Apple busts Google, Facebook enterprise apps for flouting privacy rules

Apple blocked Facebook and Google from running their internal iOS applications after the two technology giants were found to be flouting privacy norms. Facebook was reportedly tracking iPhone usage data of teenagers through its Facebook Research app, while Google was misusing iOS certificates and inviting its users to download an app called Screenwise Meter, which is not on the Apple store.

The companies have taken advantage of Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program, which helps certain partners of the company to test and distribute apps – but only to test new features before releasing the final version to the public. Apple had revoked the certificates given to Facebook when it was revealed that Mark Zuckerberg-owned Facebook allegedly paid people, who were not its employees, to test out its research app.

Enterprise certificates were restored for both tech firms later, but Apple has sent a strong message to them about respecting user privacy.

In a statement, Facebook said: “People participating in the Research app were asked for their permission, less than 5 percent of whom were teens  – in which cases, they were allowed to participate with parental consent forms.”

Reportedly, Facebook paid people about $20 a month to install and use the research app. While Facebook says this was done with permission, the company has a history of defining ‘permission’ loosely and obscuring what data it collects.

“I don’t think they make it very clear to users precisely what level of access they were granting when they gave permission,” mobile app security researcher Will Strafach said. “There is simply no way the users understood this.”

He said Facebook’s claim that users understood the scope of data collection was ‘muddying the waters’. This revelation is yet another blemish on Facebook’s track record on privacy and could invite further regulatory scrutiny.

For now, the app appears to be available for Android phones, though not through Google’s main app store.

When asked about its issues with Apple, Google said it had disabled the app on Apple devices and apologised for its ‘mistake’.

The company said Google had always been ‘upfront with users’ about how it used data collected by the app, which offered users points that could be accrued for gift cards. In contrast to the Facebook Research app, Google said its Screenwise Meter app never asked users to let the company circumvent network encryption, meaning it is far less intrusive.

[“source=moneycontrol”]

Apple Watch Series 4 With Bigger Display, ECG Capability Launched

Apple Watch Series 4 With Bigger Display, ECG Capability Launched

Apple Watch Series 4 price starts at $399 in the US; price in India not revealed yet

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple Watch Series 4 comes with a 30 percent larger display
  • It has a casing made of black ceramic and sapphire crystal
  • Pricing in the US starts at $399 for the GPS-only model

Apple on Wednesday announced the launch of the fourth generation of its Apple Watch at an event in the company’s Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park, Cupertino. The latest smartwatch from Apple comes with a new design and larger display – one with thinner bezels compared to last year’s model. It also features ECG functionality that has been given a ‘De Novo’ classification by the US FDA. Other highlights include a ceramic build, optical heart sensor, swimproof capabilities, and more.

At the launch event, CEO Tim Cook claimed that the Apple Watch is the highest selling watch in the world. The company is focusing on connectivity, fitness, and health as the three core elements of its smartwatch strategy. “Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health,” said Jeff Williams, COO, Apple. “Everything has been redesigned and reengineered.”

Apple Watch Series 4 price

The Apple Watch Series 4 has been priced at $399 (roughly Rs. 28,700) for the GPS-only, non-Cellular variant, and $499 (around Rs. 35,900) for the variant with both GPS and Cellular capabilities. This pricing is the same as that of last year’s Apple Watch Series 3. The latest Series 4 will be available for pre-orders starting September 14 and will go on sale starting September 21 in 26 markets at launch for the GPS-only variant, and 16 markets for the GPS+Cellular variant at launch. Apple’s new watchOS 5 will be available for other Apple Watch models starting September 17.

It will be available in three aluminium finishes, and there is a brand-new Gold stainless finish apart from Silver and Space Grey. Backward compatible is available on the part of wristbands.

Apple Watch Series 3 gets a price cut and is available starting at $279 (roughly Rs. 20,100).

As far as India is concerned, pricing and availability details haven’t been revealed yet.

 

Apple Watch Series 4 specifications, features

The display on the Series 4 is 30 percent larger than last year’s model and comes in new 40mm and 44mm casing options, that are claimed to fit in a smaller footprint than last year’s variants. In terms of design, the latest Apple Watch Series 4 resembles the Series 3 except the near-edge-to-edge design new placement of its microphone for echo reduction.

The smartwatch features the new Apple S4 SoC which contains a 64-bit dual-core processor and a new GPU, with up to two times faster performance when compared to the Series 3. The Series 4 also has a next-gen accelerometer and gyroscope with up to 2x dynamic range and up to 32 g-forces.

The Digital Crown now gets haptic feedback that helps navigate easily in apps like Calendar and Podcasts. The speaker on the Apple Watch Series 4 is 50 percent louder, and the microphone has been moved away from the speaker to reduce echo. Williams also said the back of the new Apple Watch is made entirely of black ceramic and sapphire crystal.

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes with built-in fall detection that can alert emergency services and SOS contacts immediately. Other additions include a ‘low heart rate’ notification, alerts for atrial fibrillation, and electrocardiogram (ECG). Williams stated this is the first ECG product available over the counter, directly to the customer. The results of the new ECG app will be stored in the Health app on your iPhone, and can be shared in the form of a PDF file. These new health features will be available for US customers later this year.

The new smartwatch is touted to be swimproof, has Bluetooth v5.0, and has an optical heart sensor. Apple Watch Series 4 is powered by the latest watchOS 5 – with the UI optimised for the larger display. Apple also showcased certain new watch faces including a new modular face, one with the ability to add several health and fitness statistics, and three new minimal faces to cut down on the amount of information for users who prefer it that way. New watch faces based on fire, water, and vapour effects were also introduced.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Maps Recovers From Multi-Hour Outage Affecting Users Globally

Apple Maps Recovers From Multi-Hour Outage Affecting Users Globally

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple Maps faced a multi-hour outage on Friday
  • The outage wasn’t limited to a specific region
  • Apple investigated and fixed the issue

Apple Maps on Friday faced a multi-hour outage that affected navigation and location search services for several hours. The outage wasn’t limited to a specific region. As per the system status available on Apple’s website, all users were affected by the issue that was resolved after over four hours of its emergence. The prime cause of the issue hasn’t been revealed formally. However, Apple said that it investigated and fixed the issues. Users weren’t notably able to access navigation or search for places through the mapping service in the duration of the outage. Some users even spotted its impact on third-party apps, including weather apps, using Apple’s location services.

The system status page on Apple’s site shows that the Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search services were down between 6:18pm and 10:35pm IST. While the company didn’t specify the issue, it mentioned on the status logs that all users were affected by the problem.

As folks at Apple Insider report, users on Apple Maps weren’t able to find a route as the app shows a warning message that reads, “Directions Not Available, Route information is not available at the movement.” The Apple Maps app was also showing errors while searching any locations. The Verge notes that the app was showing the error “No Results Found” after attempting to load search results for about 30 seconds before timing out. Furthermore, weather apps on iOS weren’t able to show real-time weather information due to the limited access to Apple’s location services.

Apart from iOS devices, the outage was impacting location-based experiences on Apple Watch and in-dash systems powered by Apple’s CarPlay. The issue apparently affected the Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search services, while Maps Display and Maps Traffic services didn’t face any issue.

Launched in September 2012, Apple Maps is competing against services such as Google Maps and Here. Apple recently revealed that it has started using drones to improve its mapping service.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple CEO Says Requested Zero Personal Data From Facebook

Apple CEO Says Requested Zero Personal Data From Facebook

Apple neither requested any personal data from Facebook nor did it receive any, Apple CEO Tim Cooksaid while responding to a New York Times report that claimed that the social networking giant allowed about 60 device makers, including Apple and Samsung, to access personal information of users and their friends.

“We’ve never been in the data business,” Cook told National Public Radio (NPR) on Monday during the company’s annual conference for developers in San Jose, California.

“The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested – zero,” Cook was quoted as saying.

Even before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, Facebook had data-sharing partnerships with the device makers, The New York Times report said citing company officials, adding that most of the deals remain in effect.

The deals raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it added.

“What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing,” Cook added.

“So it’s a convenience for the user. We weren’t in the data business. We’ve never been in the data business,” he said.

Facebook is already under scrutiny after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal revealed in March how the political consultancy firm had misused data of millions of Facebook users.

The social network, however, defended on Sunday the pacts with the device makers saying that these partnerships do not raise privacy concerns.

Facebook said that contrary to claims by The New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends.

“We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnerships, said in a statement.

The social network added that the device partnerships are very different from the public APIs used by third-party developers who used the Facebook information people shared with them to build completely new experiences.

Facebook said that it had already ended 22 of the device partnerships.

A CNET report on Monday said that Senator John Thune, head of the US Senate Commerce Committee, said his committee “will be sending Facebook a letter seeking additional information” about issues including transparency and privacy risks.

“We look forward to addressing any questions the Commerce Committee may have,” a Facebook spokesman was quoted as saying.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]