iFive: Facebook Security, Apple’s Sexting Patent, Korean iPhones, FCC on Huge Cell Bills, Foxconn Worker Worries

Welcome to Wednesday… The hump in the middle of the week that means the weekend is just a bit closer. While you were waiting for the morning to swing around, some news happened:

Hard, fast-thinking science, seriously clever engineering, skillful control of massive machinery, lateral-thinking psychological fixes, miniature comms electronics and handheld games all went into the mix…and worked: The first of those trapped Chilean miners are now free. With that happy thought ringing in your mind, here’s the news.


1. Facebook’s tweaked its security and comments plug-in. Tightening security is always welcome, and in this case Facebook’s gone with super-strong “one time” passwords that get texted to you and remote logouts. Fervent commenters will love threading, comment popularity voting, and feedback ratings. Incrementally, Facebook’s getting better. Now if only they’d play nice with privacy….

2. Apple’s just been awarded a patent that’ll please insanely over-zealous DAs and super-conservative parents alike: an automated system that detects and bars any incoming–or outgoing(!)–sexts. You know … smut. Naughtiness. Nudity. Bad words about sticky parts of the body. Do we need protecting from this? Traditionally sex-shy Apple thinks so. Expect a mass debate about the morals and mores of this in the news today.

3. Apple’s also in the news for a stranger reason: An executive has been summoned to a meeting by the South Korean government. Why? Because many Korean iPhone customers have been complaining that Apple’s selling mostly refurbished, used iPhones instead of new units. Is this believable? Over one million units have been sold there, so maybe this is a vocal minority? Or is Apple really being a bit crappy? We’ll find out on October 21st at the parliamentary hearing.

4. The FCC is about to set out plans for regulating those big money-hungry, consumer-munching things called cell phone networks. In particular, the FCC is going to make it harder for you to incur massive phone and data overcharges with a “Bill Shock” regulation. When you reach your agreed limit, the networks will have to call you or text you to alert you to the fact you’re now in overpayment territory. About time.

5. Electronics supplier Foxconn is “strongly” denying any allegations of abuse of its workforce (potentially leading to a spate of suicides). But, anyway, to improve its working conditions all round, it’s about to hike its supply prices to firms like Apple who it manufactures for. Will gadgets cost more in stores? Maybe, but big name firms may also look to new, cheaper, supply routes.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise.