Trending February 2024 # Border Dispute Seemingly Behind India’s Ban On Chinese Apps, As Apple Responds # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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It appears that a longstanding border dispute between India and China was behind India’s partial ban on Chinese apps from the country. In one of the more bizarre elements of the story, it has been reported that Indian and Chinese soldiers fought with clubs and rocks …

Background

The BBC describes last month’s incident which seemingly led to the app bans.

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese forces in a disputed Himalayan border area, Indian officials say.

The incident follows rising tensions, and is the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years. The Indian army initially said three of its soldiers had been killed, adding that both sides suffered casualties. But later on Tuesday, officials said a number of critically injured soldiers had died of their wounds.

India’s external affairs ministry accused China of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says violence between two armies high up in the Himalayas is very serious, and pressure will grow on the two nuclear powers not to allow a slide into full-scale conflict.

The disputed border is known as the Line of Actual Control, a vague line on a map which bears little resemblance to the actual situation on the ground.

Both sides have long been trying to guard against a war, with soldiers urged not to shoot at each other – leading to a report that rather cruder weapons were used.

Both sides insist no bullet has been fired in four decades, and the Indian army said on Tuesday that “no shots were fired” in this latest skirmish.

How a clash that did not involve an exchange of fire could prove so lethal is unclear. There are reports that it was fought with rocks and clubs.

India’s ban on Chinese apps

India banned 59 popular Chinese apps earlier this week, claiming that they threatened the ‘sovereignty and integrity’ of the country.

The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.

TechCrunch reports that both Apple and Google have now blocked access to the apps from their respective app stores.

Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi’s order and are preventing users in the world’s second largest internet market from accessing those apps […] Apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store […]

Thursday’s move from Apple and Google, whose software power nearly every smartphone on the planet, is the latest escalation in an unprecedented tension in recent times between China and India. A skirmish between the two neighbouring nations at a disputed Himalayan border site last month left 20 Indian soldiers dead, stoking historical tensions.

Photo: The Hindu

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Apple Ahead Of The Game As It Tackles Discrimination Based On India’s Caste System

A report today says that Apple is ahead of most large companies in tackling a form of discrimination which originates in India but has affected employee recruitment in Silicon Valley: the caste system.

Although the caste system is in part reflected in attitudes to skin color, discrimination on the basis of caste is not made explicitly illegal by current US law …

The caste system

While we’d normally open a piece like this with a succinct definition, that is virtually impossible in this case.

India’s caste system dates back to around 1500 BCE, and academics have had lengthy and unresolved arguments as to its exact origins and classifications. Indeed, in 1932 GS Ghurye – widely considered a founding figure in Indian sociology – said that caste was too complex to define.

We do not possess a real general definition of caste. It appears to me that any attempt at definition is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon.

However, there are at least connections between caste and skin tone.

Although in theory a dalits colour is not associated with caste, it can be said that due to the types of labour dalits are usually found working in, they are often identified as darker as or “dirtier” than those of different castes because they are more frequently exposed to the sun. In a country obsessed with light skin tone, it is often suggested that the caste system has affected the ways in which Indians view darker skin, with a stigma of dark skin attached to the lower castes.

Apple explicitly bans discrimination by caste

Today, India is said to be the top source of skilled foreign workers in the US tech sector, and a Reuters report says that Apple got ahead of its rivals by implementing a specific policy on caste.

America’s tech giants are taking a modern-day crash course in India’s ancient caste system, with Apple emerging as an early leader in policies to rid Silicon Valley of a rigid hierarchy that’s segregated Indians for generations.

Apple, the world’s biggest listed company, updated its general employee conduct policy about two years ago to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of caste, which it added alongside existing categories such as race, religion, gender, age and ancestry.

The inclusion of the new category, which hasn’t been previously reported, goes beyond U.S. discrimination laws, which do not explicitly ban casteism.

Apple reportedly introduced the policy after a claim of caste-based discrimination at Cisco.

California’s employment regulator sued Cisco Systems on behalf of a low-caste engineer who accused two higher-caste bosses of blocking his career.

Cisco denied that there was evidence of discrimination, but also argued that there was no case to answer as caste is not a legally protected class in California. Essentially the company was saying that it would have the legal right to discriminate on the basis of caste should it so desire; that case is still awaiting a court hearing.

While many tech companies are said to be unsure of how to address the issue, Apple tackled it head-on.

Apple’s main internal policy on workplace conduct, which was seen by Reuters, added reference to caste in the equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment sections after September 2023.

Apple confirmed that it “updated language a couple of years ago to reinforce that we prohibit discrimination or harassment based on caste.” It added that training provided to staff also explicitly mentions caste.

“Our teams assess our policies, training, processes and resources on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are comprehensive,” it said. “We have a diverse and global team, and are proud that our policies and actions reflect that.”

IBM does the same, but policies reviewed by Reuters showed that many tech giants don’t specifically prohibit caste-based discrimination outside of India (where it is illegal), including Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. All said that this would fall under their existing discrimination bans.

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Using Apple Pay: How To Avoid Scams And Dispute Charges

Apple Pay allows users to make payments using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac without using a physical payment method such as a credit card or cash. Apple Pay can be used to buy things in stores, in apps, online using Safari and for transit. Apple Pay can also be used to transfer money to another person through the Messages app. In this article we will discuss Apple Pay security issues: how to avoid scams, what to do if you have been scammed, and how to dispute a charge.

See also: Apple Pay Not Working? Fix

If you have never used Apple Pay, it is pretty easy to set up by adding a credit or debit card to your Wallet. You’ll just need to open the Wallet app, tap the plus sign, then follow the instructions to add your card. Apple Pay is accepted at many stores and restaurants, and for the stores that don’t accept Apple Pay (like Walmart), there are still ways to pay if you have an Apple Card. It makes it easy to pay with your iPhone (or Apple Watch.) No more digging out a card – or embarrassment if you forgot your wallet.

See also: iOS 14 Text Notification Not Working, Fix

In addition to paying for things at retail stores, Apple Pay provides users with the ability to transfer money to another individual. This convenient feature makes it so a person no longer needs to write a check or pay with cash when they want to send money to someone or make a payment to an individual. This allows people to avoid unnecessary trips to the bank, but like with other person-to-person money transfer services, it could be used by scammers trying to trick you into sending them money. Fortunately, with a little care, it shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid these scams.

See also: Watch App Crashing on iPhone, Fix

How to Avoid Scams

Apple Pay is one of many methods that people can use to send or receive money. All of these methods are vulnerable to scam attempts, however, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and avoid being scammed.

Review Payment Information Carefully

Make sure you are sending to the correct person, and also that you are sending the correct amount.

If there is a mistake with either the recipient or the amount of money, you can first simply ask to have your payment returned to you. You may also try to cancel your payment – see below.

See also: This Password has Appeared in a Data Leak: Security Recommendations on iPhone

How to Cancel or Dispute a Payment

If you have a payment you need to cancel.

In the Messages app, open the conversation with the payment you need to cancel. Tap on the payment.

The Wallet app should have opened after you tapped the payment. Find your payment under Latest Transactions and tap it.

If the option is available, tap Cancel Payment.

If you could not cancel the payment, that means the recipient has already accepted the payment. You can try asking the person if they will return your payment.

If you are unable to cancel your payment and if the recipient does not return your payment, you may contact Apple to dispute the charge.

Recent Articles:

Apple Responds To Location Tracking Controversy: “We Don’t Track Your Iphone”

Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.

The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.

The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).

No. This data is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form. Apple cannot identify the source of this data.

This data is not the iPhone’s location data—it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.

It shouldn’t. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below).

Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.

Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.

Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,

ceases backing up this cache, and

deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.

Steps To Take If You’Re Behind On Your Taxes

Tax season is a nearly universal source of stress for business owners. It’s especially fraught with anxiety if you have unpaid taxes. The longer your tax delinquency goes on, the more daunting the prospect of catching up becomes, especially as interest and penalties accumulate. You may feel your only option is hiding from the IRS, since any form of contact would constitute an admission of guilt or remind the IRS to audit your business. [Follow these tips to avoid a tax audit.]

However, it’s in your best interest to remedy the situation as soon as possible, and you may be surprised to learn the process isn’t as difficult as you’d guess. You may not even be in that much trouble (and if you are, it’s crucial to address that). Learn the steps to take if you’re past due – and the potential impact on your business.

Steps to take if you’re behind on your taxes

If you’re behind on your taxes, you must take immediate action to minimize the financial effects on your business. Follow these steps to get started.

1. Communicate with the IRS.

While it may seem like a faceless monolith, the IRS comprises people who are just trying to do their jobs and face considerable resistance in doing so. You may feel you’re at their mercy, but they face their own obstacles as they attempt to collect unpaid taxes. With that in mind, IRS officials appreciate when business owners are cooperative and communicative, and will often respond in kind. 

IRS notices are usually rife with frightening numbers and threats of additional fines. If you already had trouble paying the original owed amount, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when presented with mounting costs. However, the amount billed doesn’t necessarily reflect what you’ll ultimately have to pay. When you demonstrate a willingness to work with the IRS, you’re already on the path to reducing what you owe. You may even be able to negotiate your debt down to the original owed amount.

Respond to any requests for information from IRS agents (especially if you’ve been ignoring them before this), and be transparent about your situation. You may not want to acknowledge openly that you owe them money, but they’re already aware of that. IRS agents investigate when it becomes necessary – i.e., when they need further information and you don’t provide it. And if an investigation is the only way they can make successful contact with you, they won’t look upon you very favorably.

FYI

All the best accounting software can help you stay on top of your company’s finances year-round. Consistent accounting and these other tax-saving tips will likely mean fewer headaches during tax season.

3. Determine what options and resources are available to you.

It’s helpful to remember that, above all, the IRS wants to collect the money you owe. That’s what best serves its purpose as a government agency and the tax system as a whole. The IRS may be intimidating and can make your life much harder, but the agency isn’t interested in being punitive for the sake of it. The IRS is well aware it can only collect money if it actually exists. Accordingly, it provides options to make payment feasible for people and businesses in difficult situations.

If you can’t pay everything you owe, consider credit options such as an installment agreement, which is a payment plan through the IRS. If you make those payments on time, you won’t receive any additional penalties. (However, an installment agreement still carries interest, as well as its own processing fees.)

If an installment agreement isn’t feasible and you can demonstrate that paying the amount you owe would legitimately endanger your business, you may qualify for an offer in compromise, an agreement to settle your debt for less than the owed amount. [Related article: How to File Payroll Taxes]

Whatever route you ultimately take, it will make a difference to pay what you can as soon as possible (ideally when you file your tax return). Determine what’s currently doable, considering your income, assets, and other debts. Interest and penalties are calculated based on the remaining unpaid tax amount, so you can meaningfully reduce the total amount you pay, even if you seem to be only chipping away at it.

Editor’s note: Looking for tax debt relief for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

3. Consult a tax professional to avoid a repeat situation.

Business owners tend to fall behind on taxes for a simple reason: They think they can’t afford to pay the amount they owe. If taxes are yet another unmanageable business expense, there’s a larger issue with your cash flow management that you need to address and adjustments you need to make. Thankfully, there’s a good chance that working out a resolution with the IRS will not dramatically affect your day-to-day operations. You just need some help figuring out your options (and ways to increase cash flow for your company going forward).

You may be in a financially precarious situation and want to avoid incurring any additional costs, like hiring an accountant for your business. However, you’ll ultimately be much better off consulting a professional to figure out a sustainable plan that allows you to pay your taxes on time. A CPA can greatly reduce your uncertainty and anxiety surrounding your business’s taxes. Next time tax season rolls around, it might even feel routine. [Here’s how to determine if it’s time to hire a CPA.]

Did You Know?

The best tax debt relief services can connect you with knowledgeable tax professionals to resolve your outstanding taxes.

What it means to be past due on your taxes

Being past due on your taxes means you have an unpaid balance that you owe to the IRS. This balance is called the principal. You’ll also have late fees and interest added to the principal; these will accrue until you pay off the full balance. This is why you want to address past-due balances as soon as possible – they only get worse as time goes on.

Keep in mind that filing an extension doesn’t extend the time you have to pay the balance on your taxes. The amount will accrue penalties and interest as of the original tax filing deadline.

Tip

Paying your estimated business taxes throughout the year reduces the pressure to come up with a very large check come tax season. Ask your tax professional to help you establish a year-round estimated tax plan for the future.

How filing taxes late can impact your business

Tax delinquency may have costly and altogether unpleasant consequences, but these consequences only become worse with neglect. Not filing your taxes on time triggers the IRS collection process and can result in penalties, including levies or liens against your business. A levy may mean the IRS seizes some of your company property, while a lien means it has an ownership claim on your company’s assets until you pay off your debt. It may also apply surcharges for each month the taxes go unpaid, further hurting your finances.

With unpaid taxes, you might also be unable to get a small business loan to fund company operations – especially if there is a lien or levy on your business, as these are considered derogatory items on a credit report. This is another reason why it’s critical to keep a close eye on your business finances.

Kimberlee Leonard contributed to the writing and research in this article.

Americans Split On Use Of Contact Tracing Apps Powered By Apple/Google Api

Americans are divided on whether they would be willing to use coronavirus contact tracing apps powered by the joint Apple/Google API. A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found an exact 50/50 split between those who would use it and those who wouldn’t.

That’s already less than ideal, but there were three further worrying aspects …

First, the results combine ‘definitely’ and ‘probably’ responses. It is common in research to assume fewer people will do something than say they will do something, so saying you will ‘probably’ do something is considered a weak indicator. And the percentage of Americans saying they would ‘definitely’ use an app powered by the API is just 17%.

Second, the survey also found that 4% of Americans don’t own a cellphone, and a further 13% don’t have a smartphone. So 17% of the population wouldn’t be able to use a contact tracing app, and the lowest rates of ownership are among the most vulnerable age groups.

Rates of smartphone ownership are much lower among seniors, who are particularly vulnerable to the ravages of covid-19, with just over half of those aged 65 or older saying that they have a smartphone (53 percent). Rates are even lower for those 75 and older, according to the Post-U. Md. poll.

Third, some 41% of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable letting the app know they had tested positive.

59 percent of smartphone users said they would “be comfortable” using such an app, if they tested positive for covid-19, to anonymously alert others that they may have been exposed and should seek testing.

Willingness to use an app depended on political leaning and self-interest.

Willingness runs highest among Democrats and people reporting they are worried about a covid-19 infection making them seriously ill. Resistance is higher among Republicans and people reporting a lower level of personal worry about getting the virus.

Some of the findings show that Apple and Google have a lot more work to do in educating the public about the privacy safeguards.

A major source of skepticism about the infection-tracing apps is distrust of Google, Apple and tech companies generally, with [only] 43 percent who trust [them].

Epidemiologists say that around 60% of the population needs to use contact-tracing apps to stop the spread of the virus. So far, take-up in other countries isn’t encouraging, at around 20% in Singapore and just 8% in Australia. It should be noted, however, that neither app uses the Apple/Google API.

Apple, Google, and governmental agencies alike are all trying to rebrand contact tracing in order to make it sound less scary and more beneficial.

Google and Apple originally referred to their planned apps as “contact-tracing” tools, evoking the public health teams that track viral spread. But the companies more recently have begun referring to “exposure notification” apps — part of a shift in focus from the surveillance to the personal benefit.

After a call last week with Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Thierry Breton, a member of the European Union’s executive branch, went one step further, calling them “deconfinement apps,” a term that stressed their potential to relieve the economically devastating movement restrictions imposed by government officials worldwide as they try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However, it may be too late to do this, just as ‘the coronavirus’ has remained the commonly-used term for the virus rather than the official SARS-CoV-2 designation which followed sometime later.

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