Eurobites: Macron changes phone in bid to thwart Pegasus

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: how phone signals help sell houses; Proximus joins 25GS-PON MSA massive; Sky adds HDRUHD to sports coverage.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

July 23, 2021

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Macron changes phone in bid to thwart Pegasus

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: how phone signals help sell houses; Proximus joins 25GS-PON MSA massive; Sky adds HDRUHD to sports coverage.

  • Zut alors! French President Emmanuel Macron has felt the need to change his mobile phone and his mobile number after apparently being targeted by Pegasus, the Israeli-made spyware that has found its way onto the phones of activists, journalists, politicians and business figures worldwide. As the BBC reports, citing Le Monde, Macron and 14 of his ministers were allegedly targeted for surveillance by the government of Morocco, though Morocco denies this. Pegasus worms its way into iPhones and Android devices, allowing calls to be recorded and cameras activated, among other things. And the targeted individual doesn't even need to open an email or click on a link to unleash the beast – all the "bad guys" need is your mobile number. Sacré bleu!

    • Forget switching on that long-forgotten coffee percolator or weeding the front garden; the best way of selling your house is to make sure it has good mobile connectivity. That's the gist of a new study from Virgin Media O2, which concludes that some house-hunters would be willing to pay up to £10,000 (US$13,759) over the asking price for a property with a strong indoor and outdoor phone signal. In fact, 70% of house-hunters would be prepared to walk away from their preferred home, or not make an offer at all, if there aren't enough bars lit up on their smartphone screens. It's the pandemic, of course, that has helped bring about this strange state of affairs, as homeworkers realize that they no longer need to be within commuter-train distance of their office and can instead live the dream and buy themselves a slice of heaven in, for example, one of the UK's many dilapidated seaside towns.

    • Belgian operator Proximus and the EU's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) are two of the new sign-ups to the 25GS-PON MSA Group, which is dedicated to the cause of 25-gigabit symmetric PON technology. The technology is the latest addition to the point-to-multipoint family, using a single optical fiber to support numerous endpoints. It is not without controversy, however: Huawei and some if its Chinese customers effectively blocked the standardization of 25G PON by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), apparently viewing it as a threat to their investment in 50G PON. Other big-name members of the 25GS-PON MSA gang include Nokia, At&T and CableLabs. (See Nokia networks boss defends bet on 25G PON and Antwerp mayor keeps pants on for Nokia's 25Gbit/s speed record.)

    • Sky, the UK-based purveyor of pay-TV and more, is adding High Dynamic Range (HDR) to Ultra HD (UHD) – presumably giving us HDRUHD – for the first time on its live sport coverage this summer. HDR enables TVs to show greater contrast, and those with a Sky Q box will be able enjoy the full HDRUHD experience.

    • UK altnet Hyperoptic is trumpeting the fact that it has notched up 10,000 five-star reviews on Trustpilot, the online review platform. This, it claims, is more five-ratings than Sky, BT and Virgin Media combined. Losers.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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