This Week in Tech News

Apple and Google develop location based app for tracking CoVid19 Exposure

Apple & Google

Episode 1690

Thanks to a new feature in both iOS and Android, if you encounter someone who has been exposed to COVID-19, the phone will be able to alert you based on the person's location data, and that of others they have encountered. And if you're sick, it will enable medical professionals to track the path of infection through phone location data. It's called "contact tracing." The new feature has met with protest though, because Apple won't give governments all the information. It will also be a voluntary download.

iOS Bug Crashes Leo's Phone

iOS

Episode 1689

A zero-day bug prompted a text message to Leo that caused his iPhone to crash. It's officially known as a "remote zero click." Apple is aware of the issue and is working out a fix for the next update to iOS 13. It was discovered by a security company in San Francisco this week, along with two other zero-day exploits. Leo advises updating to the latest iOS as soon as it comes out.

Apple Announces slightly larger iPhone SE

iPhone SE 2nd Gen

Episode 1688

This week, Apple announced the new iPhone SE in black, white, and "product red," which proceeds will go to CoVid19 relief. The SE model has no headphone jack and costs $399. Leo says it's based on the iPhone 8 chassis and has the guts of the iPhone 11. But Leo is still bothered by a lack of headphone jack, meaning the money you save on the phone is eaten away by expensive Bluetooth AirPods. 

It also comes with a single camera, which Leo says is a very good camera. 

YouTube Reports Deep Drop in Advertising

YOUTUBE

Episode 1687

YouTube reports that advertising revenue for the streaming video portal has plummetted by as much as 15-50% since the COVID-19 outbreak. This is directly impacting the content creators who have made YouTube their full-time careers. It's interesting because everyone is at home. But Leo says that advertisers just aren't putting money into the portal right now. 

Zoom hires Security Expert to Lock Down the Platform

Zoom

Episode 1686

After the news came out that Zoom was filled with security issues, the video conferencing company has hired a top security expert from Apple to lock down the platform and make it more secure. Leo says that Zoom is going everything they can right now, and while the app was designed to be easy to use, they are now working to make it more secure.

Google and Apple Develop Tracking App to Battle Covid19

Apple

Episode 1686

By tracking your movement, and everyone you encounter, Google and Apple have developed an app that will notify everyone and public health authorities if you get sick. All you need to do is press a button that you are feeling sick, and the app does the rest. But your privacy is promised to be protected. The challenge, though, is to get everyone to opt-in and download it.

Google Bans Zoom on Employee Computers

Google

Episode 1685

Due to security issues, Google has banned the video conferencing software ZOOM from all employee computers.  While Zoom is much easier to set up and use for most people, it does install a web server on your computer, that ends up being left active after you uninstall it. Leo says that Zoom has hired some new security experts in order to shore up their security, and Leo says that's the right move. Until then, Leo recommends JITSI. It uses the browser's WEBRTC feature, so there's nothing to install 

Governments Using Smartphone Location Data to Enforce Social Distancing

Smartphone Location Tracking

Episode 1684

Countries are using cellphone location data to not only enforce mandatory social distancing but also to see who patients have been in contact with the virus, to find out how that patient was infected. Other countries are using facial recognition to punish those in defiance of the orders and gathering together.

So while technology can be used for the greater good, namely trying to stem the tide of the Coronavirus outbreak, it can also be used as a dreadful tool for the surveillance state.