Apple Creates Payment Fee Workaround After Battle with Epic

Concurrent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s January 16 decision not to hear the appeal in Epic vs. Apple, the iPhone maker has revised its App Store rules, letting developers link to outside payment platforms. While that ostensibly lets third parties circumvent Apple’s unpopular payment processing fee of up to 30 percent, the tech giant says it will still collect a premium of up to 27 percent using a “commission” structure. That workaround has Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney vowing to continue litigating the case in U.S. District Court. Continue reading Apple Creates Payment Fee Workaround After Battle with Epic

Apple Yanks Newer Watches from Retail Following Patent Suit

Apple is pausing sales of its two newest Apple Watch models following a U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) import ban due to unauthorized use of technology patented by Irvine, California-based medical device maker Masimo. Apple plans to have the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches removed from its online and retail stores by December 26. The move, which comes at the height of the holiday shopping season, will no doubt prompt a frenzy of in-store purchases between now and Sunday. Apple has the decision under review. Barring reversal, it could take steps to reintroduce the watches. Continue reading Apple Yanks Newer Watches from Retail Following Patent Suit

Pew: U.S. Teens Fixated on Video Apps YouTube and TikTok

Teenagers in the U.S. are finding it hard to tear themselves away from YouTube and TikTok, according to a new study of 13- to 17-year-olds by the Pew Research Center. Pew found that “nearly 1 in 5 saying they use the video-streaming apps ‘almost constantly.’” YouTube topped the chart for the second consecutive year, with 93 percent, “roughly 9 in 10 teens” saying they regularly use YouTube. That far outstrips TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, which manage to creep to about 70 percent among a subset of teens 15 to 17. Among the total teen sample, that falls to 63 percent for TikTok, 60 percent for Snapchat and 59 percent for Instagram, according to Pew. Continue reading Pew: U.S. Teens Fixated on Video Apps YouTube and TikTok

Court Rules in Favor of Epic Games in Google Antitrust Case

Epic Games has prevailed against Google in U.S. District Court, scoring a victory in the 2020 lawsuit filed against the search giant over antitrust behavior related to its Google Play store. Epic claims that Google leverages control over the Android mobile operating system to require content creators who want a presence on an estimated 71 percent of the world’s smartphones to sell through the Play Store. The verdict “proves Google’s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation,” Epic wrote of the win. Google disagrees with the ruling and says it plans to appeal. Continue reading Court Rules in Favor of Epic Games in Google Antitrust Case

Google Seeks Out Scammers Using Bard to Spread Malware

Google has filed suit in federal district court in California to stop alleged fraudsters from leveraging public interest in artificial intelligence generally and Bard in particular to spread malware. The perpetrators, who are believed to be based in Vietnam, are said to be using Facebook to promote an “unpublished” version of Bard that when downloaded installs password-stealing malware into the host system. The suit claims the scammers are using Google’s trademark-protected intellectual property — including its name and that of Bard, its brand look and colors, and photographs of CEO Sundar Pichai to promote an illegal scheme. Continue reading Google Seeks Out Scammers Using Bard to Spread Malware

Second Meta Whistleblower Testifies to Potential Child Harm

A second Meta Platforms whistleblower has come forward, testifying this week before a Senate subcommittee that the company’s social networks were potentially harming teens, and his warnings to that effect were ignored by top leadership. Arturo Bejar, from 2009 to 2015 a Facebook engineering director and an Instagram consultant from 2019 to 2021, told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law that Meta officials failed to take steps to protect underage users on the platforms. Bejar follows former Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who provided explosive Senate testimony in 2021. Continue reading Second Meta Whistleblower Testifies to Potential Child Harm

Woodpecker: Chinese Researchers Combat AI Hallucinations

The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and Tencent YouTu Lab have released a research paper on a new framework called Woodpecker, designed to correct hallucinations in multimodal large language AI models. “Hallucination is a big shadow hanging over the rapidly evolving MLLMs,” writes the group, describing the phenomenon as when MLLMs “output descriptions that are inconsistent with the input image.” Solutions to date focus mainly on “instruction-tuning,” a form of retraining that is data and computation intensive. Woodpecker takes a training-free approach that purports to correct hallucinations from the basis of the generated text. Continue reading Woodpecker: Chinese Researchers Combat AI Hallucinations

Dozens of States Sue Meta for Social Media Addiction in Kids

Meta Platforms has been sued in federal court by 33 states including California and New York that claim its Instagram and Facebook platforms addict and harm children. The action is to date the most sweeping state action to contend with the impact of social media on the mental health of children. The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges Meta violates consumer protection laws by targeting children and deceiving users about platform safety. Also that day, the District of Columbia and eight states filed separate complaints addressing the same issues. Continue reading Dozens of States Sue Meta for Social Media Addiction in Kids

Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI Wins Appeal of UK Fine

New York-based facial recognition software company Clearview AI has had a $9.1 million fine and order to delete UK citizen data reversed by Britain’s General Regulatory Tribunal. The case against Clearview was brought by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which scored a victory round in May 2022, claiming Clearview violated privacy laws under the General Data Protection Regulation because it did not inform or gain consent of UK citizens before collecting their data. Clearview appealed, and the tribunal found that the selfie-scraping AI firm was not subject to the ICO’s jurisdiction due to a loophole for firms servicing foreign law enforcement. Continue reading Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI Wins Appeal of UK Fine

Qualcomm Teases Its Soon-to-Launch Snapdragon X Series

The name ‘X’ may have received an icy welcome as a social media platform, but Qualcomm is snapping it up with a new line of PC chips called the Snapdragon X series. The “all-new naming architecture” describes a chip anchored by the Qualcomm Oryon CPU, which when combined with its neural processing unit (NPU) will deliver what the company says will be “next-level performance, AI, connectivity and battery life.” The move positions Qualcomm to take on Apple in the bid for AI super chips. Qualcomm acquired the Oryon tech with its 2021 acquisition of Nuvia, founded by former Apple engineers. Continue reading Qualcomm Teases Its Soon-to-Launch Snapdragon X Series

Apple iPhones to Continue Using Qualcomm 5G Modem Chips

Qualcomm has extended its deal with Apple to supply 5G modem chips, leading to speculation that the iPhone maker is behind schedule on its plan to bring the tech in-house. Apple has designed its own phone chips since 2013, and is currently using the A16 Bionic, manufactured by TSMC. The A16 functions as the phone’s brain but doesn’t handle external communications with cell towers. Apple has been developing its own modem chips since 2018, but apparently doesn’t feel they’re ready for prime time and, understandably, doesn’t want to risk a public debacle by rushing it. Continue reading Apple iPhones to Continue Using Qualcomm 5G Modem Chips

Microsoft Copilot AI Customers Shielded from Legal Exposure

Microsoft says it will assume legal responsibility for commercial customers who get sued for copyright infringement as a result of the company’s AI Copilot product services. A new initiative called the Copilot Copyright Commitment is designed to provide peace of mind to Microsoft business users as more copyright holders challenge the handling of protected works by the companies building AI models. “If a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or the output they generate, we will defend the customer” and pay any resulting fees, including settlements, Microsoft says. Continue reading Microsoft Copilot AI Customers Shielded from Legal Exposure

Meta’s AudioCraft Turns Words into Music with Generative AI

Meta Platforms is releasing AudioCraft, a generative AI framework that creates “high-quality,” “realistic” audio and music from text prompts. AudioCraft consists of three models: MusicGen, AudioGen and EnCodec, all of which Meta announced it is open-sourcing. Released in June, MusicGen was trained on Meta-owned and licensed music, and generates music from text prompts, while AudioGen, which was trained on public domain samples, generates sound effects (like honking horns and barking dogs) from text prompts. The EnCodec decoder allows “higher quality music generation with fewer artifacts,” according to Meta. Continue reading Meta’s AudioCraft Turns Words into Music with Generative AI

AP and OpenAI Join Forces for News-Sharing and Tech Deal

OpenAI has entered into a precedential agreement to license content from Associated Press for use training large language models. OpenAI is “licensing part of AP’s text archive,” presumably leaving the door open to negotiation for video and breaking news. For its part, AP intends to “leverage OpenAI’s technology and product expertise,” according to the outlet’s own article. Financial terms were not disclosed, nor details as to AP’s intended AI use cases. Although AP is in a class by itself as a member-owned cooperative, the agreement could bode well for print journalism, which has had challenges transitioning to the digital age. Continue reading AP and OpenAI Join Forces for News-Sharing and Tech Deal

FTC Sues Amazon Over Deceptive Practices Involving Prime

The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant surreptitiously enrolled millions of people in the $139 per year Amazon Prime program, and once subscribed made it difficult for them to cancel. “Amazon tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said, citing “deceptive user-interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically renewing Prime subscriptions.” Continue reading FTC Sues Amazon Over Deceptive Practices Involving Prime