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Associated Press TIME

Time: India Bans TikTok, Dozens More China-Linked Apps, Citing Security Concerns

June 29, 2020 at 07:24PM

(NEW DELHI) — India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, saying their activities endanger the country’s sovereignty, defense and security.

India’s decision comes as its troops are involved in a tense standoff with Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh in the Himalayas that started last month. India lost 20 soldiers in a June 15 clash.

Read more: China and India Try to Cool Nationalist Anger After Deadly Border Clash

The banned apps include TikTok, UC Browser WeChat and Bigo Live, as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein, that are used in mobile and non-mobile devices connected to the Internet, according to a government statement.

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the statement said.

It said there have been mounting concerns about data security and safeguarding the privacy of 1.3 billion Indians. The government said such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of the country.

The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and the defense of India was “a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement continued.


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Barbara Ortutay / AP TIME

Time: Facebook Will Flag Rule Violations on ‘Newsworthy’ Posts from Politicians, Including President Trump

June 26, 2020 at 09:37PM

(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Facebook says it will flag all “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its rules, including those from President Donald Trump.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously refused to take action against Trump posts suggesting that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud. Twitter, by contrast, slapped a “get the facts” label on them. Facebook is also banning false claims intended to discourage voting, such as stories about federal agents checking legal status at polling places. The company also said it is increasing its enforcement capacity to remove false claims about local polling conditions in the 72 hours before the U.S. election.

Shares of Facebook and Twitter dropped sharply Friday after the the giant company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap said it will halt U.S. advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through at least the end of the year.

Read more: Trump’s Attempt to Change Social Media’s Rules Is Futile Political Coercion

That European consumer-product maker, Unilever, said it took the move to protest the amount of hate speech online. Unilever said the polarized atmosphere in the United States ahead of November’s presidential election placed responsibility on brands to act.

Shares of both Facebook and Twitter fell roughly 7% following Unilever’s announcement.

The company, which is based in the Netherlands and Britain, joins a raft of other advertisers pulling back from online platforms. Facebook in particular has been the target of an escalating movement to withhold advertising dollars to pressure it to do more to prevent racist and violent content from being shared on its platform.

“We have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.,” Unilever said. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Thursday, Verizon joined others in the Facebook boycott.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said the company’s “mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely.”

She added that Twitter is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”


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Scott Moritz and Sarah Frier / Bloomberg TIME

Time: Verizon Pulls Facebook and Instagram Ads Over Hate Speech and Disinformation

June 26, 2020 at 12:23AM

(Bloomberg) — Verizon Communications Inc. said it is pausing the placement of ads on Facebook Inc. and Instagram until the social networks can get better control over posts that spread disinformation.

“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action,” Verizon Chief Media Officer John Nitti said in a statement. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”

Verizon is one of the largest advertisers to pull its ads from Facebook as part of an effort by civil rights organizations to pressure the social-media company to take action on hate speech and misleading content. Groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change started the campaign, called Stop Hate For Profit, to encourage advertisers to boycott Facebook ads in July. Verizon’s move follows participation by Recreational Equipment Inc., Patagonia Inc., Upwork Inc., Ben & Jerry’s and other brands.

“We applaud Verizon for joining this growing fight against hate and bigotry by pausing their advertising on Facebook’s platforms, until they put people and safety over profit,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive officer of ADL, said in a statement. “This is how real change is made.”

Facebook has been telling advertisers that it bases its policies on principles, not business interests, according to its communications with marketers. The Menlo Park, California-based company has been reaching out to advertisers to discuss its recent initiatives on registering voters and distributing verified election information.

But it’s not just advertisers that are upset. U.S. lawmakers have also put pressure on Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google to combat disinformation, including during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week.

“We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group, said in a statement. “Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Verizon’s move was reported earlier by Ad Age.


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Patrick Lucas Austin TIME

Time: Apple Ditching Intel Could Mean Big Changes Ahead for Mac Desktops and Laptops

June 25, 2020 at 06:01PM

Apple’s first-ever virtual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) came with the usual slew of mostly predictable announcements, like upgrades to the iPhone and iPad operating systems, new features for its AirPod earbuds, and more. But its most striking news was a decision to shift from powering its Mac devices with Intel processors in favor of its own homemade chip, which it’s calling “Apple silicon.”

The Cupertino, Calif. tech giant claims the move will bring myriad benefits: it will make Macs faster, let them benefit from the company’s latest machine learning technology (for features like augmented reality, photo processing, facial recognition and more), and make it easier for developers to bring popular apps from the iPhone and the iPad to desktops and laptops. The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years; more Intel-powered Macs are yet to come.

Apple silicon differs from Intel’s processors by virtue of their architecture, which determines how a computer executes tasks. Apple is using ARM technology, which boasts faster performance with less power use compared to the architecture used by Intel (and its rival AMD). Generally, ARM processors make sense for devices like phones and tablets (because ARM chips use less battery power), while Intel and AMD’s chips have made more sense for high-performance desktops and laptops (where battery usage is less of a concern).

While the move may seem like a major blow to Intel—a longtime processor giant whose “Intel Inside” motto was once ubiquitous in computer stores—the company has already been moving away from making chips for companies like Apple, focusing instead on autonomous vehicle hardware, AI analytics, and high-margin, high-end processors for entertainment and gaming PCs.

“They recognize the challenges that are inherent in the client businesses these days and while they’re not going anywhere, they’re certainly trying to diversify themselves away from that,” says NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. The Apple news, he says, is “not great, but in the long run I don’t think it’ll have an incredible impact on Intel.”

To be sure, Intel faces some headwinds. It still leads in market share, but it has consistently lost ground in the consumer market month after month to rival AMD (AMD’s share of the desktop market jump from 12% to 18% in the past two years, according to Mercury Research). Intel has also struggled to gain ground in the mobile world—it sold its ARM processor subsidiary in 2005, it killed off a pair of experimental augmented reality glasses in 2018, and last year stopped making 5G smartphone modems in favor of focusing on 5G infrastructure.

Perhaps Intel’s biggest struggle—and a reason it lost favor with Apple—is a never-ending battle with the laws of physics. Processors are composed of billions of transistors that perform calculations by turning on and off. The larger the transistor (measured in nanometers, or “nm”), the more power it uses. By using smaller transistors, you can fit more of them on a processor, which means more computing power, but also more energy efficiency. All told, the size of a processor’s transistors is a good indicator of how powerful that processor will be.

For most of modern computing history, chipmakers like Intel have been able to rely on “Moore’s law”—an observation that the number of transistors you can fit on a single chip doubles about every two years, thanks mostly to technological improvements. But, space being a finite thing, it’s getting harder and harder to cram transistors onto processors. As of today, Intel can make 10 nm processors, but even that achievement came after significant delays that put it behind the curve. By comparison, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which makes mobile chips designed by Apple, has released smaller, more efficient 7 nm processors for mobile devices.

Intel’s delay in introducing 10 nm processors may have contributed to Apple’s decision to go their own way. “Having their own microprocessor architecture is something they’ve wanted to do since the Jobs era, for sure, to not be beholden to an outside partner,” says Jon Stokes, author of Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture, and co-founder of technology site Ars Technica. “I think the tipping point was when ARM started to catch up to Intel in … performance, and Intel stalled in processor leadership.”

Still, Intel is doing fine when it comes to powering other companies’ laptops, along with its other projects in AI and autonomous vehicle sensors. Its PC-centric business (providing processors for consumers’ desktops and laptops) grew by 14% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020 as people bought new devices to work from home in the COVID-19 era. But in a sign of the company’s evolution, its best performing sector has been its data center group, which boosted revenue by 23% year-over-year thanks to an increase in cloud services.

What should the everyday Apple user make of the switch from Intel? It may end up being something to celebrate: Apple has a good track record of designing chips; the processor in the iPhone has outperformed Intel-powered laptops at certain tasks. Furthermore, the company is bringing popular third-party developers like Adobe on board early in the process, which should ensure that Apple silicon-powered Macs have plenty of useful software from jump (avoiding a critical misstep Microsoft made when releasing an ARM-powered Surface). That Macs armed with ARM will be instantly compatible with millions of existing iPhone and iPad apps is another nice bonus. And if Apple’s making Macs with iPhone-like internals, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine features like integrated LTE or 5G wireless connectivity, Face ID, and other mobile-only goodies come to its desktops and laptops. All told, Apple betting on itself might be the best decision the company has made since, well, betting on Intel.


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