Apple’s legal problems over battery slowdowns aren’t going away any time soon

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iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits

Apple has to face at least 61 lawsuits that were filed against the iPhone maker soon after the company acknowledged that it slowed iPhones down via software to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by old batteries.

A report a few days ago said that all class actions may be merged into a single lawsuit in the near future. In the meantime, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that all iPhone slowdown lawsuits should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

Here’s an excerpt from the ruling:

These actions share factual questions arising from allegations that Apple included code in updates to its mobile operating system (iOS) that significantly reduced the performance of older-model iPhones. Plaintiffs also allege that Apple misrepresented the nature of the iOS updates and failed to adequately disclose to iPhone owners the impact the iOS updates would have on the performance of their iPhones.

Discovery regarding the engineering of the iPhone and the iOS updates likely will be technical and complex. Plaintiffs assert similar causes of action for false advertising, alleged unfair business practices, trespass to chattels, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Centralization thus will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary

More than half of the lawsuits were already filed in the Northern District of California, MacRumors explains.

Apple first confirmed the intentional slow down of iPhones back in December, soon after a Redditor discovered that his iPhone’s speed returned to default after a battery replacement.

The company then introduced a cheaper battery replacement program as well as a new battery management setting that would let users disable throttling. All the while, Apple maintained the idea that it’s not slowing down devices to convince customers to replace older iPhones that may feel slower than before.

Apple – BGR

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Indian Government Could Take Legal Action Against Apple for Failing to Help with “Do-Not-Disturb” App

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The government of India has toughened its stance on Apple after negotiations between the two parties for a government approved do-not-disturb app fell through. While Apple was reluctant initially, the company came up with a compromise after mounting pressure from the government. Continue reading
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Fintech firm launches blockchain platform for legal contracts

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Internet of Agreements: A British fintech start-up is developing blockchain-powered software that is intended to revolutionise the way that small and medium-sized firms conduct legal matters.

Founded by technology entrepreneur Simon Krystman, the Smart Startup Company has launched a new contracts platform, SMRT (Smart Startup Token), powered by blockchain.

Few small businesses have the resources or understanding of blockchain technology to make use of it, said the company. As a result, it has designed SMRT to be a “vending machine for legal documents” that are then secured in the blockchain. 

The solution will eventually be incorporated into a “frictionless trade platform” for startups and SMEs, said the firm. With it, companies will be able to create important legal documents quickly and store them securely.

Users can choose from a wide range of templates covering different contractual areas, including shareholder, intellectual property, finance, and trading agreements.

Smart Startup said it chose to create a blockchain-based platform because the technology makes it “cheaper and easier” to handle sensitive business assets. 

Improving transparency

Krystman explained that blockchain software makes legal arrangements more transparent and more secure. “Established trading marketplaces could benefit enormously from our smart contracts, as buyers and sellers will have automatically enforced agreements to transfer money for goods and services,” he said.

“They also open the way for many new decentralised marketplaces, where the smart contracts are the enforcements of trade. Small businesses would be able to buy bundles of our smart contract templates to facilitate their sell/buy trades.”

He added that the platform will result in the “marriage of legal agreements with blockchain software code, supported by data science and AI”.

The company has published a white paper on the programme.

An expert team

The company is run by a team of business, finance, and legal experts, who also have expertise in areas such as AI, cryptocurrencies, entrepreneurship, business funding, intellectual property, government, and regulation, said the company.

The team is supported by a number of advisors who work across industry, government, and academia, and will be making more hires in the near future. Roles will include software developers, lawyers, and finance advisors.

Dr. Syed Kamall, a Conservative member of the European Parliament, serves as one of the company’s advisors. He said that blockchain solutions can make business and legal processes more trustworthy. 

“The technology offers some very exciting opportunities, but as legislators internationally, we must also make sure that consumers have trust in it. Blockchain and smart contracts will be a game changer for startups,” he said.  

Twelve Ronnies, an organisation that matches entrepreneurs with investors, is one of the the solution’s first adopters.  

Jake Shaw, founder of the company, said: “SMRT is the gateway to the ‘Internet of Agreements’. In the same way that the internet and social media allowed anyone to start up a business from their kitchen table, SMRT will transform the ability of small companies to transact and trade globally.”

Internet of Business says

This year has seen many of the claims made for blockchain technologies subjected to moderation and caution by a range of blockchain experts. Some have said that distributed ledger systems are inappropriate for many enterprise tasks – and even that they need to evolve past the concept of a block and a chain to be be more widely useful in the long term.

However, this would appear to be one of the purest and best-considered use cases, as a means of logging and authenticating legal documents, and enforcing the associated terms: a process that is nowhere near as time-critical as, say, retail banking transactions. We wish this innovative British startup luck.

Here are some of our recent reports that explore both the pros and the cons of blockchain systems.

Read more: IoT 101: How blockchain transforms manufacturing, supply chains

Read more: Blockchain platform for AI bots announces key partners

Read more: IoT firm deploys blockchain to transform pharmaceutical shipments

Read more: Bitcoin blockchain contains porn, say researchers. Not news, say coders

Read more: Blockchain: “not solution to 90 percent of problems”, warns expert

Read more: Blockchain: Lose the block and chain to be useful, Capacilon MD | Q&A

Read more: Opinion: Use blockchain to build a global data commons

Read more: Cryptocurrencies failing claims Bank of England. But is it right?

The post Fintech firm launches blockchain platform for legal contracts appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

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Scooter-sharing startup Bird has hired former Lyft policy executive David Estrada to be its chief legal officer

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Estrada also briefly worked at Kitty Hawk, and before Lyft he was the legal director at Google X.

Bird, a scooter-sharing startup, is hiring yet another former Lyft executive to help lead its team.

The company, which was co-founded by former Lyft and Uber executive Travis VanderZanden, has hired David Estrada, Lyft’s former VP of government relations, to be its chief legal officer.

Estrada has spent the better part of the last decade helping Silicon Valley companies that are often working on new transportation options navigate sometimes murky regulatory waters.

Before his time at Lyft, Estrada was the legal director at X, the Alphabet company focused on “moonshots.” At the time, Google X housed the company’s self-driving car project, which is now an Alphabet company called Waymo.

After Lyft, Estrada spent a little more than two years as the chief legal officer at flying car company Kitty Hawk, which is run by Sebastian Thrun and backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page, who pioneered Google’s self-driving project.

Now, Estrada — who spent his time at Lyft in the trenches of local regulatory battles as the company launched into new cities — is taking on the challenge of e-scooters.

Scooter- and bike-sharing companies like Bird are coming up against regulatory hurdles reminiscent of those that Uber and Lyft faced when the companies were first expanding across the U.S.

These new players are also navigating similar market dynamics, competition from entrenched incumbents and sometimes even the same use cases. The introduction of e-bikes and e-scooters makes companies like Bird a direct threat to Uber’s and Lyft’s short-distance trips.

That’s why we’re seeing a number of these dockless companies tapping into the pools of former and current ride-share executives and investors:

  • Dockless bike startup Jump, which shares an investor — Menlo Ventures — with Uber, brought on Uber’s former head of driver product as an adviser.
  • Competitor Limebike has Jeff Jordan, a partner at Lyft investor Andreessen Horowitz, on its board.
  • Former UberChina executive Davis Wang is the CEO of Chinese dockless bike-sharing company Mobike.

Recode – All

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This Tool Uses Legal Loopholes to Secure You the Cheapest Flights

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Finding the cheapest flights can be tricky, especially since prices tend to fluctuate rapidly and so many third-party services like Expedia, KAYAK and Priceline exist and are vying for your business. There’s an innovative new tool on the block now though, and according to Business Insider it’s specifically designed to exploit 100% legal loopholes in an effort […]
Read More…
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Politicians Are Now Facing Legal Action For Sharing Extremists’ Posts on Social Media

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Sharer Beware

It turns out, it really does matter what you post on social media. Since she was stripped of parliamentary immunity in November by the National Assembly, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right, is facing charges for sharing extremists posts on Twitter.

As reported by AFP news agencyThe party leader was charged with distributing “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and can be seen by a minor. The tweets were posted in 2015, but without immunity, she is able to be prosecuted.

It really does matter what you post on social media. Image Credit: mohamed_hassan / pixabay
It really does matter what you post on social media. Image Credit: mohamed_hassan / pixabay

This is not the first case of consequences for sharing social media content. Yonatan Tesfaye, a former spokesperson for Ethiopia’s opposition party, was sentenced to more than six years of jail time last May for encouraging terrorist acts on Facebook.

In the U.K., there is a proposed tax penalty for leaving up violent images or extremist content, forcing companies to take action or pay the price. Additionally, in Russian, sharing certain depictions of Putin is now considered “extremism.” New regulations have already led to arrests.

A New Precedent

In this case, Le Pen shared images that were captioned “Daesh is THIS” (Daesh is the Arabic acronym used for ISIS). She shared an image of the beheaded body of American journalist James Foley, which was later taken down after outrage from Foley’s family. She also shared an image of a man being run over by a tank and another of a man being burned alive in a cage.

Le Pen admitted no guilt to AFP, saying “I am being charged for having condemned the horrors of Daesh. In other countries, this would have earned me a medal.”

Legal taken in response to behavior on social media is a relatively new phenomenon. It is unclear whether those who like or retweet these shared images will also face penalties — though it seems unlikely.

Additionally, these charges raise the question of whether U.S. politicians could be convicted of similar crimes. President Trump drew harsh criticism from the U.K. after sharing extremists posts containing violent imagery, but it seems highly improbable that any legal action will be taken.

Le Pen potentially faces up to three years in jail as well as a fine of €75,000 (about $ 92,000). This could set a new precedent in the West for responding to such social media behavior and, in the future, could theoretically spark further convictions.

The post Politicians Are Now Facing Legal Action For Sharing Extremists’ Posts on Social Media appeared first on Futurism.


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The Verdict Is In: AI Outperforms Human Lawyers in Reviewing Legal Documents

AI v. Human Lawyers

It’s hard to ignore the ways artificial intelligence (AI) has already bested humans, from making incredibly convincing internet videos to beating humanity’s best Go players. AI is expected to outpace humans in a number of occupations; some of which might be a little unexpected.

A new study released this week from LawGeex, a leading AI contract review platform, has revealed a new area in which AI outperforms us: Law. Specifically, reviewing Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and accurately spotting risks within the legal documentation.

For the study, 20 human attorneys were pitted against LawGeex’s AI in reviewing 5 NDAs. The controlled conditions of the study were designed to resemble how lawyers would typically review and approve everyday contracts.

image credit: Lawgeex (click for the full infographic)

After two months of testing, the results were in: the AI finished the test with an average accuracy rating of 94 percent, while the lawyers achieved an average of 85 percent. The AI’s highest accuracy rating on an individual test was 100 percent, while the highest rating a human lawyer achieved on a single contract was 97 percent.

As far as accuracy goes, the study showed that humans can (for the most part) keep up with AI in reviewing contracts. The same couldn’t be said when it came to speed, however.

On average, the lawyers took 92 minutes to finish reviewing the contracts. The longest time taken by an individual lawyer was 156 minutes and the shortest 51 minutes.

LawGeex’s AI, on the other hand, only needed 26 seconds.

Law & Order: AI

Gillian K. Hadfield, Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Southern California, and one of the consultants on the study says the efficiency gap between the two groups may be even wider than we realize. In the study, the lawyers were completely and singularly focused on the task at hand. In the real world, however, they would have other responsibilities to tend to, distractions, and interruptions which would likely increase the actual time it takes them to review contracts.

“This experiment may actually understate the gain from AI in the legal profession,” says Hadfield. “The lawyers who reviewed these documents were fully focused on the task: it didn’t sink to the bottom of a to-do list, it didn’t get rushed through while waiting for a plane or with one eye on the clock to get out the door to pick up the kids.”

While law might be a fairly new domain for AI, it’s hardly the only area in which AI has been shown to outperform humans in terms of accuracy and efficiency. Medicine, too, has demonstrated the many potential applications for AI. For example, researchers from the John Radcliffe Hospital and the startup Optellum are working on AI systems that can diagnose heart disease and lung cancer earlier and more accurately than human doctors. At the Singapore National Eye Center, researchers have created an AI that can spot eye disease sooner than human doctors can.

The medical field isn’t the last stop for AI, either. In February, AI proved capable of detecting more earthquakes in Oklahoma than traditional methods. And as this year’s Winter Olympics wrapped up, the International Gymnastics Federation announced it intends to use AI to assist judges during the 2020 Olympics.

AI still has to prove itself in many areas, so it’s hardly “case closed” — but for attorneys who might be looking to hand off some of their administrative drudgeries, there’s a clear verdict on AI’s usefulness in the law office, at least.

The post The Verdict Is In: AI Outperforms Human Lawyers in Reviewing Legal Documents appeared first on Futurism.


French activist group banned from protesting in Apple Stores wins legal fight, gears up for next event

Last month, news broke that Apple was suing the French activist group, Attac, to bar it from future protests and asking for €3,000 in compensation. Today, the ruling is in. Not only can Attac continue to peacefully protest in Apple Stores, but the group will also be awarded €2,000 for legal fees.



Top 10 Epic Legal Battles That Cost Apple a Fortune

Apple has found itself entwined in a number of legal battles over the years. While some were meritless from the get-go, lodged by so-called “patent only” firms merely out looking for their own slice of the big Apple — others ultimately rendered sweet justice in the company’s favor. Of course, we also can’t forget about the many legal battles Apple has fought, lost, and paid for, handsomely, and in some cases, perpetually, to this very day. Use the Right Arrow to Learn About 10 Epic Legal Battles That Cost Apple a Fortune.

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A $245 Million Settlement Has Brought the Waymo v. Uber Legal Battle to a Close

Uber Pays for Stolen Secrets

After spending nearly a week in the courtroom, Waymo and Uber came to an agreement on Friday, Feb. 9, in which the latter will pay the Google/Alphabet division a significant sum of money (in our view — perhaps not in Google’s). This development concludes the legal battle that has been raging between the two autonomous-vehicle companies since Waymo claimed that their trade secrets had been stolen for use in Uber’s production of self-driving technology.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, Waymo states that Uber has also agreed to not use any of its hardware or software trade secrets going forward — suggesting that Uber might have done so in the past and Waymo’s suspicions were correct. Additionally, Uber will pay Waymo $ 245 million in equity.

As reported by Gizmodo, Waymo had a list of more than 100 claims of trade secret violations it was prepared to fight for, though only eight were presented at trial. Matters involving Uber’s acquisition of self-driving truck company Otto — launched by former Google employee Anthony Levandowski — were also of concern to Waymo, as well  Levandowski’s possession of confidential files.

Witnesses like Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Levandowski were expected to appear at some point this week at the federal court session in San Francisco, but the this settlement has put an end to that. The payout likely spared Levandowski from some public scrutiny, as, according to The Verge, he was expected to invoke the Fifth Amendment when he took the stand.

A New Relationship

Uber’s settlement with Waymo has essentially forced parent company Google to become an investor in Uber and its future, which includes the ride-sharing company’s plans to go public. Waymo affirmed the new partnership in their statement, saying “We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology.”

In a seperate statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi doubled down on the company’s previous defense that it didn’t use any of Waymo’s ideas. However, Khosrowshahi also admitted that Uber’s acquisition of Otto “should have been handled differently,” and he acknowledged the new relationship shared by the two companies.

“To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better,” Khosrowshahi said in the statement. “Of course, we are also competitors.”

To be partners, yet also direct competitors, is quite a delicate relationship to maintain. The coming years will tell if this development will help or hinder the world’s transition to autonomous vehicles. Khosrowshahi made it clear that he intends to keep competing with Waymo to transform the transportation industry for the benefit of all.

“As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future,” he said in the statement. “We believe that race should be fair — and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities, and our environment.

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