France Claims Apple is Undermining its COVID App Efforts

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple in France

On Tuesday the French government accused Apple of undermining its efforts with its contact tracing app “StopCovid.”

Apple’s iPhones normally block access to Bluetooth unless the user is actively running an app. French officials want Apple to change the settings to let their app access Bluetooth in the background, so it is always on. So far, they say, Apple has refused.

O, the French minister, said he could not explain the reasoning behind Apple’s decision on Bluetooth. “We consider that oversight of the healthcare system, fighting the coronavirus, is a matter for governments and not necessarily for big American companies,” he said.

As we pointed out on our Daily Observations podcast, most people aren’t going to care about the privacy aspects of these apps. But they will care about battery life, and apps like these constantly using Bluetooth in the background will undoubtedly be a factor, Bluetooth Low Energy or not.

French Police Defeat Retadup Botnet Infecting 850,000 Computers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Generic image of botnet

French police have defeated a botnet that infected over 850,000 computers. It was created with the Retadup malware. With the help of a web host, they cloned the command & control server and used it to disinfect the zombie computers.

“The malware authors were mostly distributing cryptocurrency miners, making for a very good passive income,” the security company said. “But if they realized that we were about to take down Retadup in its entirety, they might’ve pushed ransomware to hundreds of thousands of computers while trying to milk their malware for some last profits.”

Emmanuel Macron Says its Crazy That Apple Gets Tax Haven

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple with bags of money

French President Emmanuel Macron says it’s crazy that companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google get a “permanent tax haven status.”

The reference to ‘tax haven status’ relates to practices used by Apple and others to funnel profits on European sales through Ireland, and then to claim large deductions for R&D costs incurred in the US. There have also been accusations that Apple assigns most of its European profits to a subsidiary which exists only on paper and which pays no taxes anywhere.