Instagram Fined $400 Million For Failing To Protect Children’s Data

Ireland’s data privacy regulator has agreed to levy a record fine of 405 million euros ($402 million) against social network Instagram following an investigation into its handling of children’s data, a spokesperson for the watchdog said.

Instagram plans to appeal against the fine, a spokesperson for its parent company, Meta, said in an emailed statement.

The investigation, which started in 2020, focused on child users between the ages of 13 and 17 who were allowed to operate business accounts, which facilitated the publication of the user’s phone number and/or email address.

“We adopted our final decision last Friday and it does contain a fine of 405 million euro,” said the spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the lead regulator of Instagram and Facebook’s (FB) parent company.

Instagram updated its settings over a year ago and has since released new features to keep teens safe and their information private, the Meta spokesperson said.

The DPC regulates Facebook, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL) and other technology giants due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland. It has opened over a dozen investigations into Meta companies, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

WhatsApp was last year fined a record 225 million euros for failing to conform with EU data rules in 2018.

Source: CNN

EU Deal Will Force iPhones To Use USB-C Charger By 2024

Products from Apple and other smartphone manufacturers will have to use the same charger under a landmark deal provisionally approved by European lawmakers on Tuesday, bringing years of debate to a close and overriding the tech giant’s complaints that such regulation would hamper innovation and harm consumers. 

By Fall 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the European Union must be equipped with the same USB-C charging port for wired charging, according to a provisional agreement announced by European lawmakers

The requirement—a world first—will apply to a string of devices including smartphones, headphones, e-readers, handheld gaming consoles, portable speakers and tablets “regardless of their manufacturer” and will also ensure charging speed is “harmonized” for devices that support fast charging.

Laptop makers must also comply, though they will have an additional 40 months after the new rules come into force to make the change. 

Thierry Breton, the EU’s Commissioner for the Internal Market, celebrated the new rules as a win for consumers and an important step towards reducing e-waste, according to Bloomberg.

Given the number of electronic devices used every day, having “a common charger” is also “common sense,” Breton added. 

The legislation, which has been negotiated within EU institutions for years, still needs formal approval from the European Parliament and European Council, which it is expected to secure later this year. 

Key Background: The European Union has long sought to standardize electronic charging but for a decade has struggled to overcome the political barriers and opposition needed to do so. Such rules would slash e-waste, save money and be far better for consumers, who the bloc says are “frustrated” with “incompatible chargers piling up.” U.S. tech giant Apple, which has invested in its own “Lightning” connector and resisted moving to the technologies used by other smartphone makers, has been a particularly fierce opponent, arguing that standardization would harm consumers and stifle innovation. 

What To Watch For: Wireless charging. The rules on standardized charger ports only apply to devices using wired charging, the EU said, meaning those only charging wirelessly will not have to include a USB-C port. However, the legislation will also allow the European Commission to develop standards for wireless charging in the future as it becomes more prevalent, according to the press release.

Big Number: $312 million (250 million euros). That’s how much money is wasted every year on unnecessary charger purchases in the EU, according to the European Council. There is also around 11,000 tonnes of waste produced every year from unused or thrown away chargers and cables, the bloc said.

Source: Forbes

Apple Shows Off Surreal Photo Collages That Were Shot And Edited On iPhone

Apple’s long-running Shot on iPhone campaign has now entered a dreamlike realm, where all imaginations are attainable with the right mindset… or app.

The Cupertino giant has commissioned Melbourne graphic designer Gaia Barnatan, who goes by the alias Liquid Pink, to transform eight photos—shot on an iPhone, of course—into four surreal compositions. 

Here, ordinary objects like a burnt matchstick and a strawberry aren’t so predictable anymore when juxtaposed against stunning skies.

According to 9to5Mac, the artist created these photo fusions on the Bazaart app, which enables easy double-exposure shots like these ones, thanks to its magic background eraser and capacity for 100 photo layers (or five video layers).

Your camera roll doesn’t always have to be filled with food photos and screenshots.

Source: DesignTAXI

NYC Robbery Crew Used Apple Watch To Track And Rob Drug Dealers For Over $500K

Feds capture NYC robbery crew, who robbed drug dealers for upwards of $500,000 using a hidden Apple Watch.

New York has seen its fair share of smart criminals and masterminds who’ve gone undetected for years until they slipped up and caused their own downfall. From white collar crime to straight up armed robbery, anything can go down in NYC, but every criminal has a plan and plots like a scene out of a heist movie.

Hollywood has made billions taking these stories and turning them into big screen blockbusters, and according to The New York Post, there is a new story that could be a contender for the big screen. The scenario involves 7 men robbing drug dealers instead of regular citizens, making for an interesting situation.

A New York robbery crew that targeted drug runners hit the jackpot late last year, netting $500,000 in cash after tracking a targeted criminal’s car — with a hidden Apple Watch, new court documents show.

The seven-person crew based in the Hudson Valley pulled off the major score in January 2020 after their alleged leader, 30-year-old Darren Lindsay, bought an Apple Watch and linked it to his AT&T account, according to federal prosecutors in papers filed Tuesday.

The thieves put the watch underneath the bumper of a car that belonged to a drug-runner they suspected was flush with cash, the documents say.

The group was taken into custody in July for a string of robberies over the past three years. Authorities say the group made away with over $500,000 in their efforts and even posted with the cash on social media.

This may seem harmless due to the fact they were robbing drug and cash runners, but it’s far from a Robinhood story. Keep in mind, if you’re robbing big time dealers, the feds are already probably investigating them and now you’re on their radar which never ends well. While the plan was smart, as always, the clout and posting on social media was their ultimate downfall. Just imagine how far they could have gotten if they kept it to themselves.

Source: Bossip

Reddit Acquires TikTok/Triller Rival Dubsmash

Reddit has acquired Dubsmash, the lipsyncing video app which launched in 2014 and was largely supplanted when TikTok showed up. 

Announced via Reddit’s blog on Sunday, the annexing of Dubsmash’s 12-person team to Reddit’s 700-strong horde is the popular website’s first major acquisition in its 15-year history.

While the financial terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, Dubsmash will be keeping its own platform and separate branding. Dubsmash’s Android and Apple apps will continue to operate as normal, with its video creation tools simply integrated into Reddit’s infrastructure. 

Reddit currently allows users to upload and livestream videos, however its editing capabilities are somewhat lacklustre — a problem this acquisition hopes to address.

“The transition to video will be bigger than the transition to mobile,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman said, speaking via the Wall Street JournalWhich sounds fake, but okay. Pivots to video historically haven’t worked out well, but perhaps the distinction between editorial and user-created content will yield better results.

Dubsmash went through a slow decline in the wake of its 2015 popularity boom, before revamping itself in 2017 to stage an unlikely comeback. While still not as successful as TikTok, the short-form video app established a significant audience by focusing on the one demographic still using it — Black teenagers in the U.S

As such, both Reddit and Dubsmash’s acquisition announcements heavily emphasised the diverse, underrepresented creators who use the app. According to Reddit, a quarter of Black teens in the U.S. use Dubsmash, while 70 percent of users are women or girls.

“By joining forces with Reddit, we expand our ability to serve the creators that represent the lifeblood of Dubsmash, helping them connect, share, and deepen their impact on culture,” wrote Dubsmash co-founders Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel and Tim Specht. The trio further reaffirmed their goal to “[create] a safe and welcoming platform for underrepresented communities.”

“Both Reddit and Dubsmash share a deep rooted respect for how communities come together,” said Huffman. “Dubsmash elevates under-represented creators, while Reddit fosters a sense of community and belonging across thousands of different topics and passions.”

Source: Mashable

Facebook Accused Of Watching Instagram Users Through Their Phone Cameras

Facebook Inc. is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users, this time through the unauthorized use of their mobile phone cameras.

The lawsuit springs from media reports in July that the photo-sharing app appeared to be accessing iPhone cameras even when they weren’t actively being used.

Facebook denied the reports and blamed a bug, which it said it was correcting, for triggering what it described as false notifications that Instagram was accessing iPhone cameras.

In the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, New Jersey Instagram user Brittany Conditi contends the app’s use of the camera is intentional and done for the purpose of collecting “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”

By “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes,” Instagram and Facebook are able to collect “valuable insights and market research,” according to the complaint.

Facebook declined to comment.

Source: Bloomberg

Apple Tweaks Mask-Wearing Emoji To Look Friendlier In The COVID-19 Era

Yep, the ‘Face with Medical Mask’ emoji has become an unlikely symbol of everyday life for 2020, meaning it’s no longer relevant just for those working in clinical settings – and now it’s had an upgrade.

Following its newfound fame, Apple has recently updated the face so that it looks a little more cheerful, to show that wearing a mask is no bad thing.

The new version of the emoji comes with Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 14.2, which is currently in beta stage and expected to release in late October or early November 2020.

Before, the emoji had exasperated downturned eyes, and looked a bit sorry for itself. But after its makeover, the face not only has cheerful blushing cheeks, but its happy eyes imply there’s even a smile going on under that covering.

Source: LADbible

Fleetwood Mac Streams Rising After TikTok User 420Doggface208 Goes Viral With Blissful Video Skating and Sipping Juice to 1977 Song “Dreams”

Fleetwood Mac‘s 1977 track ‘Dreams’ has experienced a big surge in sales and streams in the past week after it was used in a viral TikTok clip.

The ‘Rumours’ song soundtracks a clip that was uploaded by TikTok user 420doggface208 (real name Nathan Apodaca) last week, where he can be seen longboarding down a road while drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry Juice.

The clip’s popularity on TikTok and other social media platforms has seen streams and sales of ‘Dreams’ soar in the past few days. Before the video was uploaded, ‘Dreams’ was clocking up an average of 49,000 streams a day — but in the three days after the clip landed on TikTok, those streams rocketed to an average of 105,000 times a day (via Rolling Stone).

Sales of the song are up by 184% since last Saturday (September 26), while Spotify say that streams of ‘Dreams’ on their platform have increased by 127% with a 242% increase in first-time listeners of the song. Apple reported a spike of 221% in ‘Dreams’ streams, while there has also been a 1,137% increase in Shazam requests for the song.

Fleetwood Mac reposted Apodaca’s video on their Twitter account last weekend, writing: “We love this!”

Source: NME

Apple announces Fitness Plus (virtual workouts) for Apple Watch Series 6, delivering breakthrough wellness and fitness capabilities; will research with UC Irvine (UCI) in health studies

Apple is launching a new subscription service for virtual fitness classes called Fitness Plus, the company announced during its presentation today. The service integrates with iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV, but Apple says it’s built for the Apple Watch. Access to the service will cost $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, and you’ll get three months free with the purchase of a new Apple Watch. It also comes bundled as part of Apple’s new Apple One subscription. Apple says Fitness Plus will be available before the end of the year.

Many of the workouts require just a set of dumbbells or no equipment at all, Apple says, which should give you the flexibility to do them wherever’s convenient for you. There are 10 different workout types available, including cycling, treadmill, yoga, core, strength, rowing, and HIIT routines, and there’s a program built in for absolute beginners. You can select workouts based on their duration, and Apple says it plans to add new workouts every week.

Apple is joining forces with researchers to conduct three health studies that include using Apple Watch to explore how blood oxygen levels can be used in future health applications. This year, Apple will collaborate with the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to examine how longitudinal measurements of blood oxygen and other physiological signals can help manage and control asthma.

Source: The Verge