Uber broke Apple’s iOS privacy rules and Tim Cook wasn’t happy about it

Uber broke Apple’s privacy rules in its iOS app in an effort to catch Chinese fraudsters, resulting in chief executive Travis Kalanick being hauled in to Cupertino for a personal dressing down from Tim Cook, it has been revealed.

Apple prevents developers from identifying specific iPhones for privacy reasons, arguing that a phone that is completely wiped and resold should have no links to its previous owner; to that end, in 2012, the company stopped allowing apps on its App Store to access information like the “Unique Device Identifier” (UDID) and similar identifying information.

But in an effort to prevent a particular type of fraud in China, where scammers load up stolen credit cards to make fake rides before wiping the phone and repeating the process, Uber broke Apple’s rules, according to a New York Times profile of Kalanick.

The company even went to the effort of adding code to its app so that any user opening it inside Apple’s Cupertino headquarters wouldn’t see the rule-breaking code.

That didn’t prevent Apple from discovering the subterfuge. In the meeting, Cook reportedly told Kalanick, “I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” and threatened to pull Uber’s app from the App Store if the company didn’t remove the fingerprinting feature.

According to security researcher Will Strafach, who analysed a version of Uber’s app from 2014 in response to the story, the company was using a chunk of code normally exclusive to Apple itself to pull iPhone serial numbers out of the device’s operating system. Those serial numbers remain the same, even if the entire rest of the device is wiped and reinstalled with a new user account. Even if Uber hadn’t been spotted by Apple, the technique no longer works: as of the most recent version of iOS, apps cannot discover the serial number this way.

In a statement, Uber said “this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone – over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users’ accounts. Being able to recognise known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users.”

In: theguardian

El controversial corto del Super Bowl: 84 Lumber Super Bowl Commercial – The Entire Journey

Si pudiste ver el Super Bowl el ultimo domingo, seguramente habras notado un comercial que ha tocado al tema de la inmigracion desde Mexico a los Estados Unidos producido por la empresa maderera “Lumber 84”, la cual, al finalizar, le pedia a los espectadores ir a su website para “completar el viaje”. El tema es que mucha gente penso para que ir al website para terminar un comercial? Transmitanlo completamente! No me hagan trabajar por una companhia de la que nunca he oido hablar!

Lo que paso es que “Lumber 84” habia planeado transmitir todo el comercial pero la cadena televisiva Fox puso el grito en el cielo. El broadcaster considero el comercial como muy “controversial” como para ser transmitido durante el evento televisivo mas visto del pais y por ello “Lumber 84” fue forzado a cortar el comercial y remover parte de la cinta considerada ofensiva.

El comercial es la historia simbolica de una madre y su pequenha hija ralizando un arduo y largo viaje a los Estados Unidos de Norteamerica. En el video que no se pudo ver en el Super Bowl, ellas llegan a la frontera solo para ser recibidas por una gran muralla de concreto. Pero ahi no acaba la cosa.

Esta es un gran corto con un mensaje poderoso y claro: Las oportunidades estan siendo vapuleadas (algo contradictorio en el “pais de las oprtunidades”).

Fox es una empresa con fines de lucro, por lo que tienen el derecho de elegir lo que hacen y no hacen con sus ondas, pero se ve ridículo que la misma red que no dice nada respecto de las gráficas torturas de “24” encuentren la imagen de una pared fronteriza demasiado “polémica”.

Traducido al espanhol de: collider.com

Tildes omitidas intencionalmente.

South Carolina lawmakers propose pornography block on new computers

State Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg, said the Human Trafficking Prevention Act would require manufacturers or sellers to install digital blocking capabilities on computers and other devices that access the internet to prevent the viewing of obscene content.

Representative William M. "Bill" Chumley. In: www.scstatehouse.gov

Bill sponsor: Representative William M. “Bill” Chumley. In: www.scstatehouse.gov

By Brendan O’Brien

Computers and devices sold in South Carolina that can access the internet would be required to have filters installed to prevent people from viewing pornography, although buyers could pay a $20 fee to remove the blocking software under a proposal before the legislature.

The amendment would require manufacturers or sellers of computers and internet-accessible devices to install software that blocks pornography, according to a draft of the amendment filed with the South Carolina General Assembly on Dec. 15.

One of its sponsors said on Tuesday the amendment would help raise money for the state’s task force to combat human trafficking, adding that the measure would not restrict their legal liberties, indicating it would allow for viewing adult pornography.

“This is a way to preserve freedom, not raise taxes and combat a serious problem all in one,” State Representative William “Bill” Chumley, a Republican, said in an interview.

Buyers over 18 in South Carolina would have to pay a $20 fee to have the block removed. Manufacturers or sellers would pay a $20 opt-out fee for each computer or device sold so they didn’t have to install the blocking software, according to the proposed measure.

The amendment did not address any technology challenges or whether the filter would be a barrier to interstate commerce for technology firms that sell their devices nationwide.

There was no timetable for debate and a possible vote. Chumley has told local media that he sees the amendment as a starting point for debate and that the proposal he co-sponsored may be adjusted.

The amendment corresponds with the Republican Party’s national platform that calls for states to get tough on pornography, adding that the internet has become a safe haven for predators.

“Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions,” the GOP said in its platform. “We urge energetic prosecution of child pornography, which is closely linked to human trafficking.”

In April, a Republican-backed resolution in Utah declared pornography a public health hazard and an epidemic that normalizes violence against women and children and makes men less likely to want to get married.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

In: reuters 

See: South Carolina statehouse profile – Representative William M. “Bill” Chumley 

Is Pornography The Same As Prostitution? A New York Judge Says “No,” But the Answer Is Less Clear

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005

Jenny Paulino stands accused of running a prostitution ring on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Among other defense arguments, Paulino moved to dismiss the case on Equal Protection grounds. She claimed that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office selectively targets “escort services” for prosecution, while ignoring distributors of adult films, who are engaged in what is essentially the same activity.

Justice Budd G. Goodman recently issued a ruling rejecting Paulino’s claim, on the ground that pornography does not qualify as prostitution under the relevant New York statute. “[P]rostitution,” said Justice Goodman, “is and has always been intuitively defined as a bilateral exchange between a prostitute and a client.” Therefore, the judge explained, the District Attorney’s office has not ignored one form of prostitution and pursued another, within the meaning of the law.

Though the Equal Protection argument may be weak as a matter of statutory interpretation, the distinction between prostitution and pornography is not nearly as clear as Justice Goodman suggests.

What Is Prostitution?

As Justice Goodman asserts, most of us typically think of prostitution as involving a customer who pays a prostitute for providing sexual services to that customer. We intuit that pornography, by contrast, involves a customer paying an actor for providing sexual services to another actor.

In other words, prostitution is generally understood as the bilateral trading of sex for money, while pornography involves the customer of an adult film paying money to watch other people have sex with each other, while receiving no sexual favors himself in return for his money.

In keeping with this distinction, notes Justice Goodman, “the pornographic motion picture industry has flourished without prosecution since its infancy.” The failure of the New York legislature to do anything about this state of affairs, moreover, further demonstrates that New York’s prostitution statute was never intended to encompass pornography.

Is It Sensible To Exclude Pornography From Laws Against Prostitution?

Justice Goodman may be correct about the statute in question, although the statutory language does not help his position.

New York Penal Law defines a prostitute as a person “who engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.” A pornographic actor does just that: Like a more typical prostitute, he or she engages in sex in return for a fee.

Still, as Justice Goodman points out, traditional interpretations of the word “prostitute” narrow the literal definition to exempt pornography.

But that leads to another question: Does the pornography exemption make sense?

Stated differently, the District Attorney’s office has perhaps correctly divined the legislative intent behind the statute at issue, but there might nonetheless be something fundamentally unfair about exempting distributors of nonobscene pornography from the vice laws.

To appreciate the unfairness, let us examine some of the arguments for this distinction.

Free Speech: One Possible Distinction Between Prostitution and Pornography

Most distributors of pornography would express shock at the prospect of being prosecuted for promoting prostitution. Under Miller v. California, as long as a work, taken as a whole, has “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value,” the First Amendment protects its distribution. Given this legal principle, how could pornography be criminal, in the way that prostitution is?

One might begin to formulate an answer in the following way. The process of filming and distributing pornography is indeed considered protected speech, under the Supreme Court’s First Amendment precedents. However, the First Amendment does not insulate the commission of crime from prosecution just because someone with a camera records the crime and intends to sell that recording to customers.

In keeping with this portrayal, one could reasonably characterize pornography as the payment of prostitutes for having sex in front of a camera. Though the film itself might be protected by the First Amendment, it could nonetheless constitute evidence of paid-for sexual encounters — that is, evidence of prostitution — if a statute were designed to extend to that sort of prostitution.

For clarification, let us take an example from another area of criminal law. Doug the drug-dealer sells Carl the customer eight ounces of marijuana. Both Doug and Carl are guilty of (different) criminal acts for having engaged in this illicit transaction. Assume that there is an audience for such transactions on reality television (all rights reserved). In anticipation of this audience, Fiona the filmmaker pays Doug and Carl to permit her to tape them carrying out their business.

Has Fiona done anything illegal? No, but neither has her First-Amendment-protected act of filming and distributing her recording altered the illegal character of Doug’s and Carl’s conduct. Doug and Carl may still be prosecuted for engaging in a drug transaction, despite the fact that Fiona may not be prosecuted for taping it or showing the tape.

Furthermore, Fiona’s tape may be subpoenaed and used by the District Attorney’s office as evidence of the drug transactions charged against Doug and Carl.

Some Possible Differences Between Filming Drug-Dealing, and Filming Pornography

To be sure, there are some differences between Fiona and the pornography distributor, which might translate into differences between pornographic actors, on the one hand, and Doug and Carl, on the other.

In our example, Doug and Carl have engaged in a drug transaction, and the only element that Fiona has added to the mix is her filming of that transaction. In the case of pornography, however, the actors having sex are doing so precisely because they are being filmed. The taping, in other words, is not just “evidence” of their having sex; it is the entire point of that sex. In pornography, then, the recording is an integral, rather than a peripheral, part of the transaction.

What this means is that unlike Doug and Carl, the people who have sex for the camera are actors, and acting — unlike drug-dealing or prostitution — is part of what falls within the protection of the First Amendment.

A better analogy to pornography might therefore be a film-maker paying Doug and Carl to act as though they are dealing drugs for the camera when in fact they are not. In such a case, of course, there would be no grounds for prosecuting the two men.

Not So Fast: Does the Pornographic Actor/Prostitute Distinction Really Work?

The distinction between pornography and prostitution is not, however, quite so straightforward as the latter analogy suggests. A couple having actual sex for the camera — let’s call the people Jason and June — is different from Doug and Carl pretending to deal drugs. Doug and Carl really are just acting, but having intercourse is not just acting — it is also bona fide sex.

That is what distinguishes a pornographic film from a film in which people pretend that they’re having sex when they are not. In that sense, the reality TV example of Doug and Carl may be more like adult film than it initially appeared to be. Doug and Carl truly are dealing drugs and there is also filming going on, just as Jason and June really are having sex and there is also filming going on.

Why Real Sex is Not Like Acting, From the Law’s Point of View

But why should the distinction between pretending to have sex, and actually having it, make a difference, from a legal standpoint?

The sex act is a legally significant event. If it occurs without consent, it is rape. If it takes place between a married person and a third party, it is adultery. If it occurs and leads to the birth of a child, then the man is legally responsible for that child until the age of 18. And if it happens in exchange for a fee, then it is prostitution.

Pretending to have sex, however, for a camera or in private, triggers none of these legal consequences and can therefore be characterized as mere acting.

Who Is Paying Whom and Should It Matter?

When pornography is correctly understood as involving real sex, the question in comparing pornography to prostitution becomes whether who is paying whom matters (or should matter) to the law. That is, should it make a difference whether Jason pays June to have sex with Jason or whether, instead, Filmore (the filmmaker) pays June to have sex with Jason?

If these two scenarios seem functionally equivalent, then there may be something seriously wrong with our laws.

Consider the following example. Jason has just turned 21, and he is a virgin. His uncle Lecher believes that Jason should have some experience with sex before he finishes college, so Lecher pays June (a family friend) to have sex with Jason. Jason happily accepts this gift, and June carries out her side of the deal.

It does seem that in this example, prostitution has taken place. The payor may not be the same person as the recipient of sexual services, but so what? In all relevant respects, this transaction appears to fall within any reasonable definition of prostitution, with June in the role of prostitute and either Lecher or Jason or both (depending on the state of mind of each of them with respect to the quid pro quo) in the role of customer. Justice Goodman’s emphasis on the bilateral nature of prostitution no longer seems well-placed.

How are Adult Films Different?

If it “intuitively” seems like prostitution even when a third party pays someone to have sex with another third party, then what makes adult films so different? Is it the fact that Uncle Lecher is not seeking his own sexual gratification (in the way that a customer of pornography is) but someone else’s (Jason’s)? If so, then assume that Uncle Lecher wants to watch June and Jason having sex. That added feature hardly seems to mitigate the character of the act as prostitution.

Is the important difference instead the fact that Jason, the college student, is seeking sexual gratification from June, the prostitute, while neither Jason the porn star nor June the porn star are seeking sexual gratification for themselves? If that matters, then assume that Jason the porn star loves his work (and could be earning a lot more as a regular actor), so he is as interested in sexual gratification as Jason the college student is.

On these facts, in both pornography and conventional prostitution, people are having sex with other people as a condition of getting paid, and someone seeking sexual gratification but not money is ultimately driving the demand for the activity (the customer of the prostitute, in one case, and the future viewer of the pornography, on the other).

The First Amendment Returns: Why the Court Protects Pornographic Films

Having said all of this, it is nonetheless almost certain that on its current precedents, the U.S. Supreme Court would hold that garden-variety pornographic actors are indeed engaged in First-Amendment-protected activity, so long asobscenity – as defined by the Miller test, quoted in part above — is not involved. Odd as it may seem, what appears finally to make all of the difference is the mode of gratification for the person who is paying but not himself seeking money.

The ultimate demand for pornography comes from the viewer of pornography, and what excites him is the watching of the adult film, rather than any physical act performed on him by another person. The “enjoyment” of pornography is therefore as “speech,” rather than as action.

Though real sex occurred in the making of the pornographic film, this fact is only relevant insofar as it is known (or believed) by the viewer. If, for example, the entire film were created with highly realistic computer graphics, but the viewer believed that what he saw was real, then he would enjoy the material just as much.

Because the impact of pornography occurs through the mediation of an audience witnessing a performance, rather than an audience receiving physical services from a performer, pornography and its making qualify as First-Amendment protected speech.

Does this make sense? Consider again the significance of the sexual act: legal consequences can follow from it and it can, accordingly, be regulated by the law in a variety of ways. Though two people may very much want to have sex with each other in private, the law can intervene to say that they cannot, just because one of them seeks money and the other gratification, for example.

If, however, both members of the couple are in it for the money, and there is a man with a camera taping them so that millions of people can buy or rent the tape and masturbate to it, then the sex is insulated by the Constitution from legal regulation.

That is in fact the law, but Jenny Paulino can hardly be faulted for calling it arbitrary.

Sherry F. Colb, a FindLaw columnist, is Professor and Frederick B. Lacey Scholar at Rutgers Law School in Newark. Her columns on criminal law and procedure, among other subjects, may be found in the archive of her work on this site.

In: findlaw

Federal Court Rules Consumer Watchdog’s Structure Is Unconstitutional

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray testifies on Capitol Hill in January. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray testifies on Capitol Hill in January.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was unconstitutionally structured by Congress.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided that an independent agency should not be run by a single individual.

The CFPB, U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote, was structured differently from other agencies. In the past, government agencies run by a single person — like the Department of Justice, for example — were always overseen by the president and the president could fire the directors at will. Independent agencies, like the Federal Communications Commission and the National Labor Relations Board, have been run by a group of people, who can only be removed by the president for cause.

The CFPB was structured by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to be run by a single person, who could only be removed by the president for cause.

“The CFPB’s concentration of enormous executive power in a single, unaccountable, unchecked Director not only departs from settled historical practice, but also poses a far greater risk of arbitrary decision-making and abuse of power, and a far greater threat to individual liberty, than does a multi-member independent agency,” Kavanaugh wrote.

The petitioner in the case, PHH Corp., a mortgage lender, had asked the court to do away with the CFPB entirely and let Congress restructure the agency to meet the checks-and-balances demands of the Constitution. The court took a more narrow route. It struck the “for cause” provision of the law, which now means the CFPB is structured the way other single-leader agencies, like the Justice Department, are.

In other words, the president can now remove the agency head at will.

In a separate part of the decision, the appeals court also decided to throw out the CFPB’s $109 million order against PHH. The court said CFPB had acted, at least in part, outside the statute of limitations.


1 2