Apple Shares New Privacy Video About Over-Sharing

Apple uploaded a funny privacy ad for the iPhone on Thursday. With the song “Diamonds Cutting Diamonds” by Lydia Ainsworth in the background, the commercial follows various people as they share private information to strangers, like their credit card number, “I browsed eight sites for divorce attorneys today,” and  “I hate Lee, puke emoji” (As he sits right behind her). Apple includes a link to its privacy page in the video description.

More Apple News+ Promotion is Welcome. More Features Would Help Too.

Robert Williams, contributing editor at MediaPost, noticed his ear prick-up at the sound of an advert for Apple News+. However, he suggests that the service might need to offer a little more to back up the increased promotion.

Apple’s promotional activity for Apple News+ is another sign of how the company plans to promote the service. The company is said to be working on content bundles that offer savings when customers combine services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+ with offerings like its Apple Arcade gaming platform… I’d also like to see more dynamic content in Apple News+ aside from static magazine pages. A handful of titles have added video covers and links to shopping websites. There is also a possibility to develop a wider range of interactive features for the service.

US Court Rules NSA Mass Surveillance Program Illegal

Seven years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the agency’s mass surveillance of Americans, a U.S. appeals court has deemed it illegal.

The ruling will not affect the convictions of Moalin and his fellow defendants; the court ruled the illegal surveillance did not taint the evidence introduced at their trial. Nevertheless, watchdog groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped bring the case to appeal, welcomed the judges’ verdict on the NSA’s spy program.

TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#7) - BGM Interview

Charlotte is the Mac Observer’s UK Associate editor, based in London. A self described media junkie, she has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, and The Times, amongst others. She is also a book author.

In this episode, Charlotte and I explore several streaming TV topics. We open with how Apple has built a coherent ecosystem that pleasantly entices customers to engage and stick with Apple TV+. Namely, strong content, theatrical releases such as Greyhound, services bundling, contingency bundling and quality content for kids. In part II, we explored research data from Reelgood that reveals how customers mix their streaming TV services. Reelgood published a fascinating, informative chart that we analyze. One upshot is that the newbies face an uphill battle. Charlotte knows her stuff, and it shows in this episode.

Apple Updates Apple Support With Wallet Passes

The Apple Support app was updated on Wednesday with a major feature: When you make a Genius Bar appointment you’ll see a button to add a pass to Wallet for faster check-in. Other updates included with version 4.1: Easier to find Advisors in your preferred language in regions with multiple languages; Accessibility improvements for VoiceOver, including Search navigation, labels, and more; Performance enhancements and bug fixes.

Amazon Removes Adverts For Staff 'Spies'

Amazon has removed adverts looking for union ‘spies’, BBC News reported. The initial title for the roles was ‘intelligence analysts’ but the company later said the wording “was not an accurate description of the role.”
Initially, Amazon indicated that it was standard practice for large businesses to employee people to carry out such activity. But overnight the adverts were withdrawn. Amazon later said: “The job post was not an accurate description of the role – it was made in error and has since been corrected.” Marianne Rawlins, principal at management consultancy Bradley Risk Management, told the BBC: “The job description implies labour spying, and that has been illegal in the US for 80 years. I expect that sadly it is pretty common among big corporations, but putting it is black and white for all the world to see looks like a mistake.”

Microsoft Unveils New Tools to Help Fight Deepfakes

Microsoft has announced new tools to help combat deepfakes, reported Computing. The idea is to combat content such as video, audio, or photographs that are edited to make it look like someone has done or said something that they, in fact, never did.

According to the company, its first tool – dubbed ‘Video Authenticator’ – can analyse an image or video clip to determine whether it has been edited using AI. The tool will then provide a confidence score, indicating the chance that the media has been manipulated. In the case of a video, the tool shows a confidence score in real-time on each frame as the video plays… According to Microsoft, its new tool works by ‘detecting the blending boundary of the deepfake and subtle fading or greyscale elements that might not be detectable by the human eye.’ The company said that its video authenticator tool was created using a public dataset from Face Forensic++, and has been tested on the DeepFake Detection Challenge Dataset.

News Publishers Consider Abandoning iOS Over Privacy Feature

Over at The Verge, Casey Newton wrote about the increasingly heated battle between Apple and advertisers. There are a couple of tidbits I wanted to comment on.

If you believe that free, ad-supported news is beneficial to a healthy democracy, it’s worth noting that all these pro-privacy changes come at a cost.

Free is great, free news is greater, and transparency is greatest. I believe discussing a healthy democracy involves advocating for open source software, which would necessitate a stance against Apple. So I don’t disagree, and as Mr. Newton notes, we need strong privacy laws as well. He also shares an interesting link to Vox, in which some news publishers are considering abandoning iOS if they can’t monetize their users.

ByteDance Reconsidering TikTok Options

Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok, is reconsidering its options for sale the video sharing app. Bloomberg News had details of the latest twist.

After China signaled it will get involved in any deal’s approval, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is reconsidering his options and weighing the implications of Beijing’s involvement, according to people familiar with the matter. The company’s regulatory team and deal negotiators are huddling to discuss whether it’s still possible to craft a sale that can win approval from both governments, an acquirer, venture investors and ByteDance itself, said one of the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. have been deep in negotiations to buy TikTok U.S., submitting proposals while seeking reassurances from Washington that the Trump administration would bless their purchases. Microsoft is working on its bid with Walmart Inc., while Oracle has won support from venture backers such as Sequoia Capital.

Chadwick Boseman’s Films Top Apple Charts

Following his untimely passing this weekend, actor Chadwick Boseman’s films are dominating the charts on Apple and Amazon, CNN reported.

“42,” where Boseman plays baseball legend Jackie Robinson, is currently No. 3 on Apple’s iTunes chart. Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” comes in right after at No. 4. “Marshall,” a biographical film which has Boseman take on the role of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is No. 7 and “21 Bridges,” an action film starring Boseman, is just outside the top ten at No. 12. “21 Bridges” and “Black Panther” are also big sellers over on Amazon (AMZN). The films stand at No. 1 and No. 3 on the site’s Blu-Ray bestsellers, respectively. For Amazon’s digital video chart, “Black Panther” sits at No. 6.

Mophie Releases Two 15W Wireless Chargers

On Tuesday mophie announced the release of two 15W wireless chargers, including a pad and a stand. Each one is available on today and will come to other retailers in the future. The wireless charging pad is US$49.95 and the wireless charging stand is US$59.95. Charlie Quong, vice president of product, power at ZAGG Brands:

Wireless charging adoption has picked up quickly in the last few years. It makes the process of topping off your smartphone battery throughout the day, like in your home or office, completely uncomplicated. mophie wireless charging accessories are designed to simplify power, particularly for those who dislike carrying numerous charging cables and adapters for different mobile devices.