France threatens Apple in standoff over COVID-19 contract-tracing privacy

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Any of the new iPhones can handle the worst rainstorm.
France plans to go it alone on COVID-19 contact tracing for mobile phones.
Photo: Apple

A French official accused Apple on Tuesday of hampering the effectiveness of the country’s COVID-19 contract-tracing platform by blocking access to data via Bluetooth.

France minister for digital technology Cedric O told BFM Business TV that Apple “could have helped us make the application work even better on the iPhone. They have not wished to do so.”

Apple restrictions block France’s contact-tracing iPhone app

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Brace yourself for beautiful pictures. iPhone XS and XS Max pack the best cameras yet.
Apple's new platform just won't cut it.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

France is calling on Apple to loosen its Bluetooth restrictions on iPhone that are said to be holding back a government contact-tracing app designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Apple currently prevents iOS apps from using Bluetooth connectivity in the background under certain circumstances. Its policy blocks France from moving forward with its app, a Tuesday report reveals.

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Apple-com-COVID-19
Official videos from the NHS and Santé public can now be seen on Apple's website.
Screenshot: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

French watchdog fines Apple $1.2 billion for anti-competitive behavior; Apple to appeal

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Anti-robocall bill is one step closer to being passed into law
France's antitrust watchdog made the ruling on damages.
Photo: rawpixel.com/Pexels CC

France’s competition watchdog announced on Monday it has fined Apple 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for reportedly violating antitrust laws, the biggest antitrust fine it has ever levied.

The French watchdog accuses Apple of exhibiting anti-competitive behavior through its distribution network, including reported abuse of the economic dependence of its resellers. The company plans to appeal.

France fines Apple $27 million for iPhone ‘throttling’ controversy

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France fines Apple $27 million for intention iPhone 'throttling' controversy
iPhone throttling case was heavily publicized in early 2018.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has been fined 25 million euros ($27.4 million) in France after being found guilty of intentionally throttling the speed of older iPhones with previous software updates for iOS.

In 2018, Apple admitted that these updates slowed older devices. However, it has always insisted that it did this to prolong the life of aging lithium-ion batteries.

Google agrees to pay France $1.1 billion to end tax investigation

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Google is the latest tech giant to be fined in France.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google will pay a total of $1.1 billion to end a four-year probe into its tax activities in France. This is a combination of fine and repayment of additional taxes Google didn’t pay first time around.

France and Germany have both pushed for tighter tax regulations of multination tech giants. Others — Apple included — have been charged in the past. They may have to stump up more cash in the future, too.

Notre Dame could get glass roof from Apple Store architect

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Notre-dame
This isn't the craziest Notre Dame proposal we've seen.
Photo: Eight Inc.

The reconstructed Notre Dame cathedral could take some design cues from Apple stores if a proposal from design frim Eight Inc. wins the design competition.

Eight Inc, which designed some of the first iconic Apple stores, submitted a design that uses structural glass to reconstruct the roof and spire that were destroyed in a fire earlier this year. Mockups for the transparent roof look pretty incredible.

Take a close look at the glass spire: