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Google Street Maps driver taken by villagers – Baby abused via baby monitor – Smartphones outsell feature phones

Google Street Maps in trouble with villagers

The internet company has landed in hot water after one of its projects caused uproar in a village.

A driver of a Google Street Maps car was waylaid by villagers in Thailand who suspected him of spying for an unwanted dam project.

Google has confirmed that the incident took place in the Sa-eab village, a province of Phrae, where 20 residents blocked the car from travelling further and detained the driver. Google's project collects images to accompany its Google Maps program using a large camera affixed to a car.

The driver was taken by villagers to a local office where he was quizzed over what he was doing, then to a temple where he was forced to swear on a statue of Buddha that he had no affiliation with the dam project before he was released.

The village's representatives issued a statement explaining the situation:

"We apologize to the official, to Google, as well as to the Thai people throughout the nation and to the citizens of the world, [we were] extremely worried and there had been so many repeated cases that convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise."

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Baby abused after monitor hacked

A couple discovered their child's audiovisual monitor had been hacked when they entered her room to hear a strange voice.

The family from Houston, Texas, stated they heard a man with a British or European accent shouting abuse at their two-year-old baby who slept in the room.

Vulnerabilities in the product by manufacturers Foscam, were first revealed in April at which point the company issued an emergency fix.

Foscam is now urging parents to ensure they are using a secure username and password to prevent hacker intrusions. The default log in information is simply, username 'admin' with no requirement for a password.

ABC News reported that Marc Gilbert and his wife Laura Gibson were left shaken when they heard the voice coming from the camera. Mr Gilbert stated that the intruder had directed sexualised, offensive words at their daughter, Allyson, who the hacker was able to call by name as it was on the bedroom wall.

The couple have described the fact that the two-year-old is deaf as "something of a blessing" in the circumstances.

An investigation by the BBC earlier this year revealed that webcam users were at risk from hackers. The corporation uncovered hacker forums used for swapping information on how to trick users into installing invasive software that could be used to collect violating images, which were then published on the forums.

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Smartphones outsell feature phones

A research firm has indicated that smartphone sales have outranked feature phone sales for the first time.

The results were taken from sales made during the April to June period by the investigative company Gartner.

Worldwide mobile phone sales during this time totalled 435 million units, 225 million of which were smartphones, a 46.5 per cent increase on last year while feature phone sales fell by 21 per cent to 210 million units.

Smartphones are commonly defined as a device that can connect to the internet and has built-in applications. In contrast a feature phone performs fewer functions, often referred to as a basic handset and is usually cheaper.

Gartner also discovered that Samsung continues to be the leading seller of smartphones globally, leaving competitor Apple with only a 14.2 per cent share in the marketplace compared to 18.8 per cent during the same period last year.

These results have caused industry experts to suggest that time and money spent on developing competitive feature phones, will not justify the amount of sales they achieve within the next five to 10 years.

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