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How BB PRIV sets privacy bar

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BlackBerry Chief Security Officer, DAVID KLEIDERMACHER outlines how BlackBerry PRIV offers a no-compromise user experience to privacy-minded consumers and enterprises.

If you use an Android device today, chances are very good that it’s not protecting your privacy. According to a recent study by Cambridge University researchers, nearly 9 out of 10 Android devices are exposed to a critical vulnerability that puts your communications and personal data at risk.

It’s not a good situation. However, we at BlackBerry think we can do better. PRIV by BlackBerry will bring BlackBerry mobile privacy, security and productivity to the Android world. With full access to Google Mobile Services, the Google Play app store, the latest hardware specs, and a revolutionary slide-out, touch-enabled keyboard, PRIV offers a no-compromise user experience to privacy-minded consumers and enterprises.

But what does privacy really mean for BlackBerry and the PRIV? The BlackBerry secure and private smartphone experience is built on the following principles:

1. Deliver a comprehensive, state-of-the-art technical security approach through all layers of the smartphone stack.

While the PRIV user interface is simple and beautiful, BlackBerry has performed extensive surgery under the hood to augment Android’s privacy and security capabilities. BlackBerry also brings its patented picture-login to Android, representing the best combination of security strength and ease of use for any smartphone authentication scheme available on any mobile device today.

2. Ensure users have a rich choice of private communication and collaboration applications.

Starting with BBM, which has served billions of private messages and offers security and productivity features evolving from many years of user feedback, PRIV also supports innumerable third-party options from Google Play as well as a wide range of BlackBerry-authored communication and collaboration applications aimed at business users, including WatchDox private file sharing, BBM Meetings private conferences, and SecuSUITE private voice calls. BlackBerry’s communications suites have no back doors and use certified cryptography from BlackBerry Certicom.

3. Give users maximum visibility and control over their privacy-related posture and configuration.

BlackBerry has built privacy monitoring hooks deep within Android that provide users with powerful feedback and control over how applications make use of security-critical device resources. This includes the exclusive DTEK™ by BlackBerry warning system app, as well as other features. Privacy health is communicated in a simple and elegant manner, resulting in confidence instead of complexity.

4. Commit to user privacy beyond the hardware and software.

Android privacy and security is about much more than just the device. And it’s about more than the end-to-end infrastructure for reliable communication and over-the-air updates. BlackBerry’s world-renowned security incident response and research teams offer nation-state level sophisticated vulnerability assessment that helps us find and fix problems before they impact users. Android is a complex, rapidly changing, massively popular, open-source product, which makes it an attractive and fertile target for attackers. Such an environment demands world-class security incident response, and BlackBerry has a long history delivering that to customers with the highest value resources under their (and hence our) protection. BlackBerry’s vulnerability patch program is second to none in the industry.

As we get closer to launch, the PRIV by BlackBerry security and privacy blog series from myself and Alex Manea will dive deeper on these topics and more. Also visit our Android Security site to keep up-to-date about Android vulnerabilities, hacks, breaches, management tips and more.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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