Apple Drops 16 Inch MacBook Pro; Facebook Pay Looms; Google to Offer Checking Accounts; Court Blocks Suspicionless Border Searches

Apple has rolled out the expected new high end 16 inch MacBook Pro today, replacing the 15 inch lineup. A big deal has been made of the return of the previous scissor switch ‘Magic’ keyboard. 9to5mac.com reports that the 16 incher has a 6 speaker system, up to 8 core processor, and up to 64 gigs of RAM. The physical Escape keys back, and you can get the MacBook Pro with up to 8 TP of storage! The standard one ships with a 512 gig SSD….double that of the previous base model. It is shipping today and starts at $2399.

It seems Apple’s foray into financial services with the Apple Card is spawning more branching into financial services by tech firms. First, we that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency….which took a hit recently when a number of financial giants bowed out of the program. Now, Facebook is back with something new…Facebook Pay. According to theverge.com, Facebook Pay is a new payment system that will live inside WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. It is intended to facilitate sending money to friends, shopping for goods, and donating to fundraisers. It is separate from Facebook’s Calibra wallet and the Libra network. Pay will support most credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal. Facebook is using PayPal, Stripe, and others to process those payments.

Not to be left out of the finance party, Google is going to offer checking accounts in partnership with banks, starting next year. Techcrunch.com says the project is dubbed ‘Cache.’ Banks will handle all the financial and compliance activities related to the accounts. While at first glance, it seems like Google isn’t getting much out of the deal that way, they are. They will have access to the account info, and it will paint Google a clear picture of a users financial behavior. First partners include Citigroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union. Google will offer a set of online tools to manage the accounts that they believe will appeal to younger, more digital savvy customers.

In a victory for privacy, a federal court has ruled that US policies allowing device searches in or within 100 miles of the border without valid suspicion or warrants violates the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Engadget.com reports that Judge Denise Casper stated that the exemption for border searches was ‘not limitless,’ and still needed a balancing test between privacy and government interests. That generally means focusing on contraband, the court noted. The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU and EFF back in 2017 on behalf of 11 travelers…all but one of whom was a US citizen. In some cases, officials were examining highly sensitive data, such as attorney-client communications, business dealings and the contents of a work phone from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If this ruling survives appeal, it could force big changes in how border agents conduct searches.



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