TikTok Bans Political Ads in U.S. and EU

Short video sharing app TikTok said Friday it will not allow political ads in the U.S. and EU, The Next Web reported. It already had a similar policy in India.

This is quite a different approach as compared to US-based tech platforms such as Gooogle, Facebook, and Twitter. All of them allow paid political ads but with transparency programs that allow people to see who paid for the ad. While we won’t see some hilarious attempts from politicians to connect with youth trough ironically funny videos, we might still see a lot of political content around. In this year’s assembly elections in India, the platform made a significant impact in making the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi more popular.

Things Apple Can Learn From the Microsoft Surface

Microsoft unveiled new products this, including an updated, dual-screen, Microsoft Surface. Over at iMore, Rene Ritchie made some suggestions about what Apple could learn from the product.

Apple’s reportedly been kicking around foldable projects since back in the days of iPhone 4 but hasn’t found anything they’d be happy turning into a shipping product yet. For them, the technology just isn’t mature enough yet. And that’s ok. That’s Apple. There were years of Windows Mobile and a decade of Tablet PC before we got the iPhone and iPad, and Microsoft Spot before we got the Apple Watch. Apple wants to learn from this before they do that. But for us nerds, this is still super interesting. Now, what Microsoft showed off weren’t technically foldables. They were more like… hingeables?

One Year Later: Bloomberg Hasn't Retracted its iCloud Spy Chip Story

This story doesn’t need me piling on, but I think it’s astounding that a media organization with integrity, gravitas, etc. etc. still hasn’t retracted its debunked theory one year later. And the journalists who wrote the story are now in charge of Bloomberg‘s cybersecurity division. If by some miracle we learn that there really are spy chips I will most certainly apologize. But with zero evidence, I think that probability is low.

There’s been a lot of smoke, but no firings. Quite the opposite. It’s been a year since Bloomberg Businessweek published an extensively debunked story claiming that companies including Apple and Amazon had been hacked. Yet since then, all of Bloomberg‘s few responses and actions have only doubled down on how this publication lacks credibility on the topic.

IMF Calls on Policymakers to Address Digital Currencies

Economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are calling on policymakers around the world to address the “notable risks” of privately-issued digital currencies, otherwise known as stablecoins. Facebook’s Libra is one such example. Should central banks issue their own digital currencies?

The two economists suggest that stablecoins could undermine financial stability, and that stablecoin users risk losing their money: “Whether stablecoins are indeed stable is questionable.” It depends on the safety and availability of the underlying assets, and whether they are “protected from other creditors if the stablecoin provider goes bankrupt.”

One of the worries is that technology companies don’t have the same consumer protection rules as banks do. I look forward to seeing how this will play out. I certainly trust banks more than I do Facebook.

Securely Store and Access Your Files with E2E Encrypted Cloud Storage: $99

We have a deal on a 1-year subscription to MEGA Cloud Storage PRO, a cloud storage platform using end-to-end encryption. The service encrypts what you upload before you upload it—and, you control the keys. You can store, access or share your files from within your web browser, or through dedicated Android, iOS, or Windows Phone apps. Our deal has three levels of storage, starting with 1TB at $99 per year.


Amazon Planning $800 Million Data Centre in Argentina

Amazon is planning a new cloud data center in Argentina, according to a Bloomberg News report. It will invest $800 million in the project over 10 years.

The Seattle-based company is preparing to invest about $800 million in the project … will reap considerable tax benefits by locating the data center in the Bahia Blanca-Coronel Rosales districts of the province of Buenos Aires, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Amazon’s decision to put part of its cloud infrastructure in South America’s second-largest economy is a big win for the Argentine government, which is keen to diversify the economy into digital services, nanotechnology, aerospace and more. Earlier this year, the national congress unanimously passed a law creating incentives for tech companies to set up shop there.

Uber Helicopters Available to All Users From JFK

Uber made its helicopters available from JFK Airport to all users. Users within the geofence will be able to book the flights via the app, Reuters reported.

The company announced its Uber Copter offer on Thursday, saying flights to and from Lower Manhattan will become available to all Uber users on Oct. 3. Uber made the feature available to its premium members in June. The roughly eight-minute flight will cost between $200 and $225 per person and include ground transportation on either side of the trip. Passengers can bring along a small suitcase and have to watch a safety video before takeoff, similar to that on an airplane. The flights are operated by HeliFlite Shares, a licensed company, and Uber’s prices roughly compare to those of competitors offering helicopter rides to JFK… JFK is one of the countTry’s largest airports and car trips from congested Manhattan can take anywhere from one to two hours, while public transit takes between 50 and 75 minutes.

DuckDuckGo Survey Shows People Taking Action on Privacy

A recent survey (n=1,114) by DuckDuckGo found that 79.2% of U.S. adults had taken privacy measures in the past year, like adjusting privacy settings on social media or just using social media less.

43.1% (± 2.9) removed personal information or posts that they didn’t want the network or others to see.

35.0% (± 2.8)made their profile completely private.

34.8% (± 2.8) stopped adding location tags to their posts.

38.2% (± 2.8) changed which data they allow the network to collect and share about them.

I think it’s great to see more people paying attention to their privacy. For most people, privacy is something that you don’t notice often until you start losing it.

How Motorola Helps Enable Government Surveillance

Since 2017 Motorola Solutions has invested US$1.7 billion to support or buy companies that build police body cameras, train the cameras with facial recognition, find suspects in videos, and track vehicle movement via license plates.

The company provided a statement that described its plan to add artificial intelligence products, including object detection and “unusual motion detection,” to a package it sells to public safety agencies. The systems can help flag a potential trespasser or the appearance of smoke, the company said. The company emphasized that the new tools are not meant to make automatic policing decisions but to help officers decide how to act.

Apple Files Amicus Brief in Support of DACA

Apple has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

Apple has filed many briefs before the Court, but this is the first time that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O’Brien are named too.

In its brief, Apple notes that it employs 443 Dreamers who come from more than 25 different countries spanning four continents. Dreamers at Apple run the gamut of roles within the company, including hardware engineering, software engineering, retail, customer support, and operations across 36 states.