It’s ok to Complain About Intrusive iOS Ads

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ios 13 App store

Macworld’s The Macalope is not known for pulling punches. This week the anonymous columnist joined the debate on iOS ads in typically robust fashion.

While The Macalope is not a fan of exaggeration, he’s even less a fan of junking up the iOS user experience. And that’s what ads do, even when they’re ads for Apple stuff. The Macalope has railed against Microsoft doing this on Windows so he can’t very well not rail against Apple doing the same. And there’s a problem with not complaining about it. Often if you don’t complain about bad behaviors, they never get fixed. It took five years of complaining to get Netflix to stop auto-playing previews of shows that we weren’t going to watch, but the complaining system worked eventually.

Could iPhone 12’s Fast 802.11ay Wi-Fi Be For AR Glasses?

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The iPhone 12 is rumored to get support for 802.11ay, a high speed and low latency Wi-Fi standard. Jason Cross posits that it could be used for Apple’s AR glasses.

The alternative is to make the headset a relatively dumb set of displays and cameras, with all the processing happening on some sort of base station—like your new iPhone 12. An ultra-high speed, super low-latency connection like that provided by 802.11ay is a necessity to make that work.

A popular thought is that Apple Glasses will be an iPhone accessory like Apple Watch is (or, started out) with most or all of the processing happening on the iPhone.

Ex-Apple Board Member Bob Iger Quits as Disney CEO

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Former Apple board member Bob Iger has announced that he is stepping down as CEO of Disney with immediate effect and becoming Executive Chairman, CNN reported. Tuesday’s move followed the successful launch of Disney+.

Iger has assumed the role of executive chairman and will direct the company’s creative endeavors, the company said. Iger will stay on at Disney through the end of this contract on December 31, 2021. “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in statement.


When You Download Facebook Data, it Doesn’t Show Everything

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Facebook isn’t being completely truthful about the data available in its “Download Your Information” feature. Some information is left out.

Privacy International recently tested the feature to download all ‘Ads and Business’ related information (You can accessed it by Clicking on Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information). This is meant to tell users which advertisers have been targeting them with ads and under which circumstances. We found that information provided is less than accurate. To put it simply, this tool is not what Facebook claims. The list of advertisers is incomplete and changes over time.

As Privacy International points out, this is in violation of GDPR because Facebook doesn’t let you see all of the advertisers that have your data.

AT&T’s Mandatory Arbitration Clause Deemed Illegal

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A panel of judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that AT&T’s mandatory arbitration clause is unenforceable.

AT&T appealed that ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but a three-judge panel at that court rejected AT&T’s appeal in a ruling issued Tuesday. Judges said they must follow the California Supreme Court decision—known as the McGill rule—”which held that an agreement, like AT&T’s, that waives public injunctive relief in any forum is contrary to California public policy and unenforceable.”

The ruling can be found here [PDF].

FTC Sends Refund Checks to Victims of Tech Support Scams

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The Federal Trade Commission will send refunds to tech support scams totaling US$1.7 million. The scam operated under Click4Support, claiming to be from companies like Apple and Microsoft.

The FTC will begin providing 57,960 refunds averaging about $30 each to victims of the scheme. Most recipients will get their refunds via PayPal, but those who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check.

Apple’s “Secret” Monopoly

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Will Oremus wrote an essay on Medium in which he argues that Apple is a monopoly, specifically when it comes to the App Store. I think a few good arguments could be made in support of this accusation. But my opinion lies with this quote:

Apple’s platform is significantly less open than Google’s: Unlike its rival, Apple doesn’t allow any app stores on the iPhone other than its own, and it doesn’t allow users to “sideload” apps downloaded from the web or elsewhere. The company says its goal is to ensure users can trust every app they download; allowing unapproved apps could expose users to privacy violations or malware.

The App Store isn’t perfect, but I believe it contains far fewer malware than Google’s Play Store. Apple’s restrictions also make it better for privacy, and thus better for people. I think price is a better argument than the walled garden. Or, I at least have more sympathy for indie developers rather than billion-dollar competitors to Apple.

What Happens When The Government Blocks Internet Access?

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We all rely on the internet for our day-to-day lives. Yet, at the height of protests, governments around the world can shut down their citizens’ access to the web. BBC News looked into where, and why, this happened during 2019.

When the internet shuts down, everything is stopped in its tracks. Data shared with the BBC by digital rights group Access Now, shows that last year services were deliberately shut down more than 200 times in 33 separate countries. This includes, on one occasion, in the UK. In April 2019 the British Transport Police shut down the wi-fi on London’s Tube network during a protest by climate change activists Extinction Rebellion. Also revealed in the report about shutdowns in 2019: The internet was switched off during 65 protests in various countries around the world. A further 12 took place during election periods. The majority of all shutdowns occurred in India. The longest internet switch-off happened in Chad, central Africa, and lasted 15 months.