Apple Refuses to Help the FBI, Popcorn Time Returns… [Tech News Digest]

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Apple stands up for personal privacy, the original Popcorn Time gets resurrected, Kanye West learns the price of piracy, Sega gives games away on Steam, and play Pong on your Apple Watch.

Apple Won’t Unlock Shooter’s iPhone

Apple has refused to comply with an order to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) break into the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook was one of two people who took part in a terrorist attack in California in December, killing 14 people at an office party.

The FBI has been trying to access the contents of Farook’s iPhone 5c, but haven’t yet been able to break through Apple’s encryption methods. As far as the FBI is concerned this is a problem in need of a solution, and it has asked Apple to provide that solution in the form of a custom firmware file. Apple is refusing to comply, with CEO Tim Cook stating the company’s case in a lengthy letter published on its website.

Pulling no punches, Cook describes this as a request to “build a backdoor to the iPhone”. He also suggests that “while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.” In closing, he states that “ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect”.

Apple is clearly not going to comply with this order, but the FBI is as equally unlikely to back down. It’s a tricky situation, especially as information contained on Farook’s iPhone could potentially give the FBI leads in helping prevent further acts of terrorism. However, that could cost us our right to privacy and that’s a cost most people will surely consider too high to consider.

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The Original Popcorn Time Is Back

The original Popcorn Time, which was shut down in November 2015, has returned. Inexplicably. Popcorn Time is/was a Netflix-style service for pirates, with a simple interface allowing anyone to watch copyrighted content to their heart’s content. However, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) successfully took it down and sued the team behind it.

Which makes it all the more bamboozling why the original Popcorn Time has suddenly risen from the dead. The app and website are both functioning once again after an update titled Hail Hydra. As reported by TorrentFreak, no one seems to know who is behind this resurrection, but there’s a chance it’s actually the MPAA trying to catch people in the act of copyright infringement.

We (or at least most of us) are against piracy here at MakeUseOf, so we wouldn’t recommend using Popcorn Time for copyrighted content in the first place. However, with the possibility that Popcorn Time is now a honeypot for the MPAA we’re strongly urging our readers to steer clear until more details about who is behind it emerge from the shadows.

Kanye West Gets Pirated

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Kanye West’s new Album, The Life of Pablo, has proved to be a hit… on sites such as The Pirate Bay. For those not keeping up, Kanye decided to release The Life of Pablo exclusively on Tidal, the music streaming service no one actually uses. Bad move.

As reported by BBC News, the album has been pirated at least 500,000 times. That’s 500,000 copies Kanye is never going to see any profits from, and all to prop up Tidal. Kanye West is extremely popular, but he’s not worth $10 a month. People also don’t like being backed into a corner, and that’s why so many people have instead opted to pirate The Life of Pablo instead.

Get Sega Classics Free on Steam

Sega is currently giving away some truly classic games on Steam. As part of its Make Love Not War 3 promotion, the Japanese gaming giant is offering free downloads of Jet Set Radio, Golden Axe, and Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. These will be followed by Streets of Rage 2, Condemned: Criminal Origins, and Binary Domain.

The Make Love Not War promotion asks players of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Total War: Attila, and Company of Heroes 2 to recruit as many in-game followers as possible over the course of this week. This means even more games will become available for free as and when certain thresholds are reached. So, what are you waiting for?

Play Pong on Your Apple Watch

And finally, while popular with beardy hipster types, the Apple Watch hasn’t exactly set the world alight to this point. The problem may just be that there’s no real need to own an Apple Watch. It needs a killer app, one which makes it an essential purchase for Apple fans everywhere.

Perhaps A Tiny Game of Pong is the answer, as it brings the classic video game from the 1970s and implants it on the new platform. There are no surprises here, as this version is as simple and effective as the original. Arcade mode is free, with Classic mode priced at just 99 cents. [H/T Product Hunt]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Apple right to take a stand on customer privacy? Who do you think is behind Popcorn Time’s sudden return? Will Kanye West be forced to release his new album outside of Tidal? What’s your favorite Sega game of all time? Is Pong enough of a reason to buy an Apple Watch?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Microsiervos via Flickr

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