The Performative-Legal-Compliance Edition Friday, December 3, 2021

How Big Tech Turns Privacy Laws Into Privacy Theater, by Ari Ezra Waldman, Slate

Not only is there no law against check-box privacy, but after decades of neoliberal and anti-regulatory hegemony, performative legal compliance is what passes for public governance. We need an entirely new way of thinking about and writing privacy laws, because Big Tech has gotten too good at manipulating process-based laws for its own benefit. Instead, we should be thinking about: interrogating and regulating the algorithms on which the information economy is based; strict limits on data collection; criminal and civil liabilities for executives who lie to us about our privacy; strong labor protections for employees so management can’t fire someone who does research that challenges the bottom line or speaks up against predatory and data extractive behavior; civil rights remedies for data-driven discrimination; and, ultimately, structural changes in the relationship between public institutions and the information industry.

FCC Honors Apple With An Award For iOS 14 Accessibility Features, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said that "during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and urgency," Apple and the other winners, "advanced accessibility in a way that made a material impact on people's lives."

"We are so honored to receive this," Apple's senior director, Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, said. "We're humbled and honoured to be among those recognised today for all the honorees the work we're celebrating here is critical because it helps lay the foundation necessary for a more equitable world."

Apple’s Frontline Employees Are Struggling To Survive, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

When something goes wrong — a bad manager, a missed paycheck, an untenable onslaught of work — many say they have no one to turn to for help. “Corporate makes decisions based on what they think will work in the stores without talking to people who work in the stores,” a former colleague says.

This struggle echoes a complaint made by some employees in Cupertino, who’ve said that the employee relations team — Apple’s version of human resources — is more concerned with protecting the company than its workforce.

But hourly workers at Apple may have it even worse. The employees who spoke to The Verge say that while the company is hyper concerned with customers, it treats its retail and customer service staff as an afterthought.


'From Apple Music With Love' Promo Offers 'Exclusive Holiday Gifts' For Subscribers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that over the next week, it will roll out “exclusive gifts to Apple Music users,” including exclusive EPs, playlists, and more.

Sky Tonight App Review, by Ian Evenden,

Sky Tonight is more focused on the identification of objects — what’s that bright dot? — than on visual effects and 3D models. It brings together a lot of disparate information in one place, and can predict your likely chances of success on a star-gazing expedition based on weather and light pollution, as well as the phase of the Moon and the time of sunset.

Cursor Pro Review: Enhance Your Mac's Cursor With A Halo, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

While Zoom and some other meeting tools offer their own cursor highlight option, none is nearly as configurable as Cursor Pro.


Kid Mode, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

Essentially, Spotify believes my favorite music the past few years has been Raffi, Elmo, and Randy Newman. Don’t get me wrong, each is a great artist. But each is a musical god in the mind of a one, two, and three year old.

This is cute. But when it comes to actual recommendations, it’s decidedly less cute. It’s quite annoying depending on the situation. So much so that I have not one, but two streaming music services which I pay for, despite them having basically the exact same content. Apple Music is my “adult” service, whereas Spotify is my “kid” service.

Apple Legal Filing Indicates It Intends To Collect Commission Regardless Of Whether Developers Use IAP Or A Competing Payments Platform, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a related legal filing, Apple indicates that it is considering charging a commission on any such transactions that are initiated from within an app, even though they are not using In-App Purchase.

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My weekend is here. Time to switch projects on my Mac. :-)


Thanks for reading.