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Google, Facebook, Twitter resist China’s attempt to censor Hong Kong

China is trying to curb free speech

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Google, Facebook, and Twitter have temporarily stopped processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong. A new security law went into effect on July 1 and Google immediately paused processing requests.

Even WhatsApp has stopped processing further requests. The controversial law is seen as an attempt by China to curb free speech in the former British colony.

Pro-democracy protestors are worried the new law will be used to censor the internet. Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

This is seen as China’s broader plan to establish its supremacy and expand its ideology. The new law includes the ability to ask publishers to remove information deemed as a threat to national security. Refusal to enact the request could result in a fine or jail time.

Tech companies work in tandem with local law enforcement agencies to moderate content on their platforms. With the new law, processing Hong Kong government’s request would indirectly mean handing over user data and endangering pro-democracy protestors.

In simpler terms, you could be jailed for a social media post that says anything against the administration.

Citizens are actively switching to messaging apps like Signal that provide end-to-end encryption. This helps in masking your identity to a great extent.

Previously, when the internet was shut down to curb protests, citizens used offline messaging apps like Bridgefy and FireChat to spread the world and coordinate protest efforts.

Mainland China has a firewalled internet that is highly censored and constantly surveilled. The irony is, ByteDance’s TikTok isn’t available in China while the rest of the world can freely use it.

TikTok has also officially announced it will be exiting Hong Kong within a few days. But this move is seen as a smokescreen to avoid its Chinese origin.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more private and secure

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Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

Cheaper and exclusive to Siri

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With voice technology today, using an interface feels less of a necessity now. The tech world can now control their favorite apps completely hands-free with only the power of their voices. Is it finally time to ditch the user interface? Apple seems to think so. Apple Music has launched a new plan, allowing users to control the app using only their voice.

Subscribed to the new Apple Music Voice Plan, users will have access to the streaming platform’s gallery of over 90 million songs and Apple Music Radio.

To complement the introduction of voice-centric features, Apple Music is also getting a boost of new playlist and mood functions. Subscribers can use Siri to play music customized to specific activities and moods. Apple specifically mentioned examples like “Play something chill” or “Play a playlist for hiking.” Though obviously optimized for voice, the new feature is available for every Apple Music subscriber.

 

Currently, the new plan will launch for only a selected slate of launch countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Apple Music Voice Plan will cost US$ 4.99 per month. The regular individual plan costs US$ 9.99. Finally, the family plan (available for up to six accounts) sells for US$ 14.99.

SEE ALSO: Apple Music could soon support HiFi audio streaming

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iShop: One-stop solution for Brother’s products

Get those printers, sewing machines, and cartridges!

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Fans of Brother, assemble!

Brother Philippines has just introduced iShop — a new feature on the brand’s Customer Plus App serving as a one-stop solution for all Brother products.

The new feature puts together Brother’s available products. From inkjet and mono laser printers, label makers, sewing machines, to consumables like an ink cartridge. You can access iShop by tapping the shopping cart icon on the Customer Plus homepage, which will allow you to purchase products through Brother’s authorized dealers and partners.

Moreover, you can shop for Brother products on other e-commerce channels, which is also accessible from the feature. Furthermore, you can opt to reserve or purchase products from physical stores. So you can pick it up on your preferred schedule.

The iShop feature is now available on Brother’s Customer Plus App. The app can be downloaded on Google’s Play Store and the App Store.

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Pixel 6 will reportedly have a Magic Eraser feature

It can erase strangers from photos

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Taking photos at a crowded location is usually a problem for most tourists. Most of the time, you’ll end up taking photos with unwanted strangers in the background. In worse situations, someone might even bomb your photos on purpose. Luckily, with artificial intelligence now, getting perfect photos is easier. To show its power in AI technology, the upcoming Pixel 6 series will reportedly have a Magic Eraser feature.

Accidentally shared by retailer website Carphone Warehouse (and preserved through Wayback Machine), the upcoming flagship series will sport a flurry of camera features. Though the series will have the standard array of photography improvements, the most notable feature is an upcoming Magic Eraser which will “remove strangers and unwanted objects in Google Photos.”

To anyone familiar with photography software, this is already possible especially through Adobe Photoshop’s healing tool. However, getting the feature natively in a smartphone is a big step especially for tourists who might not have access to Photoshop.

Besides the feature, the accidental webpage reveals a lot of details about the upcoming flagship series. Of course, it’s not a big reveal anymore. Google itself has already shared more about the Pixel 6 series more than the leaks. The series will officially launch on October 19 in a launch event.

SEE ALSO: Pixel Pass bundles a Pixel 6 with a subscription service

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