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Apple reopening 25 more U.S. stores, will soon top 100 worldwide – Financial Post

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Apple Inc will this week reopen more than 25 of its branded stores in the United States, a company spokesman said on Sunday, continuing a gradual process that has unlocked doors at nearly a fifth of its worldwide retail outlets.

The iPhone maker in March shut all its stores outside of Greater China in response to the spread of the coronavirus. It started shutting its China stores in January and reopened them by mid-March.

“Our commitment is to reopen our stores when we are confident the environment is safe,” Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s head of retail, wrote on Sunday in a note on the company’s website.

The stores will impose social-distancing rules, limit occupancy and some will offer only curbside or storefront service, she said.

Last week, Apple reopened its first five stores in the United States, requiring customers and employees to undergo temperature checks and wear masks before entering the premises.

Apple has 510 stores worldwide and 271 in the United States. The website 9to5Mac reported that the company would reopen 10 of its stores in Italy beginning on Tuesday. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Peter Cooney)

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Google faces US$5b lawsuit in US for tracking 'private' Internet use – The Straits Times

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NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Google was sued on Tuesday (June 2) in a proposed class action accusing the Internet search company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their Internet use through browsers set in “private” mode.

The lawsuit seeks at least US$5 billion (S$7 billion), accusing the Alphabet Inc unit of surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse, despite their using what Google calls Incognito mode.

According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.

This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favourite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said.

Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorised data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone”, the complaint said.

Mr Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims.

“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,” he said.

While users may view private browsing as a safe haven from watchful eyes, computer security researchers have long raised concern that Google and rivals might augment user profiles by tracking people’s identities across different browsing modes, combining data from private and ordinary Internet surfing.

The complaint said the proposed class likely includes “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the Internet in “private” mode.

It seeks at least US$5,000 of damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

Boies Schiller & Flexner represents the plaintiffs Mr Chasom Brown, Ms Maria Nguyen and Mr William Byatt.

The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.

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Google facing $5bn lawsuit for tracking in ‘private’ mode – The Irish Times

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Google surreptitiously amasses billions of bits of information – every day – about internet users even if they opt out of sharing their information, three consumers alleged in a proposed class action lawsuit.

“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.

Even as it scoops up information, the search-engine giant assures users – falsely – that they’re in control of what they share with the company, according to the suit, which includes claims for invasion of privacy and violations of federal wiretapping law.

The case was filed by Boies Schiller Flexner, a high-profile litigation firm that previously defended Uber when the ride-hailing company was accused three years ago by Alphabet’s self-driving unit of stealing trade secrets.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the suit, the company collects information, including IP addresses and browsing histories, whenever users visit web pages or use an app tied to common Google services, such as Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager. This makes “Google ‘one stop shopping’ for any government, private, or criminal actor who wants to undermine individuals’ privacy, security, or freedom,” the consumers allege.

A consumer suit accusing Google of illegally tracking and storing geolocation data with its mobile apps and operating system was thrown out by a California federal judge in December. Arizona’s attorney general filed a similar complaint last month. Google disputed the claim and said it’s looking forward to setting the record straight. – Bloomberg

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Remove China Apps Removed From Google Play for Violating Its Deceptive Behaviour Policy – Gadgets 360

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Remove China Apps has been pulled from Google Play. According to Google’s Deceptive Behaviour rules, an app cannot encourage users to remove third party apps, and do it was suspended, as the app was designed to help users uninstall Chinese apps from their Android smartphones. It was published on Google Play on May 17, and came into the limelight last week. The Remove China Apps even emerged as the top trending app on Google Play and crossed over 50 lakh downloads.

The app notably came to its existence at a time when anti-China sentiment is at peak in the country, for reasons including the coronavirus outbreak and India-China border dispute.

This is the second high profile app to be removed from the Google Play store this week. Just a few hours before Remove China Apps was removed, the Mitron app was also removed from the store. The app was removed for violating the store policies, after surging past 50 lakh downloads fuelled by anti-China sentiments.

The Indian Express first reported about the removal of the Remove China Apps app, but since then more details about the reasons for the removal have come to light. The makers of the Remove China Apps, OneTouch AppLabs, confirmed its suspension from Google Play through a tweet posted on late Tuesday. The Jaipur-based company claims on its website that while a large number of people were using the app to remove apps made by Chinese developers, it wasn’t aimed to “promote or force people to uninstall any of the application(s)” and developed “for educational purposes only.”

Google confirmed to Gadgets 360 that it took the decision to pull the Remove China Apps for violating Google Play’s Deceptive Behaviour Policy that doesn’t allow apps that “encourage or incentivise users into removing or disabling third-party apps” and “mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps”.

However, Google declined to provide further comment on the suspension.

Received public praise
The Remove China Apps received a large amount of positive reviews on Google Play, with an average rating of 4.9 stars. Its downloads also reached new levels shortly after getting popular on social media. The quick growth of the app suggested how a large number of smartphone users in India are looking for a solution to stay away from Chinese offerings. It’s clearly coincided with the ongoing measures by the government to cut off its ties with Beijing due to cross-border tensions.

Apps including TikTok have already faced a public outrage for being a Chinese platform. In contrast, the rise of the anti-China sentiment helped TikTok alternative Mitron that was initially believed to be an Indian app, though a recent report highlighted its link with Pakistan. The latter was, however, also recently pulled from Google Play for violating spam and repetitive content policies.


In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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