EU Staff Hacked by Pegasus, Manchester City Knits Smart Scarf, Game Time not Linked to Wellbeing

We’re back! Mark was out last Friday, and we’re back in the saddle with hot news. Since, the hiatus the court is going to force Elon Musk to trial in his will-I-won’t-I takeover of Twitter. Either way, it’s Thursday and I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s non-Elon stories: an EU Justice commissioner gets his iPhone hacked, Manchester City spies on its fans using scarves, and scientists say, “play all the video games you want.” You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

BREAKING: Google has joined Amazon and will provide home security camera footage to law enforcement without a warrant. Google and Amazon claim that they’ll only provide video if LEO state the seizure is for an emergency. Google says they haven’t done this, yet. Amazon has handed over video to law enforcement a dozen times this year. Read on for full details.


Yesterday, Reuters reported EU Justice Commissioner, Didier Reyders, and some of his staff had their phones infiltrated with Pegasus. You may remember us reporting on the Israeli spyware program being used to track down a Dubai princess. The commissioner sent a memo to EU leadership after Apple had notified him that his phone was hacked. Pegasus left behind a telltale sign of evidence indicating that it was installed on his device. Pegasus is used by nation states and government entities to spy on individuals. The program can left contact lists, call logs, messages, and browsing history. No word on who the perpetrator is. It may be impossible to track who made the hack.

Here’s how to protect yourself from spyware programs like Pegasus:

  1. Reboot often. Spyware programs typically load themselves and need to stay “resident” in the background after being activated. These program are rarely in the startup sequence of your device.
  2. Disable iMessage. Many spyware programs activate by so-called zero-click methods. iPhones can render some webpages automatically and this is a way spyware programs can be installed. I know, this is painful. iMessage is probably the most powerful and convenient messaging tool with bots and other programs built in. That means there are more ways of getting on to your device.
  3. Disable FaceTime. Yeah, this also painful. I’ve gotten used to actually using FaceTime, but again its another way spyware program can get in.
  4. Don’t click on links from unknown texters. The real answer is never click on links, but my wife and friends are always sending me links.
  5. Use a paid for VPN for your online communications. Most people wouldn’t resort to this, but it is a significant step in protecting yourself and masking your traffic online.

These tips and more are available from…the Russians.


We live in the era of the smart everything. Yesterday, Manchester City Football Club announced the development of a new smart scarf featuring a biometric sensor and the Club’s colors. The biometric sensor is an EmotiBit used to measure the attitude, emotional state, and stress levels of Manchester City fans during a match. The Club wants to understand their fans’ state during a match. I’d think it would be pretty easily to tell a fan’s state by looking at the score, their faces, and alcohol consumption. Manchester City has given a select few fans the device now, with places to distribute the scarves globally next year. They’ll also be giving scarves to select New York City FC (Manchester City’s sister club) this year as well. No details on how much these scarves will cost. The technology is being developed in partnership with Cisco systems.


This is a story that hits close to home and which I think doesn’t match anecdotal observation. So, yes, I’m dubious about it. An Oxford Internet Institute study on 39,000 gamers concludes that the amount of time gamers spend playing has no impact on their well-being. This year’s new study contradicts their own 2020 study on the topic. The report states that if players choose to spend their time playing games versus being compelled to, the player’s wellbeing is better off. I disagree on this after witnessing the amount of Minecraft my oldest plays and some of the shifts in her behavior. An excessive amount of time in the environment can impact anxiousness and social surrounding behaviors. Also, therapists are beginning to anecdotally agree on the impact Minecraft has on certain behaviors. I think a study is needed on that. Minecraft wasn’t in this study, but these titles were:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Apex Legends
  • Eve Online
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gran Turismo Sport
  • The Crew 2

Make sure you listen to our next episode of The Cloud on August 1st, Crypto: Is It the Future of Money? We’ll be having a blockchain expert on to talk about cryptocurrencies and the hype behind them.


Demystifying Computing

Have you ever looked at the screen and wondered what’s going on in there? Coming in time for the holidays, Seven Brief Lessons on Computing is a fast and entertaining read that shares how computers work for the curious.

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