New in iOS 11.3: updating apps obtained from foreign App Stores without switching Apple IDs

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Proposed EU law could require companies like Apple to share data from foreign servers

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The European Union is reportedly working on legislation that would require companies to provide customers’ personal data for law enforcement even if it’s being kept on servers outside of the region.
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Strava’s fitness tracking map reveals sensitive information about U.S. troops and foreign bases

The company’s Global Heat Map called a ‘clear security threat’ for inadvertently showing troop activities overseas.

The Pentagon has been interested in fitness trackers since it distributed Fitbits to U.S. troops in 2013. Unfortunately, now they will have a different concern as online fitness tracking has created a global map filled with potentially damaging and sensitive information about U.S. installations abroad. What started as a tool to help users get fit and stay fit has become a matter of national security.

At least that’s what international security analyst and expert Tobias Schneider thinks. The Washington Post reports that Strava’s Global Heatmap, an aggregate worldwide map of where and how we use our fitness trackers, includes information from U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East in sensitive installations.

The Global Heatmap was published in 2017, but the security oversight was only recently noticed. Now that it’s come to light (pardon the pun) people are zooming in to see if they can pinpoint places the Pentagon freely admits exist, but aren’t anything it likes to publicize. Especially when it comes to the exact location.

Many people wear their fitness trackers all day long to measure their total step counts, and soldiers appear to be no exception, meaning the maps reveal far more than just their exercise habits.

Lines of activity extending out of bases and back may indicate patrol routes. The map of Afghanistan appears as a spider web of lines connecting bases, showing supply routes, as does northeast Syria, where the United States maintains a network of mostly unpublicized bases. Concentrations of light inside a base may indicate where troops live, eat or work, suggesting possible targets for enemies.

Strava, a popular app for runners and cyclers alike, is available for many fitness devices, including Fitbit, Android Wear, and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. The 2017 map doesn’t show any live data, but the information available provides what would normally be classified data for anyone too see. Including the site of a U.S. base that is yet to be announced.

At a site in northern Syria near a dam, where analysts have suspected the U.S. military is building a base, the map shows a small blob of activity accompanied by an intense line along the nearby dam, suggesting that the personnel at the site jog regularly along the dam

Not only U.S. sites have been exposed through the map, as suspected Russian and Syrian bases are visible, too. Interestingly enough, no Iranian bases are seen. Security experts say this suggests they “either don’t use fitness trackers or prudently turn them off.” This is an important minor detail — users are told about how their activity is tracked and given an easy option to shut down any sending of fitness data. Enough users to give a clear picture of sites the Pentagon would rather not be publicized aren’t doing it. I imagine that has come to a sudden halt.

Read the fine print on every app you download and install, folks.

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Apple Notifies Developers of Tax and Pricing Changes in Some Foreign App Stores

Apple on Wednesday began sending out emails to let developers know of changes to the price of App Store apps in several countries, owing to regional adjustments in value added tax (via 9to5Mac).

Apple told developers that since January 1 it had been collecting taxes on the sale of apps and in-app purchases in Armenia, Belarus, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

The new policy means Apple is administering collection and remittance of tax to authorities at a rate of 20 percent in Armenia and Belarus; 5 percent in Saudi Arabia; 18 percent in Turkey; and 5 percent in United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, existing tax collections dropped from 8 percent to 7.7 percent.

Apple also announced price updates this week for the following countries: Czech Republic, where prices will decrease for apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions); India, where prices will decrease for apps and in-app purchases (including auto-renewable subscriptions); and Turkey, Nigeria, Belarus, and Armenia, where prices will increase for apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions).

As expected, App Store developer proceeds will be adjusted and calculated based on the new tax prices. In addition to the tax and price change notices, Apple reminded developers they can adjust subscription pricing at any time to preserve prices for existing customers. Using iTunes Connect, developers can also check new prices in the Pricing and Availability section of My Apps.

Tags: App Store, tax

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AppleInsider Podcast interviews Scott Harkins of Honeywell, talks about Tim Cook’s response to iPhone batteries, foreign cash

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This week on the AppleInsider podcast, Victor and Mike talk about batteries, foreign cash repatriation, and Scott Harkins of Honeywell joins to talk about Lyric and HomeKit home security.
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China reportedly plans to block access to foreign cryptocurrency exchanges

Bloomberg reports that China is cracking down hard on cryptocurrency activity in the country by plotting to block domestic access to foreign exchanges and platforms that allow for centralized trading. That’s worrying news for crypto enthusiasts in China, who have already seen local exchanges being shut down entirely towards the end of 2017. The country is known to house the largest community of Bitcoin mining operations worldwide. According to Bloomberg’s sources, peer-to-peer transactions won’t be policed, but any organizations that facilitate market-making, settlement, and clearing services for centralized trading will be targeted by local authorities. The news follows reports and…

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Uber remotely locked PCs in foreign offices to thwart investigators

We all know by now that Uber has some shady practices when it comes to law enforcement. Today, Bloomberg reported that the ride-hailing startup has a program called Ripley, which is designed to thwart local police and government investigators that ra…
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