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Apple had its big week. Now it’s Amazon’s turn




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This week, it was Apple’s turn. Thursday, the spotlight turns to Amazon.

We saw new editions of the Apple Watch and iPad at Apple’s Tuesday event, a new fitness subscription service and family plan to buy watches for the kids, without having to tie them to their own iPhone. It also opened up the floodgates to iOS14, Apple’s mobile operating system upgrade.

Thursday, think the Alexa personal assistant and new ways the personal assistant can be put into .

At last year’s event, Amazon introduced fancy, higher-resolution speakers, a low-end Echo Dot speaker with a clock and buds that brought Alexa into the ear.

The fun of the Amazon events, which this year, virtual, are the wild and headline grabbing new concepts. In 2018, it was the talking microwave that responded to Alexa, while in 2019, Amazon countered with glasses that allowed you talk to Alexa as you strolled down the street.

While the microwave did get released, (and sells for $59.99,) the $179 Echo Frames were introduced as an early invite-only product that a year later hasn’t changed. It’s still only available via an invite.

What new concept could Amazon come up with this year?

Bret Kinsella, the editor of the website, which tracks voice computing, thinks Amazon’s Fire TV Edition line of talking TVs is ripe for a video meeting upgrade.

“That’s likely to be a fruitful area to explore,” he says.

Think about it: A pandemic has sent people home to do their work and take their meetings out of the office, to study in school and communicate with friends—all virtually—mostly on crappy, low-resolution, built-in laptop webcams.

What if they could do it from the living room and talk and learn on Zoom, Google Meet, Webex or other video programs?

The Echo Show, Amazon’s product to marry Alexa with video, has small screens, compared to the TV, and while you can check YouTube recipes and see your digital pictures displayed, it’s missed out on video meetings. That will change when one Echo Show model welcomes Zoom to the fold later in the year, but Kinsella says that’s not enough.

“The Echo Show is a small screen, and isn’t in a place where the family can all gather round,” he says. “The TV makes more sense.”

(Facebook offers this exact product, Portal TV, a $150 product that connects to the TV via HDMI and comes with a separate remote control. But families have to be willing to hand over even more personal information and tracking information to the social network.)

Amazon is one of a handful of companies that have really benefited from the pandemic, as fewer people were willing to walk into physical stores and instead have been buying products online. In its recent earnings report, Amazon said revenues rose 40% to $89 billion, from $63.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Beyond possible new TVs, Amazon is expected to introduce a slew of updated Echo speakers and new smarthome products, including updates from Ring’s video doorbell division. (Sorry, folks. Unlike Apple and Samsung, Amazon isn’t live streaming the event for the public but will live blog it on the company website with text and pictures instead.)

Will that whet your appetite for buying new tech gear this year? If not, you have two more major consumer tech events to look forward to. On Sept. 30, Google is staging a virtual event (open to the public) to show off a new edition of the Chromecast streaming player and an updated Pixel 5 smartphone.

And then in October, the company that makes the best-selling consumer tech device, the iPhone, will stage a second (open to the public) event, devoted to showing off what’s expected to be four new editions of the Apple iPhone. This year, the iPhone is expected to be able to connect to the new ultra-fast 5G wireless networks.

Get out your wallets, everyone.

In other tech news this week

TikTok/WeChat. The Trump administration banned the downloads of Chinese-based apps TikTok and WeChat as of midnight, Sunday, due to security concerns.

Sony PlayStation5 units announced but quickly became really hard to get.The PS5 launches Nov. 12 in the U.S., starting at $399.99 for a digital edition and $499.99 for a standard model featuring an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive. A new edition of the Microsoft Xbox will be out Nov. 10.

At Apple’s event, it introduced two new editions of the Apple Watch and left the 2017 Series 3 edition in the lineup. How do they stack up? We compare.

Traffic app Waze introduced a slew of new tools, including the ability to let you know which lane to drive in, for speedier results.

After three months of trying to get onto the Roku streaming platform, it was announced Friday that the Comcast owned streamer would finally join the world’s most viewed streamer in the “coming weeks.” Peacock showcases mostly shows and movies from the NBC Universal library.

This week’s Talking Tech podcasts

Waze: get involved! Noam Bardin, the CEO of traffic app Waze says that if we use the app more often, it will help ease individual traffic routes.

Unpacking the Apple 9/25 event: KTLA’s Rich DeMuro (@richontech) joins me to weigh in on the new Apple Watch, iPad and those subscription offers.

Parents are furious that Oculus play will require a Facebook ID. U.S. TODAY consumer tech editor Michelle Maltais joins me to weigh in.

Cousin Brucie is back on WABC radio, on phones, tablets and computers. The legendary New York DJ calls into Talking Tech to tell listeners all about it.

Previewing Amazon:’s Bret Kinsella joins me to dream about what we’ll see from Amazon’s Thursdaay Alexa event.

Zoom finally conferences in Alexa, Google and Facebook on Echo Show, Portal and Nest Hub Max

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Apple had its big week. Now it’s Amazon’s turn (2020, September 21)
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european union: EU must tighten rules on surveillance tech exports: Rights groups – Latest News




Digital rights campaigners called on the EU on Monday to tighten export controls on surveillance tools such as facial recognition systems to prevent European technology being used in countries where it could fuel human rights abuses.

Sales of digital surveillance systems are not currently restricted by the European Union despite posing risks to privacy and other freedoms in countries that lack adequate safeguards, Amnesty International said in a report.

“These technologies can be exported freely to every buyer around the globe,” said the report, which was published as the European Parliament and EU member states prepare to review the bloc’s export rules.

“The EU exports regulation framework needs fixing, and it needs it fast.”

It called for the technology to be treated in the same way as goods with dual civilian and military use, meaning export deals could be blocked if judged to pose a significant threat to human rights.

Amnesty said it had conducted an investigation that found several European companies had sold digital monitoring systems to China.

China’s efforts to build one of the world’s most sophisticated surveillance technology networks, with hundreds of millions of cameras in public places, have drawn criticism from human rights advocates.

Morpho, a French company that later became part of IDEMIA, supplied facial recognition equipment to Shanghai police in 2015, the Amnesty report said.

IDEMIA said the sale had involved an old-generation system for the identification of faces on recorded footage rather than live surveillance, adding it “did not and does not sell facial recognition technologies to China”.

Amnesty’s probe also found Swedish company Axis Communications had been selling surveillance cameras to Chinese law enforcement agencies since 2012.

The Lund-based company said network video solutions were used all over the world to help increase security and safety, adding that it had “export control mechanisms” and a “systematic screening of customers”.

Meanwhile, Dutch company Noldus Information Technology sold emotion recognition systems to Chinese authorities and universities, according to Amnesty.

Noldus said it was technically impossible to use its software – designed for the study of human behaviour – for the purposes of mass surveillance.

“We have never come across a single instance where human rights were violated with the aid of our software,” it said in a statement, adding that Amnesty had not provided evidence to the contrary and had declined an offer to inspect the software.

Amnesty said individual member states were blocking proposals by the EU Parliament and EU Commission for tougher controls.

A spokeswoman for the Council of the European Union, which represents the member states, said negotiations to review the regulations were ongoing.

Ella Jakubowska, policy and campaigns officer at European digital rights group EDRi, welcomed Amnesty’s report, saying biometric mass surveillance technologies “run an enormous risk of fundamental rights violations”.

“EDRi is currently urging the EU to ban biometric mass surveillance technologies within the EU – and this certainly means that we are also against the use of these dystopian technologies elsewhere,” she said.

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Chrome 86 to feature improved password reset capabilities




Many modern web browsers include functionality to determine if saved passwords have been leaked in the past. Companies like Google or Mozilla maintain databases of leaked passwords and compare the hashes of these against passwords stored by users in the browser. If a match is found, the password has been leaked and is considered insecure.

A suggestion to reset the password is then displayed to the user. That process needs to be done manually as the user needs to visit the site the password was saved for and use the available password reset functionality on that site. Browsers may provide a link to the site but that is usually all the help that users get.

Apple introduced a new security feature in Safari that establishes a fixed path for password reset operations. The path uses the format /.well-known/change-password; since it is known, Apple may redirect users directly to the path if a password needs to be reset instead of the homepage of the service. The URL redirects automatically to the actual password reset page of the site.

Google plans to introduce support for the format in Chrome 86. The upcoming version of the web browser is expected to be released on October 6, 2020.

chrome change password link

Chrome displays a change password button next to compromised passwords. A click on the button loads the password reset page if the site in question supports the “/.well-known/change-password” format, or to the site’s homepage if there is no other fallback that Google knowns about.

An “Intent to Ship” post on the official Blink Dev group confirms Google’s plan to ship the feature in the browser.

Websites can set a well-known change-password URL using the format, ‘/.well-known/change-password’, to allow users to quickly navigate to a page allowing them to change their password. Chrome will leverage this URL to help users easily change their weak / compromised passwords following a bulk password check (Desktop, Android, iOS). We want to ship this to 100% in M86.

Tip: Chrome Beta and Canary uses may enable the feature right now by loading chrome://flags/#well-known-change-password in the browser’s address bar and setting the experimental flag, called Support for .well-known/change-password’, to Enabled, and restarting the browser afterwards.

chrome well known password

Google published an article about the new feature on its Web Dev website already in which it informs webmasters and companies about the new format.

Major web companies, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub and WordPress, use the format already on their sites to improve the resetting of passwords.

Apple’s Safari browser supports the feature since 2019. Google plans to introduce support in Chrome 86, and Mozilla considers it worth prototyping but has not decided yet whether the feature will be implemented in the Firefox web browser. Firefox users may keep track of this bug on Bugzilla to find out if the feature does get implemented in the browser.

Now You: Would you use such a feature, if your favorite browser/password manager would implement it? (via Bleeping Computer)


Chrome 86 to feature improved password reset capabilities

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Chrome 86 to feature improved password reset capabilities


Google plans to improve the resetting of leaked passwords in the Chrome browser by adding support for the “/.well-known/change-password” password reset format in Chrome 86.


Martin Brinkmann


Ghacks Technology News



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