Today was Apple Day, the charmed 24-hour period in which sufficient traffic is printed by curious potential iPhone buyers to cover the costs of various employee salaries. There was a new watch, a new iPad and various new phones, in several new colors. IPhone sales may be declining and antitrust concerns are increasing, but Apple is still pretty healthy from a business point of view.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, Apple Day happened to be slow for the old beat of platforms and democracy. It was as if policymakers, academics, and Apple's competitors all put their swords to compare cameras between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro. (It is just as possible that policymakers were still pulling their swords, but all available reporters were busy discussing or an array with three cameras & # 39; s can cause trypophobia.)
But expect them to pick up their swords again soon. In The Washington Post, Investigates Cat Zakrzewski three ways Apple has become vulnerable to antitrust measures.
Lawmakers have noticed. "The Apple App Store is one of the dominant platforms for app makers and they have too much power to suppress competition and promote their own products," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted today, link to the Times story. "That's wrong – and that's why I have a plan for #BreakUpBigTech."
Meanwhile, Apple may face a different threat than the Federal Trade Commission. After announcing a $ 170 million settlement with YouTube in connection with children's privacy violations, the FTC said they are planning to investigate the collection and use of audio recordings by technology companies. Richard Nieva and Ben Fox Rubin report to CNET:
Smith said the agency already has a policy on voice commands, such as that a child would give to one -Internet connection toys. It's fine for devices to record children's voice questions without parental consent, but only if the files are deleted "as quickly as possible afterwards," Smith said. Two years ago, the FTC went deeply into children's voice recordings when a new one was released policy enforcement statement for COPPA. (…)
At the press conference, Smith did not name technical giants by name, and the FTC did not respond to a request for additional comments on the assessment of voice commands. But when you think of speech technology, no products have had as much influence as Alexa from Amazon, the Google Assistant and Apples Siri. All those services have apps and content that is targeted at children, including the ability to let the software tell your G-rated jokes.
That announcement came just a few days after Apple apologized for secretly using human contractors to listen to recordings from customers talking to Siri to improve it. Apple was not the only company that did this – Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft were all caught up with it – but no other company has hit so hard on protecting consumer privacy than Apple.
For Apple, it is a formidable set of problems that must be tackled, and the company, which has led a relatively charmed life from the point of view of public perception over the past decade, may not be fully prepared for it. The company seems well suited to withstand all storms coming from the FTC, but the expectation must be miserable.
While we wait, the new iPhones are really nice. I intend to make the iPhone 11 Pro green myself.
Today in news that could influence public perception of technology platforms.
Sideways trending: Concerned about upcoming changes in Android and iOS that regularly inform users about how often apps check their location, Facebook has placed an explanation about how it uses location data. But although the message is designed to assure users that & # 39; you are in control & # 39 ;, it also said that Facebook will obtain the location of users, regardless of whether they enable location services on their phone or not.
⭐ A Federal Appeal Court rejected LinkedIn & # 39; s attempt to prevent a San Francisco company from scraping user profile information. On the one hand, this can make bad actors look up huge amounts of data without explicit permission from users. On the other hand, researchers and journalists can better understand the platforms. Here is Jonathan Stamp for Reuters:
Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon said hiQ, which makes software to help employers determine if employees will stay or stop, showed that it could have suffered irreparable damage without an order because it could go bankrupt without access.
She also said that companies like LinkedIn & # 39; walk free & # 39; could get information about who can use public user data, the risk would be & # 39; information monopolies & # 39; to harm the public interest.
"LinkedIn has no protected ownership interest in the data contributed by its users, since the users remain the owners of their profiles," wrote Berzon. "And with regard to publicly available profiles, users clearly have in mind that they are accessible to others," including potential employers.
Facebook and Instagram closed the official accounts of the Italian neo-fascist party CasaPound, along with the profiles of dozens of extreme right-wing activists, for hateful language. CasaPound had nearly 240,000 followers on Facebook. (Lorenzo Tondo / The Guardian)
One of the most popular children YouTubers, Ryan ToysReview, has been accused of misleading preschool children to view ads. The complaint, filed with the Federal Trade Commission, argues that 8-year-old Ryan and his parents did not make the sponsored content sufficiently public. (Stephanie McNeal / BuzzFeed)
Newspaper managers today met with legislators to lobby Congress for an exception to antitrust legislation. The group collects support for the anti-trust safe harbor account of News Media Alliance, with which they can collaborate and negotiate with Facebook and Google as a unit. (Sara Fischer / Axios)
Ex-twitter CEO Dick Costolo says that social media platforms must create accounts to improve public conversations. For example, Costolo suggested blocking accounts without avatars or telephone numbers from answering tweets. (Kevin Stankiewicz / CNBC)
Microsoft President Brad Smith says the technical sector must take responsibility and embrace regulations. Smith also discussed his new book, "Tools and weapons: the promise and danger of the digital age, " on Recode Decode. (Todd Bishop / GeekWire)
Outrage about President Trump tweeting erroneous information about Hurricane Dorian. In an email, NOAA chief scientist Craig McLean rebuked staff for sending a press release in support of the president's false claims that Dorian could hit Alabama. (Justine Calma / The edge)
Margrethe Vestager, who made a name for himself as the antitrust head of the European Union by acting hard Apple and Google, has just been appointed EU Vice President for Digital Affairs. In her new role, she oversees issues related to artificial intelligence, big data, innovation and cyber security. (Aoife White and Natalia Drozdiak / Bloomberg)
⭐ Researchers study public messages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram to develop health intervention techniques. Scientists use practice, known as digital phenotyping, to create algorithms that may detect HIV, obesity, Parkinson's diseaseand suicide risk, & # 39; Registers Sidney Fussell The Atlantic Ocean. But there are privacy risks to consider:
The use of video analysis to study atypical behavior related to autism dates from at least 2005. More recently, researchers have hoped that with sufficient training data, machine learning tools could notice the same things as a pediatrician: does the child respond to a parent who calls his name? Can the child easily move his focus from one object to another? By quantifying these responses, algorithms can learn to pick up patterns from uploaded videos. A 2018 autism behavioral studyfor example, have used YouTube videos & wearables to classify typical and atypical movements. Ten years ago, researchers relied on home videos & # 39; s to train their algorithms. Now the age of social media offers huge amounts of potential training data.
But Matthew Bietz, a bioethicist at UC Irvine, states that the abundance of easily accessible data can obscure the potential privacy risks of sites like YouTube for research. "I think these (AI investigations) are sometimes driven by the people with the tools and not by the people with the problem," he says.
Google and Facebook have invested heavily in & # 39; lite & # 39; apps for the Indian market, but the weak advertising market suggests they may not be able to recoup their investment. (Juro Osawa, Shai Oster / The information)
Snapchat launches a special news channel specifically for the 2020 debates. The "Democratic Primary Debate Channel" will go live on September 12. The company is pushing candidates to embrace the platform as a way to reach younger voters. (Sara Fischer / Axios)
Snapchat and Instagram experienced disruptions on Monday, whereby users could not send chats. (Corinne Reichert / CNET)
Milo Yiannopoulos has told fans on Telegram that he is broke, after being deported from Twitter and Facebook earlier this year. It is the newest sign that de-platforming can be effective in mitigating the social impact of bad actors. (David Uberti / Vice)
And finally …
Well, you know what they say about the fact that turn-over is fair play. Although I am not entirely sure whether this is a reversal. Van Zak Doffman:
These new allegations relate to the execution of political advertisements on the day of the vote – 8 September, despite the warning from the regulator that such action would violate the electoral laws of the country. "Political advertising was set up during the monitoring of mass media on the voting day, on the Google search engine, on Facebook and on YouTube."
Roskomnadzor claims that the actions of the American giants "can be seen as interference in the sovereign affairs of Russia and hindering the holding of democratic elections in the Russian Federation." Ironic break. "Such actions from foreign actors," it says, "are unacceptable."
Honest point, Russia. We're going to hold you to that.