safety Stories November 5, 2015

AAPL: 120.92

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The USPTO has today published a patent application by Apple to allow a specific fingerprint to activate a ‘panic mode’ on an iPhone, designed for use when the owner feels threatened, is in danger or is being forced to unlock their phone.

In its most basic form, placing a specific finger on the Touch ID button would place the iPhone into a special locked-down mode, blocking access to personal data store on the phone – perhaps simulating a brand new phone. In that way, if a street robber forced you to unlock your phone before handing it over, your data would be safe.

But the patent application goes far beyond this …  expand full story

safety Stories June 3, 2015

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Apple has issued a rare recall notice on one of its products today: the Beats Pill XL portable Bluetooth speaker sold in Apple Stores and various other retailers. The voluntary recall cites a situation in which the battery can overheat and become a fire hazard. Apple purchased Beats Electronics and Beats Music for some $3 billion in 2014. The current Beats Pill XL hardware has remained the same since Apple purchased the speaker company. Press release below:

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safety Stories May 29, 2014

Crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app Tapshield goes public

A crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app trialled on selected university campuses has now been rolled out to everyone. Tapshield allows real-time viewing of crime stats and suspicious activity in an area, and allows you to summon help when in trouble.

An award-winning mobile safety app and response dashboard, TapShield uses collaboration and crowd-sourcing to build safer communities & improve response times. Think of TapShield as your social safety network with you wherever you want to go.

The way the app works is that users can report crimes in progress and anything else they spot that concerns them, and those locations and incidents are then automatically shown to other Tapshield users in the area.

When a crime is reported, Tapshield sends a message to campus security when used within one of the participating colleges, and dials 911 when used elsewhere. You also have the option of sending a non-emergency alert to police when you see something that concerns you but which doesn’t justify an immediate emergency response – such as a bunch of street lights out, leaving a path in darkness.

If you have to make a journey that concerns you, you can specify your route and ETA and allow family and friends to follow your journey remotely, raising the alarm if you go off-route or don’t reach your destination when expected.

Finally, the app has a ‘yank’ mode, which automatically sends an alert if headphones are forcibly pulled from the device, such as when your phone is snatched by a thief.

Tapshield is a free download from iTunes.

Via TheNextWeb

safety Stories May 16, 2014

The four largest carriers now support texting 911, but most emergency call centers don’t

When the FCC set a voluntary deadline of yesterday for putting in place technology to allow people to text 911, all four of the main national carriers complied. But since most emergency call centres aren’t yet equipped to receive texts, don’t expect to be using it any time soon.

The FCC said that the ability to text 911 could be a life-saver for those with hearing or speech impairments, as well as in situations where it might be dangerous to make a phone call – while a crime is in progress and the perpetrator within earshot, for example.

But the wireless trade association, the CTIA, warned that even where 911 texting is supported, it’s still impossible to guarantee immediate delivery of texts. We’ve all experienced examples of texts that arrive the next day, so the advice remains to make a voice call wherever possible.

The FCC has uploaded a list of emergency call centres accepting 911 texts. If you attempt to text 911 in an area where the service is not supported, you’ll get a text bounce-back. Needless to say, please do not test the service.

safety Stories March 13, 2012

A report from Bloomberg today confirmed Foxconn is interested in hiring new safety and security experts to help improve working conditions in facilities responsible for supplying Apple products. Foxconn’s retail division chairman Louis Woo confirmed the job listings, which include a “lifestyle manager” responsible for maintaining worker dorms and healthcare, a safety and security expert, and two fire chiefs: expand full story

safety Stories February 16, 2012

Let’s take a quick break from the hordes of Mountain Lion OSX news to talk about privacy issues within apps…again. However, this time the spotlight is on children’s apps in both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Marketplace.

The Federal Trade Commission released a report today (PDF) based on a survey that found apps for children do not fully disclose the types of data collected nor do they adequately educate parents about data harvesting.

The consumer protection agency scrutinized privacy policies, recommended each developer give comprehensible disclosures on how data is accrued and shared, including whether children’s data is linked to social network apps, and it even mentioned conducting a six-month review on disclosures and using enforcement if needed. The report focused on the two main app stores themselves and requested more be done to tell children and their parents about privacy concerns…

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