Tim Cook plays innocent in Epic v Apple’s culminating testimony

Found on Techcrunch on Saturday, 29 May 2021
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The façade of innocent ignorance began when he was asked about Apple’s R&D numbers — $15-20 billion annually for the last three years. Specifically, he said that Apple couldn’t estimate how much of that money was directed toward the App Store, because “we don’t allocate like that,” i.e. research budgets for individual products aren’t broken out from the rest.

Now, that doesn’t sound right, does it? A company like Apple knows down to the penny how much it spends on its products and research. Even if it can’t be perfectly broken down — an advance in MacOS code may play into a feature on the App Store — the company must know to some extent how its resources are being deployed and to what effect.

The court should give Apple a few days and order them to come up with the requested numbers. Simple as that.

Actor sues TikTok for using her voice in viral tool

Found on BBC News on Friday, 21 May 2021
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Standing, who does not use TikTok, felt "violated", after several videos were sent to her by friends, family and colleagues.

Robert Sciglimpaglia, the lawyer representing Ms Standing, told BBC News: “The technology exists where anyone's voice can be replicated through artificial intelligence.

After deepfake porn, now deepfake audio.

US arrests suspect who wanted to blow up AWS data center

Found on The Record on Sunday, 09 May 2021
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The FBI has arrested on Thursday a Texas man who planned to blow up one of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in an attempt to “kill of about 70% of the internet.”

The suspect allegedly told an FBI agent that he wanted to attack Amazon’s data center because the company was providing web servers to the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies and that he hoped to bring down “the oligarchy” currently in power in the United States.

One datacenter hosts 70% of the internet? He might have been a tiny bit off the scale there.

Uber ordered to pay $1.1m to blind passenger who was denied rides 14 times

Found on The Guardian on Friday, 23 April 2021
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San Francisco Bay Area resident Lisa Irving, who is blind and uses a guide dog, made a claim against Uber in 2018, maintaining that “she was either denied a ride altogether or harassed by Uber drivers not wanting to transport her with her guide dog”. As a result, Irving was left stranded late at night, which made her late to work – and led to her eventual firing.

It's more amazing that she tried Uber at least 14 times. That requires a lot of patience.

Nearly 28 tons of cocaine seized after police access encrypted network

Found on CNN News on Thursday, 15 April 2021
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Police specialists gained access to encrypted messages from an encrypted messaging service called Sky ECC, which revealed detailed information about cocaine shipments, said the statement.

"During a judicial investigation into a potential service criminal organization suspected of knowingly providing encrypted telephones to the criminal environment, police specialists managed to crack the encrypted messages from Sky ECC," reads the statement.

With drug cartels and criminals as customers, the guys behind Sky ECC probably won't be sleeping quietly after that.

Tinder users will soon be able to access a background check database

Found on Engadget on Wednesday, 31 March 2021
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f you're not familiar with Garbo, it was founded by Kathryn Kosmides, a "survivor of gender-based violence" who wanted to make it easier to find information about people you may connect with online.

For example, Garbo recently announced that it was excluding drug possession charges from its platform. One of the reasons it gave was that the imprisonment rate for African Americans on drug charges is almost six times that for white people.

How is that supposed to be fair? You cannot just ignore a criminial record simply because it does not reflect your view of the world. Plus, allowing everybody to submit data will open up a box full of libel and slander.

TikTok breaching users' rights - European Consumer Organisation

Found on BBC News on Monday, 01 March 2021
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The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) says the platform "falls foul of multiple breaches of EU consumer rights".

Owned by China's Bytedance, TikTok has faced increasing criticism regarding its privacy and safety policies following a number of incidents.

"Its copyright terms are equally unfair as they give TikTok an irrevocable right to use, distribute and reproduce the videos published by users, without remuneration."

China and consumer rights. Really?

Epic will pay off class-action loot-box settlement with in-game currency

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 27 February 2021
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While Epic never offered loot boxes in Fortnite's mega-popular battle royale mode, it let "Save the World" players purchase "loot llamas" full of random items until early 2019 (amid international outcry about the randomized loot-box business and its similarity to gambling). Shortly after ending the practice, Epic was faced with a class-action lawsuit alleging, among other things, that it had "psychologically manipulate[d] its young players into thinking they will 'get lucky.'"

So, in other words, Epic keeps the money.

YouTube robbery 'prank' ends in fatal shooting

Found on BBC News on Monday, 22 February 2021
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Witnesses told police Timothy Wilks and a friend had approached a group of people outside a family trampoline park in Nashville, holding large knives.

Mr Wilks was then shot by a 23-year-old, who told police he had had no idea it had been a "prank" and had been acting in self-defence.

Mr Wilks's friend told officers the "prank" had been for a YouTube video.

It's always better to think about possible consequences before trying to earn some virtual fame.

Robinhood Hit with Class Action After Blocking GameStop Trades

Found on Vice on Wednesday, 03 February 2021
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Robinhood is already facing a class action lawsuit after the microtrading platform deliberately blocked users from trading GameStop stock as the stock catapulted in value.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that "This is unacceptable. We now need to know more about [Robinhood's] decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit. As a member of the Financial Services [Committee], I'd support a hearing if necessary."

Surprising that Robinhood did not see that one coming when they made their decision.