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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

On Data Privacy Day, here's a reminder that you have none – CNET

Or at least very little.
Source: CNET

Facebook drafts a proposal describing how its new content review board will work

In November, Facebook announced a new plan that would revamp how the company makes content policy decisions on its social network — it will begin to pass off to an independent review board some of the more contested decisions. The board will serve as the final level of escalation for appeals around reported content, acting something like a Facebook Supreme Court. Today, Facebook is sharing (PDF) more detail about how this board will be structured, and how the review process will work.

Facebook earlier explained that the review board wouldn’t be making the first — or even the second — decision on reported content. Instead, when someone reports content on Facebook, the first two appeals will still be handled by Facebook’s own internal review systems. But if someone isn’t happy with Facebook’s decision, the case can make its way to the new review board to consider.

However, the board may not decide to take on every case that’s pushed up the chain. Instead, it will focus on those it thinks are the most important, the company had said.

Today, Facebook explains in more detail how the board will be staffed and how its decisions will be handled.

In a draft charter, the company says that the board will include experts with experience in “content, privacy, free expression, human rights, journalism, civil rights, safety, and other relevant disciplines.” The member list will also be public, and the board will be supported by a full-time staff that will ensure its decisions are properly implemented.

While decisions around the board makeup haven’t been made, Facebook is today suggesting the board should have 40 members. These will be chosen by Facebook after it publicly announces the required qualifications for joining, and says it will offer special consideration to factors like “geographical and cultural background,” and a “diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.”

The board will also not include former or current Facebook employees, contingent workers of Facebook or government officials.

Once this board is launched, it will be responsible for the future selection of members after members’ own terms are up.

Facebook believes the ideal term length is three years, with the term automatically renewable one time, for those who want to continue their participation. The board members will serve “part-time,” as well — a necessary consideration as many will likely have other roles outside of policing Facebook content.

Facebook will ultimately allow the board to have final say. It can reverse Facebook’s own decisions, when necessary. The company may then choose to incorporate some of the final rulings into its own policy development. Facebook may also seek policy advice from the board, at times, even when a decision is not pressing.

The board will be referred cases both through the user appeals process, as well as directly from Facebook. For the latter, Facebook will likely hand off the more controversial or hotly debated decisions, or those where existing policy seems to conflict with Facebook’s own values.

To further guide board members, Facebook will publish a final charter that includes a statement of its values.

The board will not decide cases where doing so would violate the law, however.

Cases will be heard by smaller panels that consist of a rotating, odd number of board members. Decisions will be attributed to the review board, but the names of the actual board members who decided an individual case will not be attached to the decision — that’s likely something that could protect them from directed threats and harassment.

The board’s decisions will be made public, though it will not compromise user privacy in its explanations. After a decision is issued, the board will have two weeks to publish its decision and explanation. In the case of non-unanimous decisions, a dissenting member may opt to publish their perspective along with the final decision.

Like a higher court would, the board will reference its prior opinions before finalizing its decision on a new case.

After deciding their slate of cases, the members of the first panel will choose a slate of cases to be heard by the next panel. That panel will then pick the third slate of cases, and so on. A majority of members on a panel will have to agree that a case should be heard for it to be added to the docket.

Because 40 people can’t reasonably represent the entirety of the planet, nor Facebook’s 2+ billion users, the board will rely on consultants and experts, as required, in order to gather together the necessary “linguistic, cultural and sociopolitical expertise” to make its decisions, Facebook says.

To keep the board impartial, Facebook plans to spell out guidelines around recusals for when a conflict of interest develops, and it will not allow the board to be lobbied or accept incentives. However, the board will be paid — a standardized, fixed salary in advance of their term.

None of these announced plans are final, just Facebook’s initial proposals.

Facebook is issuing them in draft format to gather feedback and says it will open up a way for outside stakeholders to submit their own proposals in the weeks ahead.

The company also plans to host a series of workshops around the world over the next six months, where it will get various experts together to talk about issues like free speech and technology, democracy, procedural fairness and human rights. The workshops will be held in Singapore, Delhi, Nairobi, Berlin, New York, Mexico City and other cities yet to be announced.

Facebook has been criticized for its handling of issues like the calls to violence that led to genocide in Myanmar and riots in Sri Lanka; election meddling from state-backed actors from Russia, Iran and elsewhere; its failure to remove child abuse posts in India; the weaponization of Facebook by the government in the Philippines to silence its critics; Facebook’s approach to handling Holocaust denials or conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones; and much more.

Some may say Facebook is now offloading its responsibility by referring the tough decisions to an outside board. This, after all, could potentially save the company itself from being held accountable for war crimes and the like. But on the other hand, Facebook has not shown itself capable of making reasonable policy decisions related to things like hate speech and propaganda. It may be time for it to bring in the experts, and let someone else make the decisions.

Source: TechCrunch

'Black Panther' Cast Came to Win at the SAG Awards

The Marvel movie had a big night on Sunday. Also, Amazon is spending lots of cash at Sundance and Deadpool is making dough in China.
Source: Wired

App Store developers have earned $120 billion since 2008

Apple is kicking off the Entrepreneur Camp in Cupertino. Eleven female-founded app development companies have been invited to Cupertino for multiple workshops and meetings with Apple employees, and Apple used that opportunity to share a new number when it comes to App Store revenue.

Since the creation of the App Store, Apple has given back $120 billion in revenue to App Store developers. It means that the App Store has generated more revenue than that in total. But if you remove Apple’s cut, $120 billion have been wired to developers.

App Store revenue is still growing rapidly, as more than $30 billion of developer revenue has been generated in the last 12 months alone. Apple reported $100 billion in developer revenue at WWDC back in June 2018.

Apple only counts direct App Store revenue, such as paid downloads, in-app purchases and subscriptions. Developers also could have generated more revenue through ads and subscriptions on a website, for instance.

If you’re curious about the Entrepreneur Camp, Apple has invited the developers of Bites, Camille, CUCO: Lembrete de Medicamentos, Deepr, D’efekt, Hopscotch, LactApp, Pureple, Statues of the La Paz Malecón, WeParent and Seneca Connect. There will be a new session every quarter.

Source: TechCrunch

Porsche Taycan owners will get three years free charging at hundreds of Electrify America stations

Owners of the upcoming Porsche Taycan will get three years of free charging at hundreds of Electrify America public stations that will blanket the U.S. in the coming months.

And in many cases, that will include access to DC fast chargers that will allow the Taycan, which is designed to have an 800 volt battery that can take a 350 kW charge, to get 60 miles of range in just four minutes. That charging speed blows away competitor Tesla, which has set up its own vast network of fast chargers called Superchargers.

Porsche and Electrify America, the entity set up by Volkswagen as part of its settlement with U.S. regulators over its diesel emissions cheating scandal, announced the agreement Monday.

The Porsche Taycan, which is coming later this year, is hotly anticipated, even without the free access to Electrify America’s network. But the agreement, along with an additional $70 million investment to add DC fast chargers to Porsche dealerships, shows the automaker wants to ensure this electric bet pays off.

Electrify America will have more than 300 highway stations in 42 states and another 184 sites in 17 metro areas. Each location will have an average of five charging dispensers, with some having as many as 10. In all, Electrify America says 484 locations will be installed or under construction by July 1.

The company is expected to build out a second phase beginning July 2019.

ELECTRIFY AMERICA Nationwide Network MapThe highway stations will have a minimum of two 350 kW chargers per site, with additional chargers delivering up to 150 kW. Charging dispensers at metro locations will have 150 kilowatts of power.

The highway stations will be spaced along multiple routes — as can be seen in the map above — and no more than 120 miles from each other. The distance between highway stations will average 70 miles.

In addition to this 484-station Electrify America network, all 191 Porsche dealerships will be installing their own DC fast-charging units. More than 120 of these dealerships will feature Porsche Turbo Charging, which is the automaker’s own DC system that delivers up to 320 kW and also uses the CCS plug. The remaining dealerships will install 50 kW fast chargers.

Electrify America charging kioskElectrify America has had an early hiccup with its growing charging network.

On Friday, supplier Huber + Suhner recommended its customers suspend the operation of all charging stations with its high-power charging system after a short-circuit was reported at a charging station on a test site in Germany. Electrify America has shuttered these chargers while the supplier completes tests of its liquid-cooled cables. Other EV charging companies, including Fastned and Ionity in Europe, have also shut down their chargers with Huber + Suhner’s high-power cables.

In the meantime, all 89 Electrify America charging locations are open to charge electric vehicles, a spokesman said. These charging locations all have CHAdeMO connector 50 kW chargers available and some have CCS connector charging. Electrify America also has high-power liquid-cooled cables from another supplier, ITT Cannon, which are operating.

Electrify America’s engineers are working with the company closely so it can get all of its chargers back and available for users, the spokesman said.

Source: TechCrunch

Los Angeles and Via Hook Up to Offer Rides to Metro Stations

The city and ride-share company are trialling a new service meant to get more people onto public transit.
Source: Wired

AirBuddy brings iOS-style AirPod integration to the Mac

iOS is easily one of the best things AirPods have going for them. Flip open the cap and, boom, there are the headphones and case, each sporting their respective battery levels. Pairing AirPods to your desktop has been doable as well, albeit markedly less convenient.

Guilherme Rambo of 9 to 5 Mac has a convenient new solution, however, beating Apple to the punch in the process. Now available through Gumroad (for a suggested donation of $5+), AirBuddy brings the same convenient iOS experience to desktops running Mojave (10.14) or later.

Once installed, opening the AirPod case next to a Mac will pop up the familiar floating AirPods icon, letting you know what’s left of your battery (or how much time you’ve got left to charge). There’s also a nice added feature here, “A simple click and you’re connected and playing your Mac’s audio to AirPods,” the developer writes. Oh, it also makes sure the audio input of your Mac is NOT switched to the AirPods so you can get the best possible quality.”

The system requires Bluetooth LE to work. It should also work for other nearby Apple devices that have connected via Wi-Fi, including iPhones, iPads and Beats headphones sporting the W1 chip.

Source: TechCrunch

Sapphire Ventures bets big on esports and entertainment with new $115M fund

Sapphire Ventures, formerly the corporate venture capital arm of SAP, has lassoed $115 million from new limited partners (LPs) to invest at the intersection of tech, sports, media and entertainment.

A majority of the LPs for the new fund, called Sapphire Sport, have ties to the sports industry, from City Football Group, which owns English Premier League team Manchester City, to Adidas, the owners of the Indiana Pacers, New York Jets, San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning, among others.

The firm plans to do five to six investments per year, sized between $3 million and $7 million. So far, they’ve deployed capital to five startups: at-home fitness system Tonal, live soccer streaming platform mycujoo, digital sports network Overtime, ticketing and events platform Fevo and gaming studio Phoenix Labs. Sapphire began backing tech startups in 2008; in 2016, the firm closed on $1 billion for its third flagship venture fund.

Sapphire managing director and co-founder Doug Higgins is leading the effort alongside newly tapped partner Michael Spirito, who joined from 21st Century Fox, where he focused on business development and digital media for the Fox Sports-owned Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, in September.

Higgins was an investment manager at Intel Capital for four years prior to co-launching Sapphire. Throughout his career, he’s managed the firm’s investments in LinkedIn, DocuSign, Square and more.

“We invest in anything that tech is disrupting,” Higgins told TechCrunch. “We were early investors in Fitbit, so we saw the beginning of digital fitness and how tech can impact the lives of anyone, not just high-performance athletes … We are also investors in Square, TicketFly and Paytm and what we’ve been seeing — the dream as a VC — is these massive markets in the sports, media and digital health world that are getting disrupted by tech.”

Sapphire is betting its traditional and well-established venture platform, coupled with the expertise of leading sports entities on board as LPs, will give it a competitive edge as it targets some of the best emerging sports tech companies.

“We see a lot of FOMO happening in this world, where everyone wants to have a play, but to make the best investment you need to have the widest perspective,” Higgins said. “So if you’re a team owner of a particular football team you are going to make better decisions if you are able to share perspectives with owners of other teams.”

“The best entrepreneurs, the ones we all want to invest in, there’s not a draft, they have to select you,” he added.

Investment in esports and gaming has skyrocketed, surpassing a total of $2.5 billion in VC funding in 2018. According to PitchBook, a handful of startups have already raised a total of $65 million in VC backing this year, including a $10.8 million financing for ReKTGlobal, a provider of esports infrastructure services.

“You can’t ignore the numbers on esports,” Higgins added. “They just continue to grow massively and people who have teenage kids, like myself, [those kids] want to grow up to be the next ninja, not the next Tom Brady .”

Source: TechCrunch

Intel patent envisions a phone that can fold out to become a tablet PC

Intel, too, could possibly be considering a fairly unique foldable device. A 2017 patent from the company envisions a phone that can fold out to become a tablet PC, first uncovered by the Dutch website Lets Go Digital. 

The post Intel patent envisions a phone that can fold out to become a tablet PC appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Apple’s new developer guidelines signal that scammy subscription apps’ time is up

Apple is sending out a message to app developers: stop tricking users into subscriptions. The company updated its guidelines for mobile developers to more clearly spell out what is and what is not allowed, according to 9to5Mac, which spotted the recent changes. The improved documentation comes at a time when subscriptions are becoming something of a plague on consumers.

Their rapid proliferation is turning everything into a subscription service, which could ultimately see consumers dropping favorite apps because they can’t afford dozens of ongoing payments. But more urgently, Apple’s lax enforcement its rules around subscriptions had allowed shady app developers to financially benefit.

Subscriptions are a big business the app stores, as the industry has begun to shift over to a recurring revenue model instead of one-time purchases within free apps or paid downloads. For developers who continue to improve apps and roll out new features, subscriptions give them the financial means of continuing that work, instead of constantly hunting for new users.

However, not all developers have been playing fair.

As TechCrunch reported last fall, a number of scammers had begun to take advantage of the subscription model in order to trick consumers into recurring payments, in addition to constantly pestering their free users to upgrade.

We found apps that constantly popped up upgrade prompts or hid the “x” to close the prompt’s window, as well as apps that promised free trials that actually converted after a very short period – like three days, for example. Others had intentionally confusing designs where subscription opt-in buttons would say things like “Start” or “Continue” in big text, while the text that explains you’re actually agreeing to a paid subscription is tiny, grayed out, difficult to read, or hidden in some other way.

Apple’s developer guidelines had clearly prohibited fraudulent behavior related to subscriptions, but Apple has now spelled out the details in black-and-white.

As 9to5Mac spotted, updates in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and App Store documentation now explicitly state that the monthly subscription price has to be clearly displayed, while information about how much people can save if they opt for longer periods of time, like a year, has to be less prominent.

Messages about free trials have to say how long trials last and what will be charged when the trial ends.

The new documentation has also been clearly organized, and includes screenshots of what a proper subscription sign-up flow should look like, as well as sample text developers can modify for use in their own apps. It even suggests that developers allow customers to manage their subscriptions within their app, rather than requiring them to find the subscriptions section in the App Store.

Today, many customers don’t know how to stop their subscriptions once activated – it takes several steps from the iPhone’s Settings to get into subscriptions, and still a few from within the App Store. (It’s also not that obvious. You tap on your profile icon on the top right of the Home page, then your Apple ID, then scroll down to the bottom of the page. By comparison, you can reveal the “Subscriptions” section with just one tap on Google Play’s left-side hamburger menu.)

While the existence of clear documentation that better spells out the do’s and don’ts is certainly welcome, the real question now is how well will Apple enforce its rules?

After all, Apple was supposedly not okay with subscription fraud and tricks before, yet its App Store was home to a good handful bad actors – particular in the utilities section.

Of course Apple doesn’t want to develop a reputation for allowing misleading or scammy apps to thrive in its App Store, but it simultaneously benefits when they do.

Although games still account for the majority of App Store spending, non-gaming apps across app stores now account for just over a quarter (26%) of total spend, according to App Annie’s “State of Mobile 2019” report. And that number has increased 18% since 2016, mainly because of in-app subscriptions.

Getting a handle on the proper way to market subscriptions is key. But there’s also the larger question as to whether subscriptions will be a sustainable model in the long run for the developers. There’s a bit too much of a gold rush mentality around subscriptions in today’s App Store, and it’s hard to resist the near-term benefit of money that rolls in monthly.

But as more developers adopt subscriptions, consumers will ultimately have to decide which have value for them. People are already paying for so many subscriptions – both inside and outside the app stores. Streaming video like Netflix, streaming music like Spotify, streaming TV like YouTube TV, subscription boxes like Ipsy, Prime memberships, grocery delivery like Instacart, smart home subscriptions like Ring or Nest, newspapers and magazines and newsletters, and so on. What’s really going to be left for a selfie editor, to-do list or weather app, in the end?

Many consumers are already starting to hit the point where they don’t have much more to spend, and will have to turn some subscriptions off in order to turn others on. Subscription app user bases could then contract, with only core customers remaining paying subscribers, as casual users return to free products – like Apple’s own built-in apps, for example, or free services offered by well-heeled tech giants, like Google.

Apple would do well to advise developers when subscriptions make sense for an app, not just how to implement and design them. Subscriptions should offer a real benefit, not just continued ability to use an app. And there could be cases where a one-time purchase to retain a customer who continually declines to subscribe makes sense, too.



Source: TechCrunch