Apple Watch Provides Vital Evidence in Australian Murder Investigation

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Data from an Apple Watch may have proved vital in an Australian murder case this month, according to local media. Caroline Nilsson, 27, was arrested earlier this month and charged with murdering her mother-in-law, Myrna Nilsson, in September 2016. Myrna was found dead in the laundry room of her home, ABC News reported. Caroline previously […]
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Investigation finds FBI did not exhaust all options before taking Apple to trial in San Bernardino case

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An investigation into the FBI’s aggressive attempt to force Apple to assist in the unlocking of an iPhone tied to 2016’s San Bernardino shooting suggests a lack of communication, red tape and perhaps political motives were at play in taking the case to court.
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New York joins Massachusetts investigation of Facebook’s data use

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All eyes are on Facebook as more and more information rolls out regarding Cambridge Analytica, its involvement in recent elections and forums and how it came to obtain 50 million Facebook users' profile information. Now, New York Attorney General Eri…
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Report: Democrats outline plans to ask Apple & WhatsApp for help in the Trump-Russia investigation

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It appears that Washington D.C. lawmakers are planning to ask Apple for help as they investigate the use of encrypted messaging apps in the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. In a memo, democrats on the Intelligence Committee outlined what they may do if they take over the House of Representatives in November…

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Broadcom plans to ‘redomicile’ in US to nullify Qualcomm deal’s CFIUS investigation delay

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Broadcom is looking for shareholder approval to "redomicile" back to the U.S., to side-step the effects of a pause induced by a CFIUS investigative process, which could have ultimately stopped it’s attempt to take over Qualcomm.
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Broadcom plans shareholder vote to become US company, could sidestep CFIUS investigation into Qualcomm takeover

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Singapore-based Apple supplier Broadcom on Friday said it will this month ask shareholders for approval to redomicile to the U.S., potentially threatening a U.S. national security panel investigation into the company’s unrelenting hostile pursuit of American chipmaker Qualcomm.
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Apple confirms investigation of creepy Chinese iCloud incident

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Apple’s recent handover of China’s iCloud accounts to a government-run company appeared to have gone smoothly, but a deeply unsettling report related to the transition has gripped Chinese media, leading Apple to announce an investigation. According to sister publications The Paper and Sixth Tone, an Apple customer identified as “Qin” attempted to close his iCloud account ahead of the government takeover, only to have an AppleCare advisor argue with him, hack his account, and threaten to expose his personal information to teach him a lesson.

Qin’s story was originally posted on Chinese microblogging service Weibo and includes detailed text, screenshots, and even audio of one of his calls with the AppleCare advisor. In short, Qin says that he called AppleCare to close his account the day before the government-owned Guizhou-Cloud Big Data company took over Chinese iCloud account data, only to get into an argument with an Apple representative who was “really curious” why Qin didn’t “want to use Guizhou-Cloud Big Data’s service.”

The advisor then allegedly used his iCloud login information to hack his account, which contained both sensitive information and logins for other accounts. If that wasn’t bad enough, the advisor then called to blackmail Qin, saying that he would release the information if Qin didn’t comply with his demands. Qin contacted the police and Apple, both of which are investigating the incident.

After spending days going back and forth with Apple, Qin said that the company’s customer support people weren’t appropriately responsive to his requests for information about whether his account was safe, how much data had been taken from it, and who the threatening advisor was. But yesterday Apple sent the following written response (translated) to Chinese media:

We greatly respect the trust that our customers have given us, and entrust [their] personal privacy and information security to Apple. Safeguarding the privacy of users is the starting point of our system design. Any AppleCare technical advisor cannot access the customer’s password, email content and photos. We will work with this customer to investigate the incident and ensure that Apple employees and contractor teams adhere to the strict standards we set in customer contact.

Certain details remain controversial. Sina Technology News, part of the company behind Weibo, claims there is “currently no evidence” that the issue is directly related to the migration of Chinese iCloud accounts to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data, despite discussions to the contrary. Additionally, the employment status of the AppleCare advisor is somewhat unclear. The paper says the AppleCare advisor wasn’t fired by Apple but had rather resigned a month earlier and yet continued to serve customers due to an Apple transition policy for departing employees.

It’s safe to say the employee’s behavior did not reflect Apple policy or standards. However, the broader issue of AppleCare employee access to iCloud account information remains open and — based on Qin’s experience — deeply concerning. If you haven’t yet enabled two-factor authentication on your iCloud account, now would be a good time to do so.

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‘Blatant, desperate’ CFIUS investigation request postpones Broadcom’s $117B Qualcomm bid

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has ordered Apple supplier Qualcomm to delay a shareholders meeting 30 days, postponing — if not potentially derailing — Broadcom’s attempted $ 117 billion hostile takeover.
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Apple Launches Investigation After Florida Man’s Left AirPod Explodes

Calling it “the craziest thing I ever went through,” a Tampa, Florida man claims that one of his two AirPods mysteriously “blew apart” and was burnt to charred crisp — though not before quickly removing them from his ears during a routine workout, local NBC News affiliate, Channel 8, reports.

Identified only by his first name, Colton, the Tampa, Fla. resident was allegedly working out at an LA Fitness franchise in nearby St. Petersburg. When listening to a song through his AirPods, he noticed what appeared to be smoke emanating from one of them.

“And then I saw white smoke start billowing out,” he said, noting that he instantly pulled the AirPods from his ears, rested them on a piece of gym equipment and proceeded to get help from a gym employee.

But when he returned, the report continues, Colton was shocked to learn that his left AirPod had completely burnt to a crisp — though the right AirPod remained in-tact.

“It was already like this,” he said. “It was already popped. I didn’t see it happen, but I mean, it was already fried!  You can see flame damage.”

Though rattled from the whole experience, Colton insisted he’s glad to have trusted his intuition and acted so quickly to remove the AirPods from his ears, admitting that “I don’t know what would’ve happened to my ear, but I’m sure since it hangs down, it could’ve been [my] ear lobe. Ear lobe could’ve been burnt.”

An Apple spokesperson, in response to question for comment from Channel 8 News, said the company has launched an investigation into the incident and will reach out to Colton, accordingly.

Worth pointing out is that while the inherent incident is likely to raise serious questions about AirPod safety, it’s only the first of such incidents to affect AirPods — and we currently have no reason to believe there’s a broader, software, hardware or technical-related issue afoot.

Still, Colton’s otherwise harrowing experience is merely the latest in a seemingly endless string of product-related fires, and follows multiple previous reports of iPhone battery explosions in various parts of the world, including Valencia, Spain, Zurich Switzerland, Hong Kong, and even another, iPhone 7-related burning incident in nearby Orlando, Florida.

Though troubling, to be sure, it’s also worth pointing out that Apple’s apparent onslaught of battery fire woes pale in comparison to its chief rival, Samsung’s.

To read more on this story, be sure to check out the full NBC News report here.

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Why, Exactly, Is Elon Musk Selling Flamethrowers? (or: An Investigation In Hot Theories)

It started out as a joke, or at least something in the neighborhood of a joke, but quickly turned into yet another scheme to make a very rich person even richer. The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s business venture (ostensibly) created to dig tunnels for future modes of transportation, now sells flamethrowers.

Yes: Flamethrowers. Just weapons so destructive that the only military to ever drop a nuclear bomb on another nation voluntarily banned itself from using them in 1978.

A lot of people are asking, quite reasonably: Why’s Elon Musk hawking flamethrowers anyway? Doesn’t he have anything better to do?

A few theories:

  • To make a lot of money quickly, or at least show that he can. In the span of four days, pre-orders of the $ 500 flamethrower were completely sold out. That’s $ 10 million right off the bat. Most of that will go right into the company’s pocket — the gadgets probably don’t cost much to make (they are “quite literally roof torches strapped to Airsoft rifles,” according to The Verge) and the only marketing to speak of was a few Tweets and Instagram posts. And if you suspect that you might not be the safest flamethrower user out there, The Boring Company sells fire extinguishers separately, of course. Much of the skepticism around Musk is that Tesla is a company with a lot of ideas and not nearly enough product to show for it. With the flamethrower, Musk is demonstrating to the world that he can sell something barely seen, that nobody in the public has ever actually used, and do it in style. Loudly.
  • Because he can. Musk has spent years building up his reputation as a madman-cum-genius, taking on audacious projects others have attempted and failed, from self-driving electric vehicles to sending humans to Mars. And he knows how to get some good press, like the time he used Tesla batteries to restore power to hospitals in hurricane-struck Puerto Rico. While the flamethrower project isn’t quite so altruistic, Musk again shows he knows how to get people going.
  • To prepare for the zombie apocalypse. Or some kind of doomsday. “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower,” Musk tweeted shortly before The Boring Company opened up pre-orders. That’s one of several comments he’s made about the item’s capacity to destroy zombies. Even if your bunker isn’t exactly ready for the uprising of the flesh-eating undead, you can admit that Musk is tapping into a sense of wish fulfillment (or paranoia) for those of us raised on films like Aliens and The Thing. Some of us have whiled away our free moments fantasizing about how cool it would be to own a flamethrower of our own. In his replies to the earlier tweet, Musk responded to suggestions that The Boring Company might also offer a jetpack or a portal gun. No word yet on whether those kind-of jokes will also turn into real products (or real sales pitches for products-to-maybe-be).
  • Musk isn’t like your usual billionaire — he’s FUN. You know how you know Elon Musk is fun? He told you so. On Twitter, Musk warned potential customers not to buy the product unless they “like fun” (turns out, not everyone does). By emphasizing FUN, Musk is attempting to distance himself from other risk-taking entrepreneur-geniuses — it’s difficult to imagine Jeff Bezos posting an Instagram video of himself wielding a flamethrower, for example. It’s worth noting, however, that when Musk does something “fun,” he ends up tens of millions of dollars richer as a result.

Which, let’s be real, probably makes it pretty fun to be Elon Musk.

The post Why, Exactly, Is Elon Musk Selling Flamethrowers? (or: An Investigation In Hot Theories) appeared first on Futurism.

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