In a previous post, we wrote about thieves increasingly targeting smartphone owners — and the unwillingness of cell service providers to address the problem. We’re happy to report that the major carriers have finally agreed to do the right thing and are set to begin blacklisting stolen smartphones later this year.

So what does this mean for the average cell phone user?

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Californians may have started celebrating their cellphone privacy too soon. After talk of passing a law to make warrantless searches of cellphones during arrests illegal, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the law, giving officers the power to snoop through your cell phone as they wish for whatever reason they deem reasonable.

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GPS accuracy and lock-on speed depends on how many GPS satellites have a clear view of your device at any moment of the day, however, what most people aren’t aware of is that there are plenty of non-GPS satellites oribiting Earth that are capable of doing the exact same job of providing location. It only makes sense that U.S. cell providers would eventually tap into these additional satellites.  

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Karsten Nohl, a German computer engineer that published algorithms to secure wireless voice calls for mobile operators in 2009, is back to secure the next generations of sensitive data. This time, Nohl will help protect mobile phones’ Internet data, but first he had to prove to mobile providers just how insecure their encryption really is.

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We reported last week that about two dozen official Android market applications were infected with a particularly malicious identity-stealing virus. It turns out that about 58 apps in total had been downloaded, affecting approximately 260,000 phones. To combat the virus, Google has activated an Android kill switch which can remotely delete all malware.

Unlike previous applications of this kill switch, this time Google is going a step further and actually installing a new app (called the “Android Market Security Tool March 2011″) to the infected phones.

“That app, which will be installed automatically no later than Tuesday on all Android phones whose owners had downloaded one or more of the malicious apps, prevents attackers from accessing any additional information by undoing the root access the malware obtained by exploiting vulnerabilities,” writes Gregg Keizer for Computerworld.

While the search engine giant has its cutomers’ best interests at heart, it does beg some skepticism and worry as to how much power they actually have over our personal phones.

(Via Engadget and Computerworld) / (Image by Miki Toshihito, licensed under Creative Commons)

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GPS navigation is extremely useful, and in this day and age almost everyone relies on it in some form or another, sometimes on a daily basis. However, the old GPS navigation systems would simply give you direction like: “turn left in 50 feet,” or something to that effect; which makes it pretty easy to miss your turn or stop at the right house when you’re driving. The next generation of GPS navigation is much more sophisticated than that, and actually takes into consideration the real world that the driver sees.

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With all the sensitive information we store on our smartphones already (photos, videos, work documents, etc.) we now have something more unsettling to worry about. Recent research has revealed that a lost iPhone not only puts the above data at risk, but also lets a hacker access all of your usernames and passwords that are stored on the phone.

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