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Apple Reportedly Working on Fix for Messaging Bug that
Can Force iOS Devices to Crash, Reboot
Apple is scrambling to fix a bug in its iOS operating system that makes it possible for anyone to crash a user's Messages app or even to cause an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to reboot by sending a particular string of text in an SMS. According to a report from
NBC News, the flaw relates to the way iOS 8 handles the display of Arabic characters. The issue was first discovered by users of the popular message board
Reddit, who have since confirmed that the same string of text will also crash an iOS device if it appears in notifications from third party apps, such as Twitter or any other application that receives text-based messages. Apple told NBC in a statement on the matter that a fix would be forthcoming in a software update, but did not provide a timeframe. Several news outlets are suggesting that users disable receiving notifications from their Messages app and any other messaging apps they have to counteract the bug. However, this is far from an ideal solution as it would mean the user would need to check their incoming messages regularly for any new arrivals.
FCC's Wheeler Proposes Stronger Consumer Protections Against Robocalls, Spam Texts
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed a new set of rules governing automated marketing calls, commonly called "robocalls," as well as spam text messages and unwanted telemarketing calls. Wheeler said he is making the proposal in order to address "two dozen petitions that sought clarity on how the Commission enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)," and that he designed it to "close loopholes and strengthen consumer protections already on the books." The new rules laid down in the proposal revolved around an expanded right for consumers to "say stop" by revoking their consent to receive robocalls or robotexts in "any reasonable way at any time." In addition to this, other protections would include the green light for third party technologies that could automatically detects and block robocalls; a requirement that recently reassigned numbers must not be called by any given telemarketer more than a single time; a stricter definition of what an "autodialer" is; and some very limited exceptions for "urgent" matters, such as alerting a consumer of possible fraud on a bank account or medication reminders. Wheeler reiterated in his plan that these protections would come wholly in addition to all existing FCC guidelines, and would not replace any existing measures. The proposal will go up for vote at the FCC's next Open Meeting on June 18, 2015.
Google Updates goo.gl URL Shortener to Allow Support for "Deep Links"
Google introduced a major change to its goo.gl URL shortening service that allows the shortened links provided by the service to direct users to content within specific mobile apps. The feature is available to users of both Android and iOS, and works with any app that has been designed to support a function known as "App Indexing." These so called "deep links," when clicked on, will first launch the appropriate app, and will then take the user to the portion of the app designated by the full URL being shortened. For example, a single goo.gl link can now take a user to a specific set of directions already set up within the Google Maps app installed on their smartphone or tablet. If the app being referred to by the link is not present, the user's device will default to opening a Web page instead. Google's
post on the update includes both a sample link for experiencing how the new deep links work, as well as instructions for developers to make their own apps compatible with the expanded URL shortener.
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