The Morning After: 12 years in jail for unlocking smartphones

·Senior Editor
·5-min read

The mastermind behind a seven-year scheme to illegally unlock AT&T handsets has been sentenced to 12 years in jail. Muhammad Fahd unlocked phones for ineligible customers who still had to pay off the cost of their smartphone. AT&T says 1.9 million handsets were unlocked in this manner, and it lost around $201.5 million because of the scheme.

Fahd contacted and subsequently bribed an AT&T employee to help unlock devices until the company locked down the system. Consequently, Fahd commissioned malware to be installed on AT&T’s internal systems, which captured data on both the company and its employees. Fahd was indicted in 2017, arrested in Hong Kong a year later and extradited to the US in 2019.

Perhaps the most staggering part of the story is the lengths Fahd went to keep the project going. It’s not clear if Fahd’s malware put any customer data at risk, but that a scheme like this was able to run for so long is troubling.

— Dan Cooper

Ultra-white paint could reduce the need for air conditioning

Someone stop Anish Kapoor from getting hold of this.

Image of Purdue University's new White Paint that is designed to reflect solar radiation.
Image of Purdue University's new White Paint that is designed to reflect solar radiation.

Pretty much everyone knows you can make your house a lot cooler if you paint it white, which is common practice in warmer countries. Now, however, a team of scientists at Purdue University has cooked up the ultimate white paint, which, they claim, works so well it could eliminate the need for air conditioning. The covering supposedly reflects 98.1 percent of all solar radiation, theoretically leaving the surface cooler than the surrounding environment. If it works and it’s implemented properly, it could reduce the global energy bill by quite a figure.

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Netflix and Apple TV+ clean up at the Emmys with 'The Crown' and 'Ted Lasso'

HBO is the only ‘traditional’ broadcaster who earned more than streamers.

Image of Jason Sudekis as Ted Lasso, supplied by Apple
Image of Jason Sudekis as Ted Lasso, supplied by Apple

In 2020, Apple TV+ was proud to earn just one primetime Emmy for The Morning Show’s Billy Crudup. A year later and the nascent streamer managed to take home 11 trophies, with breakout hit Ted Lasso earning seven of those on its own. In fact, while HBO remains the top dog of this particular awards show, Netflix’s The Crown won most of the big drama nods. It’s clear that streaming services are swallowing the world whole, and the challenge of formerly blue-chip broadcasters is to somehow up the ante on their well-heeled rivals.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 might include a 120Hz screen and Thunderbolt ports

September 22nd is just a few days away.

Two Thunderbolt ports and a 120Hz display.
Two Thunderbolt ports and a 120Hz display.

Microsoft has a big event coming September 22nd, and an image, via Twitter user Shadow_Leak, purporting to be a store listing suggests the Surface Pro 8 might get some big improvements. New features for the slate include a narrow-bezel, 120Hz display, dual Thunderbolt ports and an 11th-generation Intel Core processor. Given how the Surface Pro has become such a mainstay of Microsoft’s hardware lineup, it’s always exciting to see some dramatic changes year on year.

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NTSB head says Tesla must address 'basic safety issues' with semi-autonomous features

Regulators are not happy with how Tesla operates or markets its technology.

Image of Tesla Model 3 Steering Wheel
Image of Tesla Model 3 Steering Wheel

The new head of the National Transportation Safety Board has advised Tesla to get its house in order. In an interview, Jennifer Homendy said she took issue with how Tesla tests, operates and markets its self-driving technology. That includes the “misleading and irresponsible” way it sells Full Self Driving, which encourages people to “misuse and abuse” it. In addition, Homendy said the company needed to address “basic safety issues” rather than focus on headline-grabbing new features. Homendy’s words don’t mean much yet in a policy sense, but it might set the tone on how the NTSB chooses to deal with companies like Tesla in future.

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Harley-Davidson will sell its retro-inspired e-bike by the end of 2021

It’s a beauty but, oh boy, is it expensive.

Image of Harley Davidson's beautiful retro e-Bike
Image of Harley Davidson's beautiful retro e-Bike

Were you disappointed when Harley-Davidson showed off a gorgeous, retro-inspired e-bike then didn’t put it on sale? Thankfully, someone at the company heard your sighs of frustration and is going to release a version, called the MOSH/TRIBUTE, towards the end of this year. Unfortunately, no matter how pretty this thing is, there’ll only be a limited release of 650, and it’ll cost you $5,999 for the privilege of owning one. But, you know, it is pretty.

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India says Google abused Android dominance

It’s the conclusion of a two-year antitrust probe

India’s competition authority has found Google abused its dominant position to box out potential rivals. A two-year probe into how the search giant does business on the subcontinent has found the company in violation of the local competition law. Regulators took issue with how Google prevents manufacturers from using forked versions of Android, and the “arbitrary” nature of the Play Store’s policies. India joins an ever-growing list of countries that have probed Google’s business dealings and found something isn’t right. Regulators have yet to decide if Google’s conduct was illegal and if fines need to be handed out, but given what happened in South Korea just a few days back, we shouldn’t be surprised.

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