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By Usama Jawad96
Apple is investigating an issue related to 'pink squares' with the M1 Mac mini
by Usama Jawad
Apple announced the M1 Mac mini in November 2020, promising 3 times faster CPU speeds, 6 times the GPU performance (with support for 6K displays), and 15 times the machine learning performance over the previous generation. While the performance of the Apple Silicon chip has been praised, the company is reportedly investigating an issue where "pink squares" appear when the new Mac mini is connected to a display.
Multiple threads on Apple's forums have cited an issue where random pink squares appear on the display when the M1 Mac mini is connected via the HDMI port rather than the Thunderbolt. One such thread has over 500 endorsements from users who faced the same issue. The forum post mentions that:
While the culprit behind the issue is currently unknown, MacRumors has obtained an internal memo, dated February 19, which indicates that Apple is investigating the problem. In the meantime, the following troubleshooting steps have been mentioned in the memo:
Put the Mac mini to sleep Wait two minutes and wake the Mac mini Unplug the display from the Mac mini, and then plug the display back in Adjust the display's resolution in System Preferences > Displays As Apple has not publicly acknowledged the investigation yet, it is unclear as to when a fix will be released. That said, it should be sooner rather than later given that the company is actively looking into it.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft reveals details of requests filed by U.S. government to access customer data
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft has insisted on numerous occasions that it believes that organizations should play an active role in ensuring the privacy of their customers rather than simply relying on state legislature. Now, the company has revealed details of three instances where it fought for its customers' right to know that access to their data has been requested by the U.S. government.
Original gavel image via Brian Turner / Flickr Microsoft believes that its customers need to know when the government has requested access to their emails or other documents. As such, the company has challenged at least three secrecy orders in the past year in favor of its enterprise customers knowing about requests from law enforcement.
The first case was from a federal court in Maryland which prohibited it from informing the customer about an ongoing investigation. Microsoft challenged this decision in December 2019, with the case going in its favor in January 2020. The court documents were unsealed this week and can be viewed here. Although the organization's name has been redacted, the document reveals that while Microsoft initially complied to the government request, it later challenged that the counsel for the company in question needs to know about the order. However, the court strictly emphasized that if information is disclosed to individuals other than the counsel - especially the people being targeted in the investigation -, the whole operation would be jeopardized.
In the second case, there was a similar request from a federal court in New York, which Microsoft challenged in September 2020. The U.S. government agreed to inform the customer in October 2020 and the unsealed email related to this matter can be seen here. Once again, the customer in question has not been explicitly named.
The third case is an ongoing one which Microsoft has been fighting for the past two years. This also comes from another federal court in New York. Recently, the company has received legal support from various organizations and partners such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Associated Press, and The Washington Post, among others. This aid comes in the form of five amicus briefs - which are supporting documents through which the firms will be providing technical assistance and expertise to the court.
Microsoft went on to say that:
It is important to remember that these three cases highlighted by Microsoft are likely only some of the secrecy orders that the company has fought against. There are possibly other requests that the Redmond tech giant is not allowed to disclose as of yet because court orders for those have not yet been unsealed. Regardless, it does give a clear view that Microsoft is committed to ensuring the privacy of its customers and safeguarding their legal rights.
By Jay Bonggolto
New York officials launch probe on Apple's FaceTime privacy issue
by Jay Bonggolto
Image via Microsiervos (Flickr) New York's Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo have opened an investigation into a privacy bug involving the Cupertino tech giant's FaceTime service.
The officials are seeking to know why Apple took a long time to alert affected users about the bug. The probe is also centered around the company's failure to take immediate steps to mitigate the problem.
Governor Cuomo said in a statement:
The bug was discovered earlier this week when users were able to hear the person they were calling even before the call was picked up. Apple was quick to temporarily disable the service. However, it was reported that the company was warned about the issue over a week before the bug became public. Michele Thompson from Arizona claimed that she had tried to call Apple's attention to it after her 14-year-old son discovered the bug by chance while playing Fortnite with friends.
The New York State Department's consumer protection division has started accepting complaints from the public in relation to the bug. Affected users may call the division's helpline 1-800-697-1220 from Monday to Friday during regular business hours.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft teams up with Native Network to bring broadband to more rural communities
by Hamza Jawad
Last year, Microsoft proposed a $10 billion program that is aimed towards provision of high-speed internet to people living in rural communities across the United States. The 'Rural Airband Initiative' is supposed to serve two million such U.S. citizens in the aforementioned manner by 2022. In July, the tech giant formed a partnership with RADWIN in order to advance this goal, while agreements with Agile Networks and Network Business Systems were held in the following months as well, with the same purpose in mind.
Today, Microsoft has announced that it is teaming up with Native Network in a new partnership. As part of this agreement, 73,500 people living in rural communities in the U.S. states of Washington and Montana will be provided broadband internet.
Currently, 10% of the people living in rural Washington and 40% of the people living in rural Montana do not have access to high-speed internet, according to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This report also mentions that 35% of Americans living in tribal areas face similar concerns. Native Network will, therefore, also be deploying wireless internet access service networks in various tribal lands across the aforementioned states, including the Flathead Reservation in Montana. Furthermore, the Lummi Nation and Swinomish Tribe in Washington will be catered for as well.
Microsoft President Brad Smith commented on the partnership, noting:
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and Native Network CEO Jenny Rickel also expressed delight at the potential benefits in terms of wireless connectivity this agreement brings for people living in both states.
Different technologies will be used in the provision of broadband access, including TV white spaces. Microsoft has a history of working with the aforementioned technology, even outside of the United States. With the first TV white space network being launched in Africa by the firm in 2015, projects employing use of the same technology were announced in partnership with the Indian government later that year as well.
With the new agreement, Microsoft will be hoping that it has made another significant stride towards its goal of providing broadband access to two million people across rural America within the next four years.
By Ruel Revales
EU opens investigation into how Amazon uses data from merchants
by Ruel Revales
The European Union (EU) has launched an initial investigation into Amazon’s way of managing data it collects from the merchants that use its service. The goal of the probe is to find out whether or not the American online retail giant has violated antitrust regulations in the region.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said during a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday that while the investigation is in its initial stage, that does not constitute a formal probe.
Vestager said during the conference:
This is not the first time, though, that the EU has pursued Amazon over its business practices. In 2015, the online retail giant was subject of an EU probe over its e-book deals and how it partners with publishers.
Concerning the new investigation, Vestager said the question is whether Amazon uses the data it gets from third-party vendors to do its "own calculations" and determine what consumers want to buy and what pushes them to make such purchases. The EU has the authority to fine companies as much as 10% of their annual worldwide turnover for breaching the region's antitrust regulations.
Source: European Commission via Business Insider | Image via Shutterstock