Last April, the Kremlin ordered a ban on the private messaging app Telegram, blocking millions of IP addresses that formed Amazon and Google's clouds in order to prevent users from accessing the service; not only was it an ominous moment in the evolution of the internet as a system for oppressive control, it was also an object lesson in how internet concentration has made the internet more susceptible to censorship and control.
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It's still a few months down the road but, if you're an Android user, like I am more and more, these days, there's reason for celebration: Fortnite is finally coming to the platform.
Fortnight has been at the top of the hot game dog pile in the iOS App Store for some time now. And no wonder: it's accessible, fun, looks great and, at least on more recent iPhone handsets, plays like a dream. According to TechCrunch, prior to bringing the game to iOS, Epic Games was making $126 million in revenue off the title. With this being the case, it makes sense that they'd throw all of the resources possible to make Fortnight playable on every single platform on the planet. That Android users would soon be able to crush any hope they have of being productive throughout their day wasn't the only thing that Epic had to say about the game, either.
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That news comes amid a flurry of other Fornite related announcements this week. Earlier this morning, Epic unveiled a Battle Royale competition with a large in-game cash prize. This morning, the company also laid out plans to bring voice chat and improved gameplay and controls to the mobile side of things. Stats are coming to mobile, as well, along with a reduced install size.
While I prefer playing shooters, survival games and other twitchy fare that requires a fine touch with a keyboard, mouse or gamepad (I know you can can use all of that with Android, but it feels gross to haul those around with a smartphone,) Having the option to play a huge title like this on the go, no matter whether I'm rocking an iPhone or my OnePlus handset at the time, is pretty great.
Signal is an encrypted messaging app for smartphones and desktops that I and a lot of other folks use on a daily basis to communicate with discretion and security. I like it so much that I've moved away from using other services on my iOS and Android phones to using Signal for all of the texting I do, even with those who don't use the app. Unfortunately, according to The Verge, the Signal team is having a difficult time trying to provide its services to users in the UAE, Egypt and Oman, where the app has been banned by the government. Considering the fact that these states aren't known for treating political dissidents and minorities none too well, that's a big deal. For some people, encrypted comms are essential to avoiding incarceration or worse.
The crux of Signal's issues with providing services to users in these countries is that Amazon, whose CloudFront web services Signal's parent company, Open Whisper System, uses, has banned domain-fronting. Domain-fronting, put simply, is a technique for making traffic from one site look like it's from another site. In an email received by Open Whisper System's founder, Moxie Marlinspike (best damn name in the business,) the General Manager of Amazon CloudFront called Open Whisper Systems' domain-fronting out, telling Marlinspike that Amazon would love to have their business, but not his company refuses to comply with their no domain-fronting policies.
From the email:
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When access to Signal was originally censored in Egypt, Oman, Qatar, and UAE, we responded by through Google App Engine.
Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's devastating report on the dozens of invasive, dangerous "trackers" hidden in common Android apps was generated by writing code that spied on their target devices' internal operations, uncovering all manner of sneaking trickery.
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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
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On June 23rd, 2017, a
lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper
that said that our new
Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's
an English article
). That's just wrong.
This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as
important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it
protect and benefit Italians.
Police in China's Zhejiang announced that they worked with colleagues in four provinces to arrest 22 suspects in a data-theft ring that raided Apple's internal networks for Iphone owners' sensitive personal information ("names, phone numbers, Apple IDs, and other data") which they sold to criminals for as little as $1.50. Read the rest
Motherboard says a source told them that "an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify" against the state's Right to Repair bill, which requires companies to make it easy for their customers to choose from a variety of repair options, from official channels to third parties to DIY. Read the rest
Apple has rejected Spotify's latest app for inclusion in the Ios App Store, citing its rules against app vendors processing their own payments; Apple requires software vendors to pay to use Apple's own payment processor -- which collects hefty commissions -- in their apps. Read the rest
Liyla and the Shadows of War (Google Play link) is a game about a child's struggles living in the Gaza strip, and Apple says it is ineligible for consideration for inclusion in the Ios App Store because it would be "more appropriate to categorize your app in News or Reference for example." Read the rest
"TSA Randomizer" is an Ipad app that tells TSA official swhich search-lane to send fliers down, randomly directing some of them to secondary screening. Read the rest
As part of its big iPhone/iPad launch event today in Cupertino, Apple also released a software update that fixes a flaw which made it possible for iCloud-stored images or video sent via iMessage to be decrypted by third parties. Today's iOS update also adds a number of cool new features. Read the rest
Apple today unveiled a teaser of what's in store in the latest iOS release, 9.3. Among the “numerous innovations” promised: a blue light dimmer to “help you get a good night’s sleep.” Read the rest
It's low-key; solving one hundred of these feels like an attainable goal. I mean, probably. Try it.
The Metadata+ app which tracks U.S. military drone strikes by was created by Josh Begley, research editor for The Intercept. Begley changed its name from Drones+ after it was rejected as "objectionable" by Apple five times. Read the rest