Submit Your Dash-Cam Footage To Police

A new website has been launched by manufacturer Nextbase allowing drivers to upload their dash-cam footage of dangerous drivers they’ve filmed, thereby making it easy for drivers to submit their footage to the police.

Initiative

The initiative, which has already received widespread praise, allows owners of any brand of dash-cam, action camera, mobile phone or any other type of camera from any manufacturer to upload footage to the National Dash-Cam Safety Portal (NDSP), and then to send it on to the appropriate local England or Wales police force.

As well as uploading footage, drivers can use the free portal to submit witness statements, all of which are securely stored, and only viewable by the police force to which they are submitted.

How Does It Work?

Part of the Nextbase website, the portal at https://www.nextbase.co.uk/national-dash-cam-safety-portal/ shows a clickable map of England and Wales divided into regions. Drivers with footage to submit are asked to click on the region where the incident recorded took place. Clicking on the geographic region then reveals the police force for all regions. Clicking on the relevant police force region should, when / if the police force has chosen to use the portal, send you to the relevant police force website and allow you to submit your statement and footage.

Drivers submitting footage are also prompted to contact their local force by email or by calling 101, and to email their witness statement to a given police email address in order to help speed up the process of reporting the incident.

Since the initiative is still in its early stages, many of the relevant police forces are not yet fully participating in the video-submitting system.

Dash-Cam Footage Can Be Used In Court

Dash-cam footage can provide useful information and evidence in court cases and the first jail sentence for dangerous driving that used dash cam footage as its main evidence took place in 2015.

Things To Remember

Drivers submitting footage and statements via the portal should be aware that by doing so they are filing an official police report, the process can require the driver to take time to answer lots of questions, and that there is a possibility that they may be required to appear in court. Also, if the footage shows the driver who submitted the footage to be breaking the law e.g. speeding to catch up with and film the perpetrator, they may also be prosecuted.

The NDSP web page provides FAQs to answer questions about the type / quality of footage and the process.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Anyone who drives on UK roads, particularly as part of their job and / or their daily commute is likely to have witnessed dangerous or irresponsible driving. Dash-cams have provided one way for drivers to have some fall-back protection against the reckless and / or criminal actions of others and against potentially costly insurance implications. Footage provides something more than just testimony and conjecture.

The big advantage of the NDSP portal is that, for the first time, it provides a central point for drivers to go to submit footage, and it simplifies the process of submitting footage and statements to the correct police force.

Critics could argue, however, that this initiative could be promoting a trade-off between road safety and privacy, and could be encouraging a culture of citizen surveillance and suspicion.

For Nextbase, the portal (and the media reports about it) will provide some positive publicity if the system works properly and securely, and since it is part of their product website, could even lead to some more sales of dash-cams.

Samsung Phones Sending Photos Without Permission

The Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and Note 8 are all reported to have been recently affected by a bug in the Samsung Messages app that sends out photos from the user’s gallery without their permission … to random contacts.

What Happens?

According to Samsung phone users on social media and the company’s forum, some users have been affected by a bug in the default texting app on Galaxy, Samsung Messages. Reports indicate that the bug causes Samsung Messages to text photos stored in a user’s gallery to a random person listed as contact. The user is not informed that the pictures have been sent, or to whom, and there has even been one reported complaint that a person’s whole gallery was sent to a contact in the middle of the night!

Why?

Although there is no conclusive evidence concerning the cause, online speculation has centred on the bug being related to the interaction between Samsung Messages and recent RCS (Rich Communication Services) profile updates that have rolled out on carriers including T-Mobile. These updates have been rolled out to add updated and new features to the outdated SMS protocol e.g. better media sharing and typing indicators.

Acknowledged

Samsung is reported to have acknowledged the reports of problems, and is said to be looking into them. Samsung is also reported to have urged concerned customers to contact them directly on 1-800-SAMSUNG, and the company supposedly have been in contact with T-Mobile about the issue. T-Mobile is recorded as saying that it is not their issue.

What Can You Do?

As well contacting Samsung, and in the absence of any definitive news of a fix as yet, there are two main possible fixes that Samsung owners can pursue. These are:

  1. To go into the phone’s app settings and revoke Samsung Messages’ ability to access storage. This should stop Messages from sending photos or anything else stored on the device.
  2. Switch to a different texting app e.g. Android Messages or Textra. There are no (known) reports of these being affected by the same bug.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

People pay a lot of money to get the latest phones and to get the right contracts to allow for the high volume of communications associated with business use. It is (at the very least) annoying, but more generally scary and potentially damaging that personal, private image files can be randomly sent. These photos could, for example, contain commercially sensitive information that could put a company’s competitive advantage at risk if sent to the wrong person. Also, some photos could cause embarrassment for the user and / or the subject of the photo, and could damage business and personal relationships if they fell into the wrong hands. Some photos sent to the wrong person, as well as compromising privacy, could pose serious security risks.

At a time when we acknowledge that photos of ourselves / our faces stored by e.g. CCTV cameras are our personal data, Samsung could find itself on the wrong end of GDPR-related and other lawsuits if found to be directly responsible for the bug and its results.

New, Improved Wi-Fi Security Standard WPA3 Starts Rollout

The non-profit, global trade group, the Wi-Fi Alliance, has announced the commencement of the rollout of the new Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocol WPA3 which should bring improvements in authentication and data protection.

What’s Been The Problem?

There are estimated to be around 9 billion Wi-Fi devices in use in the world, but the current security protocol, WPA2, dates back to 2004. The rapidly changing security landscape has, therefore, left many Wi-Fi devices vulnerable to new methods of attack, fuelling the calls for the fast introduction of a new, more secure standard.

WPA2 Vulnerabilities

For example, WPA2 which is mandatory for Wi-Fi Certified devices, is known to be vulnerable to offline dictionary attacks to guess passwords. This is where an attacker can have as many attempts as they like at guessing Wi-Fi credentials without being on the same network. Offline attacks allow the perpetrator to either passively stand and capture an exchange, or even interact with a user once before finding-out the password. Using Wi-Fi on public networks with the current protocol has also left people vulnerable to ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks or ‘traffic sniffing’.

One key contributor to the vulnerability of using Wi-Fi with the WPA2 standard is the home / business using obvious / simple passwords.

What’s So Good About The New Standard?

The new WPA3 standard has several advantages. These include:

  • The fact that it has been designed for the security challenges of businesses, although it has two modes of operation: Personal and Enterprise.
  • The equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, thereby offering a higher level of security than WPA2.
  • The addition of Easy Connect, which allows a user to add any device to a Wi-Fi network using a secondary device already on the network via a QR code. This makes the connection more secure and helps simplify IoT device protection.
  • WPA3-Personal mode offers enhanced protection against offline dictionary attacks and password guessing attempts through the introduction of a feature called Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE). Some commentators have suggested that it ‘saves users from themselves’ by offering improved security even if a user chooses a more simple password. It also offers ‘forward secrecy’ to protect communications even if a password has been compromised.

In Tandem For The Time Being

The current standard WPA2 will be run in tandem with the new WPA3 standard until the standard becomes more widely used.

Protection Against Passive Evesdropping

In June, the Wi-Fi Alliance also announced the rollout of the Wi-Fi Enhanced Open, a certification program. This provides protection for unauthenticated networks e.g. coffee shops, hotels and airports, and protects connections against passive eavesdropping without needing a password by providing each user with a unique individual encryption that secures traffic between their device and the Wi-Fi network.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Wi-Fi security and the security of a growing number of IoT devices has long been a source of worry to individuals and businesses, particularly as the nature and variety of attack methods have evolved while the current security standard is 14 years old.

The introduction of a new, up-to-date standard / protocol which offers greater security, has been designed with businesses in mind, offers more features, and protects the user from their own slack approach to security is very welcome. WPA3 will be particularly welcomed by those who use networks to send and receive very sensitive data, such as the public sector or financial industry.

Tech Giant GDPR Privacy Settings ‘Unethical’ Says Council

The ‘Deceived By Design’ report by the government-funded Norwegian Consumer Council has accused tech giants Microsoft, Facebook and Google of being unethical by leading users into selecting settings that do not benefit their privacy.

Illusion of Control

The report alleges that, far from actually giving users more control over their personal data (as laid out by GDPR), the tech giants may simply be giving users the illusion that this is happening. The report points to the possible presence of practices such as:

– Facebook and Google making users who want the privacy-friendly option go through a significantly longer process (privacy intrusive defaults).

– Facebook, Google and Windows 10 using pop-ups that direct users away from the privacy-friendly choices.

– Google presenting users with a hard-to-use dashboard with a maze of options for their privacy and security settings. For example, on Facebook it takes 13 clicks to opt out of authorising data collection (opting in can take just one).
– Making it difficult to delete data that’s already been collected. For example, deleting data about location history requires clicking through 30 to 40 pages.

– Google not warning users about the downside of personalisation e.g. telling users they would simply see less useful ads, rather than mentioning the potential to be opted in to receive unbalanced political ad messages.

– Facebook and Google pushing consumers to accept data collection e.g. with Facebook stating how, if users keep face recognition turned off, Facebook won’t be able to stop a stranger from using the user’s photo to impersonate them, while not stating how Facebook will use the information collected.

Dark Patterns

In general, the reports criticised how the use of “dark patterns” such as misleading wording and default settings that are intrusive to privacy, settings that give users an illusion of control, hiding privacy-friendly options, and presenting “take-it-or-leave-it choices”, could be leading users to make choices that actually stop them from exercising all of their privacy rights..

Big Accept Button

The report, by Norway’s consumer protection watchdog, also notes how the GDPR-related notifications have a large button for consumers to accept the company’s current practices, which could appear to many users to be far more convenient than searching for the detail to read through.

Response

Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all reported to have responded to the report’s findings by issuing statements focusing on the progress and improvements they’ve made towards meeting the requirements of the GDPR to date.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

GDPR was supposed to give EU citizens much more control over their data, and the perhaps naive expectation was that companies with a lot to lose (in fines for non-compliance and reputation), such as the big tech giant and social media companies would simply fall into line and afford us all of those new rights straight away.

The report by the Norwegian consumer watchdog appears to be more of a reality check that shows how our personal data is a valuable commodity to the big tech companies, and that, according to the report, the big tech companies are willing to manipulate users and give the illusion that they are following the rules without actually doing so. The report appears to indicate that these large corporations are willing to force consumers to try to fight for rights that have already been granted to them in GDPR.

NHS Booking App and Doc Bot

In the NHS’s 70th year, and as part of the push for digitisation, the introduction of an appointment-booking app has been praised, while a GP chatbot has been given the thumbs-down by The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Book Appointments With A Free NHS App

A free app, due to be launched at the end of this year, will enable NHS patients to make GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and access the 111 helpline for urgent medical needs.

The app, which is being jointly developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, and is part of NHS England’s wider strategy to digitise the health service, will be made available through the App Store or Google.

Other Options

As well as booking appointments and ordering prescriptions, the app will also give patients other options such as allowing them to opt-out of sharing their personal information for research and planning purposes across the health service, mark their preferences on organ donation, and register their choices for end-of-life care.

Helpful

Many commentators have praised the idea of the app as something that could provide extra convenience to patients e.g. reducing the 8am scramble for GP appointments, and take some of the increasing load off some areas of the NHS.

Security Caution

Some commentators have stressed the need to ensure that the security, reliability, and the identity verification processes of the app are of the highest international security standards in order to protect the personal details and medical history of patients.

Big No for Doc App

While the NHS appointment-booking app has been receiving cautious praise, the new Babylon AI chatbot that can diagnose medical conditions (and offer health advice based on what users tell it) got the thumbs-down at an event held by The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Accuracy?

One of the main aspects of the bot that upset physicians were claims by Babylon that the bot has achieved medical exam scores of the same level as or higher than a human doctor. The company says that according to its robust testing program, which includes relevant sections of the MRCGP exam, which is the final test for a trainee GP, Babylon’s AI bot’s average pass mark was 81%. This mark is higher than the 72% average pass mark achieved by real doctors over the past five years.

These claims have been disputed by RCGP, which has stressed the point that no app or algorithm is able to do what a GP does.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Apps are being used in useful and value-adding ways in so many other sectors, it is no surprise that they are being developed for healthcare, and with the purpose of taking some of the burden off the NHS. For most people, the NHS is s trusted organisation anyway, and an app that can essentially perform administrative functions, such as booking appointments, sounds as though it could be very useful. The trust that many have in the NHS may also be enough to minimise security concerns. One criticism may be, however, that it may exclude the older members of society, many of whom are regular users of NHS services.

Even though an AI app may be able to pass theoretical exams (such as the Babylon AI app) getting people to trust it to make a diagnosis and then health suggestions, particularly when it has been criticised by real doctors, may be a step too far at the current time. That particular app company, however, has faced criticism in the past over its ‘GP at Hand’ app for the NHS, which allows patients at five London clinics to consult with their GP via a video call. The RCGP criticised it for cherry-picking patients, and leaving GPs to deal with the most complex patients without sufficient resources.

Either way, the NHS is committed to digitising some aspects of its services, and in introducing technology, a balance needs to be struck between adding real value in a fair way to all, while not being to the detriment of any NHS users and practitioners.

Tech Tip – Save Space By Quickly Creating Compressed Folders

If you’re running Windows and you’d like to save some space on your disk, there is a way to quickly pack files into a compressed archive, with no third-party software required. Here’s how:

– Select the files you want to compress.

– Right-click on part of the selection.

– Choose ‘Send to and Compressed’ (zipped) folder.

Each week we bring you the latest tech news and tips that may relate to your business, re-written in an techy free style.