Trustworthy Accountability Group Hires Former IAB UK Executive

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MMW learned ahead of the weekend that The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain, announced it has hired Nick Stringer, former Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) and former Chair of the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA), and opened a new European office in London to help accelerate the organization’s global expansion. Stringer will serve as TAG’s Vice President of Global Member Engagement and Operations.

“Piracy, fraud, malware, and lack of transparency are global challenges, and they require global engagement to address them,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “To stop the criminals who steal our money and damage our supply chain, we must set high standards for all companies in our industry, regardless of where they are based or operate, and then enforce those standards worldwide. Working with Nick and our new EU office, TAG will be able to help EU-based and global companies better understand and more easily join TAG’s efforts.”

More than 130 non-US companies based in 27 countries have now applied for TAG Registration and the TAG ID, a proprietary verification process to demonstrate they are legitimate participants in digital advertising and the baseline requirement for participation in TAG’s certification programs.

“Over the last three years, TAG has built an effective and proven framework to solving some of the most difficult problems in digital advertising,” said Stringer. “Now we plan to educate policymakers and companies around the world about that approach, so brand advertisers and their agencies can ensure they are working with partners who maintain the highest standards for a clean and safe global supply chain. I am delighted to join TAG at this pivotal time to help extend the TAG vision, and we look forward to working with key European stakeholders to build a global approach in addressing criminal activity in digital advertising.”

Prior to joining TAG, Stringer was Chair of the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA), which administers the EU’s self-regulatory program to give consumers information and control over interest-based advertising. Between 2008-15, Stringer also served as Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK). Stringer established IAB UK’s policy and regulatory affairs function and helped coordinate industry’s efforts to set appropriate UK and EU policies for digital advertising, particularly around privacy issues, as well as increasing policymakers’ understanding of the benefits of digital media. Prior to joining the IAB, Stringer worked at Orange, leading public policy issues across both mobile and broadband sectors.

As part of its worldwide efforts, TAG recently announced an alignment of many of its key initiatives with the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) in the UK. Through that alignment, JICWEBS will continue to drive brand safety efforts in the UK while TAG will take the long-term lead on fighting fraud, malware, and piracy. TAG endorses the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety initiative to companies active in the UK market.

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Quick Takes: Fitbit Executive Says He Hasn’t Met Anyone Passionate About Owning an Apple Watch

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Thursday, March 15

1. Fitbit’s financial chief knocks the Apple Watch: “I have yet to meet anyone who owns an Apple Watch who’s passionate about the product,” said Fitbit’s chief financial officer Bill Zerella. “If you don’t have an Apple phone, you’re not buying an Apple Watch… 80% of the world is Android, not Apple.”

Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit’s new Versa smartwatch

Commentary: Not only is the Apple Watch the world’s most popular smartwatch, but it’s the best-selling wearable, ahead of Fitbit. Apple Watch also has a customer satisfaction rate well above 90 percent.

2. iHeartMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: The company operates Apple Music rival iHeartRadio, which provides free streaming of thousands of live radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The move will allow the company to restructure more than $20 billion in debt.

Commentary: iHeartMedia’s day-to-day operations of its businesses are not expected to be dramatically affected, according to reports, so iHeartRadio should remain available for at least the foreseeable future.

3. What the HomePod should become: MacStories‘ Ryan Christoffel argues that the HomePod isn’t a bad product today, but could evolve into a great one by becoming a true hub for all Apple-centric needs.

If Siri knew all things about your Apple devices and services, and could interact with them all, then HomePod would be the perfect vehicle to tap into that power. You could ask Siri on the HomePod to:

– Check your iPhone’s battery charge.
– Play an audiobook.
– Add a show to your Up Next queue.
– Download a specific app to your iPhone.
– Pause or resume Apple TV playback.
– List upcoming birthdays for your contacts.
– Provide a delivery status on your Apple Store order.
– Put all your devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
– Play a specific movie or show on the Apple TV.
– Or on the bedroom TV, or the iPad, or iPhone.
– Locate your iPhone or iPad.
– Each device could play a ding if it’s nearby, and if not, HomePod could offer to load a map on your nearest device.
– Make a phone call.
– Switch your AirPods to the Apple TV.
– Set an Apple Store support appointment.
– Open an app on a certain device.
– Put a screensaver on the TV.

None of these things can currently be done by HomePod, but I think they would all be reasonable to expect from an upgraded Siri. None of these would infringe on the company’s user privacy stance, because the data at play in these requests is already available to Apple.

Commentary: While the HomePod has received rave reviews about how it sounds, the consensus is that the speaker isn’t as smart as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Being able to complete these tasks would be a huge step forward.

4. Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus responds to claim that Siri was a “disaster” when it first launched on iPhone 4s: “This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays.”

Commentary: “After launch, Siri was a disaster,” said former Apple executive Richard Williamson, who was reportedly fired in 2012 following the botched launch of Apple Maps. “It was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me.”

For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

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President Trump signs executive order blocking Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm

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Broadcom attempted to purchase Qualcomm back in November, in what would be the single largest takeover of a chipmaker ever. The initial offer was declined by Qualcomm’s board of directors, as was every subsequent counter offer. In response, Broadcom attempted to replace some of Qualcomm’s board, allowing the purchase to be finalized. After months of turmoil, the White House has officially blocked the acquisition with a new executive order.

According to Bloomberg, President Trump signed the executive order based on advice from the Committee on Foreign Investment.

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ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation

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Put great minds in one room, and over the course of a dinner, they’ll share some significant insights. This is exactly what happened at an event hosted by ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications in Silicon Valley this month. The topic on the minds of these thought leaders was Digital Transformation (DX), a concept, challenge, and opportunity being discussed among all industries, businesses, and demographics today.

Moderated by Kyle Ellicott of ReadWrite Labs, the group discussed why Digital Transformation (DX) is now becoming mainstream, the numerous challenges companies face on their transformation journey and where we are in term of life cycle across all areas of industry.

Redefining Digital Transformation

According to Ellicott, even though digital transformation began surfacing in the 2000s, the term was associated with existing initiatives driving radical changes from paper-driven manual processes to the ability to digitize existing forms, tasks, and processes.

But the significance of Digital Transformation in recent years is about redefining business models, strategy, and customer experiences. Nothing before could make such dramatic changes because previous digital transformation initiatives had only been used to address one part of one issue. Instead today, it’s about taking on all the interrelated issues in different industries at one time for the most disruptive change possible.

Technology is Not the Only Issue:

Common issues  with digital transformation are the technology,and the capability to integrate and migrate, as well as people’s unwillingness to embrace change. Many countries like China making the move willingly to digital across all generations and among consumers and businesses. However that’s not the case with industries and consumers in different areas of the world.

Another issue is the lack of openness around data, data sharing and ownership. In many instances, data has numerous parties that can access it. However, they are limitations about what they can do with it. The ability to be open to sharing data freely among partners or connected access points within the networked society has yet to happen. Until it does, there will be hesitation for select industries to take the step toward digital transformation.

Benchmarking the Best Industries

One way to get past these issues was to look at the top industries that are doing digital transformation well. Their best practices can educate other industries. Also, they offer a benchmark for companies that want to start on their digital transformation.

Many guests at ReadWrite Labs’s event most often named transportation as a benchmark digital transformation industry. That’s because of the recent strides in the connected vehicle market. The market has gone beyond the call button for assistance. It now provides data to manufacturers that help produce better vehicles. Also, manufacturers can personalize the experience a driver has with that car brand. Now, transportation is connecting to smart cities through street lights and other IoT infrastructure.

Additionally, healthcare, including digital health and telemedicine, is a great example of digital transformation. The migration started with medical records and an understanding that DX could enhance efficiency and service. Currently, the healthcare industry is enhancing the overall experience for patients. The digital transformation framework has changed how doctors are diagnosing patients. It’s also making healthcare more accessible to many patients around the world. The result is faster diagnosis and treatment, helping to improve the lives of many.

The IoT thought leaders also mentioned payments and e-commerce and logistics as other industries that are becoming more adept at digital transformations. Both have benefitted from digital transformation in terms of more satisfied customers, faster service, and lower operating costs.

Envisioning a Different Future

Ease of access to old world services with the likes of Uber, Airbnb and many other sharing economy successes have illustrated how technology is driving business models and how entire industry ecosystems can be leapfrogged in a matter of years. Technology is now driving the formation of new industries and business models. It is no longer the other way around where business models once figured out how to insert technology into their processes. Digital Transformation has become a subject for the c-suite and is part of the strategic process of many companies.

To these thought leaders, even with all the confusion in many companies, the gap is closing. Technology solutions are available and implemented incrementally changing how things work for a company and its ecosystems. Companies and organizations are also incorporating experience-led engineering both for their customers and employees to get the most out of the DX frameworks.  For these leaders, they agreed that use case-led direction clarifies what DX is capable of delivering.

The post ReadWrite Labs and Tata Communications Host Executive Roundtable on Digital Transformation appeared first on ReadWrite.


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Cellebrite executive insists iPhone unlocking has a ‘public safety imperative’

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Cellebrite offers its services to law enforcement for the welfare of the public, an executive of the security firm known for breaking the security of iOS and other devices claims in an interview, while also stressing the firm’s tools are not a major risk to the privacy of iPhone users in general.
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Cellebrite executive talks iPhone hacking in rare interview

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iPhone Security

In the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack of 2015, Apple found itself involved in a bitter stand-off with the FBI. Famously, Apple refused to create a custom version of iOS that would have provided the FBI with an endless number of passcode guesses in order to access a locked iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists. Not to be deterred, the FBI eventually managed to access the device with the help of a third-party security firm. And though the FBI never publicly disclosed who it partnered up with, reports suggest it was an Israeli-based company called Cellebrite.

While security companies like Cellebrite ideally prefer to avoid the spotlight, the company was thrust back into the news this week following a report that it has developed the capability to essentially hack into any locked iPhone running any iteration of iOS, including the recently released iPhone X. In turn, the company has already started advertising its workaround to law enforcement authorities around the world.

In the wake of that report, Cellebrite chief marketing officer Jeremy Nazarian provided Forbes with an extremely rare interview. While the interview naturally didn’t touch on any of the company’s capabilities, it nonetheless provides us with a unique look at a top-tier security company whose business model rests on hacking into devices designed to be exceptionally secure.

Addressing criticism that Cellebrite should be more willing to share its software workarounds with Apple, Nazarian articulated that Cellebrite’s tools represent an invaluable resource for law enforcement agencies aiming to catch some of the world’s worst criminals.

There’s a public safety imperative here. These capabilities are germane again to homicide, crimes against children, drug gangs, major public safety threats in any community.

With respect to any concerns that Cellebrite’s workarounds might fall into the wrong hands, Nazarian explained:

It requires physical access. It’s not like anyone is listening to your iPhone or my iPhone. It needs to be obtained as evidence as part of an investigation or a case. There’s nothing inherent in the technology that means it’s open to misuse.

The full interview is well worth checking out and can be viewed over here.

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Apple hires Gaumont Television executive Carol Trussell as head of original video production

Apple has hired Gaumont Television executive Carol Trussell to lead its original video efforts…. Read the rest of this post here

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Apple hires Gaumont Television executive to serve as head of production for original video efforts

Apple is continuing to expand its Worldwide Video Programming division, the team responsible for original content efforts. According to a new report from Deadline, Apple has hired Carol Trussell, who will serve as Head of Production…



President Trump is using tweets from a Facebook executive to argue Russia didn’t influence the election

“The Fake News Media never fails,” Trump added.

President Donald Trump found an unlikely ally in his mission to convince the internet that Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election didn’t actually help get him elected: Facebook advertising executive Rob Goldman.

Goldman, Facebook’s VP of ad products, sent a series of tweets late Friday that said, among other things, that “swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal” of the thousands of dollars of Facebook ads bought by Russian actors during and after the 2016 election.

“Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal,” Goldman wrote Friday.

“The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election,” he continued, linking to this post from Facebook’s blog. “We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election.”

The tweets came about 24 hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for “seeking to interfere in the United States political system, including the 2016 Presidential election.” Mueller’s report did say that Russia’s social media campaign included “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

Trump pounced on Saturday, retweeting both of Goldman’s tweets and adding his own commentary.

“The Fake News Media never fails,” he tweeted. “Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman!”

What went unsaid in these tweets is that there were thousands of posts shared on Facebook and other social networking sites, like Twitter, that were not ads, but still reached millions of potential voters. Facebook said that ads purchased by Russian sources reached 10 million users, but all posts from Russian accounts — including non-ads that were posted for free — reached as many as 126 million users.

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J.Crew has hired the Starbucks executive who transformed the coffee chain into a tech innovator

Adam Brotman has joined the apparel retailer as president and chief experience officer.

Adam Brotman, a longtime Starbucks executive who helped mold the Seattle coffee giant into one of the most technologically advanced retailers, is leaving the company after nine years for a top role at J.Crew.

Brotman will join J.Crew as president and chief experience officer and report to new CEO Jim Brett, who replaced legendary chief executive Mickey Drexler this summer.

Brotman was most recently the top executive overseeing Starbucks stores but is perhaps best known for the work he did in previous digital-focused roles. As chief digital officer, Brotman oversaw the launch of Starbucks’ popular “mobile order and pay” smartphone feature — which now accounts for 11 percent of total transactions at Starbucks-owned stores.

He also led the teams that developed the original payment feature inside the Starbucks app. Starbucks said last year that 30 percent of in-store transactions are completed via mobile payments.

“Adam’s experience with global field operations and cutting-edge consumer-facing digital platforms makes him an invaluable partner in shaping and driving J.Crew Group’s strategic initiatives to the next level,” J.Crew’s CEO said in a statement. “Adam will help us establish customer relationships that leverage all our channels, helping us to serve them in ways that are more meaningful and relevant to how they shop and live.”

Brotman will join an executive team attempting to lead a turnaround of the classic American clothing giant that has seen sales slide as customers opt for less expensive clothes from fast-fashion retailers and shift loyalty to clothing brands that originated online.

Amazon’s push into fashion probably hasn’t helped either. Last year, Drexler said J.Crew approached Amazon about a sale.

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