Consumer tech lobbyist calls China tariffs a ‘poison pill’

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The White House might argue that its proposed tariffs on Chinese tech would punish the harvesting of American intellectual property while preserving the US economy, but don't tell that to the Consumer Technology Association's Gary Shapiro. The indus…
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Google Voice opens up testing for data-only VoIP calls

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Google Voice has long been helpful for receiving phone calls regardless of the device you're using. That's assuming you want a conventional call, though — it can be a pain if you're traveling and face roaming charges, or in those moments when you w…
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Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook’s comments on Facebook ‘extremely glib’

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit back Apple CEO Tim Cook, calling Cook’s comments about Facebook “extremely glib.” Cook told Recode last week that he would never be in the situation that Zuckerberg has found himself in, facing backlash for the massive Cambridge Analytica data breach.

Cook said, “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Apple, instead, has monetized products to customers, and Cook argued that was a sounder business model and not vulnerable to the same problems Facebook is having.

In an interview with Vox, Zuckerberg dismissed Cook’s argument as insincere and shallow. He said, “You know, I find that argument, that if you’re…

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Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook’s anti-Facebook retort ‘glib,’ defends ad-based model

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s ad-based revenue model in an interview published on Monday, seemingly also challenging the spin adopted by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
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Huawei still committed to US market, calls government suspicion ‘groundless’

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Huawei hasn’t given up on the US market despite facing difficulties, CEO Richard Yu told CNET in an email. Chinese smartphone makers have had a rough go in the States in recent months, with US intelligence agencies cautioning consumers against purchasing electronics from firms like Huawei and Xiaomi.

The firm plans to continue operations in the United States. “We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation,” Yu told CNET.

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In the wake of Facebook’s huge scandal, Apple calls for stronger privacy regulation

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Encryption and Privacy

Apple is still very committed to both user privacy and strong encryption, especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations.

In an interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked for “well-crafted” regulation when it comes to user privacy. Separately, Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi reiterated Apple’s stance on the need of having strong encryption, the kind that can’t have any backdoors like the US government asks for.

Cook made his remarks at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, Bloomberg reports, which came at the end of a rough week for Facebook.

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook replied when asked whether the use of data should be restricted.

“The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

“We’ve worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur, and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it,” Cook added. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”

Encryption is one critical way of protecting user data. That includes encrypted services, but also encrypted devices. The US, and other governments around the world, would love Apple, Google, and others to include backdoors in their devices and services, so that law enforcement agencies could access data tied to active investigations.

Apple has always opposed adding backdoors to iOS, and nothing has changed, even though the Justice Department is looking at ways to force device makers to unlock phones part of criminal investigations.

According to The New York Times found out that the FBI and Justice Department officials have been quietly meeting with security researchers who have been working on backdoors for encrypted devices. That’s called “extraordinary access” to encrypted devices. But, whatever they call it, it’s still a feature that reduces the security of a device.

Federighi stressed the importance of strengthening security for iPhone, not weakening it.

“Proposals that involve giving the keys to customers’ device data to anyone but the customer inject new and dangerous weaknesses into product security,” the exec said in a statement. “Weakening security makes no sense when you consider that customers rely on our products to keep their personal information safe, run their businesses or even manage vital infrastructure like power grids and transportation systems.”

Security researchers have been considering ways that would allow law enforcement to unlock smartphones. One idea that’s gaining steam would be that encrypted devices would also hold special unlock keys that could be used to unlock a device of interest. The process would still involve a court order, and only the phone’s maker would be able to unlock it. Therefore, the keys would not be handed to law enforcement. However, this universal unlock solution would be at risk of leaking, as multiple people inside a company would have to be able to access it to help with requests from law enforcement.

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Tim Cook calls for ‘well-crafted regulation’ in light of Facebook data mining controversy

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At the China Development Forum today, Tim Cook was asked about the leak of Facebook user data that saw Cambridge Analytica amass information on 50 million users. As reported by Bloomberg, Cook stated that the Facebook controversy is another sign that “well-crafted” regulations are necessary to protect user data…

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Apple’s Tim Cook calls for tougher regulation of personal data

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Apple has long positioned itself as a privacy advocate, but it's ramping up that stance in light of Facebook's data sharing with Cambridge Analytica. In a discussion at the China Development Forum, Tim Cook said that tougher, "well-crafted" regulati…
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls for Stronger Privacy Regulations Following ‘Dire’ Facebook Data Scandal

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Apple CEO Tim Cook attended the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, during which he called for stronger data privacy regulations following the “dire” Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal (via Bloomberg). Last week, it was revealed that the social network let Cambridge Analytica amass data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent, in an effort to target messages to voters during the 2016 presidential election.

Photo of Tim Cook by Giulia Marchi via Bloomberg

On the topic, Cook called for “well-crafted regulation” to protect users:

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said after being asked if the use of data should be restricted in light of the Facebook incident. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

Cook went on by stating that Apple has “worried for a number of years” that something like the recent Facebook data scandal might happen. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once,” he said.

“We’ve worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it,” he said. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”

A #DeleteFacebook campaign arose quickly on Twitter following news of Cambridge Analytica’s actions, which WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton took part in. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an official statement on the events this past week, saying that the company has “a responsibility to protect your data,” and that if it can’t “then we don’t deserve to serve you.” He continued, “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”

Repercussions have begun to hit Facebook, including a lawsuit from Facebook shareholder Fan Yuan, who alleged the company had some knowledge of Cambridge Analytica’s data siphoning and made “materially false and/or misleading” claims regarding Facebook’s handling of user data. The first step Facebook has taken to attempt to address the issue is a new tool at the top of the News Feed which will let people see which apps have their info and offer up an easy way to revoke permissions.

In other topics at the Beijing forum on Saturday, Tim Cook also briefly touched upon the recent decision by President Trump to place tariffs on Chinese goods. Although the details on the tariffs have yet to be finalized by the U.S. government, Cook said: “The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don’t, don’t…It’s not a matter of carving things up between sides. I’m going to encourage that calm heads prevail.”

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Calls for Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress are getting louder

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent Zuckerberg a formal letter Friday asking for testimony “in the near future.”

Mark Zuckerberg said this week that he’d be “open to” testifying before members of Congress on the company’s latest privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

Congress really really wants that to happen.

Top lawmakers at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has subcommittees focused on communication and technology and consumer protection, sent a formal letter to Zuckerberg on Friday asking him to appear on Capitol Hill “in the near future.”

“In comments to the press, you stated that the person with the most knowledge at Facebook about what Congress is trying to learn is the most appropriate witness for a congressional hearing,” the letter, which is signed by six members of Congress, read. “As the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook and the employee who has been the leader of Facebook through all the key strategic decisions since its launch, you are the right person to testify before Congress about those decisions and the Facebook business model.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company received the letter and is reviewing it.

The call to testify caps what has been a busy week for Facebook. It was learned late last Friday that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, gained access to the personal data of roughly 50 million users without their permission.

Facebook spent the week trying to explain what happened, and Zuckerberg finally did a press tour Wednesday apologizing and trying to smooth over concerns that the social network can no longer be trusted.

In an interview with Recode, Zuckerberg said he was open to testifying before Congress on the matter “if I’m the right [person].”

Numerous politicians in both the U.S. and U.K. have called on Zuckerberg to testify about the company’s data practices.

Most recently, when Facebook was summoned to Capitol Hill to explain how Russian sources used the social network to try and influence public opinion ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook sent its top lawyer to the hearing, not Zuckerberg.

The big concern for Facebook investors is that Congress will impart stricter regulations on the social giant. Facebook has built a big business by employing personal data in order to target users with advertisements. Any restriction on collecting, storing or using that data could hurt Facebook’s business.

In an interview with Wired this week, Zuckerberg said it was more a matter of when, not if. “The question isn’t, ‘Should there be regulation or shouldn’t there be?’ he said. “It’s ‘How do you do it?’” Facebook is open to regulation, it just wants to ensure that any new rules are administered industry-wide and not targeting the social giant exclusively.

Public testimonies and potential regulations are not the only possible punishments for Facebook. Lawsuits from shareholders and Facebook users have also been filed.

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