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Google is working on end-to-end encryption for RCS texts in Messages

Sharon Ross

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Google is working on end-to-end encryption for RCS texts in Messages

RCS is supposed to be the spiritual successor to classic SMS and MMS texting, but the lack of built-in encryption puts a damper on that — someone could theoretically snoop on your messages where they can’t with services like iMessage. You might get your privacy after all, though. The 9to5Google crew has found evidence of plans to add end-to-end encryption to RCS conversations in Google Messages. While full details of how this would work aren’t clear, you could decide whether not third-party apps see encrypted messages. It’s also safe to assume that both participants would need a compatible app with reliable data connections.

The code is only just showing up in a “dogfood” test version of Messages meant for Google employees. It could be a while before this shows up in a release you can use yourself. Still, it’s good news. So long as you aren’t picky about your choice of messaging app, you could use all the rich media features of RCS without worrying that you’re compromising your privacy in the process.

Sharon Ross has been phenomenal in the success of Report Door. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Report Door.

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Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data – Report Door

Sharon Ross

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Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data – TechCrunch

Delman, a Jakarta-based data management startup, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by Intudo Ventures, with participation from Prasetia Dwidharma Ventures and Qlue Performa Indonesia, and will be used to establish a research and development center and hire software engineers and data scientists.

Delman was founded in 2018 by chief executive officer Surya Halim, chief product officer Raymond Christopher and chief technology officer Theo Budiyanto, who were classmates at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, they worked at tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Splunk, before deciding to focus on the Indonesian market.

Originally launched as an end-to-end big data analytics provider, Delman shifted its focus to data preparation and management after talking to clients in Indonesia, said Halim. Many companies said they had budgeted for expensive data analytics solution, but then realized their data was not ready for analysis because it was spread across multiple formats. Delman’s mission is to make it easier for data engineers and scientists to do their jobs by cleaning up and preparing data.

Halim says many large companies in Indonesia typically spend up to $200,000 to clean and warehouse data, but Delman gives them a more cost-efficient and faster alternative.

“We have the capability to do analytics and data visualization for clients, but there are so many established companies that already do that, which is why we shifted our business model to something more niche and needed,” said Halim. “It also enables us to open our door to partner with everyone doing data analytics services.”

While newer companies and startups have cleaner datasets, Halim said many older Indonesian companies, especially ones with branches in multiple cities, often have large amounts of data spread across pen-and-paper ledgers, Excel spreadsheets and other software. The data may also have code, keywords and typos that need to be corrected.

“It’s easier for a new company, because everything is already standardized,” Halim said, “But if a company that was established in the 1970s wants to unify previous generations of data to integrate it into their system and keep notes on what customer behavior is like in order to compete with up-and-coming companies, then they need to have a data-driven policy.”

Delman is industry-agnostic and its clients range from large corporations and consulting firms to government agencies. Its customers have included PWC and Qlue. Halim said that the startup plans to expand into other Southeast Asian markets and expects that as COVID-19 changes the way people work, companies will want to invest more heavily in their IT infrastructure and make their databases easier to access outside of a central location.

In a press statement, Intudo Ventures founding partner Eddy Chan said, “By combining a highly localized approach with global technical expertise, Delman is providing Indonesian businesses with Indonesian-developed big data solutions, ultimately leading to better outcomes for end-users. Since meeting the Delman founding team in Silicon Valley in 2017, we have witnessed their growth as a management team, and are excited to continue to support them in their entrepreneurial journey ahead.”

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Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk

Sharon Ross

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Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk

Qatar’s app, called EHTERAZ, uses GPS and Bluetooth to track COVID-19 cases, and last week, authorities made it mandatory. According to Amnesty, people who don’t use the app could face up to three years in prison and a fine of QR 200,000 (about $55,000).

“This incident should act as a warning to governments around the world rushing out contact tracing apps that are too often poorly designed and lack privacy safeguards. If technology is to play an effective role in tackling the virus, people need to have confidence that contact tracing apps will protect their privacy and other human rights,” said Claudio Guarnieri, head of Amnesty International’s Security Lab.

For contact tracing apps like EHTERAZ to work, they need widespread adoption — Amnesty says mandating the apps is not the right approach. Security blunders like this one could discourage people from using the apps and undermine efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Qatar’s misstep may encourage more countries to adopt the Apple-Google model. The “decentralized” API stores sensitive info in users’ phones, rather than a centralized server. It uses Bluetooth to exchange keys and it doesn’t gather location data. While the Apple-Google API can’t identify users, the apps that use the API may be able to. So security and privacy policies should be examined on an app-by-app basis. Hopefully incidents like this will remain rare.

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New Samurai Shodown collection will launch first for free on the Epic Games Store

Sharon Ross

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New Samurai Shodown collection will launch first for free on the Epic Games Store

A new collection of Samurai Shodown games is coming out in a couple of weeks, and it marks another notable exclusivity deal for the Epic Games Store. Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection will be released on Steam on June 18th and PS4 and Switch on June 28th for $39.99, but you’ll be able to get it first on the Epic Games Store on June 11th, and it’ll be completely free for a week.

Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection includes all six Neo Geo iterations of the classic fighting series, plus a completed version of Samurai Shodown V Perfect, an unreleased game that was supposed to be the final Neo Geo title. Each game has online modes and includes both the Japanese and English arcade versions. There’s also a “museum” featuring interviews, music, development documents, and more.

SNK announced this collection for Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in March last year, but there’s no longer any mention of the Xbox version on its website.

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