Apple could be fined $22 million for eavesdropping on Siri requests

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Siri Lights
Apple admitted to listening in on Siri requests.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission wants answers from Apple about why it let contractors listen to private Siri recordings. The data protection watchdog is looking into whether Apple’s GDPR privacy obligations.

Should Apple be found guilty, it could be fined up to 20 million euros ($22 million) or 4% of its annual global turnover, whichever is higher.

iWork, Office and Google Docs banned from German schools

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iWork
iWork could expose user data to U.S. authorities.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s iWork platform has been banned from German schools alongside Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs.

Privacy regulators say that using the cloud-based services “exposes personal information about students and teachers.” They also suggest that the data might be accessed by U.S. authorities.

Ireland probes Apple’s compliance with strict EU privacy rules

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Fees Apple charges competitors to appear in the App Store are the target of an EU investigation.
EU law sets strict privacy rules, and it’s the job of an Irish commissioner to be sure Apple is following them.
Photo: rawpixel.com/Pexels CC

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner is looking into whether Apple is following all the requirements of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation privacy law.

The DPC has three investigations going into Apple’s business practices, each covering a different aspect of the GDPR legislation. There are far more ongoing probes into how Facebook handles user privacy.

Trump talks tech giants’ alleged monopoly

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Donald Trump and Tim Cook
President Trump speaking with Tim Cook.
Photo: White House

The United States should follow the European Union’s lead and investigate Silicon Valley tech giants monopoly-like powers, President Donald Trump says.

Speaking with CNBC, Trump said “something’s going on” when it comes to the concentrated power of today’s tech titans. By fining these companies, he says that the EU gets “all this money — we should be doing that [too.]”

Apple accused of violating EU data privacy laws in new complaint

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Apple data privacy
Apple’s Data and Privacy website launched last year
Photo: Apple

Apple is named in a complaint filed by a data privacy watchdog group for failing to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Austrian-based noyb said 10 users tested Apple, along with Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube, by requesting private data that companies hold about users.

How to download and visualize your Apple Music listening habits

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Apple Music Analyser
Analyze this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how you can download a copy of all the data Apple holds on you? For many folks, this is an academic issue — it’s interesting to know about, but of little practical value. But a tool from developer Pat Murray lets you visualize your Apple Music listening habits, using a browser-based tool.

All you need is one small file from your Apple data dump — and Murray’s Apple Music Analyser.

Tim Cook wants U.S. to adopt tougher, EU-style data privacy regulations

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There are lots of things that make Apple so great, Cook says.
Tim Cook is no fan of tech giants which hoover up user data.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook has upped the ante in the privacy conversation by calling for the United States to adopt “comprehensive” privacy laws similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.

GDPR is a unifying regulation concerning data protection and privacy for individuals in the European Union and European Economic Area. It was introduced in May 2018, tightening up on Europe’s already strict data regulations. Now Cook wants to bring it to the U.S.

Update: Video of Tim Cook’s speech added.

Instapaper’s new Premium plan goes live on return to Europe

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Instapaper punishes its European users use
Instapaper Premium unlocks awesome features.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Instapaper has finally returned to Europe following a GDPR blackout, and users can now subscribe to its new Premium plan to unlock additional features.

The service was pulled in the E.U. following the introduction of new data protection regulations, but now it’s fully compliant and ready to do business again. Here’s what you can expect if you upgrade with a Premium subscription.

Trump administration takes a first step toward regulating Facebook, Google

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Facebook employees
The US government may soon be looking over Facebook's shoulder to better protect your privacy. Unless Facebook and Google can prevent it, of course.
Photo: Facebook

The Commerce Dept. is reportedly talking to social networking companies and consumer advocates about rules to protect online privacy. Also included are possible protections for companies that have data breeches.

This is supposedly laying the groundwork for legislation that might be proposed this fall.

Uncheck all those Tumblr GDPR boxes at once with this cool bookmarklet

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Just say no to long, hostile GDPR checklists.
Just say no to long, hostile checklists.
Photo: Cult of Mac

You’re most likely sick of the GDPR notifications coming at you via email and the web, but they’re actually great. Or rather, GDPR itself is great. Unlike the EU cookie notices that still seem to pop up in your browser, GDPR is actually useful, and shows the U.S. what happens when government looks after the interests of citizens, not corporations.

Thanks to GDPR, internet giants are being forced to change what they do with all the personal data they harvest from you. And hidden behind those many, many GDPR notices are opt-out lists1 that let you limit what data these companies can share.

Of course, many of these companies are making it as difficult as possible to actually change these settings. Tumblr, for instance, lists all of the companies to which it supplies your information, and gives no “uncheck all” option.

I got sick of this, so I made a bookmarklet to uncheck all the boxes on any website with just one click.