Android’s stock data-wipe tool doesn’t fully delete your personal files, can allow easy recovery

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Before selling a used smartphone, most users take the time to erase personal data contained on the devices to prevent anything from falling into the hands of strangers. Most smartphones come with an option for doing this built right into the operating system, but a newly-discovered flaw in how Android handles the process could allow anyone to recover your personal information, including text messages, social media data, and a lot more.

How much more, exactly? According to researchers at security software maker Avast who purchased 20 smartphones from eBay, they were able to recover over 40,000 photos, 750 emails and text messages, and even a completed loan application. A few hundred contact entries were also pulled from the phones, and the original owners of four of the devices were found using the recovered information. That’s not even the worst part…

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Amazon’s upcoming smartphone revealed in photo, reportedly coming in June

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Following various leaks and rumors, BGR has obtained a photo of Amazon’s upcoming smartphone. While the device itself is still a month or more away from being officially unveiled, the above image is the first to show off the device without a protective case obscuring the design.

The device itself is similar in appearance to the Nexus 4, which received praise for its understated design. As Amazon’s phone will likely compete on price, it isn’t a surprise that its materials will shy away from the flashy metallic materials of devices like the iPhone or the HTC One M8. Read more

AT&T announces new family plan tier with unlimited talk/text, 10GB of data

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 2.08.50 PMAT&T has just announced a new tier for its family plan customers that ups the amount of data offered. The carrier is now offering a family plan that includes unlimited talk and text, as well as 10GB of data. The 10GB of data is available to anyone that is apart of the family plan.

Here’s an example: Today, Verizon charges $260 monthly for a comparable plan that’s now $160 from AT&T. A family with four smartphones with unlimited talk and text, and a shared 10GB bucket of data, could switch to AT&T from Verizon and save $100 a month.  Current AT&T customers can save big with these new plans, too, when they choose a 10GB or larger bucket of data. For example, a family or small business with four smartphones could move to this new plan and save between $40 and $100 per month, depending on their current plan.

This new plan starts at $130 a month for 2 lines and increases in $15 iterations for each additional line.

Back in December, AT&T launched new ‘Mobile Share Value Plans‘ that offered pretty steep discounts to customers to compete with T-Mobile’s Uncarrier offerings. AT&T also began offering $100 credits to new customers, as a preemptive jab at T-Mobile, as well.

T-Mobile unveils global data coverage in 100 countries at no extra charge

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T-Mobile unveiled a new offering that will provide global data coverage allowing users to access their data plan in over 100 countries at no extra charge (via Engadget). CEO John Legere has been hinting at the announcement on his Twitter account in recent days: “Today is the day! The day we change the way the world uses their phones!”

This new plan will allow Simple Choice customers to get unlimited 2G data and texting in supported Simple Global countries. Voice calls on the plan cost $.20 per minute for in-country calls. There are no extra fees for this service, as it is included in all Simple Choice plans automatically.

The “un-carrier” also announced a few other changes to its plans, including a new international talk and text option from the US to all other Simple Global countries. That will cost an additional $10/month and include $.20/minute voice calls and unlimited texting. Adding this option to your plan will also enable unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 Simple Global countries for free.

Finally, T-Mobile announced that its 4G LTE network is available nationwide and reaches over 200 million potential customers.

UK regulator orders Google to delete Street view data to avoid criminal charges

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Google’s run-ins with the law in Europe have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this week, the company was ordered to fix its privacy issues in France to avoid facing fines, and now a UK regulator is ordering the company to delete all remaining Street View data within 35 days to avoid facing criminal charges, the ICO reports. Should Google find any further data, then it must inform the ICO immediately.

Today’s enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found. Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offense.

Back in 2010, Google had reached an agreement with the IOC over the WiFi data its Street View cars had accidentally collected. Earlier this year, however, Google stated that had not deleted all the data the first time around, which the IOC was not pleased with. Should Google fail to delete the remaining data within the given time period, it will be hit with a criminal offense.  Read more