GitHub employees demand Microsoft cancels its contract with ICE

Microsoft is set to enter into a controversial contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and GitHub staff are demanding it’s cancelled.

The contract is worth $200,000 but ICE has repeatedly come under fire from rights campaigners after a string of abuses, including the highly-publicised separation and detention of migrant children from their families.

Here’s the open letter addressed to GitHub’s CEO and leadership team:

By Ryan Daws, 10 October 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Ethics, Git, Industry, Microsoft.

Beijing warns Apple to ‘think about the consequences’ after Hong Kong app controversy

China says Apple needs to “think about the consequences” after reinstating a Hong Kong protest app following a backlash.

Apple has found itself in an unwinnable position amid the Hong Kong protests against the Chinese government.

Earlier this week, Apple received backlash for banning HKMap Live – an app which crowdsources the locations of protests, police, tear gas, ambulances, water cannons, and more – from the App Store.

The developer of HKMap Live criticised Apple for the...

By Ryan Daws, 09 October 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, App Stores, Ethics, iOS, Mobile.

Tax Justice Network: Google dodged £1.5bn tax in the UK last year

Ethically-minded developers may want to know how much tax companies like Google are getting away with avoiding.

In an analysis for The Mirror, the Tax Justice Group estimates Google should have paid an eye-watering £1.5 billion extra in corporation tax last year.

The publication notes how this figure could have paid for 60,000 nurses for the UK's struggling national health service.

In 2018, Google paid just £67 million in...

By Ryan Daws, 08 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Cloud, Ethics, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Apple revokes Facebook’s enterprise developer certificate

Apple has put Facebook on the naughty step and revoked its enterprise developer certificate following a data-snooping app scandal.

For those who expected Facebook’s apparent disregard for data privacy to have culminated with the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, you may want to think again.

News broke yesterday that Facebook paid users as young as 13 to install a ‘research’ app that collects data of phone and web...

By Ryan Daws, 31 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Ethics, Facebook, Industry, Mobile, Platforms, Security.

'Efail' exploit circumvents PGP and S/MIME email encryption

If you rely on encrypted email via PGP or S/MIME, you may want to temporarily switch to a new form of communication, as serious issues have been found with how these standards are implemented in many popular email programs on Windows, Linux, macOS and Android.

Following an initial advisory on Monday, European researchers published an exploit called Efail in a paper called Breaking S/Mime and OpenPGP Email Encryption Using Exfiltration Channels.

The paper outlines...

By William Judd, 15 May 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Ethics, Hacking, Industry.

Firefox foils Facebook data-flinging with new Mozilla container extension

If you’re worried about what data Facebook may or may not be collecting after the Cambridge Analytica revelations, the good people at Mozilla have a workaround.

Facebook Container Extension, an extension of Firefox’s multi-account containers, enables users to browse Facebook while isolating identity into a separate blue tab, meaning users can play all the quizzes they like – this reporter assumes...

By James Bourne, 28 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Ethics, Facebook.

Legislators say ‘loot boxes’ are subject to gambling laws

Lawmakers have been examining whether so-called loot boxes should be subject to the same rules as casinos.

Loot boxes in games can often be bought for real money in return for a random selection of items. They’re designed to be addictive, yet can feature in games available to people under the legal gambling age in many countries.

‘Designed to lure kids into spending money’

By Ryan Daws, 23 November 2017, 2 comments. Categories: Ethics, Gaming, Industry.

Comply with COPPA or risk a lawsuit like Disney

If you build apps that are intended for children, make sure you comply with COPPA or risk a lawsuit similar to Disney.

The Walt Disney Company is facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to protect the personal information of children using its apps. Amanda Rushing, the complainant, filed the lawsuit on Thursday in the San Francisco/Oakland division of the United States District Court.

Four other affiliated defendants will join The Walt Disney Company including Disney Electronic Content, marketing platform...

By Ryan Daws, 08 August 2017, 1 comment. Categories: Advertising, Ethics, Industry, Marketing, Platforms.

Android developers who incentivise positive reviews will be punished

Google will now punish Android developers who incentivise users to leave positive reviews under new Play Store rules.

Fake reviews have long been the scourge of most app stores and shady third-party services are available which can automate reviews or even have staff manually leaving false positive reviews in a bid to boost the app’s rankings.

Google tackled these services (for the most part) with improvements to its algorithms which detect and filter these reviews, but cunning developers found another...

By Ryan Daws, 07 June 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Ethics, Industry, Platforms.

Talking Sense: Be sensible when creating apps for kids

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/jackscoldsweat)

There's a hoax from last year making the rounds on social networks again which targets the 'Talking Angela' game and claims that a paedophile is able to watch and engage with a child from behind the virtual cat character using the device's camera and prompt children into revealing personal details and behave in questionable ways. 

Although this was...

By Ryan Daws, 31 March 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apple, Ethics, Marketing.