Uber notched another win in its effort to win over the beleaguered taxi industry, announcing a plan to start listing London’s famed black cabbies in its app.
The service won’t roll out until early 2024, but some London cabbies have already begun to sign up. Uber says all 15,000 of London’s cab drivers “will now have the opportunity” to sign up for Uber trip referrals. The company recently brokered deals with taxi fleet owners in New York City, Paris, Rome, and Los Angeles to list drivers in its app.
Next to New York’s yellow cabs, the black cabbies of London are arguably the most iconic taxis in the world. Not only is this a symbolic victory for Uber but also it could help build trust with taxi owners who may still be wary of Uber’s motives.
Indeed, not everyone is happy about Uber’s attempts to bring cabbies into its app. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), a trade group that represents 10,000 drivers, cast doubt over whether drivers would flock to the app.
“There is no demand for this partnership from the London licensed taxi drivers we represent or our passengers,” LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara said in a statement. “Neither the LTDA nor any other taxi trade groups were consulted in advance of this unilateral announcement. We are not aware of any drivers having been recruited and don’t believe our members will even consider joining the app, given its well-documented, poor record on everything from passenger safety to workers’ rights in London.”
McNamara noted that riders can already hail a ride in a London black cab through numerous apps, including Gett, Taxiapp, FreeNow, and ComCab. “We have no interest in sullying the name of London’s iconic, world-renowned black cab trade by aligning it with Uber, it’s poor safety record and everything else that comes with it,” he added.
“We have no interest in sullying the name of London’s iconic, world-renowned black cab trade by aligning it with Uber”
Uber has long been at odds with the taxi industry. In the early days, the company’s habit of playing fast and loose with the rules irked taxi owners, who accused the company of ignoring local regulations when moving into new markets. Uber retorted that the taxi business had many flaws before it arrived, including predatory loans.
But after it failed to completely wipe out and replace the taxi business, Uber instead turned to taxis to help fuel its next stage of growth. The company has said that, by 2025, it hopes to list every taxi in the world on its app. And for once, taxi owners are eager to be involved.
Taxis are featured in the Uber app in 33 countries around the world, with “hundreds of thousands” of taxi drivers receiving trip referrals from the company. Some of the largest markets by volume include Hong Kong, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey. Last year, Uber struck a deal to include around 14,000 of New York City’s iconic yellow taxis in its app.
When a taxi is hailed through Uber, the company gets a cut. Uber’s average global take rate (also known as its revenue margin) for rides in the third quarter of this year was 28.3 percent, up from 27.9 percent in Q3 2022. Uber said it would waive its commission on trips for London cabbies for the first six months.
Taxis are featured in the Uber app in 33 countries around the world
Both Uber and London’s black cabs are doing pretty well these days, having rebounded from the covid pandemic. More new cabs are being registered, including electric-powered ones. And Uber secured a 30-month license to keep its ridesharing services up and running in London last year after a lengthy battle with Transport for London over the company’s safety record.
Last year, Uber lost a legal battle in the UK over the employment status of its drivers. This required the company to start classifying its UK-based drivers as employees, granting them minimum wage, paid vacation, and other benefits.
London cabbies are known for their adherence to “the Knowledge,” a seemingly uncanny ability to locate thousands of landmarks within the greater London area with precision. Cabbies study for up to three years and spend around £10,000 (about $12,707) to memorize all the details.
1-minute tech changes for more privacy
You’re shopping for a gift, or doing something personal, and oops! Someone waltzes into the room. No problem — just hit Command + M on a Mac or Windows + M on a Windows PC to instantly minimize the program you have open.
There are so many little tips and tricks that make using your tech better. I’ve got a ton up my sleeve that are privacy-focused. If you find one new to you, share this article with a friend!
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7 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER ASK SIRI, GOOGLE ASSISTANT OR ALEXA
Apple keeps track of where you go and how often you visit. It can then make suggestions based on what it calls Significant Locations. You might see these as calendar events or map directions alerts.
Sure, it’s helpful, but not everyone likes it. You can clear this list.
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services.
- Tap Significant Locations.
- Hit the Clear History button.
You’re sending more than a selfie
Most people don’t realize all they share when sending a picture via text. Nearly every social media site strips out the metadata that reveals a photo’s little details, like when, where and how it was taken. But that info is not protected if you text a pic. You can stop that.
To stop location sharing on iPhone:
- Open the image you want to send and tap the share button.
- Select Options and toggle off Location. Tap Done.
To disable location tracking in your camera altogether:
- Open Settings. Tap Privacy & Security > Location Services.
- Scroll down, tap on Camera, then select Never.
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On Android, here’s how to wipe the location data for a single photo:
- Open your gallery and select the photo.
- Go to Details (it may be a three-dot menu) and click Remove location data.
Disable Bluetooth when you don’t need it
Bluetooth works similarly to Wi-Fi and cellular networks but performs simpler tasks at shorter ranges. You don’t need a cellular signal or network connection to use Bluetooth, and it doesn’t use data. And like any other connection, it’s not 100% safe.
Hackers and scammers must be close to you to use Bluetooth to hijack your phone. But in just about any public space, you’re arm’s length from strangers.
My advice: Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it. Keeping it active all the time makes your device more discoverable. As a bonus, keeping Bluetooth off will increase your device’s battery life.
- On an iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and switch it off. You can also swipe down from the top right of your screen to open the Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon.
- The same steps work for Android phones. Go to Settings > Connected Devices > Connection Preferences > Bluetooth and switch it off. (Note: Steps vary based on your phone’s model. Look or search for Bluetooth if these steps don’t match your phone.)
Airplane mode also disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, among other things, so it works in a pinch — but you won’t receive calls or texts.
Swap your pen for a safer one
It’s kind of crazy to me that check fraud is increasing in a big way. Criminals go to mailboxes and target envelopes that look like checks being mailed or bill payments.
Check washing is the most common type of check fraud. This is where a crook steals a check from the mail and alters the payee’s name so they can cash it. They often change the amount of money as well.
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If you need to write a check, use a security pen, also known as a check-washing pen. Uni-ball 207 Series pens (4 for around $10 on Amazon) use specially formulated ink that gets trapped into the paper, making it difficult for criminals to wash or erase the ink on a check.
To be extra safe, skip the mailbox and take your checks directly to your local post office. More smart steps here if there’s a mail fraud surge in your area.
Don’t forget crooks like to go offline, too
Thieves still use old-school tactics they think we all forgot about. We’re too smart for that, right?
- Out in public, keep your purse and wallet close. Only bring the cards you’ll be using.
- Be aware of who’s around when you pull out your phone, and hide your screen as you type in your PIN.
- Leave your Social Security card, birth certificate and passport at home unless you truly need them.
- Shred old bills and financial records before tossing them. I use this shredder.
- Review your credit report and bank statements regularly. Here’s how to get a free report.
If you get scammed, resist the urge to stay quiet. Report fraud, scams and bad business practices to the FTC. If you gave out your Social Security number, contact the SSA immediately.
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
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A tech-backed mission to monitor methane pollution launches today
A mission to map and track global methane pollution, a powerful greenhouse gas, is scheduled to launch today after years of collaboration between some of the biggest names in tech. It’s called MethaneSAT, a satellite that’s garnered funding and support from Jeff Bezos, Google, and SpaceX, among others.
MethaneSAT is expected to launch today from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 2:05PM PT. Liftoff will be livestreamed on the SpaceX website and on the company’s X profile. The nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund that developed MethaneSAT is also promising a special program starting at 1:40PM PT with key experts and “supporters” to talk about the mission.
Methane pollution is responsible for around 30 percent of global warming that’s raising sea levels and causing more extreme weather disasters. The gas comes from decomposing trash in landfills, methane-emitting microbes in rice paddies, and infamously from livestock burping and pooping. It also routinely escapes from oil and gas fields, pipelines, and even home appliances. After all, so-called natural gas is mostly just methane.
Orbiting Earth in 95 minutes, it’ll have eyes on oil and gas fields that account for roughly 80 percent of global production
It’s all that leaking gas that the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) plans to tackle with MethaneSAT. The group has documented massive amounts of leaking methane already. Between 2012 and 2018, it discovered that US methane emissions were actually 60 percent higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimates.
The group worked alongside 40 research institutions and 50 companies to put together a more comprehensive picture of methane emissions. It was painstaking work taking on-the-ground measurements directly from sources of pollution, which they supplemented with aerial readings taken by aircraft.
MethaneSAT can cover a lot more ground much faster. It should take about 20 seconds to survey the same area that would have taken an aircraft two hours to survey, according to EDF. Orbiting Earth in 95 minutes, it’ll have eyes on oil and gas fields that account for more than 80 percent of global production.
The goal is to quickly see how much methane is escaping and from where, so that measures might be taken to plug all those leaks. Methane is 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels when it comes to heating the planet — but only within the first 20 years of entering the atmosphere, and then its potency declines.
Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, lingers in the atmosphere and traps heat for centuries. Since methane is a powerful but comparatively short-lived greenhouse gas, preventing it from leaking is seen as one quick way to have a significant, immediate effect on climate change.
Google announced a partnership with EDF last month to create a global map of methane pollution from oil and gas infrastructure. The company is training AI to spot well pads, pump jacks, and storage tanks in satellite imagery similarly to how it identifies sidewalks and street signs for Google Maps. Matching that infrastructure to emissions data from MethaneSAT might be able to help regulators pinpoint where there are leaks.
If this mission is successful, it could be a game-changer by allowing policymakers to assess how much progress they’re making on climate action based on real-world measures of pollution rather than estimates based on companies self-reporting their emissions.
“What we’ve learned over our decade of doing field measurements is that actually, when you measure actual emissions in the field, it turns out that the total magnitude of emissions coming from the industry is much higher than what’s being reported by them using engineering calculations,” Mark Brownstein, EDF senior vice president of energy transition, said during a press briefing on Friday.
Building and launching the satellite cost $88 million, according to EDF. The Bezos Earth Fund gave EDF a $100 million grant in 2020 to help get MethaneSAT off the ground, making it one of the project’s biggest funders. MethaneSAT also marks the New Zealand’s Space Agency’s first government-funded space mission.
If all goes to plan, MethaneSAT should start publicly releasing some data by early summer. A complete picture of major oil and gas basins around the world isn’t expected until 2025, data EDF says will be available on MethaneSAT’s website and Google Earth Engine.
Apple fighting back against quantum attacks with new security system for iMessage
Apple is giving iMessage a big security boost as the company looks to protect users from future quantum attacks, which are cyberattacks that use the power of quantum computers to break the encryption methods used by most online services today.
While hackers don’t have access to quantum computers just yet, the new upgrade takes away a potential avenue for them down the road. Apple is calling it “the most significant cryptographic security upgrade in iMessage history.”
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What is PQ3?
PQ3 is Apple’s new encryption upgrade for iMessage to secure conversations. According to Apple, the upgrade provides level 3 security. iMessage currently uses level 1 protections.
How does PQ3 work?
It uses special codes that are difficult for even quantum computers to break. These codes are constantly changing, making it even harder for anyone to intercept your messages. It works behind the scenes, so you don’t need to do anything to benefit from it.
PQ3 is set to roll out in beta versions of iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 17.4 and watchOS 10.4 soon. Apple says the upgrade will roll out to all iOS devices by the end of the year.
Why is a new security measure needed?
Regular computers struggle to break the codes used in iMessage. However, powerful quantum computers, which are still under development, could potentially crack these codes. PQ3 protects your messages even if that happens.
While PQ3 is supposed to protect you from future hacks, it also provides a way to stop “harvest now, decrypt later” attacks. Although hackers usually want data or information they can use now, “harvest now, decrypt later” attacks steal your information now and will use a more advanced computer to decrypt it in the future.
What are the 3 major benefits of PQ3?
1) Stronger protection: It makes iMessage more secure against current and future threats.
2) Self-healing: If someone tries to steal your messages, PQ3 can automatically fix the problem and protect future messages.
3) No impact on message size: You won’t notice any difference in how quickly your messages are sent or received.
MORE: STOLEN DEVICE PROTECTION IN LATEST IOS 17.3 UPDATE PROTECTS YOUR IPHONE EVEN MORE FROM CROOKS
How to protect yourself from hackers
To prevent hackers from accessing your data now or in the future, you should take some precautions. Here are five tips to follow.
1) Keep your phone software updated
You’ll especially want to update your iPhone when iOS 17.4 is available to help protect you from quantum attacks. You should always keep your iPhone’s software and apps updated regularly as Apple releases patches for vulnerabilities as they are discovered. Updating your phones can also prevent hackers from exploiting security flaws.
2) Change your passwords
Change the passwords for all your online accounts, including your email, social media and banking accounts. Do not use easy-to-guess information such as your birthday or address. Use strong, unique passwords that are difficult to guess, preferably ones that are alphanumeric and, if applicable, include special symbols. Be sure to do this on another device in case there is malware monitoring you on your phone. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords. It will help you to create unique and difficult-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess.
3) Enable two-factor authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication on all your online accounts will add an extra layer of security to your accounts and make it more difficult for hackers to gain access.
4) Have good antivirus software on your phone
Having good antivirus software actively running on your devices will alert you of any malware in your system and warn you against clicking on any malicious links that may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information. Find my review of Best Antivirus Protection here.
5) Watch your connections
When possible, do not connect to unprotected or public Wi-Fi hotspots or Bluetooth connections. Turn off the Bluetooth connection when not in use. On most iPhones, you can choose who to receive files or photos via AirDrop (a Bluetooth feature) from by selecting to receive from no one, people in your Contacts or Everyone. We suggest you set it to “no one” and only turn it on when you are with the person you are sending or receiving a file or photo from.
MORE: APPLE CRACKS DOWN ON IPHONE THIEVES WITH NEW SECURITY SETTING
Kurt’s key takeaways
PQ3 feels like it’s going to be a massive upgrade for iMessage users. While other messaging services use encryption, it doesn’t seem like anything is as focused on quantum computing. If this is as secure as Apple says it is, this would be a gold standard for encryption.
Do you feel more secure using iMessage knowing that Apple is being proactive against future cyberattacks? What would you like to see Apple do to further protect users? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.
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