Posts Tagged ‘USA’

HAVANA, Cuba — John Kerry, the first American secretary of state to visit Cuba in 70 years, called on Friday for the Cuban government to do more to improve relations during a speech here celebrating the opening of the American Embassy.

“The president has taken steps to ease restrictions on remittances, on exports and imports to help Cuban private entrepreneurs, on telecommunications, on family travel, but we want to go further,” Mr. Kerry said under a baking sun.

“Just as we are doing our part, we urge the Cuban government to make it less difficult for their citizens to start businesses, to engage in trade, access information online,” Mr. Kerry added. “The embargo has always been something of a two-way street. Both sides need to remove restrictions that have been holding Cubans back.”

Mr. Kerry’s remarks highlighted an issue that has often been overlooked in the debate over the Obama administration’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba: Many of the steps that the United States is taking to encourage political and economic change here will fall short unless the Cuban government makes reciprocal moves.

Kerry in Havana

Source: New York Times

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(CNN):  The “kill switch,” a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015, according to a pledge backed by most of the mobile world’s major players.

Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States, are among those that have signed on to a voluntary program announced Tuesday by the industry’s largest trade group.

All smartphones manufactured for sale in the United States after July 2015 must have the technology, according to the program from CTIA-The Wireless Association.

Advocates say the feature would deter thieves from taking mobile devices by rendering phones useless while allowing people to protect personal information if their phone is lost or stolen. Its proponents include law enforcement officials concerned about the rising problem of smartphone theft.

“We appreciate the commitment made by these companies to protect wireless users in the event their smartphones are lost or stolen,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA. “This flexibility provides consumers with access to the best features and apps that fit their unique needs while protecting their smartphones and the valuable information they contain.”

HTC, Motorola, Nokia are among the other smartphone makers who have signed up, along with carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular.

The feature would let a phone’s owner erase contacts, photos, e-mail and other information, and lock the phone so it can’t be used without a password.

The feature, which will be offered at no cost to consumers, also will prevent the phone from being reactivated without an authorized user’s consent. The data would be retrievable if the owner recovers the phone.

Some phone makers already include the ability to remotely wipe phones. In Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, a feature called Activation Lock lets users prevent their phones from being reactivated even if they’re reset.

The new pledge marks a reversal for wireless carriers, who have resisted making the kill-switch feature mandatory. Industry representatives have said they fear hackers exploiting remote-kill technology, while critics accuse the industry of not wanting to lose revenue from replacing and activating stolen phones.

In Minnesota, the state legislature could pass a mandatory kill-switch bill as early as next week.

Oregon state Sen. Bruce Starr, president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said his group “applauds today’s announcement unveiling the wireless industry’s commitment to reduce the number of smartphone thefts each year by providing anti-theft tools on future devices.”

“This voluntary effort serves as another positive illustration of the wireless industry adapting to address consumer needs through self-regulation,” he said.

But an optional deal didn’t go far enough for others.

SOURCE: cnn.com