Curious about Everything

Month: August 2021

South Korea passed a bill that prevents Google and Apple from restricting app developers to their built-in payment systems, challenging the tech giants’ dominance over purchases and threatening to stem the flow of lucrative 30% commissions

Jiyoung Sohn, Wall Street Journal ($Paywall) »

A bill passed Tuesday by South Korea’s National Assembly is the first in the world to dent the tech giants’ dominance over how apps on their platforms sell their digital goods. It will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in, whose party strongly endorsed the legislation.

The law amends South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act to prevent large app-market operators from requiring the use of their in-app purchasing systems. It also bans operators from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or deleting them from the marketplace — provisions meant to head off retaliation against app makers.

Companies that fail to comply could be fined up to 3% of their South Korea revenue by the Korea Communications Commission, the country’s media regulator.

Update »

Apple provided MacRumors with the following statement »

The Telecommunications Business Act will put users who purchase digital goods from other sources at risk of fraud, undermine their privacy protections, make it difficult to manage their purchases, and features like “Ask to Buy” and Parental Controls will become less effective. We believe user trust in App Store purchases will decrease as a result of this legislation — leading to fewer opportunities for the over 482,000 registered developers in Korea who have earned more than KRW8.55 trillion to date with Apple.

More » The Verge

China cuts children’s online gaming to one hour

BBC »

The National Press and Publication Administration told state-run news agency Xinhua that game-playing would be only allowed between 8pm to 9pm.

It also instructed gaming companies to prevent children playing outside these times.

Earlier this month a state media outlet branded online games “spiritual opium”.

Dying in the name of vaccine freedom

NY Times via YouTube »

In the video above, Alexander Stockton, a producer on the Opinion Video team, explores two of the main reasons the number of Covid cases is soaring once again in the United States: vaccine hesitancy and refusal.

“It’s hard to watch the pandemic drag on as Americans refuse the vaccine in the name of freedom,” he says.

Seeking understanding, Mr. Stockton travels to Mountain Home, Ark., in the Ozarks, a region with galloping contagion and — not unrelated — abysmal vaccination rates.

He finds that a range of feelings and beliefs underpins the low rates — including fear, skepticism and a libertarian strain of defiance.

This doubt even extends to the staff at a regional hospital, where about half of the medical personnel are not vaccinated — even while the intensive care unit is crowded with unvaccinated Covid patients fighting for their lives.

Mountain Home — like the United States as a whole — is caught in a tug of war between private liberty and public health. But Mr. Stockton suggests that unless government upholds its duty to protect Americans, keeping the common good in mind, this may be a battle with no end.

Edward Snowden » Apple Just Declared War on Your Privacy

Edward Snowden, via Substack »

By now you’ve probably heard that Apple plans to push a new and uniquely intrusive surveillance system out to many of the more than one billion iPhones it has sold, which all run the behemoth’s proprietary, take-it-or-leave-it software. This new offensive is tentatively slated to begin with the launch of iOS 15⁠—almost certainly in mid-September⁠—with the devices of its US user-base designated as the initial targets. We’re told that other countries will be spared, but not for long.

You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned which problem it is that Apple is purporting to solve. Why? Because it doesn’t matter.

Canada is headed for a federal election

After leading Canadians through a pandemic over the past year and a half, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called an election.

CBC

Following a meeting with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau this morning, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon approved his request to dissolve Parliament, triggering the issuing of the election writs and formally beginning Canada’s 44th federal election.

The campaign will last 36 days — the minimum campaign length permitted by law.

In spite of the constant interference of the opposition parties, namely the Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party, and Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, Canada is leading the world in the percentage of population of vaccinated against the COVID-19.

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