Apple is being taken to court over 'Error 53' repair policy
Apple has been caught out in a sting operation conducted by the Australian consumer watchdog which has recorded employees wrongly telling customers that they would not repair or replace devices affected by the 'error 53' bug that hit in February 2014.
The error caused an eternal start-up loop when the phone was upgraded to iOS 8 and rendered the device useless unless fixed or replaced by Apple. This fault was pinpointed to the fact that phones were detecting that third-party repairs had been conducted and thus shut down the system.
Consumer regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking monetary damages according to the Wall Street Journal, and the tech developer could face up to $829,000 in fines per violation. This, however, could be difficult as there was an estimated one in 1,000 devices affected by the bug but no official figure has been released.
"The ACCC alleges Apple represented to consumers with faulty products that they were not entitled to a free remedy if their Apple device had previously been repaired by third-party, 'unauthorised repairers'," said the ACCC in a published media statement.
"However, having a component of the Apple device serviced, repaired, or replaced by someone other than Apple cannot, by itself, extinguish the consumer's right to a remedy for non-compliance with the consumer guarantees."
The lawsuit specifically refers to devices purchased between the time period of February 2014 and July 2016, of which a minority were affected by the error.
Apple has denied the allegations put forward by the ACCC, saying that they have not misled or caused harm to any of its Australian consumers. Apple does have previous in relation to the error - last year, a $5m case in the United States was thrown out as the plaintiffs '[had not] plausibly alleged that Apple actually knew of this alleged risk.'
Brave's new privacy-focused search engine is now in beta
Brave, the creator of a popular ad-blocking browser, has opened a public beta of its privacy-focused search engine, Brave Search.
The search engine was previously announced in March when Brave acquired Tailcat, and since then there have been over 100,000 users who signed up for preview access and testing. Brave recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million last March), and Brave Search is the latest product offered by the company in its suite of privacy-preserving tools. Brave already offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads, Brave News, and a Firewall+VPN service.
Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com.
"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave.
“Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data,” added Eich.
How does Brave Search work?
Brave Search uses its own index and ensures ‘a fully anonymous search’. It is transparent in how search results are ranked and integrates with a privacy-preserving browser on desktop and mobile.
In order to present an alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymised contributions from the community to improve and refine results. However, there are types of queries and certain areas such as image search, for which their results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, they are using APIs until they can expand their index.
Brave Search is not displaying ads during this early part of the beta phase, but will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later.