UK's worst cities for mobile phone signal ranking topped by Birmingham, Leeds and London

Network operators focus too much on data speed at the expense of reliability, research shows
Birmingham, Leeds and London have the worst mobile phone signal in the UK, according to a new study.
Research by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) showed O2 was the best performing network, with Vodafone ranked as the worst based on testing using both Android and iOS devices in 32 cities and towns across the UK. Telefonica-owned O2 was rated the most reliable network in 17 places, while Three was most reliable in 12 – including London – and EE came out on top in three.
Meanwhile, when it comes to criteria for selecting a network consumers are twice as likely to choose reliability over network speed, according to surveys and focus groups conducted by YouGov on behalf of GWS.
More than two thirds (69 per cent) of respondents said the most important phone function is making calls, while 53 per cent selected texting as the highest priority, followed by 43 per cent who chose internet browsing. ..

Deported to Libya, Ex-Gitmo Detainees Vanish. Will Others Meet a Similar Fate?

Deported to Libya, Ex-Gitmo Detainees Vanish. Will Others Meet a Similar Fate? Photo The system set up under President Barack Obama to send low-level Guantánamo detainees to stable countries is at risk of collapsing under President Trump, current and former officials said. Credit Lucas Jackson/Reuters WASHINGTON — In President Barack Obama’s drive to close the Guantánamo prison, his administration struck deals with about three dozen nations to take in lower-risk detainees from dangerous countries. Resettling them in stable places would increase the chances they would live peacefully, officials argued, rather than face persecution or drift into Islamist militancy.
But a decision this month by Senegal to deport two former detainees to their chaotic birth country of Libya has raised the prospect that the resettlement system is starting to collapse under President Trump. After a traumatic journey, the Libyans fell into the hands of a hard-line militia leader who has been accused of prisone..

This Start-Up Says It Wants to Fight Poverty. A Food Stamp Giant Is Blocking It.

This Start-Up Says It Wants to Fight Poverty. A Food Stamp Giant Is Blocking It.
Four years ago, Jimmy Chen left a lucrative perch as a product manager at Facebook to found Propel, what he calls an “anti-poverty software company.”
In 2016, the Brooklyn start-up released a smartphone app that lets food stamp recipients easily look up how much money was left in their accounts, rather than call an 800 number or keep paper receipts. Today, one million food stamp participants use Propel’s app, and the start-up has added features like links to food coupons, healthy recipes, budgeting tools and job opportunities.
But in the last few months, the Propel app has been hobbled or become unavailable in many states, sometimes for weeks. Behind the slowdown is a big government contractor, Conduent, which runs the food stamp networks in 25 states, including New York, California and Pennsylvania. In those states, where 60 percent of Propel’s users live, Conduent maintains the database that Propel’s ap..

How Looming Privacy Regulations May Strengthen Facebook and Google

How Looming Privacy Regulations May Strengthen Facebook and Google Photo Facebook and Google may emerge stronger after Europe enacts sweeping new regulations that prioritize people’s data privacy. Credit Tomi Setala/Bloomberg SAN FRANCISCO — In Europe and the United States, the conventional wisdom is that regulation is needed to force Silicon Valley’s digital giants to respect people’s online privacy.
But new rules may instead serve to strengthen Facebook’s and Google’s hegemony and extend their lead on the internet.
That could begin playing out next month, when Europe enacts sweeping new regulations that prioritize people’s data privacy. The new laws, which require tech companies to ask for users’ consent for their data, are likely to hand Google and Facebook an advantage. That’s because wary consumers are more prone to trust recognized names with their information than unfamiliar newcomers. And the laws may deter start-ups that do not have the resources to comply with the rules from ..

Apple’s Deal for Shazam Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns

Apple’s Deal for Shazam Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns Photo European regulators announced an investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of Shazam, the song-identification app, over concerns that Apple would acquire data on competitors. Credit Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg LONDON — If data is the most valuable currency of the digital economy, at what point does a company have so much that it becomes unfair?
That’s a question antitrust experts are increasingly asking themselves as the world’s biggest technology companies harvest more and more information about people and businesses. On Monday, European regulators pushed the idea forward, announcing an investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of the song-identification app Shazam over concerns the iPhone maker would get access to data on competitors like Spotify.
Antitrust cases, particularly in the United States, are typically argued over the impact a deal will have on consumers, such as the price of a product or service. ..

Google boss Sundar Pichai to receive $380m pay day this week

One of the largest single payouts to a public company executive in recent years
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai is about to have a very big week. On Wednesday, an award of 353,939 restricted shares he received before a promotion in 2014 will vest.
At the end of last week, the grant was worth about $380m (£272m), making it one of the largest single payouts to a public company executive in recent years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mr Pichai, 45, who has led Alphabet’s Google ince 2015, received the shares before his promotion to senior vice president of products a year earlier, when he took over many of co-founder Larry Page’s responsibilities.
Read more Hunt threatens Facebook and Google with new age-limit laws The award swelled in value as Alphabet’s stock surged 90 per cent since the grant date, compared with a 39 per cent advance of the S&P 500. He has received two more nine-figure stock grants since then. The company has yet to disclose Pichai’s compensati..

Culture Secretary could intervene in Trinity Mirror purchase of the Express and Star

Potential impact on editorial independence and media plurality cited
The culture secretary, Matt Hancock, has said he is “minded to” intervene in Trinity Mirror's proposed purchase of the Daily Express, Daily Star and a number of other titles on two public-interest grounds.
He cited the potential impact the transfer of newspapers would have on editorial decision making and independence, as well as the need for a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers.
Trinity Mirror also plans to buy the Sunday Express, Daily Star and celebrity magazine OK!, among other titles, from Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell.
Read more Daily Mirror publisher Trinity to change name to Reach Mr Hancock said he had taken into account that the merged entity would own 9 out of 20 national UK newspaper titles.
It would become “the second largest national newspaper organisation in circulation terms, with a 28 per cent share of average monthly circulation based on circulation figures for 2017..

Zero good news on zero hours contracts?

It's true that the latest figures show that their growth has plateaued but there are still too many people on them who are being exploited and the Government's proposed response is woeful
There would appear to be modest signs of progress when it comes to the exploitative zero hours contracts that hundreds of thousands of Britons find themselves stuck on in the latest data.
Official figures show the number of firms using them did rise to 1.8m in the year to November, up from 1.7m the previous year.
Not exactly good news, but the Office for National Statistics noted that the survey methodology had changed so cautioned against drawing firm conclusions.
Read more Number of zero-hours contracts rises by 100,000 in 2017, says ONS McDonald's faces more strikes as union ballots workers One in three zero-hours workers juggle at least two jobs at same time Meanwhile the proportion of the workforce on them stayed flat at 6 per cent, and the available evidence at least seem..