ZmBIZI’s $550 Z2 phone pays you for your data usage

The ZmBIZI Z2 is a the $550 4G phone that pays you for the personal data you share on your phone.

We live so much of our lives on our smartphones these days that our mobile devices are just full of valuable data that we often unknowingly and freely give to all the major tech companies: our spending habits, our personal preferences, our locations, and much more. Since we can’t really live without our phones, and tech companies aren’t going to stop monetizing our data without a fight, we might as well get our cut of the data pie.

That’s the premise of ZmBIZI phones, the LA-based and minority-owned startup backed by the fintech lender Street Cred Capital that is trying to make our phones work for us. Both its new phone, the Z2, and its proprietary software are designed to share the profit that your mobile data generate, back with you.


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Broadband Data Caps Mysteriously Disappear When Competition Comes Knocking

We’ve noted for years how broadband data caps (and monthly overage fees) are complete bullshit. They serve absolutely no technical function, and despite years of ISPs trying to claim they “help manage network congestion,” that’s never been remotely true. Instead they exist exclusively as a byproduct of limited competition. They’re a glorified price hike by regional monopolies who know they’ll see little (or no!) competitive or regulatory pressure to stop nickel and diming captive customers.

The latest case in point: Cox Communications employs a 1,280 GB data cap, which, if you go over, requires you either pay $30 per month more for an additional 500 GB, or upgrade your plan to an unlimited data offering for $50 more per month. While Cox’s terabyte-plus plan is more generous than some U.S. offerings (which can be as low as a few gigabytes), getting caught up in whether the cap is “fair” is beside the point. Because, again, it serves absolutely no function other than to impose arbitrary penalties and additional monthly costs for crossing the technically unnecessary boundaries.

And, mysteriously, when wireless broadband providers begin offering fixed wireless services over 5G services in limited areas, Cox lifts the restrictions completely to compete:

“With unlimited home wireless broadband from T-Mobile and Verizon starting to take a dent out of Cox Communications’ customer base, the cable operator is shoring up a defensive position by waiving its arbitrary data cap for existing customers signed up for gigabit speed service in select areas…The fact Cox is willing to waive its own arbitrary data cap for marketing and competition reasons further demonstrates that artificial limits imposed on internet service have nothing to do with congestion, “fairness,” or network management.”

The problem, of course, is that 5G wireless competition isn’t consistently available, and won’t be for millions of Americans deemed too unprofitable to adequately serve. 83 million Americans live under a broadband monopoly that sees no competitive pressure. And whereas in a functioning market regulators would then step in to either regulate prices or embrace policies that drive more competition to market, the U.S. generally suffers from regulatory capture (aka doing whatever the regional and politically powerful telecom monopolies want). As a result, the U.S. remains mired in mediocrity in nearly every meaningful broadband metric except one: we exceed at charging U.S. consumers way more than the global developed nation average.

Like net neutrality violations, privacy violations, high prices, and terrible customer service, arbitrary, confusing, and punitive broadband usage caps are just another symptom of limited competition. But the majority of both U.S. political parties not only haven’t been doing anything to fix that problem, it’s fairly rare you can get anyone to admit the very obvious problem is even real. Instead, we get some nebulous hand waving about the “digital divide,” billions more in tax breaks, subsidies, and regulatory favors thrown at entrenched regional monopolies, and little substantive change.

iPhone 13’s ordered through reported breach of digital carrier Visible

“I was just hacked! They sent themselves a phone and changed my address!”

What you need to know

Customers of Verizon’s digital carrier Visible are reporting that their accounts have been compromised.
Many say that iPhones have been ordered to different addresses using their payment information.

Customers of Verizon’s digital carrier Visible are reporting a serious breach of their accounts that has seen fraudulent users order iPhone 13 models to alternative addresses using their payment details.

The complaints were noted by XDA Developers on both Reddit and Twitter:

Social media sites, especially the Visible subreddit, are currently flooded with reports of Visible accounts being hijacked. In most cases, the email address associated with the account is reset by an unknown attacker, then the payment method on the account is used to order a phone.

One user on Reddit wrote “Dude my account got hacked and they shipped out an iPhone 13 worth 1k that was taken from my PayPal. I …

Some of Verizon’s Visible cell network customers say they’ve been hacked

Image: Visible

Some customers of Verizon’s Visible service are using social media to say that hackers have accessed their accounts, changed their information to lock them out, and in some cases even ordered phones using their payment info (via XDA). If you’re not familiar, Visible is a cell service owned and operated by Verizon that pitches itself as a less expensive, “all-digital” network, meaning there aren’t any physical stores like you’d get with a traditional carrier. Starting on Monday, customers on both Twitter and Reddit reported en masse that they’d been getting emails from the company about changed passwords and addresses, and that they’ve had difficulties contacting the company’s chat support.

Visible’s customer service account on Twitter…

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A text message routing company suffered a five-year-long breach

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Syniverse, a telecom company that helps carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T route messages between each other and other carriers abroad, disclosed last week that it was the subject of a possible five year long hack. If the name Syniverse sounds familiar, the company was also responsible for the disappearance of a swath of Valentine’s Day text messages in 2019.

The hack in question was brought to light in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Syniverse published last week. In it, Syniverse shares that in May 2021 it “became aware of unauthorized access to its operational and information technology systems by an unknown individual or organization.” The company did its due diligence notifying law enforcement and conducting an…

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