WSJ

The U.S. Marshals Service is using devices that mimic cellphone towers on airplanes to gather information from thousands of mobile phones on the ground, reports the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 13 expose based on interviews with anonymous sources with close knowledge of the program.