Right-to-repair activists and small computer-repair operators may have won a minor concession from Apple, which goes to great lengths to make it difficult for anyone but official stores and authorized repair shops to fix broken or faulty hardware.
An ‘Apple Genuine Parts Repair’ presentation from April 2018, obtained by Motherboard, states that Apple has started giving some repair firms access to its diagnostic software.
It also outlines parts available to repairers and how it places no restrictions on the types of repairs third-party repair shops can do. That could make it easier for iPhone and Mac owners to get difficult repairs fixed without relying on Apple repair centers.
The document can be interpreted as an effort by Apple to meet the demands of the right-to-repair movement, which has prompted proposed legislation in several US states, including Apple’s home turf, California.
Apple has caused numerous repair-related controversies over the years by using technical means that are designed to discourage users from turning to non-authorized repairers, especially for specific parts, such as the screen on an iPhone.
Apple in 2016 effectively bricked some iPhone devices after detecting such repairs had occurred. Apple said it was for security reasons because Touch ID’s fingerprint data is stored in a secure enclave.
Apple has also been criticized for producing hardware that’s difficult to repair, such as its defective butterfly-switch keyboard and the MacBook display cable behind the flexgate petition.
SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF)
Computer repair firm iFixit – a frequent critic of Apple’s repairability record and a right-to-repair advocate – said the documents show a minor but welcome shift in Apple’s approach to third-party repairs.
“Apple’s new plan, as described in these documents, seems like a step in the right direction – and to be fair, it is – but it’s a very, very small step that feels more like a PR move or grumbling compliance than an actual attempt to solve the problem,” the repair company wrote.
iFixit notes that Apple supplies some parts to third-party repairers at the same cost as it charges consumers to replace them at an Apple Store, giving consumers little incentive to use any service beyond its own.
Also, only a very select number of authorized repair shops have access to genuine parts from Apple, diagnostics data, and device schematics.
“This is a step in the right direction, but it’s a miniscule one. We need more than this. We need comprehensive Right to Repair laws to require Apple and other manufacturers to make parts widely available, just like they are for our cars and appliances. Nobody should be threatened by lawyers or denied access to parts for the simple act of trying to fix their own stuff,” iFixit said.
More on Apple and right to repair
YouTube announces a $100M fund to reward top YouTube Shorts creators over 2021-2022 – TechCrunch
YouTube is giving its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, an injection of cash to help it better compete with rivals. The company today introduced the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100 million fund that will pay YouTube Shorts creators for their most viewed and most engaging content over the course of 2021 and 2022. Creators can’t apply for the fund to help with content production, however. Instead, YouTube will reach out to creators each month whose videos exceeded certain milestones to reward them for their contributions.
The company expects to dole out money to “thousands” of creators every month, it says. And these creators don’t need to be in the YouTube Partner Program to qualify — anyone is eligible to receive rewards by creating original content for YouTube Shorts.
YouTube declined to share more specific details about the fund’s operations at this time, including how creators will be vetted or what specific thresholds for receiving payments YouTube has in mind. It also wouldn’t offer details as to whether YouTube creators could receive multiple payments in the same pay period if they had several videos that would qualify, or any other details.
And while the company stressed that only “original” content would gain rewards, it didn’t clarify how it will go about checking to ensure the content isn’t already uploaded on another platform, like Reels, Snapchat, or TikTok.
Instead, YouTube said that more details about the payments and qualifications would be available closer to the fund’s launch, which is expected sometime in the next few months. It pointed out also that it has paid out over $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies over the last three years, and it expects the new fund will help it to build a long-term monetization model for Shorts on YouTube going forward.
YouTube isn’t the only platform to take on the threat of TikTok by throwing cash at the problem.
Snapchat has been paying $1 million per day to creators for their top-performing videos on Spotlight, its own TikTok clone, minting several millionaires in the process. Facebook-owned Instagram, meanwhile, made lucrative offers to top TikTok stars to use its new service, Reels, The WSJ reported last year.
Despite the size of these efforts, TikTok’s own Creator Fund remains a competitive force. It announced its fund would grow to over $1 billion in the U.S. in the next three years and would be more than double that on a global basis. This March, it also added another requirement to receiving the fund’s payments, including having at least 100K authentic views in the last 30 days — a signal that it’s setting the bar even higher, given its current success.
Alongside the debut of YouTube’s Shorts Fund, the company also noted it’s expanding its Shorts player feature across more place on YouTube to help viewers discover this short-form video content, will begin testing ads for Shorts, and will be rolling out the new “remix audio” feature to all Shorts creators.
This somewhat controversial feature allows Shorts creators to sample sounds from other YouTube videos for use in their Shorts, instead of only using song clips or original audio. Some YouTube creators were surprised to find the feature was opt-out by default — meaning their content could be used on YouTube Shorts unless they took the time to turn this setting off or removed their video from YouTube.
Since its launch, YouTube has also rolled out other features to Shorts, including support for captions, the ability to record up to 60 seconds with the Shorts camera, the ability to add clips from your phone’s gallery to your recordings made with the Shorts camera, and the ability use basic filters to color correct videos. YouTube says more effects will arrive in the future.
But even as YouTube tries to catch up with TikTok on feature sets, TikTok has been expanding its own effects lineup and becoming more YouTube-like by supporting longer videos. Some TikTok creators, for example, have recently been given the ability to record videos 3 minutes in lengths, instead of just 60 seconds.
YouTube says the new fund will roll out in the coming months and it will listen to the feedback from the creator community to develop a long-term program designed for YouTube Shorts.
Facebook ordered not to apply controversial WhatsApp T&Cs in Germany – TechCrunch
The Hamburg data protection agency has banned Facebook from processing the additional WhatsApp user data that the tech giant is granting itself access to under a mandatory update to WhatsApp’s terms of service.
The Indian government has also sought to block the changes to WhatApp’s T&Cs in court — and the country’s antitrust authority is investigating.
Globally, WhatsApp users have until May 15 to accept the new terms (after which the requirement to accept the T&Cs update will become persistent, per a WhatsApp FAQ).
The majority of users who have had the terms pushed on them have already accepted them, according to Facebook, although it hasn’t disclosed what proportion of users that is.
But the intervention by Hamburg’s DPA could further delay Facebook’s rollout of the T&Cs — at least in Germany — as the agency has used an urgency procedure, allowed for under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to order the tech giant not to share the data for three months.
A WhatsApp spokesperson disputed the legal validity of Hamburg’s order — calling it “a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of WhatsApp’s update” and arguing that it “therefore has no legitimate basis”.
“Our recent update explains the options people have to message a business on WhatsApp and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. As the Hamburg DPA’s claims are wrong, the order will not impact the continued roll-out of the update. We remain fully committed to delivering secure and private communications for everyone,” the spokesperson added, suggesting that Facebook-owned WhatsApp may be intending to ignore the order.
We understand that Facebook is considering its options to appeal Hamburg’s procedure.
The emergency powers Hamburg is using can’t extend beyond three months but the agency is also applying pressure to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) to step in and make what it calls “a binding decision” for the 27 Member State bloc.
We’ve reached out to the EDPB to ask what action, if any, it could take in response to the Hamburg DPA’s call.
The body is not usually involved in making binding GDPR decisions related to specific complaints — unless EU DPAs cannot agree over a draft GDPR decision brought to them for review by a lead supervisory authority under the one-stop-shop mechanism for handling cross-border cases.
In such a scenario the EDPB can cast a deciding vote — but it’s not clear that an urgency procedure would qualify.
In taking the emergency action, the German DPA is not only attacking Facebook for continuing to thumb its nose at EU data protection rules, but throwing shade at its lead data supervisor in the region, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) — accusing the latter of failing to investigate the very widespread concerns attached to the incoming WhatsApp T&Cs.
(“Our request to the lead supervisory authority for an investigation into the actual practice of data sharing was not honoured so far,” is the polite framing of this shade in Hamburg’s press release).
We’ve reached out to the DPC for a response and will update this report if we get one.
Ireland’s data watchdog is no stranger to criticism that it indulges in creative regulatory inaction when it comes to enforcing the GDPR — with critics charging commissioner Helen Dixon and her team of failing to investigate scores of complaints and, in the instances when it has opened probes, taking years to investigate — and opting for weak enforcements at the last.
The only GDPR decision the DPC has issued to date against a tech giant (against Twitter, in relation to a data breach) was disputed by other EU DPAs — which wanted a far tougher penalty than the $550k fine eventually handed down by Ireland.
GDPR investigations into Facebook and WhatsApp remain on the DPC’s desk. Although a draft decision in one WhatsApp data-sharing transparency case was sent to other EU DPAs in January for review — but a resolution has still yet to see the light of day almost three years after the regulation begun being applied.
In short, frustrations about the lack of GDPR enforcement against the biggest tech giants are riding high among other EU DPAs — some of whom are now resorting to creative regulatory actions to try to sidestep the bottleneck created by the one-stop-shop (OSS) mechanism which funnels so many complaints through Ireland.
The Italian DPA also issued a warning over the WhatsApp T&Cs change, back in January — saying it had contacted the EDPB to raise concerns about a lack of clear information over what’s changing.
At that point the EDPB emphasized that its role is to promote cooperation between supervisory authorities. It added that it will continue to facilitate exchanges between DPAs “in order to ensure a consistent application of data protection law across the EU in accordance with its mandate”. But the always fragile consensus between EU DPAs is becoming increasingly fraught over enforcement bottlenecks and the perception that the regulation is failing to be upheld because of OSS forum shopping.
That will increase pressure on the EDPB to find some way to resolve the impasse and avoid a wider break down of the regulation — i.e. if more and more Member State agencies resort to unilateral ’emergency’ action.
The Hamburg DPA writes that the update to WhatsApp’s terms grant the messaging platform “far-reaching powers to share data with Facebook” for the company’s own purposes (including for advertising and marketing) — such as by passing WhatApp users’ location data to Facebook and allowing for the communication data of WhatsApp users to be transferred to third-parties if businesses make use of Facebook’s hosting services.
Its assessment is that Facebook cannot rely on legitimate interests as a legal base for the expanded data sharing under EU law.
And if the tech giant is intending to rely on user consent it’s not meeting the bar either because the changes are not clearly explained nor are users offered a free choice to consent or not (which is the required standard under GDPR).
DPAs like Hamburg may be feeling buoyed to take matters into their own hands on GDPR enforcement by a recent opinion by an advisor to the EU’s top court, as we suggested in our coverage at the time. Advocate General Bobek took the view that EU law allows agencies to bring their own proceedings in certain situations, including in order to adopt “urgent measures” or to intervene “following the lead data protection authority having decided not to handle a case.”
The CJEU ruling on that case is still pending — but the court tends to align with the position of its advisors.
Facebook is testing pop-up messages telling people to read a link before they share it – TechCrunch
Years after popping open a pandora’s box of bad behavior, social media companies are trying to figure out subtle ways to reshape how people use their platforms.
Following Twitter’s lead, Facebook is trying out a new feature designed to encourage users to read a link before sharing it. The test will reach 6 percent of Facebook’s Android users globally in a gradual rollout that aims to encourage “informed sharing” of news stories on the platform.
Users can still easily click through to share a given story, but the idea is that by adding friction to the experience, people might rethink their original impulses to share the kind of inflammatory content that currently dominates on the platform.
Twitter introduced prompts urging users to read a link before retweeting it last June and the company quickly found the test feature to be successful, expanding it to more users.
Facebook began trying out more prompts like this last year. Last June, the company rolled out pop-up messages to warn users before they share any content that’s more than 90 days old in an an effort to cut down on misleading stories taken out of their original context.
At the time, Facebook said it was looking at other pop-up prompts to cut down on some kinds of misinformation. A few months later, Facebook rolled out similar pop-up messages that noted the date and the source of any links they share related to COVID-19.
The strategy demonstrates Facebook’s preference for a passive strategy of nudging people away from misinformation and toward its own verified resources on hot button issues like COVID-19 and the 2020 election.
While the jury is still out on how much of an impact this kind of gentle behavioral shaping can make on the misinformation epidemic, both Twitter and Facebook have also explored prompts that discourage users from posting abusive comments.
Pop-up messages that give users a sense that their bad behavior is being observed might be where more automated moderation is headed on social platforms. While users would probably be far better served by social media companies scrapping their misinformation and abuse-ridden existing platforms and rebuilding them more thoughtfully from the ground up, small behavioral nudges will have to do.
HP ZBook G8 laptop trio gets Intel’s 11th Gen H-series CPUs
Like a number of other companies, HP today is announcing a new line of notebooks using Intel’s 11th Gen Core...
Meet Matter: The IoT badge aiming to simplify the smart home
Get ready to look out for a new name and logo as you shop for the smart home, with the...
Programming a robot to teach itself how to move
Enlarge / The robotic train. Oliveri et. al. One of the most impressive developments in recent years has been the...
HTC’s newest headsets signal end of Vive’s 5-year “VR for the home” mission
The HTC Vive Focus 3, the company’s latest and highest-powered untethered VR system yet. New controllers, improved internal specs… and...
YouTube announces a $100M fund to reward top YouTube Shorts creators over 2021-2022 – TechCrunch
YouTube is giving its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, an injection of cash to help it better compete with rivals. The...
Social1 year ago
CrashPlan for Small Business Review
Gadgets3 years ago
A fictional Facebook Portal videochat with Mark Zuckerberg – TechCrunch
Mobile3 years ago
Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time tracking – TechCrunch
Social3 years ago
iPhone XS priciest yet in South Korea
Cars2 years ago
What’s the best cloud storage for you?
Security2 years ago
Google latest cloud to be Australian government certified
Social3 years ago
Apple’s new iPad Pro aims to keep enterprise momentum
Cars2 years ago
SK Telecom and Samsung to collaborate on 5G for enterprise