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Exclusive: Finally, some good news in the fight to end robocalls –



Finally, some good news in the fight to end robocalls

#Finally #good #news #fight #robocalls

Robocalls suck. They cost us money and time, and are so pervasive that the vast majority of Americans don’t even answer their phones if they don’t know who’s calling. Everyone knows they’re a problem, but no one seems to be able to do anything about it. That might be changing.

The Federal Communications Commission announced on Thursday that it was ordering phone companies to block call traffic that the agency believes is part of a massive car warranty robocall operation responsible for 8 billion illegal robocalls since 2018.

Or, as FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel put it: “Billions of auto warranty robocalls from a single calling campaign. Billions!”

The FCC has been trying for years to stop or at least mitigate illegal robocalls, only to see the number of them increase along with consumers’ irritation. But it appears that those efforts are finally bearing fruit. Not only is the agency trying to take down the robocall campaigns, it’s also finding and going after the businesses that facilitate them.

“We are not going to tolerate robocall scammers or those that help make their scams possible. Consumers are out of patience and I’m right there with them,” Rosenworcel added in a statement about last Thursday’s order.

The order targets eight companies whose systems were the source of those calls, according to the FCC. In other words, scammers were buying access to our phones through these service providers. So not only is the robocall campaign being pursued by the FCC, but the phone companies used to make all of those calls are also being punished — and other providers are being put on notice not to accept traffic from robocallers, either. This should, conceivably, mean fewer robocalls in general.

This is all part of a larger crackdown. In order to trick victims and evade authorities, illegal robocall networks typically buy up huge blocks of legitimate phone numbers from voice providers who are happy to look the other way as long as they’re getting paid and there aren’t any consequences.

But earlier this month, the FCC and Ohio’s attorney general said they had identified and were taking action against several individuals they alleged were behind a robocall operation that was responsible for some of those notorious auto warranty calls. The FCC also sent cease-and-desist letters to eight voice providers that it believed the robocalls were being placed through. The agency was able to determine who those providers were through some of the industry-wide measures put in place over the last several years.

“I would say this is a significant development in that it shows that the FCC is expecting the industry to work together in stopping unwanted robocalls,” said Jim Tyrrell, senior director of product marketing at TNS, which offers robocall identification and mitigation services. “The FCC takes this threat very seriously and wants to ensure these actors are blocked,”


The FCC has issued cease-and-desist letters like this before, Tyrrell said, but the companies they were sent to all responded to the letters and no further action had to be taken. The eight providers — Call Pipe, Fugle Telecom, Geist Telecom, Global Lynks, Mobi Telecom, SipKonnect, South Dakota Telecom, and Virtual Telecom — were given a chance to respond to the letters. But in this case, none of the providers responded, which allowed the FCC to order all phone companies to block calls coming from them. Needless to say, a phone company whose calls aren’t accepted by any other providers isn’t much of a phone company anymore.

“This is the first such order,” Will Wiquist, spokesperson for the FCC, told Recode. “We think this is an impactful effort that is possible thanks to improved traceback ability due to widespread STIR/SHAKEN implementation, productive partnerships with other investigators like the Ohio attorney general’s office, and a strong push from Chairwoman Rosenworcel to take aggressive steps using all our tools to really protect consumers.”

Providers that don’t take reasonable measures to stop calls from those eight companies risk getting in trouble themselves.

“The implicit threat is that if the FCC finds a provider is allowing this traffic to continue, the commission will take action against it,” Tyrrell said.

This might be the kind of threat the industry needs to put real effort into stopping the plague of calls to consumers. Last year, the FCC began mandating providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN, a framework to make it possible to trace calls back to their providers. It wasn’t an instant solution, since smaller providers were given extra time to implement it. That extra time has elapsed by this point, however, and the ability to trace calls back is what the FCC says helped investigators track the robocalls down to those eight providers.

The FCC has also been steadily issuing and proposing record fines against other robocalling operations. The number of robocalls appears to be on the decline, which is good news. The number of robotexts, however, has gone up. A lot. Which suggests that scammers may simply be moving on to a new way to annoy and scam us.

On the other hand, the robocall menace may still be too big to stop anytime soon. Two of the people accused of being behind this latest operation, Roy Cox Jr. and Aaron Michael Jones, have gotten in trouble for robocalls before and, as a result, were permanently banned from telemarketing by the Federal Trade Commission (both the FCC and the FTC can go after robocalls). If the agency’s latest allegations are true, those bans didn’t do much to discourage them, and it may not be difficult for them to start their operations back up again if they can find more providers.

“The problem is, with so many smaller VoIP providers, the bad actor just moves their traffic from one provider to another,” Tyrrell said. “It’s like a whack-a-mole game.”

Continue Reading


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Exclusive: Disney Plus is Taking Longer and Longer to Stream New Marvel Movies – CNET –




Disney Plus is Taking Longer and Longer to Stream New Marvel Movies     - CNET

#Disney #Longer #Longer #Stream #Marvel #Movies #CNET

After the depths of social distancing pushed a wave of big-budget movies straight to streaming, theatrical exclusives are the norm again. But for a while, it seemed like Disney and other big Hollywood movie studios might be falling into a new post-COVID rhythm for how long they kept flicks in theaters before streaming them, one that was much faster in shuttling films to a streaming service than before.

But now streaming release dates are all over the map. And for the biggest films, like Marvel’s, the waits seem to be stretching out longer and longer.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will take longer to start streaming on Disney Plus than any other Marvel movie in the pandemic era — and that may not bode well for how long you’ll have to wait to stream the Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels hitting theaters soon.

When will Black Panther: Wakanda Forever start streaming? 

Disney Plus will start streaming the Black Panther sequel early Wednesday, starting at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET. Its streaming-release date is more than three months after it hit theaters. 

How long will it take to stream Marvel’s next big movies?

It’s anybody’s guess, but it probably won’t be quick. 

Last year, Marvel released three films in theaters: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May, Thor: Love and Thunder in July and Wakanda Forever in mid-November. Doctor Strange took 47 days to reach Disney Plus. Thor hit Disney Plus 62 days after its theatrical release.

Now Wakanda Forever will take 82 days to start streaming. 

That’s the longest that a Marvel movie has spent in theaters before streaming on Disney Plus since the company resumed theatrical exclusives in 2021. That year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was in theaters for 70 days and Eternals for 68 days. 


(Coincidence or not, the Marvel film that Disney gave the shortest theatrical window among them also had the best overall box office performance. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness grossed more than $955 million worldwide. Wakanda Forever has generated $840 million.)

However, Wakanda Forever may have been held off Disney Plus so long because of a consideration that doesn’t apply to those other Marvel films this year: The movie, with a Black director and predominantly Black cast, is debuting on Disney Plus on the first day of Black History Month. Disney hasn’t stated any connection in the timing, but it’s possible the film’s wait to start streaming may have been drawn out to coincide.  

Still, big Hollywood companies like Disney aren’t prioritizing streaming-subscriber growth nearly as much as they did, depressing the incentive to bring big movies to a service quickly. 

Paramount, for example, kept Top Gun: Maverick off its streaming service for 209 days, nearly seven months. The strategy paid dividends at the box office, with the Top Gun sequel grossing nearly $1.5 billion.

Disney has been much more aggressive than Paramount at putting its movies onto its streaming service quickly, but Disney is starting to show that it may be holding back its big-budget films longer in theaters as well. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to hit theaters next month, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 following in May and The Marvels arriving in July, you could be waiting more than three months to stream each of them if they stick to Wakanda Forever’s pace. 

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Exclusive: OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event –




OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event

#OnePlus #11R #OnePlus #Pad #set #launched #OnePlus #Feb #Cloud #Event

Although OnePlus has already launched its flagship device for the year, OnePlus 11 in China, they are yet to launch the device in India and the rest of the world. OnePlus has confirmed that the global launch of the OnePlus 11 will take place in India on February 7. However, it seems that OnePlus may be launching a bunch of other devices as well.

OnePlus 11R and OnePlus Pad set to be launched alongside OnePlus 11 on Feb 7 Cloud Event

OnePlus has a bunch of products lined up for its upcoming Cloud Event, including the OnePlus 11, OnePlus 11R, OnePlus Buds Pro 2, the OnePlus Keyboard, a new OnePlus TV and the OnePlus Pad.

OnePlus will also launch the OnePlus 11R along with the OnePlus 11. The OnePlus 11R hasn’t been launched anywhere else and was actually expected to be launched sometime in March or April. 

Amazon India pushed a notification prompt via its app yesterday, which said that the OnePlus 11R 5G will also launch on February 7th, 7:30 PM in India. OnePlus though is yet to make any such announcement.

OnePlus has a bunch of products to offer during its upcoming February 7th Cloud Event, including the OnePlus 11 5G, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, its first-ever Keyboard, and the new OnePlus TV 65 Q2 Pro. It only makes sense that OnePlus, instead of just launching one of their premium smartphone devices at the event, may choose to launch the entire series on the same day.

A rumour has also surfaced which says that OnePlus may launch the OnePlus Pad as well at the event. Rumours of the OnePlus Pad have been going around since 2021 with more recent speculation suggesting a launch in 2023.

There isn’t much information out there about the OnePlus Pad. However, given the close ties that OnePlus has with Oppo, the OnePlus Pad may be a rebadged Oppo Pad or Oppo Pad Air.


Coming back the smartphones, the global version of the top tier OnePlus 11 is expected to with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen2 SoC, a 6.7-inch E4 QHD+ OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 50MP primary camera sensor with two additional cameras, 48MP and a 32MP unit, all of which have been tuned by Hasselblad, up to 512GB storage, and a large 5,000mAh battery which supports 100W fast charging. The OnePlus 11 is expected to be priced around the Rs 50,000 mark for the base variant.

The OnePlus 11R, on the other hand, is expected to come with a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which will likely be paired with up to 16GB RAM and up to 512GB storage. As for the cameras, the OnePlus 11R 5G is tipped to come with a 50MP + 12MP + 2MP triple rear camera setup and a 16MP selfie snapper. Lastly, the device will reportedly feature a 5,000mAh battery with 100W fast charging support.

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Exclusive: Tesla Cybertruck mass production won’t start until 2024 –




Tesla Cybertruck mass production won’t start until 2024

#TeslaCybertruck #mass #production #wont #start

Tesla’s long-anticipated Cybertruck won’t be seeing full volume production until 2024, Elon Musk said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call today.

During the call, Musk was asked whether the forthcoming vehicle would meet a mid-2023 production target that was set in Q2 last year. Musk cagily confirmed that Cybertruck manufacturing would start “sometime this summer,” but concluded that mass production of the polarizing pickup won’t start until next year. “I always try to downplay the start of production,” Musk said. “It increases exponentially, but it is very slow at first.”

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 to widespread interest, but has seen its production delayed several times. Pre-production was originally supposed to start in late 2021, but was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then slated for sometime in 2023, a projection made a year ago. Additionally, last year Musk told investors Cybertruck’s specs and price “will be different,” (read: will be more expensive).

As a consolation prize, Tesla revealed on Wednesday that it has started installing the production equipment needed for the Cybertruck’s assembly, including the castings that will produce the electric pickup’s body. The Cybertruck is expected to be largely manufactured at the company’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.

Industry experts warned that the timeline needed to be sped up in order for the Cybertruck to have its desired impact. “Cybertruck will be hitting an increasingly crowded sector of the EV market amid the F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T, and likely the Chevy Silverado EV and RAM 1500 EV following closely behind,” said Edmunds executive director of insights Jessica Cawell in an email to The Verge. “The downside for Tesla is that the Cybertruck almost seems like old news.”

There’s still a lot of attention on the Cybertruck after its over-the-top unveiling that introduced its aggressive, post apocalyptic design. Maybe if Tesla throws more metal balls around it can get production rolling.

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