Apple is finally fixing Siri’s abortion ‘glitch’

Apple is finally correcting an issue with Siri that it has known about since at least 2011. The problem has appeared when users ask the virtual assistant to show nearby facilities that offer abortion services. For years, the results have directed people toward adoption centers, which is kind of the opposite of what they were […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Criticizes Proposed UK ‘Investigatory Powers’ Surveillance Bill

Apple today spoke out against the UK’s proposed Investigatory Powers bill, expressing concern that it would „weaken security“ for millions of law-abiding customers, reports The Guardian. Apple added that in a „rapidly-evolving cyber-threat environment,“ technology companies should be allowed to „implement strong encryption to protect customers.

Introduced last month by UK home secretary Theresa May, the Investigatory Powers bill allows for the bulk collection of website records by law enforcement agencies. It requires web and phone companies to store records of websites visited by every UK citizen for 12 months, and it has provisions that would require technology companies to build in backdoors or help bypass encryption on devices to allow access to information.

Apple and other technology companies believe the implementation of such a bill could inspire other countries to adopt similar measures. In a letter written to the parliamentary committee looking over the bill, Apple expressed concern about the scope of the bill and asked for changes to be made before it’s passed. In its current incarnation, Apple worries the bill could give the UK government enough power to demand changes to the way iMessage works, ending the encryption that makes it inaccessible even to Apple.

„The creation of backdoors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers. A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.“

Apple went on to say the legislation could cause businesses to have to deal with a set of „overlapping foreign and domestic laws“ that will „inevitably conflict“ and lead to the risk of sanctions. UK agencies could, for example, ask for information stored in data centers in other countries, infringing on that country’s data protection laws. „That is an unreasonable position to be placed in,“ Apple wrote.

Other technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo, also plan to submit evidence to the parliamentary committee in the hope of getting the proposed bill changed.

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Tim Cook Accepts 2015 Ripple of Hope Award at RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights

Apple CEO Tim Cook accepted the 2015 Ripple of Hope Award at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights on Tuesday night, and gave a nearly twelve minute speech about the need for social change, reports Bloomberg.

Tim Cook at the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights (Image: Bloomberg)

Cook, who spoke after Evercore’s Roger Altman and Unesco ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis, discussed a wide range of ongoing social issues, including the Syrian refugee crisis, climate change, Apple’s charitable work, access to quality education, privacy and discrimination.

“Today, more than half of the states in this country still don’t offer basic protections to gay or transgender people, leaving millions of people vulnerable to being fired or evicted because of who they are or who they love,” Cook said.

„Today, some in our country would turn away innocent men, women and children seeking refuge,” Cook said, “regardless of how many background checks they may submit to, simply based on where they were born. Victims of war and now victims of fear and misunderstanding.“

„Today, too many children are denied access to quality education simply because of the zip code they live in. They begin their lives facing strong headwinds and disadvantage they did nothing to deserve. We could do better, Robert Kennedy would say, and because we can do better, we must act.“

Cook offered praise for Robert F. Kennedy and said he has two photographs of him in his office that he looks at each day. „I think about his example, what it means to me as an American, but also more specifically, to my role as Apple CEO.“

Read more about Cook’s acceptance speech in the full article on Bloomberg.

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Controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act Passes in Senate

The U.S. Senate today passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, also known as CISA, in a 74 to 21 vote. A similar bill has already passed in the House, and the two cybersecurity bills will likely be combined before heading to the White House for a final decision from President Obama. The vote comes a week after Apple spoke out against the bill.

CISA is designed to allow companies to share information on cybersecurity threats with one another and the government. However, as noted by Wired, privacy advocates have asked Congress to kill the bill, saying that it hides „new government surveillance mechanisms in the guise of security protections.“

Apple spoke out against the bill last week after other technology companies, like Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, reddit also opposed the bill. The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft had urged the Senate to make improvements to the bill, saying that they do not support the bill as it’s currently written.

The Cupertino company once again reiterated its commitment to user privacy in its opposition to the legislation, saying that it doesn’t support CISA and that the trust of its customers „means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of privacy.“ Apple has taken a strong privacy stance in recent years, continually noting that the government doesn’t have access to its servers. In iOS 8, Apple ended its storage of encryption keys for iOS devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPads an iPhones under police request.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Apple Releases New Diversity Numbers, Hired Over 11,000 Women in Past Year

Apple has released updated diversity numbers that provide a breakdown of the company’s workforce based on gender, race and ethnicity in 2015. The new data reveals that Apple hired over 11,000 women globally over the past year, a 65% increase over the previous year, in addition to 2,200 Black employees, a 50% year-over-year increase, and 2,700 Hispanic employees, a 66% increase over the previous year.

Apple says that is has hired more diverse candidates in 2015 than any year to date, with the percentage of new hires in the past year broken down as follows: 35% Women (Global), 19% Asian (U.S.), 13% Hispanic (U.S.), 11% Black (U.S.). Apple’s global gender split is now 69% male and 31% female, a marginal change from last year’s 70% male-30% female split.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:

Diversity is critical to innovation and it is essential to Apple’s future. We aspire to do more than just make our company as diverse as the talent available to hire. We must address the broad underlying challenges, offer new opportunities, and create a future generation of employees as diverse as the world around us. We also aspire to make a difference beyond Apple.

Apple’s overall race and ethnicity breakdown in the United States is now 54% White, 18% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 8% Black, 2% Multiple, 1% Other and 6% Undeclared. The data reflects the past year through June 27, 2015 and varies when broken down into individual categories including tech, non-tech, leadership, retail and retail leadership.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.



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Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge

Apple will join twelve other companies from across the country today at the White House in support of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, which aims to tackle climate change head-on thanks to the backing of partners like Apple.

The new pledge will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through the year 2030, „an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years.“ Apple’s addition to the pledge doesn’t appear to include any projects debuting exclusively for the new initiative, but the company will seemingly continue to heavily support a positive environmental message, now in partnership with the White House.

Apple, already running all of its U.S. operations on 100% renewable energy, will bring an estimated 280 megawatts of clean power generation online by the end of 2016 through investments in Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Sichuan Province, China. Since 2011, Apple has reduced carbon emissions from its global corporate facilities, data centers and retail stores by 48%.

The other companies signing the pledge include: Alcoa, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart. By signing on as a partner, the companies are voicing support for a „strong“ outcome for the climate negotiations in Paris this December, and promising an „ongoing commitment“ to positive environmental action.

In total, the American Business Act on Climate Pledge amounts to about $140 billion in environmental investments, with all of the participating companies estimated to generate more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy. As the White House points out, the partnerships announced today „are only the beginning,“ with a second round of pledges expected to be announced sometime this fall.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.



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Apple Backs Federal Non-Discrimination LGBT Equality Act of 2015

Apple today declared its support for the Equality Act of 2015, introduced by members of congress this afternoon. The Equality Act would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

In a statement to the Human Rights Campaign, Apple echoed sentiments on equality that it has shared several times before:

At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. We fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic human dignity.

The Equality Act will ensure full federal equality for all LGBT Americans, including those who live in the 31 states that do not currently have non-discrimination legislation, protecting LBGT citizens from discrimination when seeking jobs, housing, public accommodations, education, and more.

During Apple CEO Tim Cook’s tenure, Apple has taken a strong position on inclusion and equality. Earlier this year, Apple joined 378 other companies urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality, and the company has participated in the San Francisco Pride Parade for several years running.

Cook himself has made several impassioned speeches on non-discrimination and equality and has publicly opposed harmful religious freedom legislation. Last fall, Cook became the first Fortune 500 CEO to publicly come out as gay, an announcement he made in an effort to „bring comfort to anyone who feels alone“ and to „inspire people to insist on their equality.“

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.



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Apple Gives iCloud Customers in Greece 30 Extra Days of Storage Amid Fiscal Crisis

Due to capital controls in Greece that prevent residents from making payments abroad due to the country’s ongoing financial crisis, many Greek customers have been unable to make purchases through online services such as iTunes and Paypal. The emergency measure has created a problem for iCloud users in Greece, who have been unable to renew their premium storage plan subscriptions since late June.

Bloomberg News shared Apple’s email received by its Athens-based staff earlier this week:

“On June 30, we tried to charge your account for your iCloud space of 20GB, but there is a problem with your payment details,” said one e-mail received by Bloomberg News staff based in Athens. “If we don’t manage to renew your subscription, your account will be downgraded to the free 5GB space program.” The user has a standing monthly payment for a 0.99-euro-cent ($1.11) payment for the storage service.

Fortunately, Apple has now sent an email to iCloud customers in Greece (via iPhoneHellas) to inform them that their iCloud storage plans have been extended by an extra 30 days at no additional cost. Apple will not attempt to charge iCloud customers in Greece until 30 days after their original renewal date, which buys some much-needed time for Greek customers while the country attempts to sort out its financial situation.

Dear iCloud customer,

To prevent interruption in your iCloud service during the current fiscal crisis, and to make sure you have access to your content, we’ve extended your iCloud storage plan for an extra 30 days at no additional cost.

We won’t attempt to charge you for your plan until 30 days after your original renewal date. If we are unable to renew your plan, you may need to reduce the amount of iCloud storage you use.

The iCloud Team

Greek customers can also use an iTunes gift card to renew their iCloud storage plans in the meantime.



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Apple Removes Civil War Games From App Store Over Confederate Flag Usage

Apple has removed seemingly all Civil War games from the App Store for displaying the Confederate Flag in „offensive and mean-spirited ways,“ our sister website TouchArcade has learned. Apple has sent a removal letter to affected developers to inform them that their app does not comply with Section 19.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

19.1 Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.“

MacRumors did a spot check of the App Store and can confirm that Apple has removed dozens of Civil War games depicting the Confederate Flag, which has been at the center of a racial controversy ignited by a Charleston, South Carolina church shooting last week. Most educational or generic Civil War apps remain available on the App Store.

A sampling of the Civil War games removed from the App Store:

Ultimate General: Gettysburg
AAA American Civil War Cannon Shooter
Civil War: Hidden Mysteries
Civil War The Battle Game
Civil War Defense
Civil War Battle Defense
1861 A Civil War Rebellion
Civil War: 1862
Civil War: 1863

Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.





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