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Coronavirus: Apple and France in stand-off over contact-tracing app – BBC News



France is pressing Apple to let its forthcoming coronavirus contract-tracing app work in the background on iPhones without building in the privacy measures the US company wants.

The country’s digital minister confirmed the request in an interview given to Bloomberg.

France’s system would let it glean more information about participating smartphone owners than Apple and its partner Google want to allow.

Privacy experts view it as a test case.

“Apple has no reason to agree to this demand and it would open the door to many other requests from other countries and entities,” Prof Olivier Blazy from the country’s University of Limoges, told BBC News.

“As a Frenchman, I think it would be useful to avoid being dependent on the Google-Apple solution but I think it’s strange that the government strategy relies on trying to convince Apple to do something that is against its interest, with no incentive to do so.”

Apple and Google announced on 10 April they were working together to provide a software building-block – known as an application programming interface (API) – that will let authorised Covid-19 contact-tracing apps work more efficiently.

Contact-tracing apps work by logging every time two or more users are close to each other for a substantial period of time.

If one device owner is subsequently diagnosed as being likely to have the virus, an alert can be sent to those they could have infected, who might be asked to self-isolate.

By using such an app in conjunction with other measures, it would in theory be possible to end wider lockdowns and still suppress the disease, so long as enough people take part.

Apple and Google’s method relies on using Bluetooth signals to detect matches.

But they have deliberately designed it so neither they nor the apps’ creators can see who has been given a warning.

The companies have said this is to guarantee “strong protections around user privacy”, which in turn should encourage adoption.

By contrast, Inria – the French institute developing its StopCovid app – has developed a system of its own, called Robert (robust and privacy-preserving proximity tracing protocol).

It published details about it on Sunday on the code-sharing site Github.

And although the French government has promised adoption of the app will be voluntary and involve anonymised data, the document reveals there would be ways to “re-identify users or to infer their contact graphs” if desired.

“It’s a misnomer to call it a privacy-preserving protocol,” said University of Oxford computer scientist Prof Max van Kleek, who prefers the Apple-Google design.

“It does preserve privacy between users but not between the user and the government.

“And that leads to the risk that the government later repurposes the system to make sure that people obey a quarantine or other kinds of things the state might want to know.”

The problem for Inria – and other countries developing their own contact-tracing apps – is Apple currently will not allow Bluetooth-based track-and-tracing to be carried out in the background.

So to work, the apps would have to remain active and on screen, limiting what else owners could do with their handsets and taking an extra toll on battery life.

The developers of Singapore’s TraceTogether app attempted to get round this problem by offering a Power Save mode, which dims the display.

But users have still complained of being unable to make calls or use other apps at the same time and having accidentally bumped the app into the background when their handset was in their pocket.

And this has discouraged people from using it.

“We’re asking Apple to lift the technical hurdle to allow us to develop a sovereign European health solution that will be tied to our health system,” France’s Digital Minister, Cedric O, told Bloomberg.

A spokesman for Apple referred BBC News to its earlier comments about privacy.

NHSX – which is testing an app of its own for the UK – faces a similar quandary and remains in discussions with Apple and Google about the matter.

“Apple and Google have a vested interest in protecting the privacy of their end-users,” Prof Van Kleek said.

“That’s not just from governments but also from potentially malicious adversaries.

“If you collect sensitive data, then it becomes more likely that that data will be leaked at some point, so from a cyber-security perspective there’s lots of good reasons not to do so.”

French lawmakers will vote on whether to proceed with the app, after the country’s government backed down from an original plan to let MPs only debate but not decide the measure.

Assuming they support the initiative, Mr O has said he hopes to launch the tool on 11 May.

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MDA gets $35.3 million contract from Canadian Space Agency for Canadarm 3 components – CTV News



The Canadian Space Agency has awarded a contract worth $35.3 million to MDA Ltd. to design a key component of Canadarm 3.

The funds will be used to design Gateway External Robotics Interfaces or grapple fixtures for Canadarm 3, which is Canada’s contribution to the United States-led Lunar Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the moon.

The contract is a follow-on to the first phase of interface work awarded in August 2019. A construction phase will likely be awarded in about a year.

The first elements of Gateway will launch in 2024, with Canadarm 3 scheduled to launch two years later.

The contract is the third awarded to MDA for the multi-phase Canadarm 3 program valued at more than $1 billion.

Canadarm flew on 90 space shuttle missions after debuting in 1981. Canadarm 2 has been operating on the International Space Station for more than 20 years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.

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Motorola's next Edge flagship phone might drop the curved display – Yahoo Canada Shine On



Motorola might soon release a sequel to its flagship Edge phones — albeit without their signature feature. OnLeaks and Pricebaba have shared what they say are CAD-based renders of the standard Edge 20, and Motorola appears to have dropped the highly curved “endless” display in favor of a 6.7-inch flat screen. It would be just another phone on the outside, even if the 120Hz,1080p panel could make it feel extra-responsive.

You’d also get a triple rear camera system that reportedly includes a 108MP primary sensor, a 16MP secondary cam and an 8MP tertiary sensor (likely for telephoto and wide-angle shots). This regular Edge 20 model would be an upper mid-tier device on the inside between a Snapdragon 778G chip, up to 8GB of RAM, a peak 256GB of storage and a 4,000mAh battery.

There is a chance the rumored Edge 20 Pro would keep the curved screen, and it might offer improved performance from the Snapdragon 870. An Edge 20 Lite is supposedly in the works as well. If Motorola does use this design for the mainstream Edge 20, though, it signals a change of tack. Rather than relying on an eye-catching (if somewhat impractical) design for the entire Edge line, it would focus on delivering value for the money. It’s just a question of whether or not the price will be low enough to draw you away from rivals.

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Oppo Watch 2 leaks ahead of July 27 launch, but will it get the new Wear OS 3? – Android Authority



Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority


  • Renders of the Oppo Watch 2 have leaked.
  • Successor to the Wear OS-powered Oppo Watch, the new wearable will launch on July 27.

In the four images of the Oppo Watch 2 leaked by Blass, we see a square-shaped device that looks akin to its predecessor. It’s got two buttons on the right side and the renders depict blue, red, and black colorways for the straps.

One of the leaked images of the Oppo Watch 2 shows that it’ll have the ability to receive calls, something we also saw on the original Oppo Watch. A retail listing of the smartwatch on China’s confirms that it’ll feature eSIM support in its home market. This was also the case with the previous Oppo Watch. However, it remains to be seen if the second-gen Oppo Watch will come with eSIM capabilities globally.

Meanwhile, another render of the Oppo Watch 2 shows map directions on display. This suggests the device could come with built-in GPS like the first-gen Oppo Watch.

Oppo Watch 2 specs

Under the hood, the Oppo Watch 2 could be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus SoC coupled with the Ambiq Apollo 4s coprocessor. The second chip is expected to help the smartwatch run a low-powered RTOS in addition to the main operating system.

As for the latter, it’s unclear if the Oppo Watch 2 will feature Wear OS this time around. With the Snapdragon 4100 Plus at its core, the wearable should technically be able to run Google’s new Wear OS 3. However, Google recently shared a list of current and future supported devices for the software and the Oppo Watch 2 wasn’t on it. That said, things could change by the time the Oppo Watch 2 steps out of China.

Elsewhere, the Oppo Watch 2 is rumored to have seven models divided into 42mm and 46mm sizes. It might get 16GB of storage, up from 8GB on the current model. It is also tipped to feature stress detection, remote camera control, a tweaked UI, and a new Relax app. However, these findings only pertain to the Chinese model of the smartwatch.

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