Apple will soon hold a special event at its Cupertino campus.
Also: Apple’s TV streaming service: It’s showtime at last CNET
The company has also recently announced several new hardware products via press releases. Apple updated the iPad mini, iPad Air, the iMac lineup, and released an update to its wireless earbuds, the AirPods. Now, with a trio of hardware announcements out of the way, it has cleared the way for a handful of services announcements at its special event.
Apple’s TV streaming event: How to watch
On Monday, March 25, Apple will hold a special event. It starts at 10 am PT, and will be held in Steve Jobs Theater. The company will live stream the keynote on its website and through its Apple TV events app.
Apple’s TV streaming event: What to expect
Not a Netflix competitor
The streaming TV product, in the form it will be announced on Monday, isn’t shaping up to be a direct competitor to the likes of Netflix or Hulu. Instead, Apple wants to provide access to the company’s own original programming as well as TV shows and movies from other sources.
For example, users will open the TV app (or whatever Apple ends up calling it), where they will find Apple’s TV shows alongside content from another network. Streaming Apple’s content will reportedly be free, with Apple charging users to subscribe to online-only streaming services.
The current process requires users to subscribe to channels directly through the company, or through the cable provider.
It’s unclear which networks Apple has signed up for the service and will offer subscriptions. What is clear is that Netflix will not be part of the new service, according to CEO Reed Hastings.
Streaming will be possible on Apple’s own products, but also through the expansion of AirPlay 2 and possibly on Samsung’s TV sets that will feature iTunes access — a partnership announced at CES 2019.
We expect to see Apple’s News subscription service, which will combine various magazines and newspapers, under one monthly fee. That cost is currently rumored to be $10 per month, providing access to all participating news outlets.
According to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal has agreed to be part of the subscription offering. The New York Times and The Washington Post reportedly will not take part in the new Apple News service.
Apple News is currently installed on every iOS and Mac running the current versions of their respective operating systems. By adding a subscription tier, Apple will offer access to news services to millions of users for a single monthly fee.
The idea of paying one fee and gaining access to multiple outlets is appealing. We’ll have to reserve judgment until all of the details are announced.
There’s one last hardware product that Apple has been expected to announce possibly as soon as Monday’s event, but the wireless charging pad, which was announced in September 2017 for release in 2018, wasn’t included in the hardware announcements made leading up to the event.
The most recent rumor from DigiTimes claims AirPower will be released in late March. If true, that doesn’t leave much time for an AirPower release, and it leaves the door open for at least a mention of the product on stage.
Facebook’s decision-review body to take “weeks” longer over Trump ban call – TechCrunch
Facebook’s self-styled and handpicked ‘Oversight Board’ will make a decision on whether or not to overturn an indefinite suspension of the account of former president Donald Trump within “weeks”, it said in a brief update statement on the matter today.
The high profile case appears to have attracted major public interest, with the FOB tweeting that it’s received more than 9,000 responses so far to its earlier request for public feedback.
It added that its commitment to “carefully reviewing all comments” after an earlier extension of the deadline for feedback is responsible for the extension of the case timeline.
The Board’s statement adds that it will provide more information “soon”.
Trump’s indefinite suspension from Facebook and Instagram was announced by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on January 7, after the then-president of the U.S. incited his followers to riot at the nation’s Capitol — an insurrection that led to chaotic and violent scenes and a number of deaths as his supporters clashed with police.
However Facebook quickly referred the decision to the FOB for review — opening up the possibility that the ban could be overturned in short order as Facebook has said it will be bound by the case review decisions issued by the Board.
After the FOB accepted the case for review it initially said it would issue a decision within 90 days of January 21 — a deadline that would have fallen next Wednesday.
However it now looks like the high profile, high stakes call on Trump’s social media fate could be pushed into next month.
It’s a familiar development in Facebook-land. Delay has been a long time feature of the tech giant’s crisis PR response in the face of a long history of scandals and bad publicity attached to how it operates its platform. So the tech giant is unlikely to be uncomfortable that the FOB is taking its time to make a call on Trump’s suspension.
After all, devising and configuring the bespoke case review body — as its proprietary parody of genuine civic oversight — is a process that has taken Facebook years already.
In related FOB news this week, Facebook announced that users can now request the board review its decisions not to remove content — expanding the Board’s potential cases to include reviews of ‘keep ups’ (not just content takedowns).
This report was updated with a correction: The FOB previously extended the deadline for case submissions; it has not done so again as we originally stated
Facebook faces ‘mass action’ lawsuit in Europe over 2019 breach – TechCrunch
Facebook is to be sued in Europe over the major leak of user data that dates back to 2019 but which only came to light recently after information on 533M+ accounts was found posted for free download on a hacker forum.
Today Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) announced it’s commencing a “mass action” to sue Facebook, citing the right to monetary compensation for breaches of personal data that’s set out in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Article 82 of the GDPR provides for a ‘right to compensation and liability’ for those affected by violations of the law. Since the regulation came into force, in May 2018, related civil litigation has been on the rise in the region.
The Ireland-based digital rights group is urging Facebook users who live in the European Union or European Economic Area to check whether their data was breach — via the haveibeenpwned website (which lets you check by email address or mobile number) — and sign up to join the case if so.
Information leaked via the breach includes Facebook IDs, location, mobile phone numbers, email address, relationship status and employer.
Facebook has been contacted for comment on the litigation.
The tech giant’s European headquarters is located in Ireland — and earlier this week the national data watchdog opened an investigation, under EU and Irish data protection laws.
A mechanism in the GDPR for simplifying investigation of cross-border cases means Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) is Facebook’s lead data regulator in the EU. However it has been criticized over its handling of and approach to GDPR complaints and investigations — including the length of time it’s taking to issue decisions on major cross-border cases. And this is particularly true for Facebook.
With the three-year anniversary of the GDPR fast approaching, the DPC has multiple open investigations into various aspects of Facebook’s business but has yet to issue a single decision against the company.
(The closest it’s come is a preliminary suspension order issued last year, in relation to Facebook’s EU to US data transfers. However that complaint long predates GDPR; and Facebook immediately filed to block the order via the courts. A resolution is expected later this year after the litigant filed his own judicial review of the DPC’s processes).
Since May 2018 the EU’s data protection regime has — at least on paper — baked in fines of up to 4% of a company’s global annual turnover for the most serious violations.
Again, though, the sole GDPR fine issued to date by the DPC against a tech giant (Twitter) is very far off that theoretical maximum. Last December the regulator announced a €450k (~$547k) sanction against Twitter — which works out to around just 0.1% of the company’s full-year revenue.
That penalty was also for a data breach — but one which, unlike the Facebook leak, had been publicly disclosed when Twitter found it in 2019. So Facebook’s failure to disclose the vulnerability it discovered and claims it fixed by September 2019, which led to the leak of 533M accounts now, suggests it should face a higher sanction from the DPC than Twitter received.
However even if Facebook ends up with a more substantial GDPR penalty for this breach the watchdog’s caseload backlog and plodding procedural pace makes it hard to envisage a swift resolution to an investigation that’s only a few days old.
Judging by past performance it’ll be years before the DPC decides on this 2019 Facebook leak — which likely explains why the DRI sees value in instigating class-action style litigation in parallel to the regulatory investigation.
“Compensation is not the only thing that makes this mass action worth joining. It is important to send a message to large data controllers that they must comply with the law and that there is a cost to them if they do not,” DRI writes on its website.
It also submitted a complaint about the Facebook breach to the DPC earlier this month, writing then that it was “also consulting with its legal advisors on other options including a mass action for damages in the Irish Courts”.
It’s clear that the GDPR enforcement gap is creating a growing opportunity for litigation funders to step in in Europe and take a punt on suing for data-related compensation damages — with a number of other mass actions announced last year.
In the case of DRI its focus is evidently on seeking to ensure that digital rights are upheld. But it told RTE that it believes compensation claims which force tech giants to pay money to users whose privacy rights have been violated is the best way to make them legally compliant.
Facebook, meanwhile, has sought to play down the breach it failed to disclose in 2019 — claiming it’s ‘old data’ — a deflection that ignores the fact that people’s dates of birth don’t change (nor do most people routinely change their mobile number or email address).
Plenty of the ‘old’ data exposed in this latest massive Facebook leak will be very handy for spammers and fraudsters to target Facebook users — and also now for litigators to target Facebook for data-related damages.
Pakistan temporarily blocks social media – TechCrunch
Pakistan has temporarily blocked several social media services in the South Asian nation, according to users and a government-issued notice reviewed by TechCrunch.
In an order titled “Complete Blocking of Social Media Platforms,” the Pakistani government ordered Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Telegram from 11am to 3pm local time (06.00am to 10.00am GMT) Friday.
The move comes as Pakistan looks to crackdown against a violent terrorist group and prevent troublemakers from disrupting Friday prayers congregations following days of violent protests.
Earlier this week Pakistan banned the Islamist group Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan after arresting its leader, which prompted protests, according to local media reports.
An entrepreneur based in Pakistan told TechCrunch that even though the order is supposed to expire at 3pm local time, similar past moves by the government suggests that the disruption will likely last for longer.
Though Pakistan, like its neighbor India, has temporarily cut phone calls access in the nation in the past, this is the first time Islamabad has issued a blanket ban on social media in the country.
Pakistan has explored ways to assume more control over content on digital services operating in the country in recent years. Some activists said the country was taking extreme measures without much explanations.
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