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    The iPhone 11’s U1 chip necessitates constant geolocation pings, Apple says / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 23:20

Multiple smartphones on table.

Enlarge / From left to right: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Earlier this week, security reporter Brian Krebs published a story explaining that Apple's latest iPhones (iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro) periodically check the user's location even if the user disables location services individually for each and every app and service in the iPhone's Settings app.

While this behavior ended when the user disabled location services system-wide, it was a bit of a head-scratcher. What was the iPhone doing and why? Was it sending this information to Apple? Why couldn't users find information on what was happening? Krebs had notified Apple of the issue as a potential security problem back in mid November, but the company responded this week stating:

We do not see any actual security implications... It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.

While Apple deemed this not to be a security issue, Krebs rightly pointed out that it remained a potential privacy issue, given Apple's promises that users have control over how and when iPhones track or report their locations.

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    2019 carbon emissions look to tick upwards again / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 22:24

Bar graph of climate data.

Enlarge / Bar graph of climate data. (credit: Global Carbon Project )

Large oceangoing ships turn very slowly, which can be frustrating to someone accustomed to speeding around on nimble watercraft. Those eagerly watching for progress on climate change can relate. Every year, another batch of stats on greenhouse gas emissions comes in, and we're left to wonder whether we're turning things around yet.

This year's update was just published as part of the Global Carbon Project —a large scientific collaboration that coordinates this difficult accounting work. The researchers compile the latest estimates for every component of Earth's carbon cycle, from fossil fuel emissions and deforestation to the uptake of carbon by the ocean and vegetation.

The topline numbers are the total global emissions estimates. As this is published before the end of the year, the report includes a preliminary estimate for 2019 and a revision to the 2018 numbers published last year . Estimated 2018 emissions come in at a 2.1 percent increase over 2017—well within the error bars of last year's preliminary estimate of 2.7 percent.

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    The Motorola One Hyper brings a pop-up camera, all-screen design for $400 / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 22:03

Motorola has what might be the best-looking mid-range smartphone with the " Motorola One Hyper ," a $400 phone with flagship touches like an all-screen front design and a motorized, pop-up camera. It's like a mini OnePlus 7 Pro ! You won't find any notches or other screen blemishes here.

For specs, you have a 6.5-inch 2340×1080 IPS LCD, a 2GHz Snapdragon 675, 4GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and a 4000mAh battery. The are two rear cameras: a 64MP main sensor and a 8MP wide angle lens, and a 32MP front camera. Both the main front and back cameras have a pretty high megapixel count, and both have an optional "quad pixel" mode, which merges every four pixels together for better light pickup.

There's a rear fingerprint reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack (!), a microSD slot for expandable storage up to 1TB, and NFC. There is clearly some cost cutting here, but that's to be expected at $400. You'll get a USB-C port capable of 45W quick charging, but you'll only get a 15W charger in the box. The body is made of plastic, and while it has a "water-repellant design" there's no official IPxx rating. Motorola is not great at OS updates, but at least out of the box, the phone has Android 10.

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    Members of Evil Corp, the cybercrime group that lived in luxury, are indicted / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 21:50

Screenshot of Justice Department website shows four pictures of same alleged criminal.

Enlarge / Screenshot of Justice Department website shows four pictures of same alleged criminal. (credit: US Justice Department )

Federal prosecutors have indicted the kingpin of Evil Corp, the name used by a cybercrime gang that used the notorious Dridex malware to drain more than $70 million from bank accounts in the US, UK, and other countries.

Maksim V. Yakubets, a 32-year-old Russian national who used the handle "Aqua," led one of the world's most advanced transnational cybercrime syndicates in the world, prosecutors said on Thursday . The crime group's alleged deployment of Dridex was one of the most widespread malware campaigns ever. The UK's National Crime Agency said the syndicate used the name Evil Corp.

Dridex was configured to target the customers of almost 300 different organizations in more than 40 countries by automating the theft of online banking credentials and other confidential information from infected computers. Over time, Dridex creators updated the malware to install ransomware . Previously known as Bugat and Cridex, Dridex used zeroday exploits and malicious attachments in emails to infect targets. The malware was designed to bypass antivirus and other security defenses.

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    Oracle fights back as $400 million pay-discrimination suit heads to judge / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 21:03

Glass skyscraper with Oracle logo on front.

Enlarge / Regional headquarters of software company Oracle in San Jose, California, April 13, 2019. (credit: Smith Collection | Gado | Getty Images )

As a long-running Department of Labor suit against Oracle heads in front of a judge this week, Oracle is fighting back by arguing that the DOL's suit, alleging violation of labor laws, is unconstitutional.

The DOL filed suit against Oracle in 2017, alleging that the company had a broad, systemic pay discrepancy that underpaid women and people of color employed by the firm by a total $401 million in a four-year period. Analyses conducted by the department, as well as by independent third parties, found women were being paid between $13,000 and $20,000 less per year, on average, than their male peers.

The hearings in the case began today. The DOL is expected to call more than 20 current and former employees as witnesses in the case over the next week or two of proceedings.

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    Google Fiber ends $50, 100Mbps plan, but 1Gbps is still $70 with no data cap / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 20:50

A Google Fiber van parked in front of a house.

Enlarge / A Google Fiber van. (credit: Google Fiber)

Google Fiber has stopped offering its $50-per-month, 100Mbps Internet plan to new customers, leaving its gigabit service as the only option available to people who weren't grandfathered into the cheaper plan.

On the plus side, Google Fiber has still never raised the $70-per-month price of its gigabit plan since beginning operations in November 2012 , a rarity in an industry in which incumbent ISPs routinely raise prices and tack on hidden fees because they face little competition.

"We're going all in on a gig," Google Fiber said in its announcement yesterday . "We will no longer offer a 100Mbps plan to new customers."

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    Amazon’s inexpensive Eero mesh Wi-Fi kit is shockingly good / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 20:36

Eero specs at a glance
Kit type three-piece mesh
Wi-Fi 6 support no
Radios one 2x2 2.4GHz (each unit)
one 2x2 5GHz (each unit)
Wired Ethernet 2 Gigabit jacks per unit
Family Filtering Yes, with $30/yr subscription
Internet Pause Yes, both manual and scheduled

We finally got our hands on Amazon's redesigned second-gen Eero kit, and we won't bury the lede—it's a fantastic performer, especially for the price. Although its performance isn't on par with the Plume Superpods , it was easy to set up and didn't outright fail any of our torture tests. Eero maintained decent browsing latency all around the house, even while simultaneously delivering four emulated 4K video streams.

Don't get us wrong, there's still a lot of daylight between Eero and Plume—but with the Eero kit retailing for $250 normally, and currently on special for $189 with a free Echo Dot and without need for a subscription (for most features), it's a heck of a deal.

On the other hand, if you want Eero because of its Alexa integration... maybe you ought to wait a bit.

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    The full trailer for Disney’s live-action Mulan is here, and it’s breathtaking / ArsTechnica – Yesterday - 18:15

Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei stars in Disney's live-action Mulan .

Disney has released the full trailer for Mulan , the studio's live-action remake of its own 1998 animated film. When the first teaser dropped in July, I noted that, while I'm not a huge fan of Disney's live-action remakes, "this is an effective, sumptuously eye-catching teaser for Mulan." This latest trailer cements that assessment. It looks gorgeous, very much in the style of a period war drama, and its rumored $300 million production budget shows in every breathtaking shot.

Both films are based on the Chinese legend " The Ballad of Hua Mulan ," which tells the story of a young woman in the Northern Wei era (spanning 386-536 CE) who takes her father's place when each family is required to provide one male to serve in the emperor's army. In this version, Hua Mulan is already a well-trained fighter, and she serves for 12 years, with none of her fellow soldiers ever suspecting her true gender.

Disney's animated film broadly followed the traditional storyline, except Mulan is not well-trained when she first runs away. The film also added a love interest, a goofy dragon representative of the family ancestors named Mushu (hilariously voiced by Eddie Murphy), and a catchy original soundtrack. Mulan was released to critical acclaim, grossing $304 million worldwide and earning Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. In other words, while it didn't exactly set the box office on fire, It was popular enough to merit a spot on the roster of Disney's ongoing live-action remakes.

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