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Telecom Daily

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Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.

Friday, July 3... 

Comcast Announces ViacomCBS Content Licensing for Peacock
Comcast announced the signing of a new content agreement with ViacomCBS that will bring that broadcaster's shows and films to Comcast's Peacock streaming video service. The slate of new programs will include Paramount films such as The Godfather trilogy, Catch Me If You Can, The Talented Mr Ripley, American Beauty, Patriot Games, Last Holiday, Fatal Attraction, The Firm, and An Officer and a Gentleman, among others. Meanwhile, numerous ViacomCBS series such as Ray Donovan, The Affair, Charmed, Undercover Boss, The Game, Everybody Hates Chris, and Real Husbands of Hollywood will also join the service. Peacock is expected to launch later this month with a library of 7,500 hours of free, ad-supported content and 15,000 hours of content for Xfinity subscribers and those paying $4.99 per month for its Premium tier. An ad-free option will also be available for an extra $5.00 per month.

Euro Officials Bust Mult-National Criminal Activities by Hacking Encryption
Multiple European law enforcement agencies announced a multi-national takedown of thousands of criminals and drug trafficking operations, thanks to their hacking of a single, supposedly secure, mobile communications platform. The platform in question, Encrochat, promised to provide encrypted communications via Voice over IP (VoIP) and secure messaging, while blocking essentially all other functions to prevent possible exposure of user activities. It provided this service via customized smartphones, which had their GPS chips, cameras, and external microphones removed. It also offered ways to mislead law enforcement officials, such as a secondary OS which appeared unmodified and the ability to wipe the device entirely by entering a PIN. Despite all of these precautions, a coalition of multiple European law enforcement agencies managed to crack the encryption at the center of Encrochat's security, allowing them to access nearly the entire network. According to officials in the UK, this allowed for the arrest of 746 suspects and the seizure of GBP 54 million ($67 million), 77 firearms, and two tons of Class A and B drugs. The investigative operation had been ongoing since March.

Google Confirms Discontinuation of Pixel 3a Smartphones
Google confirmed in a statement sent to Android Police that it has officially discontinued its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones. The pair of devices had been out of stock for some time on Google's online storefront. However, no official confirmation of the end of manufacturing for both devices was released until now. The search giant noted that all units are now out on the market, and that partner retailers will continue selling devices while supplies last. The duo of smartphones was originally released in 2019 as budget-friendly alternatives to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. They received widespread praise for their balance of features and cost. The cancellation of the line is another sign that Google's long-rumored Pixel 4a successor is nearing release. However, the company has yet to make any official acknowledgment of the device's existence.

....Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services


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