Flash Deal: Get $10 off a $50 iTunes Gift Card on Amazon

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Amazon is offering a US$50 iTunes gift card for US$40. But you have to buy one in the next 90 minutes because it’s a Lightning Deal.

One card, millions of ways to enjoy it. Use the App Store & iTunes Gift Card to get apps, games, music, movies and TV shows. Available in a variety of denominations – spend it on in-app content, books, TV show subscriptions or even iCloud storage to secure files from all your Apple devices.

Amazon Ring Surveillance Cameras Leak Customer Data

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Data Leak

Romanian security company Bitdefender found that Amazon Ring doorbell cameras were leaking customer data like Wi-Fi credentials.

Bitdefender researchers have discovered an issue in Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro IoT device that allows an attacker physically near the device to intercept the owner’s Wi-Fi network credentials and possibly mount a larger attack against the household network.

At the moment of publishing this paper, all Ring Doorbell Pro cameras have received a security update that fixes the issue described herein.

You can view the whitepaper [PDF] here.

Veterans can Save $40 on Amazon Prime This Year

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Amazon is giving veterans a discount for its Prime subscription service. The price is normally US$119 but veterans can get it for US$79.

A couple of restrictions to note before jumping on the deal: you can’t take advantage of the discount if you’re already a Prime Student subscriber. Additionally, it’s not possible to use Amazon and partner rewards points to make the subscription even cheaper.

Over 175 Musicians Boycott Amazon Over ICE Contracts

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Over 175 musicians have pledged to boycott Amazon festivals and partnerships because of the company’s contracts with ICE.

We the undersigned artists are outraged that Amazon continues to provide the technical backbone for ICE’s human rights abuses. We will not allow Amazon to exploit our creativity to promote its brand while it enables attacks on immigrants, communities of color, workers, and local economies. We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us.

Amazon Music Now Featured on Apple TV

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Amazon Music now joins Spotify as third-party features available on Apple TV. Download the Amazon Music app to get started.

For now, the tvOS Amazon Music app is available for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD users in thirteen countries: the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and India.

Amazon Music is a free download from the App Store.

Apple, Amazon, and the Quest for Device Location

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This article is a great example of false equivalence. By including both Apple and Amazon and writing about each company’s efforts with location technology, the reader is led to believe that we have to worry about both companies. But of course, that isn’t true. Apple has much better privacy practices, while Amazon barely knows the word.

It could be that with the privacy-focused techlash of recent years, both are treading carefully in the launch stages. Just look at how Amazon’s acquisition of mesh networking company eero was received earlier this year or the widespread interest in Huawei’s level of involvement with 5G networks. Location tracking in particular is currently the focus of much more granular controls in iOS 13 and Android 10 than ever before.

Amazon Has a Mole in the California State Assembly

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Perhaps using the word “mole” is hyperbole. But it’s deeply concerning that California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is actively trying to kill California’s privacy act that would impede companies like Amazon Ring, when her husband is the COO for Ring.

Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California’s groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1.

“We can talk about this later,”Jacqui Irwin said, side-stepping questions about a potential conflict outside her office last week. “It’s a little bit offensive there.”

Amazon Music HD Adds Tracks for Audiophiles

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Amazon Music HD is a new service that provides high quality streaming for audiophiles. New subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited get a three month free trial.

This 90-day free trial offer is a limited time offer. This offer applies only to the Amazon Music HD Individual Plan and the Amazon Music HD Family Plan and is available only to new subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited. After the 90-day trial, your subscription to the Amazon Music HD Individual Plan or the Amazon Music HD Family Plan, as applicable, will automatically continue at the monthly price of $14.99 ($12.99 for Prime members) plus applicable tax (if you selected the Amazon Music HD Individual Plan) or $19.99 plus applicable tax (if you selected the Amazon Music HD Family Plan) until you cancel.

Amazon's Surveillance Company Partners With 400 More Police Forces

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Ring, the Amazon-owned surveillance company that sells doorbell cameras, is partnering with 400 more police forces across the U.S.

The partnerships let police automatically request the video recorded by homeowners’ cameras within a specific time and area, helping officers see footage from the company’s millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide, the company said. Officers don’t receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email thanking them for “making your neighborhood a safer place.”

Previous Ring coverage: Here, and here.

This Real-Time Map Shows You the Amazon Forest Fires

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Ever since Jair Bolsonaro proclaimed that economic growth was more important than protecting the Amazon, there have been 74,155 fires. For the past three weeks, a giant fire has been blazing its way through the forest, and an interactive map lets you watch it.

Many of the fires are set by farmers to clear land. In early August, farmers in the Amazon self-declared a “fire day” to burn trees, emboldened by the fact that the government isn’t enforcing rainforest protections that are part of national law.

“It’s very rare to have fires starting naturally in the Amazon,” says Weisse. “And so almost everything that we’re seeing is a result of human activity, and it’s mostly happening along roads or in farms or where people are.”

Amazon Helps Cops Get Ring Surveillance Videos Without Warrants

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A couple weeks ago I shared news that Amazon is requiring police to promote its Ring surveillance cameras. Not that bad, I thought, because at least the police had to have the owner’s permission. But I was optimistic, because Amazon is giving police talking points on how to persuade owners, and even seizing the video footage if the owner said no.

As reported by GovTech on Friday, police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage. It’s a workaround that allows police to essentially “subpoena” anything captured on Ring cameras.

Things like government surveillance and hacking are precisely why I will never buy smart home products. Update: A Ring spokesperson emailed me a correction: The reports that police can obtain any video from a Ring doorbell within 60 days is false. Ring will not release customer information in response to government demands without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Ring objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.

Amazon Requires Police to Promote its Ring Surveillance Cameras

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As part of a secret agreement, Amazon requires that police “encourage adoption” of its Ring doorbell surveillance cameras.

Dozens of police departments around the country have partnered with Ring, but until now, the exact terms of these partnerships have remained unknown. A signed memorandum of understanding between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida, and emails obtained via a public records request, show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm. Police are contractually required to “Engage the Lakeland community with outreach efforts on the platform to encourage adoption of the platform/app.”