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Apple rejects Facebook app that tells users Apple takes 30% cut of in-app purchases – CNBC

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, June 3, 2019.
Mason Trinca | Reuters

Apple rejected one of Facebook‘s new app updates, according to Reuters. The app tried to inform users that Apple collects 30% of in-app purchases from a new online events feature.

Earlier this month, Facebook launched an online event feature that lets businesses host paid online events in an effort to renew some of the business lost due to Covid-19. Facebook asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax, since it wanted all of the money to go directly to the small businesses, but was rejected.

In an effort to inform users of Apple’s cut, Facebook instead planned to add a line inside the iPhone app that informs users that “Apple takes 30% of this purchase.” Facebook was unsure if Apple would approve the language and, ultimately, it didn’t.

This is what the app looks like, notice the language on the left under the purchase button:

The iPhone app, on the left, shows that Apple collects 30% of each purchase.
Facebook

Facebook said that if users make the same purchase elsewhere, whether on the web or through the app on an Android phone, small businesses will keep 100% of the revenue.

“Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes. Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience,” Facebook told Reuters on Thursday. 

Facebook and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Top app makers in recent weeks have started to speak out against Apple and its App Store policies. Epic Games, for example, tested Apple’s policy by sidestepping the 30% rule in an update to its hit game Fortnite, and then sued after Apple removed the game from the App Store

Apple has argued that it tries to keep a level playing field for all developers and that it takes a standard 30% cut from all in-app purchases.

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Epic Games and Spotify are founder-members of a new 'anti-app-tax' organization – Notebookcheck.net

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Deirdre O’Donnell, 2020-09-25 (Update: 2020-09-25)

I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general.
This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.

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Amazon's new Ring security camera will fly around your home – BNN

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Amazon.com Inc. has built a camera on a small drone designed to fly around the house and investigate suspicious activity.

The Ring Always Home Cam moves autonomously and is equipped with an indoor camera, giving users multiple view points of their homes. The drone can take a path around the home that’s pre-determined by the user and only records when in flight, not when docked, the company said.

The device will be available in 2021 for US$250, the company said during a live-stream event on Thursday.

Ring, based in southern California, makes internet-connected doorbells and home cameras. Since Amazon’s acquisition of the startup in early 2018, it has seen sales surge. Ring has also been beset by privacy concerns, from hacks of its products due to weak passwords, to reports of employees sharing unencrypted user videos.

On Thursday, Ring said it would enable end-to-end encryption for user videos.

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Amazon's new Ring camera is actually a flying drone — for inside your house – CNET

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Ring

Ring on Thursday introduced a new product to its growing lineup of smart home devices — the Ring Always Home Cam. Unlike the Amazon company’s other home security cameras, the Always Home Cam is a flying camera drone that docks when it isn’t in use. The Ring Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 and will cost $250. 

Along with this hardware announcement, Ring says you’ll be able to turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app’s Control Center “later this year” in an effort to improve the security of its devices. 


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A bit of Ring history

Before Ring was Ring, it was a startup called Bot Home Automation. Bot Home’s inaugural product, the 2014 Doorbot, was among the first video doorbells on the market. It had a lot of problems, however — clunky design, limited features and poor performance. Then Bot Home rebranded to Ring, was purchased by Amazon and now sells a growing variety of smart home security and automation devices and related accessories.

Ring has been in the news for its Neighbors program partnership with law enforcement agencies, which allows Ring customers to share their saved video clips. Privacy advocates express concern about how Ring and law enforcement agencies collect and use the information they gather. Ring also has patents for facial recognition technology that would scan through law enforcement databases. 

Security has also been a big topic of conversation, following user data being exposed in December 2018. This prompted Ring to require two-factor authentication and add a privacy and security Control Center in the app where customers can more easily find and make changes to their personal account settings. 

The Always Home Cam and end-to-end encryption

Ring says the Always Home Cam travels on a set path you designate — it can’t be controlled manually — and you can view the feed live in the Ring app. “The path is entirely determined by the customer … you actually walk the device around your home and … train it on that path and can set different waypoints for the camera to fly to,” Ring President Leila Rouhi told me over the phone. 

It has HD live streaming and a 5-minute runtime, and takes about an hour to charge. Rouhi said that short runtime was deliberate, to make it a “purpose-driven security camera.” 

It can work with the Ring Alarm security kit, so that if activity is detected while your security system is set to away mode, the Always Home Cam is supposed to leave its dock and fly around to see what’s happening. 

As far as privacy goes, the Always Home Cam’s camera is hidden when it’s docked and should only begin to record when it leaves the dock and flies around your house. It’s designed to hum so you know when it’s flying and recording. The camera is also equipped with “obstacle avoidance technology,” so it should avoid things in its path. If it does sense an obstacle in the way of its normal path, the camera will return to its dock and send an alert, letting you know it couldn’t complete its pass around your home. 

Ring has also added a video encryption page to its Control Center privacy and security landing page. After end-to-end encryption becomes available later this year, customers should be able to turn on the feature for each individual compatible device. Ring will be providing a list of compatible devices later this year.

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