Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – 11 June 2019

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

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Biometric Boarding Gates Los Angeles (Image Credit: British Airways)
Biometric Boarding Gates Los Angeles (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

US Customs & Border Protection Data Breach

The US Customs & Border Protection agency announced on Monday evening that photographs of passengers travelling into and out of the United States have been stolen in a data breach.

The source of the breach is a malicious cyber-attack on a federal sub-contractor. It is not known how many travellers have been affected or precisely what other data has been stolen.

This development comes amongst increasing scrutiny of the use of facial recognition technology at airports and concerns over the de facto opting in to the use of this technology and awareness of passengers’ rights to opt out.

Also of note this week:

Amazon has long talked, particularly in the run up to the Christmas shopping season, about deliveries by drone. At its re:MARS conference in Las Vegas last week, Amazon unveiled its latest design for a drone – a fully electric drone that can deliver packages weighing up to five pounds within a 15 mile radius. (Amazon)

On a related note, Microsoft has announced its new Xbox console codenamed “Project Scarlett” will debut at the end of 2020.

The BBC, facing considerable public scrutiny at the moment but is performing well creatively, brings a 1943 report from the Berlin Blitz to life through Virtual Reality. (BBC)

Google unveils its digital streaming gaming platform, Google Stadia. (9to5 Google)

The founders of Quibi (short for “Quick Bites”), a new short-form mobile video streaming service, have confirmed launch date of April 2020, priced at $4.99/$7.99 a month with or without adverts. (Variety)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 4 June 2019

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

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Apple Maps, iOS13
Apple Maps, iOS13 (Image Credit: Apple)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Apple Software Updates

Apple has previewed forthcoming software updates on the first day of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.

The big story is new version of its mobile operating system iOS13.

This features a new “dark mode”, improved photo and video curation and editing capabilities, a new “Sign in with Apple” feature for apps and websites and an entirely new Apple Maps app. Other improvements include a new Reminders and Notes apps.

iOS will be available from this autumn but it will not be compatible will all iPhone models. Full details are available from Apple.

Apple is also releasing a new operating system for the iPad, now known as iPadOS.

This benefits from the improvements to iOS13 as well as a newly designed home screen, improved capabilities for Apple Pencil and improved multi-tasking and text editing facilities. More details are available from Apple.

Apple is also releasing a new operating system for the Apple Watch, watchOS6.

This includes new watch faces, enhanced Siri capabilities, a new dedicated App Store, a new noise app to enable users to understand the impact of their environment on their hearing, and new activity app. Again, more details are available from Apple.

Other announcements from Apple include a new operating system for the Mac desktop known as Catalina. As was widely reported over the weekend, iTunes will be replaced by separate desktop apps for music, TV and podcasts. A full preview is available from Apple.

On a separate Apple note, it has published a defence of the App Store, which is accused of anti-competitive practice.

Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 4 June 2019”

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 28 May 2019

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British Airways WiFi
British Airways WiFi (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

A Cautionary Tale

A few years ago the digital life of a prominent technology journalist was turned upside down.

The journalist was targeted by a hacker who managed to secure access to his Apple account and remote wipe all of his Apple devices. It took days to recover access to his account and restore his devices.

The security flaw that enabled the attack was not at Apple, but at Amazon. The hacker was able to call Amazon to place a fake credit card number on the target’s account. That was subsequently used to access his Amazon account online to obtain sufficient personal information to target his Apple account.

Amazon quickly fixed the security flaw, but it’s an illustration of how a hacker can exploit one security weakness to send a row of dominoes falling.

In recent years, most major online accounts have two factor authentication (“2FA”) which sends a passcode to your mobile device each time you log in from a new device. It is an extra layer of security, but it is far from infallible.

This is partly because it may encourage complacency such as using the same password across multiple accounts. Most forms of 2FA are a SMS test message and hackers may be able to intercept these. This is what happened to Sean Coonce who lost $100,000 in crypto-currency after being subject to a “SIM port attack” whereby a hacker managed to port his SIM to a new phone. Replete with diagrams Sean illustrates how the hacker secured access to his account, and also his perception of what he thought was happening.

Leaving to one side the merits of investing in crypto-currencies in the first place, it’s also a salutary lesson that vulnerability to security flaws can be exacerbated by perceptions when security is not front of mind.

Back to 2FA, a much stronger form of 2FA is to use a physical Yubikey.

On a related note, the city of Baltimore has been battling with a cyberattack enabled by a tool, not developed in China or Russia, but the US National Security Agency which fell into the wrong hands. (New York Times)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 21 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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British Airways WiFi
(Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

British Podcast Awards

The winners of the annual British Podcast Awards were announced at the weekend.

The full list of winners is here. “Have You Heard George’s Podcast” from George The Poet won five Gold awards, including Podcast of the Year. The BBC’s “Brexitcast” won the People’s Choice award.

Staying on the theme of podcasts, there are signs of much larger players continuing to enter the market, NBC News’ current affairs strand “Dateline” has launched a true crime podcast “13 Alibis” which explores how a man who claimed he had 13 alibis was convicted of murder.

Also of note this week:

“AI: More Than Human” an exhibition exploring our relationship with Artificial Intelligence opens at the Barbican. (Barbican)

BBC Radio 4’s “The Media Show” interviews Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. (BBC)

“Inside Google’s Civil War” (Fortune)

Google also reports on the effectiveness of account security measures. (Google)

New York Times photographer Josh Haner documents the impact of climate change around the world – these were on display at Photo London, Somerset House last weekend. (New York Times)

Facial recognition has been adopted by many airlines to facilitate airport procedures such as boarding of aircraft, with claims that it saves substantial amounts of time. However, there are concerns about permissions and privacy. San Francisco has now banned city departments from using facial recognition surveillance technology. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 14 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Apple Store, Carnegie Library, Mount Vernon Square, Washington
Apple Store, Carnegie Library, Mount Vernon Square, Washington (Image Credit: Washington)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Apple

Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating software iOS 12.3.

The most visible change is a redesigned Apple TV app which includes a range of free catch-up content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All4. It also includes a range of catch-up content for purchase, including the first seven series of Game Of Thrones.

Apple’s release does refer to the new app having Apple Channels where users can subscribe to specific TV services, but this does not appear to be available in the UK yet.

As ever, it’s important to download the latest software to take advantage of the latest security updates.

Staying with Apple, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s chip manufacturers are working on a new chip for three new smartphones that will be unveiled later this year. The three new phones will be successors to the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. The two high-end models, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, will also gain a third rear camera with a wide-angle lens.

Apple also owned a new store at the Carnegie Library on Mount Vernon Square in Washington last weekend. There was less good news for Apple elsewhere in Washington yesterday as the Supreme Court in Washington has allowed a case concerning alleged anti-competitive practices in the management of Apple’s App Store to proceed. (Washington Post)

Google I/O 2019

Google held its annual I/O developer conference last week.

Google has listed no less than 100 separate announcements across the fields of smartphones, the smart home, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The two big headlines are new Pixel 3a smartphone and Google Nest Max which is the new name for Google Home. The latter will retail in the UK for £219.

Also of note this week:

The BBC has launched a new podcast “13 Minutes To The Moon” telling across 12 parts the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing. (BBC)

“It’s Time To Break Up Facebook”. It’s not unusual to see polemics against Facebook, but this comes from its co-founder who knows the company’s methods intimately. (New York Times)

It’s “Upfront” week in the US where the major US TV networks present their new shows to advertisers. The Hollywood Reporter has trailers for all the new shows. Meanwhile, Variety details all those that have been cancelled in a notoriously ruthless market.

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 7 May 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 Conference 2019
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 Conference 2019 (Image Credit: Facebook)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

It’s developer conference season for big technology companies.

Facebook held its F8 developer conference last week. Here are some of the main highlights:

A messenger app later this year which is promised to be faster and lighter and a new desktop app.

A redesigned Facebook app is now being rolled out, distinguishable from its all white designed. A designed desktop version of the site will launch later this year. Facebook will also add “Meet New Friends” and “Secret Crush” features. (Facebook)

On a related note, a large number of outlets including The Guardian and Politico are essentially running the same story, based on access granted by Facebook “Inside Facebook’s European Elections War Room”.

Facebook did a very similar PR effort before the US mid-term elections last year, and the “war room” was promptly disbanded shortly afterwards.

As per a news release from Facebook last night, it continues to play whack-a-mole with malicious actors from Russia.

Also of note this week:

As Amazon promises one-day shipping for Prime members in the US, this is an excellent account of the launch of Amazon Prime from former Amazon employees. (Vox)

Bloomberg reports that Apple will unveil plans for its next mobile operating system iOS13 at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month. Updates include improvements to core apps such as mail, maps and messaging. Apple is also rumoured to be planning a standalone App Store for Apple Watch. (Bloomberg)

Buzzfeed on the growth of paid for e-mail newsletters. (Buzzfeed)

Google begins its annual developers conference “Google I/O” today. Ars Technica has a preview of what to expect, particularly for Google Pixel and Google Home. (Ars Technica)

The Los Angeles Times reports on how those behind NBC’s “must see” hits of the 1990s (ER, Friends etc) are shaping television today. (Los Angeles Times)

How targeted advertising works. (New York Times)

WIRED Magazine on launching a pay wall one year on. (WIRED)

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 30 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Spotify Studios, Stockholm
Spotify Studios, Stockholm (Image Credit: Spotify)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

The Subscription Economy

The Harris Poll has conducted, on behalf of Zuora, an international survey of 13,359 adults across twelve countries on the subscription economy.

Citing a trend of “access over ownership”, 71% of adults now purchase subscription services, compared to 53% five years ago. A similar percentage also agree that subscriptions free people from burdens of ownership such as maintenance and clutter. This has already had significant implications for television, music and news.

To illustrate this, Spotify has reported 100m premium subscribers for the first time, compared to 75m in the previous year.

A word of caution should be sounded on subscription over ownership models. As subscribers to Netflix will soon learn, all it takes is for rights holders to withdraw content rights for the value of these services to rapidly diminish.

On the subject to streaming the BBC has submitted proposals to the communications regulator OFCOM to allow it to keep programmes on the BBC iPlayer (once the UK’s leading streaming service) for a year after broadcast and to increase archive content.

The Sharing Economy

In another sector of the economy, Uber is preparing for an investor roadshow ahead of its planned IPO where it hopes to achieve a valuation in excess of $90bn.

Uber is of course loss making and in a New York Times profile, Uber considers its losses analogous to Amazon which spent big to grow quickly.

Uber aims to repeat this through Uber Eats, Uber Freight and the acquisition of ebike and scooter company, Jump. However, there are fundamental differences. Amazon may have its distractors, however it is not facing the degree of resistance from regulators that Uber is. Amazon has also built a formidable logistics infrastructure, which Uber has not. To illustrate the point, Politico reports that both Lyft and Uber have stopped recruiting drivers in New York City due to regulatory pressures.

Also of note this week:

As the world enjoys the last series of “Game Of Thrones” the FT reports on tensions between HBO and its new parent AT&T. (Financial Times)

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard, is reported to be in talks to sell local London TV channel “London Live”. Five years after launch, this channel has fallen far short of expectations and it is rarely seen or talked about in London. (The Guardian)

NBC and Sky News, both now owned by Comcast, are to explore the launch of a new global news channel to rival BBC World News and CNN. (Variety)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 23 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook
Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook (Image Credit: Wired)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

WIRED on Facebook

WIRED magazine has an extensive essay on “15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook” as the company stumbled as it sought to confound its critics and reform itself.

It includes the detail that following the magazine cover on the right, an ad targeted at WIRED readers was mistakenly categorised as “engagement bait” which led to a 90% drop in referral traffic from Facebook.

As the UK Government plans measures to make technology companies responsible for harmful online content, the New York Times reports on tensions between the views of Governments outside the US and conservative / free speech forces in the US on regulating freedom of speech on the internet.

The power of television

For all the talk of Netflix, and its many forthcoming rivals, the vast majority of television viewing is still with linear broadcasting channels.

As part of its “More Than TV” brand advertising campaign, ITV has released a new film narrated by Sir Trevor McDonald OBE highlighting some of the powerful stories told across its drama, entertainment and factual programming over the past 60 years.

Also of note this week:

Amazon and Google introduce free music streaming to their respective smart speaker devices. (Rolling Stone)

Beyonce is reported to have signed a three project deal with Netflix worth no less than $60m. This includes the recent “Homecoming” documentary now streaming on the platform. (Variety)

James Murdoch plans to invest $1bn in media companies. (Financial Times)

The National Cyber Security Centre publishes the most hacked passwords. (NCSC)

The New Yorker publishes its latest travel issue, which includes an extensive report on the impact of AirBnb in Barcelona. (New Yorker)

Major social media channels in Sri Lanka have been blocked following the bombing of churches and hotels on Sunday. (Netblocks)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 16 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Disney Plus
Disney Plus (Image Credit: Disney)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Disney launches Disney+

Disney will launch its new streaming service Disney+ in the US on 12 November of this year.

Priced at $6.99 a month or $69 a year, it will feature content from Disney’s portfolio of studios including LucasFilm, Marvel, National Geographic and Pixar.

The service will include many films and series from Disney’s back catalogue, all new films released by Disney this year such as Star Wars: Episode IX shortly after release in cinemas, and many series and specials commissioned specifically for the platform.

The service will launch in Western Europe next year. The availability of archive content in individual territories is likely to be complicated by existing licensing deals until they expire.

Whilst the service is unlikely to every reach the scale of Netflix, it will have an unparalleled line-up of high quality content with significant brand equity. (The Walt Disney Company)

Also of note this week:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pens his annual letter to shareholders. Essential reading for an insight into a phenomenally successful, if not universally loved, company that does make many of its legacy competitors look sclerotic by comparison. (Amazon)

Apple spends hundreds of millions of dollars on video games for its forthcoming “Apple Arcade” service (Financial Times)

Facebook spends $22.6m a year on Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security. (Reuters)

How will HBO survive after the “Game Of Thrones” series finale? (Los Angeles Times)

The New York Times launches “The Privacy Project”. (New York Times)

Can Snapchat, once the young upstart that deemed destined to keep younger users away from Facebook, survive? (Financial Times)

Uber files its “S-1” document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of is IPO. A very long document but worth searching through for the shopping list of issues facing the company. (SEC)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 9 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Sky News Launch 1989
Sky News Launch 1989

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

The New York Times on the Murdoch Dynasty

Rupert Murdoch belies easy definition.

In launching what was to become BSkyB (now owned by Comcast), he created one of the UK’s most formidable public companies. Sky News regularly puts its better funded rivals to shame. The Sunday Times was, in its heyday, one of the greatest English language Sunday newspapers.

On other hand, many outlets have engaged in criminal activity, spread conspiracy theories, stifled efforts against climate change, and poisoned public discourse.

In an exhaustive three part series, the New York Times Magazine looks at how Rupert Murdoch’s empire impacted the English speaking Western world.

Also of note this week:

KLM introduces wireless streaming to personal devices on Boeing 747 aircraft. (KLM)

Why do 2.7m Americans still receive DVDs from Netflix in the post asks CNN. Also worth adding that the picture quality of streaming whilst “good enough” for most does not match that of physical media. Many Americans also still subscribe to AOL dial-up internet access. (CNN)

“The Golden Age Of YouTube Is Over” (The Verge)

Also on YouTube, how executives ignored warnings and let toxic videos run rampant on the platform in favour of user engagement. (Bloomberg)

WhatsApp has mercifully introduced new settings which restrict who can automatically add users to new WhatsApp groups. (WhatsApp)

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Anna Wintour. (CNN)