Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.
Friday, July 19...
Senator Chuck Schumer Calls for Investigation of FaceApp Over
Russian Data Access Concerns
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has asked the FBI and FTC to investigate the popular selfie editing application FaceApp for possible security risks, Reuters reported. The app in question has increasingly been in the news in recent days, since the Democratic National Committee (DNC) warned its candidates to avoid using the software due to concerns that the scanned images of their faces could be accessed by foreign entities, a fear largely based on the app's Russia-based developers. Now, Senator Schumer is asking these two agencies to look more deeply into FaceApp's practice of storing users' provided images in the cloud, and requiring "full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data." Like the DNC, Schumer is concerned that user data could be accessed by Russian authorities. The Senator noted "FaceApp's location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of US citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign governments." Schumer is hoping the FBI can determine whether the risk is real, and hoping that the FTC can issue a warning to US consumers about the possible danger. Reuters noted that there is no specific evidence that any images are being provided to the Russian government. However, FaceApp has admitted that it is unable to delete all images requested by users to due the volume of requests it receives. Neither agency had responded to the Senator's request at the time of writing.
Verizon Wireless Launches First 5G Mobile Hotspot
Verizon Wireless debuted its first 5G-enabled mobile hotspot, the Inseego MiFi M1000. Early adopters will be asked to pay a premium price of $650 upfront, $500 with a two-year contract, or $27.08 per month for 24 months. In addition to this, the hotspot will, of course, require one of Verizon's 5G plans in order to access the company's high-speed network. The cheapest option will be a $30 per month add-on that allows customers to include the hotspot within an existing mobile device plan with 50GB of 5G data and 15GB of high-speed LTE data. Stand-alone plans for the MiFi M1000 begin at $85 per month, and go up depending on data caps. The device itself sports 24 hours of use on a single battery charge and a built-in touchscreen for password entry and data consumption monitoring. Verizon's 5G network is currently available in St Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, and providence.
Samsung Debuts New 12GB Memory Chip for 5G Smartphones
Samsung unveiled its newest memory chip for high-end smartphones, the 12GB LPDDR5. The new unit is the direct follow-up to the 12GB LPDDR4X package announced just a few months ago, and is expected to go into production later this month. The main purpose of the upgraded chip is to provide 5G-enabled smartphones and mobile devices with a fast and energy-efficient RAM solution capable of handling the increasing demands of machine learning and AI applications. The new product uses the same 10-nanometer chip as its predecessor, but is expected to clock in at around 1.3 times faster than the LPDDR4X. Samsung claims this speed boost will make it possible for devices to transfer 44GB of data, or around 12 full-HD movies, in a single second, all while using 30 percent less power than the previous design. The company did not reveal any specific models of smartphone that may come equipped with the new memory chip when it reaches the public.
.... Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services
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