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Backdoor to encryption back on agenda in absurdly named bill

An absurdly named bill is set to form the latest attempt to create legislation requiring tech giants to provide a backdoor to encryption.

The Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019 (EARN IT Act) is co-sponsored by Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)…

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Net neutrality repeal under fire after data throttling to fire service vehicle

Attempts to fight the net neutrality repeal continue as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been ordered by a court to examine the impacts of repealing the protection.

One incident that may prove significant is when Verizon throttled data service to a fire service vehicle in a way that hampered its ability to fight wildfires…

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New Apple book hits #2 on German bestseller list following attempted ban

The Streisand Effect has predictably kicked in after Apple attempted to prevent the distribution of a new Apple book written by former German App Store manager Tom Sadowski. App Store Confidential is now number two on Amazon’s bestseller list in Germany, and the book is into its second print run.

Despite Apple’s claim that the book reveals company secrets, reviewers indicate that the material in it is bland and obvious …

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Apple gets restraining order against man stalking Tim Cook, hearing to follow

Apple has obtained a temporary restraining order against a man accused of stalking Tim Cook at his home, leaving a ‘disturbing’ voicemail and tagging him in inappropriate photos on Twitter …

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5G will transform live experiences, claims O2: no queues and instant video

The 5G hype continues, with a new report claiming that the faster mobile data service will transform live experiences like music concerts…

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Comment: Letting users choose 3rd-party default iOS apps would be a win-win

Bloomberg report says Apple is considering allowing iPhone and iPad users to choose third-party default iOS apps for things like email and web-browsing.

Currently, you can use third-party apps, of course, but as we explained earlier, you can’t set them as the defaults.

It is not possible for the user to tell iOS that it prefers the third-party browser over Safari; any tapped links will open in Safari every single time. Similarly, there are many competing email apps in the App Store but shortcuts to composing a new email will only ever show the system Mail compose sheet …

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Some 23 iOS file-conversion apps used by 3M people fail to encrypt documents

Cybersecurity company Wandera found that some 23 iOS file-conversion apps used by three million people fail to use encryption, potentially putting the documents at risk.

All the apps in question were created by a single developer, Cometdocs, but Wandera says that the discovery raises a broader security issue…

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Larry Tesler, ex Apple Chief Scientist and creator of copy-and-paste, passes

Larry Tesler, an ex-Xerox PARC engineer who joined Apple in 1980 and rose to become the company’s chief scientist, has passed away at the age of 74. He was one of the engineers who demonstrated PARC’s graphical user interface and mouse to Steve Jobs, and which led to the creation of the LISA and Macintosh.

Tesler was a key figure in two computing concepts we now take for granted. The first, developed with fellow PARC colleague Tim Mott, was copy, cut and paste …

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Foxconn says has expansion plans for plants outside China re: coronavirus

Primary iPhone assembler Foxconn says that it has begun work on expansion plans for plants outside of China as it seeks to recover from production lost to the coronavirus outbreak.

The company is also ‘cautiously’ resuming production in China…

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Apple seeks to block publication of App Store Confidential book over ‘secrets’

Apple has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the author and publisher of a new book App Store Confidential, claiming that the former Apple manager reveals business secrets.

Apple says that Tom Sadowski is in breach of his employment contract by revealing “business secrets […] of considerable economic value”…

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Prototype shows how it could be easier to get a Facebook sequential feed

Getting a true Facebook sequential feed has been variously easy or difficult ever since the company first introduced algorithmic sequencing. But an internal prototype shows the company is at least thinking about how to make it much easier…

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Reddit back after major outage takes out both app and website [Updated]

Update: The fix appears to have been successful, with both site and app working again.

If you’re having trouble connecting to Reddit, it’s not just you. The company’s status page acknowledges a major Reddit outage…

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Bose AirPlay 2 support: Nine more speakers get free OTA update in next week

Bose AirPlay 2 support continues for existing speaker owners. Three Bose speaker systems got the upgrade last year, and the company has just announced that nine more will receive a free over-the-air firmware update sometime between now and February 25.

The update is for SoundTouch speakers and Lifestyle home entertainment systems…

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Analysts mostly unfazed by Apple coronavirus impact: ‘will be temporary’

Analysts so far appear mostly unfazed by the Apple coronavirus impact. The prevailing view is that the effect will be temporary, and that Apple’s core strengths mean the medium- and long-term outlook remains good.

Investors appear to be taking the same view. The stock did take a bit of a dip yesterday, at one point 3.2% down after a bigger fall in pre-market trading, but ended the day just 1.83% down …

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Apple moves some AirPods, iPad and Apple Watch production from China to Taiwan

Apple has reportedly begun the process of moving at least some of its AirPods, iPad and Apple Watch production from China to Taiwan as the coronavirus continues to limit production.

That would add to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro assembly work already said to have been moved to Taiwan …

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iOS software engineer says Apple service promos mean ‘iOS is adware’

One of Tumblr’s software engineers has said that Apple’s promotions for its own services are so pervasive that “iOS is adware”…

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Apple Music now copies Beats feature for smarter handling of alternate albums

Apple Music now has a much smarter way of handling alternate album versions – one it has belatedly copied from the original Beats service.

Previously, if there was more than one version of an album, they each appeared on the artist page, which made for a cluttered and confusing experience…

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Smartphone sales likely to be lowest in 5 years; Samsung may benefit

An analysis of the likely tech industry impact of the coronavirus outbreak says that smartphone sales are this quarter likely to sink to their lowest level in five years. Apple yesterday announced that it would not hit its own guidance for the quarter.

A separate report suggests that Samsung may be best-placed to weather the storm thanks to its main manufacturing base being outside China

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AAPL down >3% in pre-market after coronavirus news; possible $4B hit to sales

The announcement that Apple will not hit even the lower end of its guidance for the current quarter has seen AAPL down more than 3% in pre-market trading.

At the time of writing, the stock is down by more than $11, a 3.5% drop on yesterday’s close…

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