Tag - Investigation
The Philadelphia police department has been caught disguising a van equipped with sophisticated surveillance technology as a Google Streetview van, reports Motherboard. Instead of the regular cameras fitted to a Google Streetview vehicle, the surveillance vehicle was fitted with ALPR gear that uses infrared cameras to identify and process multiple license plates simultaneously, and almost instantaneously. When contacted about the van, the department disavowed the method that had been used to disguise the vehicle, stating that it had not been formally authorized by senior management, and an internal investigation has been initiated.
Apple will not be able to stop the European Union's investigation into whether or not it has paid the correct amount of tax on the continent if it moved all of its funds from overseas to the United States, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has advised. The investigation, which has taken place against a number of companies accused of abusing tax laws across a number of countries to minimize taxes paid, will continue regardless of Apple's actions.
Following the government's withdrawal of its lawsuit attempting to coerce Apple into building a "backdoor" system that would allow law enforcement access to nearly any smartphone or mobile device, Apple has issued a statement reminding the public that the iPhone did and will continue to "help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated." It said the case "should never have been brought" in the first place.
Apple will remain "committed to Ireland," regardless of the outcome of its tax investigation by the European Union, the vice president of the company's European operations. Speaking to a panel of European Parliament lawmakers the day before Apple and other companies were scheduled to testify about their tax affairs, Apple's Cathy Kearney argues that the iPhone maker pays all due taxes in the country, and it does not receive any unfair advantage from local authorities for operating in the region.
The European Union's competition chief has warned reporters "Don't hold your breath" for a quick ruling concerning Apple's Irish tax affairs. Speaking in Brussels, Margarethe Vestager was "warning" anyone expecting a result in the investigation anytime soon that they may have to wait for longer, as the European Commission continues its thorough examination into how major tech companies move funds around to minimize how much tax they pay.
Because there are sometimes stories that are comprised of a lot of disparate information that can unfold or expand over time, the MacNN team is kicking off an occasional column called "Where Are We Now" that will summarize a complex story or series of events in order to provide readers with a comprehensive summary of events thus far. The big story this week -- and one that is very much still developing -- is that of the dispute between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple.
Under oath during a Congressional hearing on Thursday to answer questions about the FBI's battle with Apple over encryption, FBI Director James Comey was forced to admit that the outcome of the court challenge will "guide how other courts handle similar requests" from law enforcement, conceding that the agency's demands would have on impact beyond the current investigation -- walking back previous comments that the agency wasn't trying to set a precedent or "set a 'master key' loose upon the land."
In the midst of an ongoing dispute between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple over obtaining data from a workplace iPhone recovered from the San Bernardino workplace massacre, the US House or Representatives plans to hold hearing on encryption and privacy on Tuesday, March 1 at 1PM ET, which will be streamed live on the Judiciary Committee's website. Apple senior vice president and general counsel Bruce Sewell will appear, along with New York County district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and (in a separate panel) FBI director James Comey.
Following a meeting by Apple CEO Tim Cook with the head of the antitrust investigation against Ireland on behalf of the European Commission, Apple's CFO has told London's Financial Times that should Ireland be found guilty of giving companies like Apple "special state aid," Apple should owe nothing in back taxes. The crux of remarks by Luca Maestri is that Apple did not receive any special deal from Ireland, but if Ireland illegally lowered its tax rate to benefit corporations, it is the state -- and not the companies that benefitted from the lower rate -- that should pay any penalties.
Apple is ending an investigation into its tax affairs by Italian authorities, by paying a settlement of €318 million ($347.5 million) to the country, far less than it could have ended up paying. The payment effectively ends Italy's probe into Apple's local subsidiary's finances, with authorities suspecting Apple of tax fraud by failing to comply with local tax laws for a five-year period ending in 2013.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R