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LIFE

How China's authorities spy on tourists' cell phones

Sven Krumrey

Honey bees enjoy a good reputation. They pollinate flowers, make honey, have an intriguing caste system and leave humans mostly alone. The Chinese government, no ill-will intended, enjoys a less stellar reputation, partly because of its tendency to find out as much about its citizens as possible. The mass collection of personal data in China has already made several headlines in the past. Unbeknownst to many, tourists are also spied upon, as has recently been discovered when "honey bee", a government-sanctioned spyware, was exposed and experts zeroed in on the details.

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LIFE

Should online news be free?

Sven Krumrey

Which services are we really willing to pay for? Ever since the internet found its way into our homes, there have been debates about free and paid content. The problem: Unlike physical products we can touch and use, online services feel quite intangible. And while most of us have free or cheap access to music, thanks to YouTube and streaming services, publishing companies are unwilling to give up the fight just yet. Currently, subscription-based paywalls are their weapon of choice, but the majority of users are not amused! So what should successful online journalism look like?

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TECH

Forced Windows 10 updates – is update 1903 worth it?

Sven Krumrey

Microsoft sure are having a hard time with their customers. Their trust is limited, they have ample bad experience with purported software "enhancements" and they dislike being surveyed. This becomes particularly apparent once new Windows updates are about to be rolled out. Many users like their systems the way they are (and fear that updates will cause issues). On the other hand, Microsoft want a consistent OS level across their user base to facilitate future modifications. And since Microsoft are calling the shots, they are about to force updates down our throats.

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TECH

Will Chrome abandon ad blocking?

Sven Krumrey

Few technologies are as controversial as ad blocking. While users love them for their ability to enjoy the web undisturbed, advertisers consider them the death of the commercial internet. Now, the makers of Chromium, the basis for Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi and soon Edge, have announced drastic changes. And if patron Google / Alphabet gets their way, there will be tough times ahead for ad blocking.

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LIFE

Chokehold on Baltimore: malware

Sven Krumrey

Imagine being locked out of your files. It's a nightmare! By now, ransomware has outstripped viruses and other malware. Ransomware offers a straightforward means of blackmailing victims and, if you don't pay, you'll never get your files back. That's enough to make end-users break out in a sweat. But it's not just end-users but also small city administrations, schools, government authorities and hospitals that are being targeted. Latest victim: the city of Baltimore. And once again, the NSA is somewhat involved too (even though they likely won't have a bad conscience) because, guess what, they supplied the tool.

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