New iPod Touch Coming; Pandora Launches Voice Assistant; Googlers Protest Arbitration on Twitter; Court Rules Against Forced Biometric Unlocking

It appears that Apple may not be ready to retire the iPod Touch quite yet. The venerable music player hasn’t been updated since 2015, but apparently Apple is working on a revised version. The thought is, it’s a way to keep people in the Mac ecosystem and sell more services…which Apple wants to do with iPhone sales (and all smartphones for that matter) softening. 9to5mac.com says Apple may switch the 2019 iPhones to USB C, as they have already done with the iPad Pros.

What the world needs right now is another voice assistant. Well, maybe not, but we are getting one anyway! Pandora has just launched their own in-app voice assistant on Android and iOS using the ‘Hey Pandora’ command. 9to5google.com reports that the voice assistant will make it easier for users to control stations, and perform common actions within the app. It will supposedly be accurate enough to respond well to ‘play something for my workout,’ or ‘play something I like’. The voice assistant will be live today to a small subset of users, and rolling out more widely over the next couple months.

Google employs are holding a Twitter protest today about forced arbitration agreements…common in the tech industry and widely used across business and industry to stay out of court and hold costs down. The Tweetstorm will emphasize ‘how forced arbitration denies 60 million Americans access to their civil rights.’ A little insight into binding arbitration: Most companies use arbitration clauses to force employees into binding arbitration when a dispute arises. This saves them big money by avoiding court. The pitch is, they use private judges, and the judge acting as the arbitrator hears both sides and renders a non-appealable decision. A very lopsided majority of such decisions go to the employer. Why would that be? The judges are all retired judges picking up a little extra cash, but should be fair…right? Since the companies pay the fees to the judges…which are often much more than they could make an hour practicing law, and since they are human, they know where their bread is buttered, and usually find for the companies paying the freight. According to mashable.com, the Tweetstorm will be going until 6pm Eastern tonight @endforcedarb and with the hashtag #EndForcedArbitration.

A federal court has ruled that the government can’t get a warrant granting permission to turn up at a house allegedly connected to a criminal suspect, seize all digital devices, and force those found at the house to use biometrics to unlock the devices. Arstechnica.com says the court held that the government request ‘runs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments,’ and the protections therein against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination. The judge held that such a request was ‘over broad.’ The court cited a Supreme Court decision from 2018 known as Carpenter. It is likely that this decision will be kicked back up the court system by the government.

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