SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Watch what you say in your living room. Samsung’s smart TV could be listening. And sharing.
In a blog post Tuesday, Samsung said it is removing that sentence and clarifying the policy “to better explain what actually occurs.”
For the voice command feature to work, the TV listens for predefined commands such as changing the channel or the volume. That speech isn’t stored or transmitted, according to Samsung. But the remote control also has a microphone that can not only respond to those commands but also search for content, such as requests to recommend a good movie. The speech is translated by third-party software into text and sent back to the TV as a command.
Although Samsung initially declined to name the software company, the blog post identifies it as Nuance Communications Inc. The TV also transmits other information including its unique identifier, both to provide the service and to improve the feature.
Samsung said voice recognition on the remote must be activated by pressing a button. It’s similar to how Siri and Google Now voice assistants work on smartphones. If the feature isn’t activated, there’s no threat of eavesdropping, Samsung said. Users will see microphone icon on the screen when it is on. Users can disable the feature, but voice control would then be limited to predefined commands.
The South Korean company said it takes consumer privacy “very seriously.”
“We employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”
It is not the first time that smart TVs sparked privacy concerns. In 2013, the owner of a LG Electronics smart TV revealed it was sending information about his viewing habits back to the company without consent and without encrypting data.
LG has also experimented with displaying targeted ads on its smart TVs, which requires collecting and utilizing user data, such as their location, age and gender.
Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun contributed to this story from New York. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
That is unless you’re in the market for a $92 smartphone (off-contract) that has the same specs as a device from, say, four years ago. But even if you were, you’d have to go to India to find one. If and once you cross the ocean, you’ll realize it doesn’t run Android, but something called Tizen (pronounced “tie-zen”). While the Z1 is one of the cheapest phones Samsung has ever launched, it’s also the first smartphone to feature Tizen, Samsung’s own mobile operating system.
What’s the big deal with Tizen? Samsung has made it very clear at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that it is heavily investing in it. Their smart TVs, smartwatches and wearables all come installed with Tizen, and soon, all Samsung devices will include Tizen, including household appliances such as washers, dryers, robotic vacuums and refrigerators. It’s part of this mystical “Internet of Things” (IoT) plan that Samsung emphasized heavily during the convention, and Tizen will be the operating system connecting all these devices into the IoT “ecosystem.”
Samsung’s wonderfully obnoxious Super Ultra-HD TV display in front of their booth at CES 2015. The displays are so beautiful you don’t notice the model standing in front until he’s pointed out to you. Photos by KoreAm.
But should Samsung be investing so much in Tizen? All of their devices apart from the Z1 exclusively run on Google’s Android, and of all the smartphones and tablets in the tech market, Apple and Microsoft are the main competitors. Google and Apple as well as Microsoft, to some extent, have had the time and money to refine Android, iOS and Windows.
The South Korean company also does not have a reputation as a software company. They build gadgets and hardware, albeit damned good ones. However, their attempts at software haven’t been too well-received. TouchWiz–Samsung’s user interface, which has features built on top of Android in Galaxy devices–has been criticized for being too ugly, completely unnecessary and a drag on memory and processing speed. Apparently, Samsung is scaling back TouchWiz in its upcoming Galaxy S6. It was also the main reason why this writer chose a Motorola smartphone over the Note 4, which had really amazing specs, but an annoying UI.
Another challenge will be to grow and nurture developers for Tizen. Apple and Google have had that covered while Microsoft and Blackberry (yes, they’re still around) have struggled to provide the same number and quality of programs for their users. Tizen, however, would be starting from the ground up.
Image via Samsung Tomorrow
Samsung claims to have their bases covered. They tout Tizen to be “lighter” than other operating systems and more energy efficient, and the company specifically addressed creating an “expansive and vibrant ecosystem” for its users through supporting developers with software development kits for different Tizen devices.
They also echoed what Samsung CEO BK Yoon said during the company’s press conference at CES: Samsung isn’t in the game to “abandon” other operating systems. “Openness” and facilitating relationships with partners and other devices is key to a successful Internet of Things ecosystem.
At the end of the day, though, Samsung wants to make money, and Tizen might be their product to challenge Google and Apple in the mobile OS department. It remains to be seen if Tizen can break into the brand cultures Google and Apple have created with their own products.
If Samsung can “tie it all together” by proving that Tizen will be more convenient, affordable and just as cool as the others, it may have a chance. Strategy Analytics said last month that while Tizen will remain a niche player, it would be one of the fastest-growing operating systems along with Firefox and Windows in the next six years. Who knows, a $90 smartphone could truly be the “next big thing.” Or not.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea blamed its recent Internet outage on the United States on Saturday and hurled racially charged insults at President Barack Obama over the hacking row involving the movie “The Interview.”
North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission, which is headed by country leader Kim Jong-un and is the nation’s top governing body, said Obama was behind the release of the comedy that depicts Kim’s assassination. The commission described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.
“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The White House’s National Security Council declined to comment Saturday.
North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy. Sony Pictures initially called off the release of the film, citing threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters. Obama criticized Sony’s decision, and the movie opened this past week.
It wasn’t the first time North Korea has used crude insults against Obama and other top U.S. and South Korean officials. Earlier this year, North Korea called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous” lantern jaw and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute. In May, the North’s official news agency published a dispatch saying Obama has the “shape of a monkey.”
A State Department spokeswoman at the time called the North Korean dispatch “offensive and ridiculous and absurd.”
In the latest incident, the North Korean defense commission also blamed Washington for intermittent outages of North Korean websites this past week. The outages happened after Obama blamed the Sony hack on North Korea and promised to respond “in a place and time and manner that we choose.”
The U.S. government has declined to say whether it was behind the Internet shutdown in North Korea.
According to the North Korean commission’s spokesman, “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing tag.” DPRK refers to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The commission said the movie was the result of a hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea, and threatened the U.S. with unspecified consequences.
North Korea and the U.S. remain technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The rivals also are locked in an international standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses.
A United Nations commission accuses North Korea of a wide array of crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment and rape.
The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against North Korean aggression.
Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Honolulu contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of The White House.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
North Korea’s Internet connection has been hit with outages and is currently offline, according to the New York Times. The network failure comes a few days after President Obama vowed to retaliate against North Korea for hacking Sony Pictures.
According to Bloomberg, North Korea has four official Internet networks that route through China, all of which first experienced unstable connection late Friday and went completely dark on Monday. Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at the cybsecurity firm Dyn Research, said the outage was “out of the ordinary” and emphasized that maintenance problems would most likely not have caused such a widespread loss of connection.
“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” said Madory, according to the North Korea Tech blog. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”
The outage comes as China is investigating allegations against North Korea over the Sony hack attack. The Obama administration has recently sought China’s help in blocking North Korea’s ability to wage cyberattacks—the first step toward the “proportional response” Obama pledged.
While it is possible that the U.S. might have been involved in the disruption of North Korea’s Internet connection, the White House has reportedly declined to consider a “demonstration strike” against North Korean cyberspace targets.
Cybsecurity experts have claimed that there are several possible causes for the network failure, according to the New York Times. North Korea could be preemptively shutting down its Internet access to prevent U.S. counterattack. Vigilante hackers could also be responsible for the outage.
As most North Koreans do not have access to the Internet, the blackout will only affect the country’s elite, state-run media outlets, propagandists and its cyberwarfare divisions.
Many South Koreans are considering leaving KakaoTalk and switching to other mobile messaging applications due to concerns over a government crackdown on rumors circulating on social media, according to the Associated Press.
In mid-September, the South Korean government announced that it would be taking “proactive” measures to prevent the spread of false and malicious postings on major portal websites through the creation of a special investigative team. This means if someone were to cause a serious social controversy through false accusations and rumors, then that individual could face detainment or punishment for his or her actions. The investigative team would then potentially gain access to private chat histories to seek out the origins of these rumors.
The announcement hasn’t sat well with South Korean social media users. Many have accused the government of censorship and attempting to control public opinion, and in the last few weeks, a considerable number have weighed dropping Kakao Talk in favor of different mobile messaging options.
The most popular alternative messaging application has been Telegram, a free Russia-based app that was created to avoid surveillance from Russian officials. On Friday, it was the most downloaded free app on the Apple App Store in South Korea; on the Google Play Store, Telegram was the No. 2 downloaded free communications app behind KakaoTalk. A few of the app’s South Korean users said in reviews that they left KakaoTalk to seek “asylum” from government surveillance and requested Telegram to add a Korean language service.
A research firm said an estimated 610,000 South Korean visited Telegram last week, a 40-fold increase compared to the numbers before the crackdown was announced. Smaller South Korean messaging apps, such as DonTalk, have seen higher downloads in recent weeks as well, along with other messengers that have their servers abroad.
Despite this mass migration, it’s hard to picture South Korea without KakaoTalk. After all, Nielsen reported at the end of 2013 that 93 percent of South Koreans used the application. Telegram hardly comes close, especially since it lacks the language option and special features such as emoticons and games that KakaoTalk provides.
President Park Geun-hye’s administration has been sensitive to social media. Many South Koreans were critical of the government’s response to the Sewol ferry sinking in April, and a number of them said their houses and social media accounts had been searched with court approval.
Park also relayed her unhappiness over online rumors during a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 16. She said that slander and false rumors on the Internet were causing division in the nation, and she ordered the justice ministry to investigate unfounded rumors on the Internet, which led to the formation of the investigative team.
They didn’t waste much time. On Oct. 1, a woman accused of libeling President Park was sentenced to four months in prison with a one-year stay of execution. The woman, identified only by the surname Tak, was found guilty of spreading false rumors that the president had an extramarital affair with her former mentor and his son-in-law.
Civic organizations also criticized police and government officials for recently seizing KakaoTalk chats and personal information of Labor Party leader Jung Jin-woo and about 3,000 of his acquaintances. They had gathered to demand a probe into the Sewol ferry disaster.
Daum Kakao, which was formed by the merger of Daum Communications and Kakao, has tried to assuage Kakao Talk users by saying that authorities could not look at users’ messages without a court order. Co-CEO of Daum Kakao, Lee Sirgoo, told reporters last week that the company had “top security technology to prevent leaks and hacking,” and that KakaoTalk messages were only stored on servers for only three days before getting permanently deleted.
However, Lee said Kakao Talk was still “subject to South Korean law” and would still hand over information “when there is a fair execution of law.”
North Korea has banned foreign tourists from using wireless Internet access, according to reports from China, presumably in an effort to further clamp down on its citizens from gaining access to information technology in a country that enforces rigid censorship.
The North Korean government notified “nearly all foreign embassies, international organizations and other foreigners working in the country that wireless Internet access will no longer be granted to foreign tourists, China’s Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday. Moreover, authorities ordered to dismantle Wi-Fi installments before Sept. 11, according to the report.
Although average North Korean citizens cannot freely access the Internet, foreigners visiting the country on tourist visas until recently have had relatively free access to social media, including Twitter and Facebook on the Wi-Fi network operated by the state-run mobile company Koryolink. The tech firm is a joint venture with Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and has about 2.5 million subscribers.
In recent years, an increasing number of North Koreans in Pyongyang reportedly began moving to homes near foreign embassies to gain an illicit access to the Wi-Fi systems to bypass the tightly controlled flow of information in the country.
North Korea “warned that those who violate the regulation would be severely fined if the wireless connection signal is detected in the examinations, but no explanations or reasons were given by the officials,” Xinhua reported.
Steven Yeun: ‘The Walking Dead’ aims for my groin Zap2it
“It seems like ‘The Walking Dead’ just kind of aims for my groin,” Steven Yeun, who spent the latest episode dangling inches above a water-bloated zombie in a well, tells Zap2it.com.
‘Walking Dead’ Creator Talks Steamy Sex Scene MTV.com
This week’s episode finally turned up the heat and gave us a whole lot of flesh — but not the kind “Walking Dead” heads are typically used to.
We’re talking, of course, about the steamy sex scene between go-to odd-jobs man Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Maggie (Lauren Cohan), daughter of farmer Hershel Greene. After Glenn successfully roped in an incredibly gruesome zombie at the bottom of a well (seriously, did you see that thing? That’s Greg Nicotero at his finest!), the former pizza delivery boy clearly demonstrated enough cojones to win Maggie’s heart — or at least her body. But following the spontaneous sexual encounter, Maggie called it quits, leaving Glenn more than a little bit confused about what just happened.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul to meet with executives at several major IT companies over the next couple of days. One of the first stops was the Blue House, where he talked with President Lee Myung-bak about cooperation between Korean IT firms and Google, and Mr. Schmidt said Google intends to set up a YouTube channel for Korean pop music, or K-pop.
Judging by the response to a recent series of K-pop concerts around the world, that’ll get plenty of interest online.
Interview: Miss Korea 2011 talks fashion, her new job and plastic surgery CNNGo
For Miss Korea 2011 Yi Seong Hye, photoshoots, interviews, community service and learning how to do her hair and makeup herself are all part of her weekly official duties as the public relations ambassador for the country.
After spending 13 years in the United States — she attended high school in Boston and is currently on leave from studying at Parsons in New York — Yi had to learn a great deal about Korean culture upon returning to to the country of her birth.
“The pageant was actually not why I returning to Korea,” says Yi, who turns 23 this week.
“I came back to be back with my family and to learn about Korean culture, and then the lucky opportunity of entering the pageant came along.”
Boat With 21 North Koreans Found Off South Korea’s Coast New York Times
Twenty-one North Koreans, including women and children, were found adrift in a boat off the west coast of South Korea last Sunday and asked for asylum, the South Korean military said Saturday.
The five-ton boat was spotted by a South Korean Navy patrol 23 miles south of the maritime border disputed by North Korea. The people on board were transferred to a maritime police boat and taken to Incheon, a major port outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.
“When they were found, they immediately expressed their intention to defect,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “A joint inquiry team from the related government agencies are investigating what motivated them to defect.”
N.Korean soldiers shoot refugee in China: activist
AFP via Google News
A refugee was shot dead by North Korean border guards last month after reaching Chinese soil in a strengthened crackdown on escapees, according to a South Korean activist.
“During my trip to a border area on October 22, I witnessed a man shot to death after arriving in China,” Kim Yong-Hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told AFP.
The man in his 40s was apparently shot by the North’s guards from near the northern border city of Hyesan and died in front of Chinese soldiers, he said.
“After a sound of shooting across the river, I saw him groaning and crawling on the ground. Several Chinese soldiers were there but did not care,” Kim said.
8Asians.com Readers Asked, John Cho Responds! 8Asians
Do you think it’s harder for the Asian American community to catch their big break in the biz? Why do you think it is or isn’t? – Anunez587
JC: Obviously, it is. You just look around and it’s a numbers game. There are fewer parts for Asians. The concept of “the big break” is something that works against Asians in that the majority of parts available to Asians aren’t meant to break anyone’s career open — they’re modest roles. So even if a person has a long career, there may have never been a “break.” I don’t know if my career has ever really “broken,” or if I’m just descending step by step. The concept of a break implies these floodgates will open and I don’t even think that has happened for me or Kal.
Korean-Japanese billionaire to give away fortune Korea Herald
Han Chang-woo, a Korean-Japanese businessman who founded Maruhan Corp., Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors, said Saturday he will donate all his wealth, worth $1.7 billion, to help improve relations between the two countries.
“I’d like to give away all the money I’ve made before I die. I can assure that my personal assets, except for the company to be handed over to my son and some money for my wife, will be used for the inter-development of Korea and Japan,” Han told reporters in Busan.
The 80-year-old Korean immigrant was ranked Japan’s 17th-richest person by Forbes last year with net worth of 132 billion yen ($1.7 billion).
Miele Guide: Korean restaurant finally makes Asia’s Top 20 CNNGo
Seoul took a big step forward as a culinary capital as its chefs won Asia-wide accolades in Singapore last week.
For the first time a Korean restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, was listed among Asia’s Top 20 in The Miele Guide, a compendium of the continent’s finest dining venues, released annually.
Its Jeju pork belly and tilefish dish was highlighted as a great example of what the kitchen talents there can do.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg Opens Up to Flushing Times Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Flushing that he would try to help do away with the fines Korean business owners receive for storing kimchee at room temperature.
Asian American Sports with Rick Quan: The Darwin Barney Interview Hyphen
Our friend and sports expert Rick Quan continues his series of interviews with Asian American athletes with a profile of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The quarter-Japanese, quarter-Korean, and half-Caucasian Barney hails from Beaverton, OR where a love of sports was instilled in him by his father who — at 5’6″ — played point guard as a college basketball player and taught his son to never impose limits on his abilities. Check out the video and learn how the 25-year-old grew to love piano once his parents stopped forcing him to take lessons, how he once thought he was Hawaiian, and catch the classic expression on the face of Dan Uggla from the Atlanta Braves as Barney ended his 33-game hitting streak this past August.
America’s favorite American Idol auditionor has found a new gig – with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
After his Season 3 audition performance in 2004 of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, William Hung became a viral hit and received a cult-like following, which led him to numerous talk show appearances, three studio albums, and his primetime television show debut on Fox’s Arrested Development. Now, it appears Hung has made a career shift.
According to TMZ, Hung is working for the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a Technical Crime Analyst, meaning he is analyzing trends and patterns in crimes. This can help law enforcement deploy resources in a more effective manner, as well as playing a role in apprehending suspects, solving crimes, and formulating crime prevention strategies.
Beckman’s Kim keeps coming Daily Pilot (Irvine, Calif.)
Running back has been a force for the Patriots, who will face Corona del Mar for the Pacific Coast League title on Friday.
Airport immigration officials denied entry to three Japanese lawmakers on Monday, thwarting their plan to travel close to a set of tiny islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. The trio then refused for hours to board a return flight home in the confrontation, which has laid bare longstanding animosities between the two countries rooted in Japan’s colonialist past.
Troy actor Steven Yeun finds success in ‘Walking Dead’ on AMC Detroit News
The Troy High School and Kalamazoo College graduate was just happy to play Glenn, the pizza delivery guy turned hero.
Now that the show has become the basic cable network’s top-rated offering, drawing a record 5 million viewers, Yeun is enjoying the buzz and his character’s development. There’s also more to love this time around now that the series has a 13-episode run. And when the second season of “The Walking Dead” roars back Oct. 16, fans will see Glenn get a love interest named Maggie (Lauren Cohan, “Chuck” and “Supernatural”) and suddenly have more to lose.
Charges laid in May shooting death CTV News (Canada)
A man has been charged with first-degree murder on Friday in connection with the shooting death of John Kang in May.
Kang, 21, was shot outside a fast food restaurant near Victoria Park and Finch Avenue East on May 26.
L.A.’s Idea of Korean Food vs. What Koreans Really Eat L.A. Weekly
Most Angelenos know at least a few Korean dishes. Beyond that, appreciation of the range and depth appreciation of Korean cuisine varies quite a bit. We’re never surprised about the wide swath of positive or negative things anyone has to say about Korean food.
Around 25,000 [Korean] users of iPhones and iPads are preparing to sue Apple for gathering information on their locations without their consent.
Mirae Law, which is representing the Apple users in the collective action suit, said on Sunday that around 25,000 people comprise the first group of litigants, and that it plans to submit its suit at the beginning of this month.
Like all the children here, Ji-won is learning to spend time away from the internet.
It is something South Korea is increasingly concerned about. Internet addiction has long been recognised as a clinical condition here. And a number of high-profile cases of addicts who neglect themselves – or their children – to the point of death, have raised awareness even further.
Amid a rise in suicides and shooting incidents, South Korea’s mandatory military service comes under scrutiny.
Increasingly, the military’s ranks are filled with young men who have not experienced war and no longer consider their 21-month compulsory service a “sacred duty,” as their fathers did, but rather an inconvenient interruption of their civilian lives and careers.
That shift in attitude not only has worried superiors who count on a motivated force, but also has led to a generational clash. Many younger soldiers and marines are now unwilling to accept harsh treatment long tolerated and even encouraged in South Korea as a way of toughening up men for battle, including beatings severe enough to puncture eardrums and cut deeply into thighs.
YG Entertainment CEO Reveals Plans for Movement into the U.S. Market soompi
The head of the highly successful Korean pop label, which includes popular groups such as 2NE1 and Big Bang, said that the company plans a foray into the U.S. market within two years.
I now see the possibilities of advancing into the American market from closely observing the changes that have taken place in the European market. The marketing potential for it is endless. I’m secretly looking forward to the US market as well. China and the US are actually the toughest markets. The US is also the market that most singers are targeting but it’s so big that I think it’s more effective to polish content made in Korea and inform them of it than to promote in the country directly.