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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an ambivalent report on the likely efficacy of boosting its CAN-SPAM enforcement efforts through the creation of a bounty reward system.

In the document, the FTC looks closely at how bounties might help overcome the three primary obstacles to successful spammer prosecution under the nine-month-old law: identifying and locating spammers; amassing evidence that links them to spam they send; and collecting monetary penalties levied against them in court.

The report suggests insider parties, or “whistleblowers,” can help with the first two problems, at least. It said these individuals are far more likely than “cybersleuth” members of the public to legally identify spammers and provide information that’s admissible in court. However, whistleblowers’ willingness to provide that information is likely to be compromised by fear of jeopardizing their own incomes and exposing themselves to legal liability, among other concerns.

A bounty reward could overcome such reservations, the FTC finds, but it didn’t reach any hard fast conclusions on how large such a reward should be.

Following the passage of CAN-SPAM, the FTC was given nine months to issue recommendations on the viability of bounties in exchange for information leading to the prosecution of spammers. The idea echoed a bill introduced in 2003 that had public cybersleuths in mind as the beneficiaries of such rewards. Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, who famously offered to quit his job if it didn’t work, first pushed this bounty concept.

The FTC report isn’t kind to Lessig’s idea. While it agrees members of the public can often track down spammers based on educated guesses that link seemingly unrelated messages to a single source, it says such information often does not constitute actionable evidence for an enforcement action.

And because these individuals can’t issue or enforce subpoenas, they also can’t legally obtain the evidence needed to verify a spammer’s identity or whereabouts, even if information does link an individual to illegally sent e-mail.

“Many of the critical pieces of information necessary to prove these issues are in the possession of third parties — banks, payment processors, Internet service providers, and others — that will not or cannot provide them to private citizens Insiders, however, are often privy to this kind of evidence and would not need compulsory process to obtain it,” the FTC said.

In the report, the Commission issues several recommendations to Congress on the set-up of such a reward program. It says if a system is created, it should link eligibility for a bounty payment to the final court order in a case, not the collection of penalties. Other recommendations include: eligibility should be limited to insiders with high-value information; bounty seekers should be accorded anonymity in cases where testimony is not required; and eligibility disputes should be exempt from judicial or administrative review.

Ultimately, the FTC is non-committal about whether a reward system should be established at all: “To the extent an insider has ‘unclean hands’ and faces potential legal liability, it is questionable whether such a person would be willing to assume the significant personal risk of coming forward,” it says.

All 77 pages of the report were submitted to Congress in a 4-0-1 vote, with Commissioner Jonathan Leibowitz abstaining.

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Financial Report Of Xiaomi For The First Quarter Of 2023: Overview

In the smartphone business, in the first quarter of 2023, Xiaomi’s smartphone revenue was 30.3 billion yuan ($4.25 billion), an increase of 12.3% year-on-year; shipments reached 29.2 million units, an increase of 4.7% year-on-year. Driven by 5G high-end models, the average selling price of Xiaomi smartphones increased by 7.2% in the first quarter of 2023.

In addition, this quarter, Xiaomi also has new perspectives on globalization. According to the financial report of Xiaomi, the overseas market revenue was 24.8 billion yuan ($3.48 billion), a year-on-year increase of 47.8%. And the proportion of total revenue reached 50% for the first time.

Dual-brand strategy and 5G boost ASP by 7.2%

In 2023, Xiaomi split the Xiaomi brand and the Redmi brand. In addition, the 4G-to-5G switch that began in 2023 also brought a certain opportunity for the Xiaomi brand.

During the epidemic, Xiaomi released the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G flagship series. According to the financial report of Xiaomi, its shipments exceeded 1 million units within 2 months after the sale.

Driven by 5G high-end models, the average selling price of Xiaomi’s smartphones increased by 7.2% in the first quarter of 2023. Among them, the average selling price of smartphones in the mainland China market increased by 18.7% year-on-year, and the overseas market increased by 13.7% year-on-year.

This quarter, the Redmi brand also laid out multiple price segments. For example, it launched the K30 Pro equipped with the Snapdragon 865 processor for the premium market. In the low-end Note series, the global sales of the Redmi Note 8 series exceeded 30 million units.

In terms of smartphone gross margin, it increased from 3.3% in the first quarter of 2023 to 8.1% in the first quarter of 2023. Xiaomi said that with the continuous promotion of the dual-brand strategy, it is expected that the average selling price of Xiaomi smartphones will continue to rise in 2023.

The steady growth of IoT business affects transportation and installation

The financial report of Xiaomi shows the consumer goods industry was greatly affected by the epidemic. And the production, transportation, and sales of white goods and television were affected by the epidemic. In this quarter, Xiaomi’s IoT and consumer products business continued to grow. During the reporting period, revenue reached 13 billion yuan ($1.82 billion), an increase of 7.8% year-on-year.

During the reporting period, as of March 31, 2023, without including smartphones and laptops, the number of connected IoT devices on the Xiaomi IoT platform reached 252 million units, a year-on-year increase of 42.6%. The number of users of Xiaomi IoT platform devices increased to 4.6 million, a year-on-year increase of 67.9%.

In the first quarter of 2023, 2.7 million units of Xiaomi Smart TV were shipped globally. According to the financial report of Xiaomi, it has increased by 3% year-on-year when the overall scale of the Chinese mainland market declined.

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Wang Xiang, president of Xiaomi, said in a conference call that there were some categories in this quarter, including TVs, whose installation was greatly troubled. The second quarter is in the process of recovery. In addition, Wang Xiang said that Xiaomi has also launched a larger TV, adding new categories, continuing to raise TV products at different price segments, and developing new market areas. For example, during the reporting period, Xiaomi released the Redmi Smart TV ‘MAX98’ giant-screen TV, priced from 19999 yuan ($2802).

Internet business accounted for more than 10%, gross margin decreased

During the reporting period, Xiaomi’s Internet service revenue was 5.9 billion yuan ($0.83 billion), a year-on-year increase of 38.6%. And its share of overall revenue exceeded 10%, reaching 11.9%.

The user activity of Internet services increased significantly. According to the financial report of Xiaomi, in March 2023, MIUI monthly active users reached 330 million, an increase of 26.7% year-on-year. Among them, the monthly active users of MIUI in the mainland are 110 million.

Also Read: Xiaomi Active Users Exceed 500 Million Worldwide

Wang Xiang said that the substantial increase in revenue from Internet services is partly due to the fact that users spend more and more time on smartphones. This allows many of our smartphone-related businesses, such as gaming, to grow.

In the first quarter of 2023, Xiaomi’s overseas market revenue reached 24.8 billion yuan ($3.48 billion), a year-on-year increase of 47.8%, and overseas market revenue accounted for 50% of total revenue. This is the first time in the history of Xiaomi that the contribution of overseas income has reached half, and this proportion was 44.3% in 2023.

According to Canalys data, the shipment of Xiaomi smartphones in Europe increased by 58.3% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, and the market share exceeded 10% to 14.3%. This is of great significance for expanding operator channels. At the same time, shipments of smartphones in the Western European market increased by 79.3% year-on-year. Among them, the market share in Spain ranked first for the first time, with a market share of 28%. It is in the top four in Italy, Germany, and France.

In the Indian market, according to IDC statistics, in the first quarter of 2023, Xiaomi smartphones have maintained the number one shipment in India for 11 consecutive quarters, with a market share of 31.2%. Xiaomi is also accelerating in Latin America and the Middle East And the layout of the African region.

However, after the epidemic in China, it also broke out on a large scale. This also puts a certain pressure on Xiaomi’s second-quarter results.

Xiaomi President Wang Xiang said that 100% of China’s supply system has been restored, and India’s resumption of work is still in its infancy. The country’s government has just begun to lift the ban gradually. It is expected that recovery will take time. He revealed that India is currently recovering 60%. But future changes will depend on the prevention and control of the epidemic.

In the European market, Wang Xiang said that the recovery situation is better than the Indian market. At present, Xiaomi’s smartphone activation rate in the European market is about 90%, which is higher than the normal level. ‘This is a good signal. But we still think that the second quarter will be a challenge to our business growth.‘

Troubleshooting Common Software Issues On Mac

It happens to the best of us – one day you’re using an app that you really enjoy on your Mac, and the next, you start experiencing all kinds of problems with the same app. What’s going on? Will it ever end?

Before you go calling support to resolve a problem for you, there are some easy troubleshooting steps you can take in macOS to quickly determine if the problem is going to require help or not.

We’ll go through some of those troubleshooting steps with you right here in this tutorial.

Troubleshooting common software issues in macOS

Before you pick up the phone to call AppleCare or launch the Mail app to send the app developer a nasty-gram because something on your Mac isn’t working right, there are some troubleshooting steps you can take to see if you can solve the problem yourself first.

As Apple notes in a support document about troubleshooting macOS hardware and software problems, issues can occur in just one app, or in many.

Dealing with problems that affect just one app

If the problem you experience is occurring in just one of your apps, and not all of them, you may want to try going through the following steps:

Check for software updates: If you’re using a third-party app from the Mac App Store, you can check for updates from the Mac App Store’s Updates tab. The Updates tab also shows any updates for macOS, which you might want to install if you’re having trouble with any stock macOS apps that can’t be uninstalled or updated individually. Software updates can often contain important bug fixes or performance improvements that could potentially solve your problems, so always start with this step before moving on.

Test with other files: If you’re using an app that launches and edits certain file types, such as Word’s DOCX files or Photoshop’s PSD files, and are experiencing problems with a specific file, then try opening a different file of the same kind to see if the same problem persists. If the problem only occurs with a single file, then your software isn’t to blame – the file is. You may lose the file you want to play with, but you can probably recreate it or ask the source for another one that isn’t corrupted.

Troubleshooting issues that affect multiple apps

It’s also possible that software issues may plague more than one of your installed apps. There’s an array of things that could possibly go wrong, but we’ll try to cover some of the more common ways to deal with problems.

Create a new user account

For one of our examples, if you’re experiencing intermittent issues with the Mail app and Safari app, you might suspect the that problem is related to your macOS internet settings. Rather than going through and changing all your internet settings to experiment, you can easily verify whether or not this is actually the cause by adding a new user account.

A new user will have all the stock macOS settings configured out of the box, so you can see if the issues persist to see if your settings are the cause of the problem. To do this, follow these steps:

1) Launch the System Preferences app on your Mac and visit the “Users & Groups” preferences pane.

5) With the new user account created, log out of your account, then log into the new account, and attempt to use the software you were having issues with on your account.

Because all new user accounts will have the stock macOS settings configured for them when they’re created, you can now see whether or not it’s one of your own personal settings that might be causing issues. If the issue isn’t persisting in the new user account, then it’s one of your settings causing the problem. If you still experience the same issue, it could be related to the software itself, or to your internet connection, but don’t give up, there are other things you can still try if your software is still acting up.

Try the software in Safe Mode

If the above process didn’t help at all, you can also try Safe Mode. In this mode, only essential macOS processes are allowed to function. Third-party processes are very restricted and many are completely locked out from starting up to prevent potential software conflicts. This mode can be particularly useful when you want to see why something isn’t working because it eliminates potential software conflicts from being the main culprit.

Booting into Safe Mode is very easy; just follow these steps:

1) Completely shut down your Mac by going to the  Apple button in your Menu Bar and choosing “Shut Down” from the drop-down menu.

2) Press the power button on your Mac to turn it back on and then press and hold the ⇧ Shift key on your keyboard immediately after you hear the start-up chime.

3) Release the shift key when you see the Apple logo on your screen. Starting up in Safe Mode may take longer than usual – just sit back and remain patient.

4) Once in Safe Mode, try using the app in question once again and see if it works or not.

If the issue appears be gone, try restarting your Mac once again as you regularly would, rather than Safe Mode, and see if the problem continues. If the problem is still present even in Safe Mode, then the issue could be caused by a different problem that requires deeper methods of intervention, such as a trouble with a KTEXT file, startup item, or login item. If you believe it’s something else, move on to the next step.

Reset your Mac’s cache files

Another thing that could cause trouble is a corrupted cache file in your Home folder. To check if this is the problem, Apple notes the following steps are necessary to replace your Home folder’s cache file with a new one:

2) Drag the “Caches” folder to your desktop, then re-launch the troublesome app(s) and see if the problem persists. If the problem is resolved, move the “Caches” folder to the Trash and empty the trash; if it wasn’t resolved, move on to the next step.

5) From the Finder window that opens, drag the “Caches” folder to your desktop and then try to reproduce the issue once again in the troublesome software. If the problem appears to be resolved, move this Caches folder, as well as the previous one, to the Trash and empty the trash. If the problem wasn’t resolved, you’ll have to try something else to fix the problem.

Disable third-party fonts

Another problem that could cause problems with your software is any third-party font you’ve downloaded from the internet. Apple notes a way to disable third-party fonts, and we’ll walk you through that in the steps below:

2) Drag the Fonts folder to the desktop, restart your Mac, and then try to launch the software that’s having issues. If it seems to have been resolved, then you’re good to go and can delete the Fonts app you moved to your desktop by moving it to the Trash and emptying the trash. If it happens again, move on to the next step.

3) Go to the “Go” menu in the Menu Bar once again and navigate to “/Library” without the quotes, and once again move the Fonts folder to your desktop, restart your Mac, and see if the problem has been resolved. If resolved, you can delete the Fonts folder from your desktop by moving it to the Trash and emptying the trash afterwards. Otherwise, you’re running thin on options, but we still have some more ideas.

Nothing’s working! What else can I do?

Reset your Mac’s NVRAM: Information related to volume, resolution, time zones, and some other features on your Mac are stored in your Mac’s NVRAM. You can follow our tutorial on resetting your NVRAM to see if this fixes anything you’re experiencing.

Reset your Mac’s SMC: The SMC controls things like your back light, fans, power, display, and more. If problems are occurring in this department, you can try following our tutorial on how to reset your Mac’s SMC.

Troubleshoot your Mac’s Bluetooth issues: If the app’s problems are Bluetooth related, we have a more extensive tutorial on Bluetooth troubleshooting that may be of help to you.

Restore your Mac to factory settings: Although it’s not exactly what you wanted to hear, you can try restoring your Mac to factory settings. In some scenarios, this might resolve problems with apps, but it’s unlikely that it’ll do anything that creating a new user account couldn’t.

Contact AppleCare or the app’s support team: If all of the above have failed you, and you still can’t get your software to work properly, it might be time to finally pick up that phone to contact AppleCare or the app developer for help. Chances are they will have suggestions on how to fix a problem unique to you, or will try to make you happy in another way.

Wrapping up

Most software problems are caused by something stupid, but many issues can be hard to diagnose. Hopefully after reading this tutorial, you’ll be better equipped to deal with problems that could occur while using your Mac.

How To Troubleshoot Mifi Connection Issues

To connect multiple devices to the Internet, MiFi networks are a great alternative to WLAN routers and mobile hotspots. A pocket-sized MiFi device creates an ad hoc network within your carrier coverage area and when traveling abroad if international roaming is enabled. With the onset of 5G in many countries, you can enjoy blazing-fast speeds on your MiFi with very low latency. On rare occasions, your MiFi may fail to connect, even though the hardware isn’t damaged. If you’re facing this issue, follow the steps below to troubleshoot MiFi connection problems and reset your Internet access.

Also helpful: for those who frequently vacation or go on business trips, these must-have travel tech products may come in handy.

What Is a MiFi Device?

MiFi and portable Wi-Fi hotspot refer to an Internet access device with a SIM card inserted, combining the features of a modem and a router. Like a traditional router, it supports the latest Wi-Fi standards (up to Wi-Fi 6E). An SSID/pass key is used by other devices to connect online.

However, MiFi also works as a SIM card-operated modem connecting to next-generation mobile data standards, such as 4G and 5G. MiFi may be a registered trademark in some locations, but many manufacturers freely use this term. This tutorial only refers to MiFi as a generic gadget, though a MiFi may sometimes be called a “mobile hotspot router” in certain markets, including the U.S.

Image source: Amazon

With the ongoing rollout of 5G in many parts of the world, 5G MiFi devices are becoming popular. In the US, Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 comes with a T-Mobile 5G SIM card and provides Wi-Fi 6, one of the fastest Wi-Fi standards. It also provides WPA3 protocol security and enterprise-grade VPN access, making it one of the best MiFi devices you can buy.

Depending on your location, you’ll also find 4G MiFi devices by Verizon, Alcatel-Lucent, Netgear, Sprint, Huawei, Novatel, D-Link, ZTE, and many others.

Tip: if you’re using a MiFi device, you can also enable Wi-Fi calling in areas where you need it.

Why Is My MiFi Showing No Internet?

If your MiFi is not connecting to the Internet, you must follow some critical steps to get back online. The following guide demonstrates the troubleshooting for a generic 5G MiFi device. Many of these steps are common to other MiFi devices, but you should always refer to your carrier-specific instructions.

1. Check Your Account Status for Any Service Discontinuity

If your MiFi device cannot connect online, ensure that your account is in good standing. Unpaid bills are a leading cause of service discontinuity. Whichever carrier supports your MiFi connectivity, immediately contact the customer care phone number for your current account status, clear any outstanding dues, and the MiFi green lights will blink quickly!

Also helpful: you may want to consider MVNO carriers for your MiFi coverage.

2. Make Sure You’ve Correctly Configured Your MiFi Device

If your MiFi device fails to connect, check whether you’ve configured it correctly. First, switch off the MiFi. Next, run your fingers along its edges until you feel a gap, then gently pull it open with a paper clip or your nails and remove the battery. Make sure the SIM card is in place. (The following is a dual-SIM 5G MiFi device.) Reinserting the battery will restart your network access.

3. Check Your MiFi Connectivity Status

If you connect the MiFi device to your laptop or desktop, check its admin web user interface to see whether the data packets are being sent and/or received. The IP address is in the MiFi back panel beneath the battery compartment. In many cases, is the default IP address for home routers and MiFi devices. Always check with your MiFi service provider to track the home IP address. If there are no problems with your Internet connection, the device should show a “connected” status.

If the WLAN status shows as “off,” or there is no exchange of data packets, there may be an issue connecting to the data provider, a misconfiguration of its network settings, or your data cap may have been reached (if your account has a data limit or when you’re on international roaming).

Check with your data provider to see whether they are having issues with the network, which is mostly temporary. Also, verify that you have not exceeded the daily limits on your current data plan.

4. Check MiFi LED Indicator Status

Depending on your MiFi device type, you can check the connection status indicated by a different LED color. Universally, a blinking green light means that your MiFi is successfully connected to your service provider’s data network, in which case there should be no further network issues.

However, if you cannot connect on your laptop, phone, or tablet, check whether it has been appropriately tethered. Also, the hotspot has to be within a specific range. For example, T-Mobile recommends its MiFi be within 15 feet of your target device. Check with your service provider for more details.

If there is no light, the device is not receiving power, and you need to connect the MiFi charging port to a computer, smart plug, or wall charger (AC). A red light universally means that all signals to the MiFi have been blocked. Only the SIM carrier can fix the problem.

5. Remove and Reinsert the SIM Card

Sometimes, due to sudden movement of the MiFi, loose debris or dirt, the SIM card may get detached from its slot.

To fix the issue, remove the battery from the compartment. You will see a SIM card cover that you can flap open and close quickly. It will easily release the SIM card, which you can put aside for a while.

You can use a port-cleaning brush, cotton swab, or microfiber cloth to clean it. Reinsert the SIM card until it locks into the slot properly. Put the battery back where it belongs and restart the device.

Good to know: you can learn more about SIM cards with our helpful guide.

6. Do a MiFi Factory Reset

This goes hand in hand with the above step. Resetting a MiFi device is the best way to deal with all connectivity problems. If there’s nothing wrong with the MiFi hardware, and your carrier says there are no problems with the Internet, consider doing a factory reset of your MiFi device to get back online quickly.

There is a reset button in the back panel. Use a pin to press it for 5 to 10 seconds. The MiFi device will automatically reset. Restart your MiFi using the Power button and recheck the connectivity.

7. Upgrade to a 5G SIM

This is the ultimate solution for slower Wi-Fi speeds. It’s recommended to replace any 4G MiFi devices that are beginning to lag and have a dead battery. Sometimes, just upgrading to a 5G SIM can work wonders for the following reasons:

5G SIMs are better equipped to handle higher frequencies, such as 5 GHz and the regular 2.4 GHz. Their whole purpose is to improve network performance for multiple online devices.

5G SIMs are much less prone to signal interference. They can overcome initial lags and delays to connect successfully with each new device.

If your carrier’s SIM cards are 5G-ready, you will need to pick up a 5G replacement SIM. If your carrier doesn’t support 5G, consider porting to one with 5G.

Frequently Asked Questions Does MiFi increase Internet speed?

MiFi doesn’t increase Internet speed on its own other than what the carrier provides. However, you can purchase a MiFi signal booster that repeats the network’s signal to improve Internet speed. A 5G MiFi enabled with a 5G SIM can provide much faster and more reliable Internet speeds than you can get from a mobile phone hotspot.

Which is better: MiFi or tethering?

Both MiFi and a portable hotspot on a smartphone (tethering) allow access to multiple devices. However, MiFi is certainly a better choice, as unlike a smartphone set as a Wi-Fi hotspot, it won’t get overheated. It also has a much greater battery life. If you want reliable, continuous, 24/7 Internet, MiFi gives you more options than tethering.

How do I turn on roaming on my MiFi?

International roaming can be enabled on any MiFi device through its admin web user interface by typing an IP address, such as, on a web browser. Then, log in with an admin username and password written on the MiFi back panel under its battery. Check for an available roaming option under device settings that must be turned on. If no roaming option is available, initialize a service request for data roaming with your 4G/5G SIM provider.

Can I leave my MiFi plugged in?

While most MiFi devices have internal protections against overheating, it is better not to keep the MiFi constantly plugged in, as that will wear the battery out faster.

Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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Students Witness History, Report Back

Ten days into their first semester as reporters for BU’s Washington, D.C., Journalism Program, students got the reporting opportunity of a lifetime: covering President Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20.

The program, founded in 2000 by Washington Center director Linda Killian (CAS’80, COM’80), a former editor at National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, offers graduate and undergraduate students a semester-long opportunity to work in the bureaus of national news organizations such as ABC, NBC, the Boston Globe, and NPR, as well as New England news outlets like the Cape Cod Times, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and Connecticut Public Radio.

Last week, the students headed out early on inauguration day to capture the nation’s capital at this moment in history. They reflected on the experience for BU Today.

Despite the cold, the stress of finding New Hampshire residents to interview, and the long, long walk home through massive crowds, it was worth it to witness such a historic moment surrounded by hundreds of thousands of excited people. As a journalism and political science student, it was incredible to see so many people motivated by the political process; as a human being, it was incredible to see so many people treat each other with respect and patience in a crowd that could have easily become unruly.

Every moment — from the traditional playing of “Hail to the Chief” following the swearing-in to the chant “Nah nah nah nah, good-bye!” that rose from the crowd, directed at the outgoing president — will stay with me for a lifetime. (Not to mention the man who walked across a row of Porta-Potties to beat the crowd!)

The cold was unbearable, the walking was painful, the crowds and crushing were frightening — but none of this mattered once Obama stepped onto the platform. He spoke with such confidence, belief, and optimism for the future that one had to feel this was going to be a time of change.

I trusted Obama, believing that he would deliver positive change. I admired his family for their unity, their teamwork, and their values.

Never in my life have I seen so many politically engaged people gathered in one city so peacefully, civilized and in common agreement that this was a great day, this was a special day, but most importantly, this was a new day and a new era for Americans.

I spent most of the day literally covering the event from the sidelines — not just because of the biting winds, but because there was nowhere to go. Most of the action was at the edges of the crowds, where people paced back and forth looking for easy entrances.

Despite endless lines, dangerously crowded trains, and masses of people from all 50 states pressed cheek by jowl next to total strangers, there were no arrests or reports of violence. I saw faces of eagerness, impatience, and weariness, but not one of anger, even if the hassles some tourists suffered really justified it. The event was a powerful argument that American people are basically decent, and I was glad to be a witness to it.

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Mobbles Wobbles: Kid Game Developer Pulls App After Ftc Privacy Row

Mobbles wobbles: Kid game developer pulls app after FTC privacy row

Kids’ game maker Mobbles has pulled its mobile titles in a preemptive defense against FTC investigation, having been unofficially informed that its software is among 200 titles accused of storing information on child players without parental approval. The FTC confirmed it would begin a probe into kid apps on Monday, but did not specifically name the titles it would be looking at. “We have elected to take our app temporarily offline in order to focus on [privacy] objectives and ways that we can continue to improve on all fronts” Mobbles said in a statement on its site today, claiming not to have yet been approached by the FTC regarding online privacy complaints.

Mobbles insists that its games “never stored any location-related date” and that “nor do we give any data to third parties.” However, the company confirmed it intended on updating its privacy policy – a new version of which is now online - and for the moment none of its software is available.

“We have been informed by various members of the media that Mobbles has been or will be identified in a filing with the FTC regarding the manner in which it collects, stores and uses consumer information. At this point, however, we have not received any official notice or service of any such filing. Thus it is impossible for us to respond in any intelligent way to allegations that we have neither seen nor analyzed in full. Assuming the media is reporting accurate information, we will review any such allegations with our legal counsel and will be better able to respond following such review. Mobbles is committed to providing our users with the most positive experience possible. We’re gamers ourselves and take the privacy of our users extremely seriously. In case that wasn’t clear enough, we never stored any location-related data nor do we give any data to third parties. We’ll put a clearer privacy policy on our website later today. We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of our users’ privacy, and we have elected to take our app temporarily offline in order to focus on these objectives and ways that we can continue to improve on all fronts. We will always do what we believe is best for our users in the long term, and we thank you, our loyal and valued users, for your understanding” Mobbles

Among the FTC’s concerns are apps that contain in-app purchasing which could be abused by younger gamers, apps that use geolocation to identify the position of those players, and titles that gather up information that COPPA cautions against.

Mobbles is unlikely to be the only developer moving to yank software distribution until the investigation is fully explained, and we’re expecting to see other app producers move to clarify their position on titles aimed at young people. There’s more on the FTC report here.

[via Adweek]

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