Google and Apple strengthen data protection for platform for Corona apps

Cupertino, mountain view Google and Apple have responded to criticism of the planned Corona warning apps. On Friday, they presented further details on opening interfaces in their operating systems. With new data protection measures, it should now be even more difficult to monitor individual users using the tracing apps.

The US technology giants want to enable authorities to trace the contacts of people infected with corona. According to the companies, this access could already be available from mid-May. But there is still great distrust of the apps.

Various governments and authorities had asked Google and Apple for help. Due to the widespread use of their Android and iOS operating systems, those technical tools could help to contain the virus.

The apps are seen as one of the prerequisites to loosen general contact restrictions. They should record when smartphones come close to each other. If one of the users later reports in the app as a Covid 19 patient, his contacts should be able to be informed.

The reworks presented include further encryption. Among other things, information about the signal strength of the Bluetooth radio is to be encrypted. In addition, the keys are created for every day from each device. According to experts from the companies, it is impossible to recognize individual devices or their users by such features.

Google and Apple emphasize that the use of the apps is voluntary. Users of Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s IOS system could decide at any time whether to activate the program on their smartphone.

If users decide to participate, their data are shared with the health authorities in two scenarios: when users report a Covid 19 disease in the app or when they have had contact with a reported sick person. In both cases, only anonymized data is transmitted.

The authorities in the respective country are to decide for themselves how close two users must have been and how long they have met for the data transmission to start, according to the companies. All other data should only be saved on the device of the user.

The companies did not want to comment on whether the method presented here excludes the controversial solutions based on central data storage in Germany. But they are in discussion with all interested authorities and tried to find common solutions, it said.


In Germany, a fierce controversy about the appropriate structure of an app for tracking infection chains has flared up. All experts emphasized that they wanted to build an approach that protects privacy and prevents state control.

All approaches want to develop a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth to determine which other devices are nearby. Both approaches also require servers on which information is stored. However, it is controversial how much information can be stored on the servers.

On the one hand, there is the DP-3T (Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing) approach behind which, among other things, the Helmholtz Center for Information Security CISPA is based. The model is also described as a decentralized model. The idea behind it: The servers may only store the absolutely necessary information.

In essence, this would be an anonymized code from infected people. All other information is only stored on the end devices. This works out from the current documentation of the group forth. She has already released a first version of the app.

This is contrasted by the PEPP-PT (Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing) project. In the concept paper of this approach the central servers get a significantly more extensive function. They should not only store information about confirmed infections, but also information about all devices on which the app is installed.

Data protection and network organizations warn that this collection of data can be misused. Many groups, including more than 300 scientists, have therefore spoken out against PEPP-PT and for DP-3T.

In a warning letter, the influential organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC), along with other groups, argues that the central approach offers little privacy and the information could be misused. “A corona tracing app should, if at all, only be built and programmed on the basis of a decentralized approach (…)”, demanded the groups.

More: Federal Office raises alarm due to security holes in Apple’s mail app


AT&T boss Randall Stephenson resigns

Randall Stephenson

The manager will remain chairman of AT&T’s board of directors, which is superior to the board, until January 2021.

(Photo: Reuters)

Dallas The US mobile giant AT&T gets a new leadership. CEO Randall Stephenson (60) resigns after 13 years, as the group announced on Friday at its general meeting due to the corona crisis on the Internet.

John Stankey (57), who has been responsible for day-to-day business on the board, was appointed as his successor. The change of boss should take place on July 1st. Stephenson, however, will remain chairman of the board of directors superior to the board until January 2021, the statement said.

Investors were initially unimpressed by the news, and the AT&T share hardly reacted.

More: Telekom receives final approval for US merger


Telefonica plans to sell radio masts for 1.5 billion euros


Telefonica Germany already sold a good 2,000 transmission towers to Telxius in 2016.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The Spanish telecom giant Telefonica is conducting negotiations with telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius on the sale of radio masts from its German subsidiary Telefonica Deutschland, according to a media report. The Spanish newspaper “Expansion” reported on Friday that a sales sum of 1.5 billion euros was under discussion.

It is about up to 10,000 masts. Telxius is more than 50 percent owned by Telefonica, further shareholders are the financial investor KKR and the investment fund Pontegadea, which belongs to the textile billionaire Amancio Ortega. Telefonica and Telefonica Deutschland did not want to comment.


Vodafone warns of attacks on 5G antennas in Germany

Attacks on 5G cell towers

A 5G transmitter was destroyed in an arson attack in Huddersfield in Northern England.

(Photo: AFP)

Dusseldorf The network operator Vodafone has warned of attacks on cell towers in Germany. Arson attacks have already taken place in several EU countries. Similar things could happen in Germany, said Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter on Wednesday.

“These activities can endanger life,” said Ametsreiter. In the UK, a cell tower near a hospital was destroyed, and emergency calls could not be made. That is a worrying development.

The background to the attacks are conspiracy theories that have linked the expansion of 5G mobile communications to the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Masts had been damaged or destroyed in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

Despite attempts by scientists and politicians to calm the population, concerns about similar events in Germany are increasing. Vodafone technical director Gerhard Mack said: “We must not fool ourselves.” The expansion of 5G mobile radio is still in the early stages in Germany. In the Federal Republic, “many thousands of new masts” would still have to be built to supply the population with 5G.

German industry in particular had been pushing for a 5G supply that was as extensive as possible. She hopes to be the basis for new products, better networking of production and the basis for applications such as autonomous driving.

Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom announced on Wednesday to significantly expand the expansion of 5G mobile radio in Germany. Telekom wants to supply half of the German population with 5G this year. That would correspond to about 40 million people. “We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany this year,” says Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner.

Vodafone also announced that it would make its 5G network available to around ten million people in Germany this year. In the beginning, Vodafone focused on the cities, said Ametsreiter. “Now we’re bringing 5G to the area.”

Important frequencies for 5G were auctioned in Germany last year. In addition to Telekom and Vodafone, Telefónica Deutschland and the newcomer also secured themselves for a total of 6.55 billion euros Drillish, behind which the group United Internet (Brands 1 & 1, GMX, stands, frequencies. The nationwide expansion of mobile radio technology will take years.

More: This is how scientists assess the theories about the relationship between 5G and corona.


Conspiracy theory about Corona is spreading

Corona graffiti

A graffiti on a wall in Kensington in Great Britain links the corona pandemic to 5G mobile communications.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Dusseldorf When the first arson attacks on 5G cell phone antennas were carried out in Great Britain, experts at most took notice. But the situation changed within a few weeks. In the UK, more than 60 cellular antennas have already been set on fire. Authorities in the Netherlands, Cyprus and Ireland have now registered similar attacks.

The background to the attacks is a conspiracy theory that has become increasingly widespread in Europe over the past few weeks. In online forums, people claim that there is a direct link between the outbreak of the corona virus and the expansion of the latest 5G cellular standard. Scientists and experts are against it.

Nevertheless, there is growing concern about attacks in Germany. The president of the digital association Bitkom, Achim Berg, said: “Autonomous companies have just started an arson attack on a telecommunications network in the middle of Berlin.” Berg said that operators always take precautions to protect their networks. “Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that infrastructures that have been expanded in the area can be successfully attacked.”

The network operators in Germany are watching the situation. On VodafoneSpokesman said: “In the UK, there have recently been cases in which individual locations of the telecommunications infrastructure have been damaged because individuals are constructing a link between 5G and the corona virus.” The spokesman emphasized: “There is no scientific evidence or evidence for these claims. 5G, like its predecessor technologies, is a safe bet. ”

The company takes constructive criticism from concerned people seriously. “We also have an open exchange with cell phone critics,” said the spokesman. “Cases in which the infrastructure was affected by vandalism are currently not known to us in Germany.” Therefore, no additional security measures are currently being taken.

Great skepticism about network expansion

The other network operators also expressed similar comments. “Fortunately, damage to mobile phone locations due to arson, for example, occurs very rarely in this country, and the majority is pure vandalism,” said a Telefónica spokeswoman. “We do not currently see an increase, which is why there are no additional protective measures.”

At Telekom it was said: “There are always cases of vandalism,” said one Telekom spokeswoman. “But we are currently not seeing any change in us.”


The development comes at a time when there is already great skepticism about network expansion in Germany. The digital association Bitkom conducted a representative survey. Almost one in two (48 percent) spoke out against the construction of new cell towers. The Federal Network Agency had only discovered a few days ago that Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica are lagging behind the minimum requirements in expanding their networks in Germany and that there are still too many dead spots.

For years, scientific studies have dealt with the question of whether and what influence cell phone radiation has on people. The Stiftung Warentest recently summarized many of the available studies. In the analysis, the consumer organization came to the conclusion: “The research findings provide little cause for concern.”

ARD science journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim did a research More specifically, a possible connection between cell phone radiation and cancer diseases and came to the conclusion: “So far, there is no conclusive hypothesis – no idea yet – how cell phone radiation could theoretically trigger cancer.”


Telekom receives final approval for US merger

T-Mobile merges with Sprint

Dusseldorf The Deutsche Telekom has received final approval for the reorganization of its business in the United States. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California public utilities regulator, pioneered the merger of the Telekom subsidiary on Thursday T-Mobile US with the Rival sprint free.

This finally seals the billion-merger of number three and number four in the US mobile communications market. The companies had already started merging their businesses two weeks ago.

The merger creates a powerful player in the American mobile market. T-Mobile, as the merged company should be called, has a market capitalization of around $ 110 billion.

At the end of 2019, the two companies had a combined total of 140 million customers and sales of almost $ 80 billion. Telekom anticipates $ 43 billion in synergies after costs are deducted.

Of the DaxCorporation controls 67 percent of the voting rights in the combined company and receives the largest share in the new company with 43 percent. The Sprint majority owner Soft bench takes over 24 percent, the rest goes to free shareholders.

Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges said at the end of the deal to Handelsblatt: “We can become number one on the market.” Telekom could become the market leader AT&T and Verizon unlock.

More: Interview with Telekom boss Höttges: Of the In an interview, Dax’s board speaks about the stability of the network, a possible corona app – and the great challenges of the pandemic.


Telekom, Vodafone and O2 fail to meet network specifications

Dusseldorf For years there has been a dispute over the quality of mobile communications in Germany. The federal government wanted to create the exemption in 2015. With the award of the mobile radio frequencies in 2015, it imposed targets for minimum coverage on the three network operators. Now the network agency is determining: No company has met the requirements.

The deadline had actually expired at the beginning of this year. The Federal Network Agency had taken the time to understand the results. Authorities chief Jochen Homann made a clear announcement to the public on Tuesday: “We want to see verifiable improvements over the next few months that will ensure that the requirements are fully met by the end of the year.”

On top of that. “This expressly includes the fact that we may impose fines and fines,” said Homann

The Federal Network Agency set goals in 2015. This includes that by the beginning of 2020, 98 percent of all households in Germany and 97 percent of households in each federal state must be supplied with a data speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s) and antenna sector. In addition, motorways and rails should also be fully supplied.

Connection and data interruptions while driving on the main traffic routes should actually no longer exist in Germany today. But the reality is obviously different. The results at a glance:

Deutsche Telekom

Even the industry leader was unable to meet the requirements. According to the network agency, Deutsche Telekom “narrowly missed” the requirements in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The main traffic routes were also not completely supplied. The authority reported a value of 97 percent for motorways and 96 percent for railways.

At the end of 2019, there was still some catching up to do in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, Telekom admitted on request. A spokesman said the company is continuously expanding its network. “We have now also exceeded 97 percent in Saarland,” said the spokesman. In addition, Telekom had the best network in the mobile radio tests of the magazines “Chip” and “Connect” for the first quarter of 2020.

Telekom admitted that there was room for improvement in the motorways and railways. There is a plan to supply the routes completely. However, the approval of the necessary locations for cell towers is a challenge.

Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner complained: “We are already expanding beyond our commitments and could already have an even higher LTE coverage today if it were not so difficult to get new antenna locations and obtain permits in many places.”


The authority accused the network operator of not complying with the requirements in four federal states. These are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. In addition, the network agency found that only 96 percent of motorways and railways were only 95 percent supplied.

A spokesman for Vodafone said there was a “difference of opinion” between the company and the agency about the interpretation of the supply requirements. Since the beginning of the year, the network operator has “implemented” 2400 LTE construction projects. “We are therefore confident that we will also comply with the stricter interpretation of the Federal Network Agency,” said the spokesman.

Telefónica Germany

The network operator behind the O2 brand was by far the bottom of the review by the Federal Network Agency. In all 13 federal states, the supply requirements were not met. In addition, only about 80 percent of the main traffic routes are supplied.

Handelsblatt learned that the Federal Network Agency Telefónica has therefore set tight partial deadlines. In order to meet the requirements, 7600 mobile phone locations would still be necessary, it says in a letter to the advisory board of the Federal Network Agency. By the end of June, Telefónica is to build 40 percent of the locations. The share should increase to 65 percent by the end of September and all necessary locations should be established by the end of the year, the authority dictated to the company.

A Telefónica spokeswoman said: “We have presented a clear plan on how we will achieve the missing percentage points from the expansion requirement of 2015.” The company is convinced that it can fulfill the plan. “It is in our own interest to provide large parts of the population and area with mobile communications as quickly as possible,” said the spokeswoman.

The consequences

The Federal Network Agency requires network operators to report each month how many mobile phone locations they have put into operation. The authority wants to check this information on a random basis. Otherwise, the authority faces fines.

More: Actually wants 1 & 1 Drillishly become the fourth network operator in Germany. But the corona virus becomes a problem – and there is more.


Superlight smartphone has a difficult start

Dusseldorf Carbon is mostly used in space and on racetracks. But if it goes to Firas Khalifeh, many people will soon have the material in hand. With his start-up Carbon Mobile, the 31-year-old founder has developed a smartphone whose housing is made of carbon fiber. This should make it light and robust at the same time.

“A lot of people first ask: Why do I need a lighter smartphone?” Says Khalifeh. But if you held the Carbon 1 MKII (read: Mark 2) in your hands, be sure. The pre-series model, with which the founder is currently going public, weighs 125 grams, and is noticeably thinner than the iPhone. Sales are slated to begin in the summer, and enthusiasts can pre-order it for 800 euros.

Now, however, the corona virus intervenes: the epidemic has meanwhile increased production at Chinese contract manufacturers. And in Western Europe, the economy is slumping, which should affect demand. This applies to a start-up that has little financial resources compared to the corporations, as Khalifeh frankly says: “We don’t have a lot of leeway, but we will survive.”

Firas Khalifeh describes himself as the founder of the series. In 2011, the Syrian built a provider for networked mobility in Damascus. However, he had to give up the start-up when he fled to Dubai before the civil war. There the computer scientist worked for several technology companies. In addition, he asked himself why smartphones are so uniform. “The smartphone industry has stagnated in the past five years,” says Khalifeh.

In fact, the devices look more or less the same: they are rectangles with a pane of glass, similarly wide, similarly high, similarly thick. The use of carbon and other materials “is a fantastic new development that shows a new design and new approaches”.

There are good reasons why smartphone manufacturers have not yet used carbon: carbon shields radio waves and accumulates heat. Therefore, the providers use housings made of aluminum, plastic or glass. These are just relatively thick and heavy. And when it comes to plastic, recycling is often difficult or even impossible.

We don’t have much leeway, but we’ll survive. Firas Khalifeh, founder of Carbon Mobile

Khalifeh has therefore developed a composite material with some experts and suppliers that allows reception and is nevertheless light and stable. This is not trivial: it is important to find the right mixture and master the process – carbon has to be heated and milled. The first prototypes were promising, says the founder. In order to develop a commercial product, he moved to Berlin, where start-ups find good conditions and the industry is close.

Four years later, the first device is ready for series production. The MKII has the features found in many smartphones, but has a special appearance: the housing is made of carbon and has triangular surfaces at the top and bottom, which are made of the permeable material – the antennas are installed behind it.

Khalifeh is not just about striking design. Carbon is a sustainable material: “We use residues from industry. A car company asked us: How many tons do you need? ”Even if one day they should produce larger quantities, there should be sufficient supplies, for example from industry. In the future, it should be possible to produce carbon fibers from renewable raw materials.

However, a smartphone consists of hundreds of components, of which the housing is only one – albeit very visible. Development is therefore a complex task, especially for a start-up like Carbon Mobile with around 20 employees. Khalifeh reports that there were considerations as a supplier to only manufacture the carbon shell for device manufacturers: “Various companies wanted to license our technology.”

So far, the founder has decided against it. He is convinced that there will be significantly greater opportunities for developing your own hardware: Carbon Mobile should establish itself as a niche provider in this gigantic market. “It is definitely more difficult, but I have the feeling that we are on the right track.”

Delivery at the end of May

“Smartphones are getting bigger and heavier – differentiating yourself with a great, lightweight design is a good idea,” says Annette Zimmermann, an analyst at market researcher Gartner. “The question is: what about the rest of the equipment?” Especially in the premium segment, they outbid each other Apple, Samsung and Huawei with top technical performance. It is difficult for a small company, says the specialist.

Now there is the question of how the coronavirus epidemic will work. The factories in China are currently resuming production of the Carbon 1 MKII. There will be some delays, says Khalifeh. Nevertheless, delivery should begin at the end of May. The start-up does not break down pre-orders, nor does it disclose its business figures.

At the same time, the economy is in a downturn. Market researchers predict that smartphone sales will decrease significantly this year. The founder maintains his irrepressible optimism: “We have weathered difficult times before.”

More: Why the IT market is suffering from the pandemic


Carolina Píparo received terrifying messages from her son’s murderer from prison | Chronicle

The Deputy for Together for Change Carolina Píparo He denounced that the murderer of her son threatened her on the social network Facebook after the Justice authorized the use of cell phones in Buenos Aires jails in the face of the coronavirus health emergency.

“This is what the man who murdered my son writes to me the day they release the use of cell phones and networks. What did they think they were going to do? Call grandma? “, the legislator claimed through her account Twitter, in which he also shared screenshots of messages from Carlos Moreno.

According to those images, the accused wrote to him: “Don’t forget me either”, “The same one who shot you, woman’s trash” Y “In here, better than ever, unit 34”.

“It is not enough with Foucault, Zaffaroni and believing that they are victims of the system and blah, you have to sit down to study criminalistics, seriously analyze each measure. I can put this and you can read several but there will be thousands of victims harassed who don’t even have that. Take charge! “, Píparo criticized in another tweet.

In a radio interview, Píparo clarified that he is not against prisoners using cell phones, although he stressed that a control is necessary. “There are many more Carolinas Píparos that nobody knows and that today are harassed by social networks”, assured Radio Miter.

Regarding Moreno’s messages, the legislator stated that her blood ran cold: “It was not enough to steal and shit on me, he shot me and at 10 he writes to me”.

Píparo was shot by Moreno during a leak in the city of La Plata on July 29, 2010, when she was 8 months pregnant. Her son died a week later.


Corona virus: Keep the pandemic at bay with big data

More and more companies are trying to make the changing mobility behavior of the population transparent with large amounts of data and statistics based thereon in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. The movement information on millions of mobile customers is intended to show whether the citizens maintain the reminded social distance and stay at home more often. The hope is that in the medium term the associated findings about the risk of infection could reveal an exit strategy from the lockdown.

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At the end of 2019, a new disease began to develop in China, the lung disease COVID-19 triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Quarantine measures to contain the virus lead to production downtimes and increasingly serious consequences for the economy and everyday life.

In addition to network operators, Google launched Friday for the first time “Mobility reports” published for 131 countriesthat should be updated regularly. Just as you can see on Google Maps based on aggregated and anonymized location data, how popular and lively public institutions, squares, museums or restaurants are, the Alphabet subsidiary now provides comparable insights over time on different categories of locations in the recorded Nations.

Of the first report for Germany reveals that between mid-February and late March, Germans visited shopping and recreational facilities such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, museums, libraries, amusement parks and cinemas by up to 77 percent less than usual. However, the rates did not really decrease until after mid-March, when the facilities were all largely tight.

Supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies in this country had growing customer numbers until mid-March, only then has the rush subsided somewhat, last weekend even with a minus of 51 percent compared to the average. In parks there is obviously a weather-dependent, strong up and down, the curve fell here on the comparatively cool last Sunday by the maximum 49 percent so far.

According to statistics, buses and trains lose passengers almost continuously. The largest drop reached March 29 is 68 percent. The big change to the home office starts in mid-March, trips to offices have since decreased by up to 39 percent. At the same time, the proportion of users who have set up more or less permanently in their own walls rose by a maximum of eleven percent. Google also breaks the numbers down to the individual federal states, according to which Berliners and Hamburgers in particular spend more time at home.

The company can determine the location of users of the Android mobile system based on GPS or WLAN data if those affected have released the location function. The movement information obtained in this way is generally more precise than that of network operators, who operate at the core with sometimes quite large radio cells. Google assures that To anonymize data using the “differential privacy” technique, so to cover up the personal reference as well as possible with additional artificial noise.

The Google measurement method can be tricked quite easily: The Berlin artist Simon Weckert recently packed 99 mobile phones equipped with Android in a handcart and pulled it through empty streets of the capital. The cell phones sent their position and movement data to Google Maps, so that the system reported traffic jams on the map service. The new mobility reports should therefore also be treated with some caution.