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Why Apple Is Right to Challenge F.B.I.

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It is understandable that federal investigators want to unlock an iPhone used by one of the attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in December. And it’s understandable that the government would turn toApple for help. But Apple is doing the right thing in challenging the federal court ruling requiring that it comply.

In an order issued on Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym says Apple must create new software that would bypass security features on the iPhone used by the terrorist, Syed Rizwan Farook. That would allow theFederal Bureau of Investigation to unlock the device and retrieve the pictures, messages and other data on it. Her ruling was based on the All Writs Act of 1789, which is used to require people or businesses not involved in a case to execute court orders. Another federal magistrate judge in New York is considering a similar request to unlock an iPhone in a narcotics case.

Law enforcement agencies have a legitimate need for evidence, which is all the more pressing in terrorism cases. But the Constitution and the nation’s laws limit how investigators and prosecutors can collect evidence. In a 1977 case involving the New York Telephone Company, the Supreme Court said the government could not compel a third party that is not involved in a crime to assist law enforcement if doing so would place “unreasonable burdens” on it. Judge Pym’s order requiring Apple to create software to subvert the security features of an iPhone places just such a burden on the company.

Apple has already given the F.B.I. data from the phone that was backed up and stored on its iCloud service; the last backup was made about a month before the attacks. But the company’s chief executive, Timothy Cook, has said that requiring it to create software to bypass a feature that causes the phone to erase its data if 10 incorrect passwords are entered would set a dangerous precedent and could undermine the security of its devices. The Department of Justice has argued that the software would be used on that phone only and notes that Apple has previously helped law enforcement unlock phones. The company changed how it encrypts phones after the surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden.

But writing new code would have an effect beyond unlocking one phone. If Apple is required to help the F.B.I. in this case, courts could require it to use this software in future investigations or order it to create new software to fit new needs. It is also theoretically possible that hackers could steal the software from the company’s servers.-

There are certainly other ways for law enforcement agencies to collect evidence. They already have the power to get data stored on online services like iCloud and Google’s Gmail through search warrants. And they can get records of phone calls and text messages from companies like Verizon and AT&T. A recent study published by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society concluded that the proliferation of Internet-connected sensors, cameras and other devices provides the government ever-expanding opportunities to collect information about people.

Even if the government prevails in forcing Apple to help, that will hardly be the end of the story. Experts widely believe that technology companies will eventually build devices that cannot be unlocked by company engineers and programmers without the permission of users. Newer smartphones already have much stronger security features than the iPhone 5c Mr. Farook used.

Some officials have proposed that phone and computer makers be required to maintain access or a “back door” to encrypted data on electronic devices. In October, the Obama administration said it would not seek such legislation, but the next president could have a different position.

Congress would do great harm by requiring such back doors. Criminals and domestic and foreign intelligence agencies could exploit such features to conduct mass surveillance and steal national and trade secrets. There’s a very good chance that such a law, intended to ease the job of law enforcement, would make private citizens, businesses and the government itself far less secure.

The New York Times

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Interswitch is the Most Valuable African Startup

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Interswitch, the leading payment processing company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is Africa’s most valuable start-up at a US$ 1 billion valuation.

Founded in 2002, Interswitch uses switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and powered banks’ ATM cards. Presently, the company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network.

In 2010, Helios Investment Partners bought two-thirds of the company and in the following year, Interswitch bought a 60 percent stake in Bankom in Uganda.

Interswitch owns Verve, Nigeria’s most used payment card, and accounted for 18 million of 25 million cards in circulation in Nigeria. The company also owns Quickteller and recently purchased VANSO, a mobile-focused technology provider to banks.

Like Interswitch, Stripe, the company that acquired Nigeria’s Paystack for over US$200 million, is the most valuable startup in the USA at over US$70 billion valuation.

Klarna, Nubank, Paytm and Grab leads in Europe, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia with valuations of US$10.65 billion, US$10 billion, US$16 billion and US$14 billion, respectively.

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E-commerce Black Friday Sales Estimated to Surge by 40% to 10.2 Billion

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The 2020 holiday shopping season will be unique, as the pandemic shifted consumer behavior from retail stores to online shopping. In response, many retailers moved their services online to not miss out on this year’s profits. Atlas VPN team decided to look into how e-commerce sales are set to perform in the upcoming long weekend.

Researchers predict that the US e-commerce revenue will exceed last year’s earnings by 49.5% on Thanksgiving day, totaling $6.18 billion in revenue. Black Friday is calculated to reach $10.2 billion in sales, exceeding last years numbers by 39.4%

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her tips on how to stay safe when shopping online during the holiday season:

“Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals from unknown sellers, as cybercriminals will also expect to turn a profit during the holiday season, even though they are not selling anything, except maybe a bag full of disappointment.”

 Finally, analysis shows that on the last day of the long and full of special offers Thanksgiving weekend, consumers will go all out to bring record sales for e-commerce businesses, adding up to $12.89 billion.

To look at these five days from a wider perspective, e-commerce companies can expect to earn around 39.72% more than they did last year.

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Alibaba Merchants Sell $40B in First Half Hour of Singles Day 2020, More than 2019 Event Full Sales

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Singles Day 2020 was a roaring success, cementing its position as the world’s biggest shopping holiday. Sales across Alibaba’s platforms during the event totaled $74.1 billion, up from $38 billion in 2019.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, within the first 30 minutes of the event, the gross merchandise volume (GMV) surpassed 2019’s full-event sales, reaching $40.87 billion.

Moreover, instead of live events, Alibaba had 400 company executives and 30 celebrities hosting livestreams. Based on a study by Coresight, the Chinese livestream market is set to rack in sales worth $125 billion in 2020, compared to $63 billion in 2019. The US livestream market is a small fraction of that, valued at $5 billion.

China’s Tech Heavyweights Lose $280 Billion in Market Cap

Alibaba Singles Day 2020 dwarfed other major shopping holidays as has been the trend in previous years.

According to Practical eCommerce, Amazon Prime Day 2020 sales totaled $10.4 billion up from $7.16 billion in 2019. Cyber Monday sales in the US amounted to $7.9 billion in 2020 according to Statista. Black Friday and Thanksgiving added $9.7 billion to the figure to make $17.6 billion for the weekend.

Similarly, in 2018, Singles Day sold $30.8 billion while Prime Day sold $4.19 billion and Thanksgiving weekend got $14.2 billion.

However, the 2020 Singles Day event came in the wake of Ant Group’s suspension of a $37 billion listing. The suspension resulted in a $76 billion drop in Alibaba’s market cap, as the tech giant owns a two-thirds stake in Ant Group. Moreover, China’s regulators released anti-trust draft rules prior to the event, aimed at controlling monopolistic behavior.

Following the release, Alibaba shares plunged by 9.8%, as JD.com shed off 9.2%. Tencent similarly saw a 7.39% drop and Xiaomi fell by 8.18%. For the five companies, there was a combined loss of $280 billion in market capitalization.

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