In a rare move to avoid a potential conflict with the Federal Aviation Administration, AT&T and Verizon say they will limit the power output of their 5G cell towers for a period of six months while the agency investigates the effects of C-band spectrum on aircraft safety systems. According to The Wall Street Journal, the carriers made the offer on Wednesday in a letter they sent to the Federal Communications Commission.
“While we remain confident that 5G poses no risk to air safety, we are also sensitive to the Federal Aviation Administration’s desire for additional analysis of this issue,” AT&T and Verizon wrote. Should the FAA accept the proposal, the limit will extend to July 6th. AT&T and Verizon told the FCC they don’t expect the limits to impact their services.
At the start of November, both companies agreed to delay their C-band rollouts by one month to January 2022. Officials with the FAA worry widespread use of C-band spectrum may interfere with the altimeter equipment on some aircraft. Pilots often rely on those tools when they need to land, especially when visibility conditions aren’t favorable.
Both AT&T and Verizon have a strong financial incentive to avoid any further delays to their C-band rollout. The two carriers spent a combined $68.8 billion to secure the necessary licenses for their mid-band buildouts and an additional $15 billion on the necessary infrastructure to take advantage of that spectrum.All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
WhatsApp, iMessage give the most info to the FBI, new document shows
Edgar Cervantes / Android AuthorityTL;DR
An internal FBI document has revealed how much data it can legally obtain from messaging apps.
It turns out that iMessage and WhatsApp were the most permissive in this regard.
Signal and Telegram are two high-profile apps that don’t give out much data.
There are loads of messaging apps on the market today, and many of these services make a big deal about their security and privacy policies. Now, a newly leaked document has revealed just how much data the FBI can legally obtain from these services.Rolling Stone and Property of the People obtained an FBI document (seen below) that details exactly what kind of information the bureau can obtain from various messaging apps with a warrant or subpoena. And it turns out that WhatsApp and iMessage provide the most information.WhatsApp, iMessage, and Line all provide “limited” message content in response to a legal request from the FBI. Signal, Telegram, Threema, Viber, WeChat, and Wickr don’t disclose any message content though.But the amount of data shared by WhatsApp and iMessage doesn’t stop there, and it turns out that “limited” message content isn’t as innocuous as it sounds.
The biggest snitches uncoveredRolling Stone/Property of the PeopleThe Facebook-owned messaging platform will only give up “basic subscriber records” with a subpoena, but a search warrant allows the FBI to grab address book contacts and WhatsApp users who have the target as a contact. A surveillance request (called a pen register here) will also allow WhatsApp to send the source and destination of messages to the FBI every 15 minutes, but not the message content itself.Using an iPhone and got your WhatsApp messages backed up to iCloud? Then the FBI can grab actual message content too, as Apple is required to hand over the iCloud encryption key with a search warrant.
More reading: The best alternatives to WhatsApp right nowMeanwhile, iMessage only serves up “basic” subscriber information with a subpoena, but dishes out 25 days of iMessage search queries with a court order. Authorities armed with a search warrant can also make backups of a target’s device and see actual messages if the targeted person is using iCloud backups for iMessage. Apple’s service doesn’t offer a surveillance/pen register capability like WhatsApp though.Telegram and Signal are two services with more significant limitations on what can legally be handed over to the FBI. Telegram doesn’t offer message content at all, nor does it typically provide contact information. The FBI document adds however that Telegram “may” disclose IP addresses and phone numbers to authorities for “confirmed” terrorist investigations.Signal doesn’t provide message content either, but does offer the date and time a user registered on the service and the last date it connected to the platform.Most of this information isn’t new, but the document does give users a better idea of how these platforms compare to each other. And this is particularly important for journalists, leakers, and their sources. Will this news make you switch messaging apps though? Let us know via the poll below.Will you switch messaging apps after these FBI disclosures?48 votesYes25%No29%I’ve already switched to Signal/Telegram46%Comments
Virtual modular synth VCV Rack 2 is now available | Engadget
VCV Rack 2 has arrived, and it could help you figure out if modular synthesis is something you can get into before blowing a fortune on it. The original app dropped in 2017, giving you access to thousands of virtual modules that let you try Eurorack for free. This upgraded app comes with a completely redesigned user interface with a dark room mode and a much better module browser than its predecessor. VCV has a library of almost 2,700 modules, and the new browser will make them easier to sort with its category filters and the capability to highlight the modules you use the most.
While the app itself is still free to download and use, there’s now a Pro version that includes a VST plugin for full integration into the digital audio workstation of your choice. That means you’ll be able to use VCV Rack within Ableton, Logic or even GarageBand. The Pro tier also comes with professional support — and the promise of more plugin formats in the future. Rack 2’s paid version will set you back $99 until 2022, though you can also get it bundled with VCV Drums and VCV Sound Stage for $209. You can get both paid and free VCV Rack 2 versions right now from its official page.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Here are 2021’s best apps and games according to Google
We’re slowly inching towards the end of the year. With December just a few days away, Google has announced the winners of its annual Google Play Best of awards. This year, Google’s including categories for apps and games playable on tablets, Wear OS, and Google TV, broadening the scope of possible winners.In 2020, we saw plenty of mindfulness apps make the cut, and 2021 sees a similar outcome. This year, personalized mediation app Balance takes home Google’s top app honors. As for the top game, Pokémon Unite is the company’s title of choice. Canva and Calm took home the Best for Tablets and Best for Wear titles, respectively, while Disney Plus, ESPN, and Tubi claimed “popular on Google TV” medals.