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Plan for digital break-ups

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With online accounts and connected devices playing an ever-growing role in our daily lives, it has become harder than ever for people in relationships to define the boundaries of personal privacy. But what happens if they break up?

According to global research from Kaspersky Lab and Toluna, 21% of people globally have spied on their ex-partner via an online account that they had access to but, with revenge also a key motivator for scorned lovers, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the privacy risks that accompany modern-day partners after a break-up.

Privacy is becoming an increasingly fluid concept in a world of digital borders, and relationships are no exception. For example, 70% of couples globally share passwords, PINs or fingerprints to access their personal devices, and 26% store some type of intimate data on their partner’s device: such as intimate messages from/to the partner (14%), intimate photos of themselves (12%) and intimate videos of them and their partner (11%). In addition, people keep sensitive data in accounts and devices they share with their partner – for example, financial information (11%) or work-related data (11%).

This is all well and good when the relationship is healthy and the data is in trusted hands, but some clear issues emerge in the event of a break-up. If things start to collapse, sharing intimate memories on devices or online accounts goes from being a perfectly natural part of a loving relationship, to a potential privacy nightmare.

Of those who have experienced a break-up, 12% have shared or wanted to share their ex-partner’s private information publicly as an act of revenge, 12% have damaged or wanted to damage their ex’s device and 21% have spied on their former partner via accounts they had access to. There’s also a potential financial impact, with one in ten (10%) people admitting to having spent their ex-partner’s money online.

Interestingly, there are some noticeable differences between the sexes, as men are much more likely than women to share their ex-partner’s private information publicly as a form of revenge (17% vs. 7%) and use their ex’s information for their own benefit (17% vs. 8%). In comparison, women are much more willing than men to take the high road by deleting all their ex-partner’s information from their device (55% vs. 49%) and deleting all partner photos or videos following a break-up (56% vs. 48%).

Women, however, are also prone to some sneaky tactics, with 33% admitting to spying on their ex-partner via social networks compared to 28% of men.

“The digital world offers a great way for couples to connect, but also presents significant privacy risks if partners decide to go their separate ways,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab. “With a sizeable proportion of individuals seemingly willing to abuse the intimate data they have on their ex-partners, individuals should always make sure they are careful when sharing anything intimate and know exactly where it is being stored. Moreover, there’s always the option of a digital prenuptial agreement to determine the ‘custody’ of data before it becomes a privacy problem.”

But a break-up doesn’t have to put your privacy at risk. People should always be sure to change passwords to accounts that their ex-partner has access to, using the Kaspersky Password Manager to help generate strong passwords and store them securely. Furthermore, Kaspersky Total Security features a File Shredder feature which permanently deletes files that you don’t want anyone else to see, while intimate messages on your Android device can be hidden using the Privacy Protection feature.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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