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Technology • Games
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Apple and Google removed Fortnite from App Store and Play Store
Credit: Epic Games

Apple has removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games implemented Thursday its in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s standard 30% fee. Later Thursday Google also removed the game from the Android Play Store.

Epic Games responded with a series of calculated actions, including an antitrust lawsuit claiming Apple's App Store is a monopoly, a video mocking the iconic "1984" Apple ad, and encouraging fans to use #FreeFortnite on their communications with Apple.

Spotify’s spokesman Adam Grossberg said, "We applaud Epic Games' decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple's abuse of its dominant position." 

Technology • Internet & Web
US court rules that Apple needs to pay $506 million over patent violations
US court rules that Apple needs to pay $506 million over patent violations
Credit: unsplash.com / Mika Baumeister

A federal jury in Texas has decided that Apple needs to pay $506,2 million in damages and interest for using patented 4G technology in hardware made by the company.

Following the jury verdict, five patents were willfully infringed leading the District Judge Rodney Gilstrap to be able to increase the compensation amount by three times compared to what the jurors have set. Panoptis Patent Management had sued on behalf of one of its clients as they manage the intellectual property and patents for companies in order to enable them to focus on "innovation and new development".

According to local media Apple will appeal the decision made by the court.

Technology • Games
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Credit: B8 Twitter

The professional Dota 2 esports organization B8 has announced that one of their players has been detained by the police in Belarus. On Tuesday evening he went out to meet with friends on Victoria Square in Minsk. According to the statement "police officers approached them and, for reasons unknown to us, took them into Victoria Square metro station building, where there were already about 50 detainees".

On Wednesday his friends found out that he had been detained. His exact location and condition are unknown, but his friends suspect him to be detained in a preliminary prison in the Zhodino, Minsk region.

Demidovich currently plays for the organization of Danil "Dendi" Ishutin the winner of the Dota 2 world championships "The International" in 2011.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook faces lawsuit over illegal harvesting of biometric information from Instagram users
Facebook faces lawsuit over illegal harvesting of biometric information from Instagram users
Credit: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

In a new lawsuit, filed Monday in Redwood City, Facebook is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without explicitly asking for their consent.

According to the suit, Facebook started informing Instagram users about their biometric data being collected only at the beginning of 2020, which allegedly violated an Illinois privacy law.

Last month, the social media company offered to pay $650 million to settle a different lawsuit in which it was accused of illegally collecting biometric data through a photo-tagging tool provided to Facebook users.

Technology • Internet & Web
TikTok tracked Android users’ device identifiers until late last year
TikTok tracked Android users’ device identifiers until late last year
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday TikTok’s Android app collected its users’ MAC addresses for 18 months in violation of the platform rules. The MAC address serves as a unique identifier for each user’s device.

Since 2015, both the App Store and the Google Play Store had banned the collection of MAC addresses as a matter of policy, but the video app used a loophole. According to the Journal, nearly 350 apps on the Google Play Store used a similar loophole, generally for ad-targeting purposes.

Technology • Internet & Web
Former COO sues Pinterest, accusing it of gender bias
Françoise Brougher
Françoise Brougher Credit: Pinterest

Françoise Brougher, Pinterest’s former COO, has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of gender discrimination. Brougher is suing the company to hold it “accountable for discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the Labor Code,” according to a Tuesday filing in San Francisco Superior Court.

Brougher, who was abruptly fired from the company in April, states in the lawsuit that she had a less favourable equity compensation package than her male peers. She also claims that she was also left out of crucial decision-making by other executives, was subjected to a hostile work environment, and ultimately fired by CEO Ben Silbermann when she spoke up against her treatment.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Credit: Screenshot Transparency Report

In its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook has released data showing that the platform has removed seven million posts that contained false information about the Covid-19 pandemic, a cure or the virus itself.

In addition, 22,5 million posts have been removed on the grounds of hate speech and 8,7 million which are in connection to extremist organizations.

Technology • Internet & Web
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Credit: Scribd

Scribd announced Tuesday the acquisition of presentation-sharing platform SlideShare from LinkedIn for an undisclosed price. According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24.

Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd said, "Our acquisition of SlideShare is a major step towards creating the world’s largest digital library."

Technology • Internet & Web
Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees
Mozilla announces that they will layoff around 250 employees

The Mozilla Corporation has announced that around 250 employees will lose their jobs as part of a restructuring. According to the announcement "economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted" the revenue of the corporation.

Earlier in 2020 around 70 employees had already lost their jobs.

Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker has stated that: "Though we’ve been talking openly with our employees about the need for change — including the likelihood of layoffs — since the spring, it was no easier today when these changes became real. I desperately wish there was some other way to set Mozilla up for long term success in building a better internet".

Technology • Internet & Web
TikTok announces plans to sue Trump Administration over ban
TikTok announces plans to sue Trump Administration over ban
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The video-sharing app hugely popular with the smartphone generation will file the federal lawsuit as soon as Tuesday, according to a person who was directly involved in the forthcoming suit but was not authorized to speak for the company.

It also alleges that the administration's national security justification for the order is baseless, according to the source.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com / American Public Power Association

Apple has announced the self-commitment to become a carbon-neutral company for all products it produces and its supply chain, stating that the company is already carbon neutral worldwide in regards to its corporate emissions.

The communicated date to hit the goals is 2030 and Apple aims to achieve this by reducing its emissions by 75 percent and in addition using technology to remove carbon from the environment. These "innovative carbon removal solutions" will be developed by Apple themselves with the aim to close the remaining 25 percent of carbons.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that "climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change".

Technology • Internet & Web
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Gold

A California judge ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees in a stunning preliminary injunction issued Monday afternoon.

Uber said it planned to file an immediate emergency appeal to block the ruling from going into effect.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Many Android devices at risk after discovery of flaws in Snapdragon chip

More than a billion Android devices are at risk of data theft and of becoming spying tools because of more than 400 flaws discovered this week in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip.

If an user downloads content that’s rendered by the chip an attacker can exploit those vulnerabilities to install malicious apps without any permission and use them to monitor locations and listen to nearby audio in real time, withdraw photos and videos and even render the phone completely unresponsive.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
20GB of Intel documents were leaked online
20GB of Intel documents were leaked online
Credit: Takuya Oikawa (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

More than 20GB worth of Intel internal documents have been leaked, and it was publicly available on BitTorrent feeds. The leak contains data that Intel makes available to partners and customers under NDA.

The leak, posted Thursday night by Tillie Kottman, an IT consultant based in Switzerland, included source code, development and debugging tools and schematics, tools and firmware for the company’s unreleased Tiger Lake platform.

A misconfigured Akamai CDN server and files with the password “intel123” have been pinpointed as the apparent cause of the leak.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook removes QAnon conspiracy group
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon.
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon. Credit: XPlayer2x (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook has deleted the Official Q/Qanon group with nearly 200,000 members. The group was dedicated to sharing and discussing QAnon conspiracy theories.

According to a spokeswoman for Facebook, the company removed the group for "repeatedly posting content that violated our policies."

Last month both Twitter and TikTok also cracked down on QAnon content.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Credit: unsplash.com / Robin Stickel

Google has updated its "Other restricted businesses policy" and will start "to restrict the serving of High Fat Sugar Salt (HFSS) Food and/or Non-Alcoholic Beverages (F&B) advertising for minors in the United Kingdom and European Union".

The policy will be applied to the Google Display Network and YouTube and there apply to all people under the age of 18. Google stated that the new policy will be enforced from the 6th of October.

Some examples for the products that fall under these advertisement restrictions are sweetened beverages, cakes, pizza, salt, butter, pork and a number of other products.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Credit: Russia Today (Twitter Reproduction)

Twitter announced the introduction of labels for accounts and tweets tied to government officials and "state-affiliated media."

In a blog post, the company says: "Twitter provides an unmatched way to connect with, and directly speak to public officials and representatives. This direct line of communication with leaders and officials has helped to democratize political discourse and increase transparency and accountability"

Russia Today (RT) was one of the first accounts to be labelled "affiliated media", with Twitter pointing the ties of the media outlet with the Russian Government.

Twitter suggested that these labels are part of a more significant effort "to protect that discourse because we believe political reach should be earned not bought."

Technology • Internet & Web
TikTok announces new data centre in Ireland to store European user data
TikTok announces new data centre in Ireland to store European user data
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

TikTok announced Thursday it would invest €420million in establishing a data centre in Ireland. The company states all European user data will be stored in this new location when the data centre is operational in early 2022.

In a press release, the company states: "Protecting our community's privacy and data is and will continue to be our priority. Today's announcement is just the latest part of our ongoing work to enhance our global capability and efforts to protect our users and the TikTok community."

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter fixes security issue affecting some Android devices
Twitter fixes security issue affecting some Android devices
Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Twitter announced Wednesday a security vulnerability in its Android app. The company stated the problem relates to an Android security issue in versions 8 and 9 of the popular mobile operating system, and that it doesn't have evidence attackers exploited the vulnerability.

According to Twitter, around 96% of all their Android users already have installed the necessary security protections, leaving 4% still vulnerable to attackers through outside apps accessing private data on their devices.

Technology • Internet & Web
Covid-19 pandemic boosts online dating, and Match Group forecasts sales above estimates
iPhone displaying the Tinder app
iPhone displaying the Tinder app Credit: Kon Karampelas

Match Group Inc. reported Tuesday strong gains in profit and revenue in the second quarter above Wall Street expectations. The company is the owner of Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid and other online-dating properties.

As dating apps became an alternative to face-to-face meetings, as restrictions to stop the spread of the pandemic, results for the quarter were positive. Tinder gained 200,000 users in the quarter, taking its average subscribers-base to 6.2 million.

In an email, CEO Shar Dubey said: "Despite the pandemic, our user trends, like engagement and willingness to pay for our products, is up, proving what we’ve always known: Our products satisfy a very critical human need, and those needs aren’t going anywhere".

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp added a new feature that makes it easier for users to verify whether the assertions made in forwarded messages they have received on the app are true. The new feature, called "Search the Web" works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

"Search the web" is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Credit: Solen Feyissa

Apple Inc has no interest in acquiring TikTok, a company spokesperson told Axios, denying an earlier report published by Axios, citing Apple has expressed interest in buying the ByteDance-owned firm.

Microsoft is currently negotiating a deal to acquire the popular short-video app, with a 45-day deadline imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Technology • Internet & Web
Snapchat to test new TikTok-like music feature
Snapchat Logo Illustration
Snapchat Logo Illustration Credit: unsplash.com/Morning Brew

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat has announced a new feature that will let users add songs to their video posts, similar to TikTok. Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing Group and other music industry companies to offer a "robust and curated catalog of music."

"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends," so a Snapchat spokesperson.

The new feature will launch first for users in Australia and New Zealand, and later this fall in Canada and the United States.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Credit: Donut Robotics (Reproduction)

The white "c-mask" by Japanese startup Donut Robotics that can translate Japanese into eight different languages. The tech smart mask needs to be worn over standard face masks to ensure protection and can amplify the mask wearer’s voice, make calls, transcribe speech and translate languages. The first 5,000 masks will be shipped to Japanese buyers in September but the company is looking to expand their market into China, the US and Europe at a later date.

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Credit: Aaron Weiss

The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

Technology • Internet & Web
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Credit: Yuri Samoilov (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Telegram, the messaging app, filed a formal antitrust complaint to the EU over Apple’s App Store. The company joins Spotify and Rakuten in complaining the app store represents a monopoly power, given that developers have to accept Apple’s terms, including a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.

In its complaint, Telegram took issue with Apple’s argument that the App Store commission keeps it running. Pavel Durov, Telegram founder, stated "Every quarter, Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps. Meanwhile, the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions of dollars. We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will".

Technology • Internet & Web
Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

During an Air Force One flight from Florida to Washington, President Donald Trump has stated that "as far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States". He added that he has the authority to issue such ban through an executive order, but has yet to follow through on his statement.

Technology • Internet & Web
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

According to the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Japan is seeking to ban TikTok for the app's alleged sharing of domestic user data with the Chinese Government. A group of lawmakers has proposed the ban of several in China developed apps which will most likely be submitted to the government by September. Early this year, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and others.

Technology • Internet & Web
17-year-old teenager arrested in connection with Twitter hack
17-year-old teenager arrested in connection with Twitter hack
Credit: unsplash.com/Kon Karampelas

Early Friday morning, a 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark from Tampa, Florida was arrested in connection with the Twitter hack that targeted around 130 high profile accounts including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill Gates on July 15.

Clark is being charged with over 30 felony counts, including identity theft, hacking and organized fraud and is set to be charged as an adult. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren described him as "not an ordinary 17-year old" in a press conference. It's unclear whether Clark was working alone.

Twitter tweeted a statement, writing: "We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses. For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly."

Technology • Internet & Web
White supremacist David Duke gets permanently banned from Twitter
David Duke's suspended Twitter account
David Duke's suspended Twitter account Credit: Screenshot via Twitter

David Duke, white supremacist and former KKK grand wizard, has gotten his Twitter account permanently suspended on Thursday. Duke's account was banned "for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct" and for sharing "harmful links," so a Twitter spokesperson.

Twitter's move comes just a month after YouTube banned Duke's channel in late June for violating its "strict policies prohibiting hate speech."