Ireland’s data protection boss questions Apple over Siri privacy

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Siri Lights
How private are your conversations with Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is questioning Apple over privacy concerns raised by an ex-contractor who transcribed users’ Siri requests in an effort to improve the voice assistant’s functionality.

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec this week said Apple should be “urgently investigated” over Siri data collection. It seems that the EU’s data protection authorities are listening.

Disney+ racks up 5 million downloads on launch day in Europe

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disney.plus.uk.2
Disney+ has finally landed in the UK.
Photo: Apple

The Disney+ mobile app is off to a roaring start in Europe and the UK just days after it launched earlier this week.

Third-party app analytics firm App Annie revealed that the Disney+ app has been downloaded over 5 million times on launch day, possibly thanks to millions of residents having to shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple’s $15 billion in back taxes won’t help Ireland during COVID-19

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International governments plan to rethink tax rules for the ‘digital age’
The cash is right there -- but not for the taking.
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels CC

Ireland is not allowed to use the 14 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in disputed back taxes it collected from Apple to help boost its economy during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday, the leader of the opposition Sinn Féin party, Mary Lou McDonald, said the Irish government could “right this minute” reach into the escrow account where the funds are held and use them to help workers. However, Taoiseach politician Leo Varadkar says that simply isn’t the case.

2 new cases of coronavirus reported at Apple’s Irish HQ

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Apple's headquarters in Cork, Ireland.
This brings total number of cases to at Hollyhill office to three.
Photo: Jan Zuppinger/Flickr CC

Two more cases of coronavirus have been detected at Apple’s Ireland HQ in Hollyhill, County Cork, a report published Friday by Irish news outlet The Echo.

This brings the number of COVID-19 cases reported at the Irish Apple offices to three. The first case was confirmed by Apple on Tuesday.

Apple confirms an employee at its Cork, Ireland, campus has COVID-19

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Apple-Store-logo
This takes the total number of cases in Ireland to 24.
Photo: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash

Apple on Tuesday confirmed that an employee at its Cork, Ireland, campus has contracted COVID-19.

The employee is now in self-isolation while Apple is deep cleaning all its offices, and some workers have been asked to remain at home while further assessments are carried out. Apple insists, however, that the risk to others is low.

Apple’s Foundation series will be Ireland’s largest-ever production

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Troystudios
This is where the bulk of Foundation's filming will take place.
Photo: Troy Studios

Apple’s TV series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel trilogy, Foundation, is set to become the largest studio production in the history of Ireland.

During a press conference today, Screen Ireland revealed that Apple will create more than 500 jobs when it begins production on Foundation later this year. With its gigantic budget and epic world-building plot, Apple clearly thinks Foundation could be its answer to Game of Thrones, which was also shot in Ireland.

Tim Cook calls for global overhaul of corporate taxes

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Tim Cook delivers the goods at Apple's iPhone 11 event.
Cook says worldwide corporate tax reform is "desperately" needed and that Euroepan privacy regulation needs tightening.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook called for worldwide corporate tax reform Monday, saying the tech giant “desperately” wants the system to be fair.

Speaking in Ireland at an awards event, Cook said he thinks “logically everybody knows it needs to be rehauled. I would certainly be the last person to say that the current system or the past system was the perfect system.”

Ireland will award Tim Cook for 40 years of Apple investment

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Tim Cook talks diversity, sustainability, and coming out as gay
Cook’s award shelf is quickly running out of room.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to receive a Special Recognition Award for the company’s 40 years of investment in Ireland, the IDA confirmed to Cult of Mac.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will present Cook with the accolade on January 20 in Dublin. It may be met with criticism from some as Apple continues to pay back €13 billion in unpaid Irish taxes.

Politicians receive frightening threats over canceled Apple data center

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Politicians receive frightening threats about cancelled Apple data center
Apple cancelled the data center project last year.
Photo: Apple

A former councillor who supported Apple’s bid to build a $960 million data center in Athenry, Ireland, confirms that he was sent frightening threats about Apple’s decision to cancel the project.

Apple officially ditched its plans for a giant data center in County Galway last year. However, the threatening letters — sent to a number of politicians — demand that the data center is approved.