Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter join forces for data protection and portability project

Once you’ve chosen a subscription service or social media network, it’s hard to give it up. Deleting Facebook means losing connections to friends, photos and memories. Cancelling Spotify Premium or Apple Music means losing all of your favorite playlists. 

In other words, you have a lot of data to lose and little to no means of transferring it from one proprietary service to another. But, in the wake of the European Union’s GDPR ruling, that might all change for the better. 

Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter have set aside their differences and joined forces to create the Data Transfer Project, an open-source framework hosted on Github designed for “helping users securely and seamlessly move their data between service providers.”

Credit: Data Transfer Project

Credit: Data Transfer Project

In a blog post, Google outlined the initiative’s goal of creating a “small set of standardized data formats that read more

Get ready for FIVE new missions to Mars

Main image: Mars is getting more attention than ever. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The fourth planet from the Sun has been in the news quite a bit recently. First NASA announced that its Curiosity rover had found that methane and organic molecules both exist on Mars, and then there was the dust storm that engulfed most of the planet, causing Curiosity to take a very dirty selfie.

We humans are endlessly fascinated by Mars. It’s the only other planet in the solar system that we could ever colonize, and it could once have supported ancient life… and yet getting humans to live there successfully will be hugely challenging. The need to know what astronauts can expect when they land on the Red Planet is why space agencies are currently planning no less than five new missions to Mars. Here’s what they’ll do… 

NASA InSight

Launch: May 5, 2018  Touchdown: November 26, 2018  Official mission page

Already halfway through its 301 million mile (485 million km) journey to Mars, NASA’s newest read more

The best mining pools of 2018 for cryptocurrency

If you’re serious about cryptocurrency mining, then before you begin mining right away, you should first look at the best mining pools of 2018 for cryptocurrency.

This is because the most popular currencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin can take centuries to generate a valid ‘block’ on your own and make money.

With Mining pools, you can work with other miners and devices across the internet to pool your resources in performing complex calculations to generate blocks of data. The mining ‘reward’, as it’s known, is then split proportionally amongst each participant.

This makes mining much faster, but don’t just join the first mining pool you see. This is because the method used to allocate rewards and the final amount you’ll receive will depend on the mining pool in question.

So, in this guide we’ve listed five of the best known pools online today, to help you decide which is right for you.

Where possible we’ve found pools with multiple read more

Another leak for the unannounced Sony Xperia XZ3 ‘reveals’ design

Earlier this week, online retailer Mobile Fun listed the price and details of the Sony Xperia XZ3 with price and specs for the UK. 

Now the same retailer has shared a set of images of the Xperia XZ3 in Olixar cases, and all of this comes without Sony even announcing that there is such a phone.

The rendered images of the Xperia XZ3 line up nicely with leaked photos we’ve seen before. They show off a slight, and we mean slight, redesign from the Xperia XZ2 – if the renders from Mobile fun are real, and not just created from rumors on the web.

Sony would appear to remain obstinate about getting rid of screen bezels like many other smartphone manufacturers are doing. With little changing, the 5.7-inch screen of the XZ2 appears to continue on into the next generation, even if it does get a resolution upgrade.

The most notable change in design is the inclusion of a second camera sensor on the back of the Xperia XZ3.  The flash, camera, and fingerprint scanner are still all lined read more

Hire, unlock and drive off a Mercedes in London without speaking to a human being

Hiring a car can be a pain – you have to queue, fill in reams of paperwork, and sometimes you don’t even get the model you originally chose. Virtuo is a car hire company that’s hoping to change that, letting you hire a luxury car without ever speaking to another person. All you need is your phone.

It seems tailor-made for Londoners, and after success in Belgium and France, the company has brought a fleet of Mercedes A-Class cars to the UK.

Escape planning

There are other mobile-only transport apps around, like HyerCar, which lets you unlock a stranger’s car and hop behind the wheel, but Virtuo is more like a traditional car hire company, with luxury cars and rentals longer than a day.

“We think that everyone deserves a good experience, without the friction that you usually encounter when using a car rental company,” co-founder Karim Kaddoura told TechRadar.

“There are a lot of motoring services in London, but even though there are many ways to commute, there are few ways to escape for read more

Barriers to 5G could stop UK being a global leader

A new report has clamed that unless there is greater collaboration between the communications industry and government, as well as policies that support the rollout of network infrastructure, the UK will struggle to achieve its ambitions of being a 5G leader.

The first commercial 5G networks are expected to go live later this year, delivering faster speeds, higher capacity and lower latency.

The first UK services will launch in 2020, with the government hoping that Britain’s startup community and research capabilities will allow it to play a critical role.

UK 5G rollout

However, the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) has warned that the business case for 5G is uncertain due to the need to densify networks. 5G frequencies have more bandwidth but have shorter range, meaning there is a need for more sites and small cells to compensate.

Operators have long complained about the difficulty in accessing sites and getting planning permission, a situation that will be exacerbated by this need for more network read more

Microsoft is exploring new ways to seriously bolster its app line-up ahead of Surface Phone

Microsoft is exploring potential new avenues to remedy its issues with a lack of applications in the context of its rumored dual-screen mobile Surface device – which will allegedly utilize a custom version of Windows 10, referred to as Andromeda – beyond initial app expansion plans driven by Progressive Web Apps.

At least that’s the word from sources at Microsoft who have talked to Windows Central about the so-called Surface Phone, which as we’ve reported in the past, won’t be marketed as a phone as such, but appears to be some manner of phone-laptop hybrid. Indeed, it’s billed as a new category of ‘pocketable’ device Microsoft intends to push, running the streamlined and tailored Andromeda OS (which is designed to still deliver a full Windows 10 experience on a smaller device).

The grapevine reckons that the device has been delayed until next year, and Windows Central read more

This awesome £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card offer with SIM only deals ends on Sunday

If you’ve already read about our exclusive Vodafone SIM only deal where you get a hulking Amazon.co.uk Gift Card thrown in, then you only have a few days left to claim it. And if you haven’t heard about it, then where on Earth have you been!?

In case you missed it, Vodafone is offering a tasty Amazon.co.uk Gift Card with its big data SIMO deals. These SIM plans were already fantastic value in their own right, but the Amazon.co.uk Gift Card makes them frankly unmissable. The SIM deals on offer, which also offer unlimited texts and calls, are:

18GB SIMO for £19 per month with £75 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card

20GB SIMO for £24 per month with £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card

Both are a bargain, but we think that the 20GB deal just about pips it. That’s because you’ll also be on Vodafone’s Red Entertainment plan, which includes a subscription to your choice of NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium and Sky Sports Mobile TV. Add the £100 that you’ll read more

Huawei hardware may be a UK security risk

Huawei says it is committed to addressing concerns raised by a new UK government report that its telecommunications network equipment poses a threat to national security.

The Banbury-based Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) is a specialist unit formed in 2010 to monitor the use of the equipment in the UK’s network infrastructure. It is overseen by UK security agencies, including GCHQ, and reports to the National Security Adviser.

Huawei has effectively been frozen out of several markets, most notably the US, due to concerns that the company has links with the Chinese government. However BT and a number of other British telcos are customers, while Huawei has pledged to spend billions in the UK.

For its part, Huawei has continually denied such allegations.

Huawei security

This latest annual report, the HCSEC’s fourth, found it could only offer “limited” assurance that Huawei equipment was safe to use. It said there had been a lack of progress in resolving previous concerns, while a visit read more

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 will have an iris scanner to replace the fingerprint sensor

Some were surprised when leaks and rumors began to suggest there wouldn’t be a fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. Surely Samsung needs to include some form of security tech, right?

It’s almost certain now that the company will include its Intelligent Scan feature – like on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus – using an iris scanner and facial recognition tech at the same time.

Samsung fan blog SamMobile dived into the official Galaxy Tab S4 firmware that’s already uploaded to the company’s database and found a very similar animation to the one you get when you set up the feature on smartphones.

The Intelligent Scan feature uses both the iris scanner tech and facial recognition tech at the same time. It will aim to unlock the phone using the former, but if you’re in bright sunlight or other bad conditions for the tech it will switch to facial recognition.

Goodbye fingerprint

The firmware doesn’t confirm that there’s no fingerprint sensor read more