Apple has launched a trade-in programme for third-party USB power adapters in the wake of a fatal electrocution in China believed to be the result of knock-off gear. Last month, Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old woman from China's northern Xinjiang region, was reportedly electrocuted when she answered a call on her iPhone 5 while it was charging. The speculation at the time was that Ma Ailun was using a third party charger, for an iPhone her family said she had purchased last December. Apple said not all third party adapters are potentially dangerous but that they were launching the trade-in to allow customers to acquire what it considers are properly designed adapters. The deal will start on 18 August and run through until 18 October. Apple is also inviting the public to take along any other USB adapters they are concerned about, not covered by the offer, so that Apple outlets can dispose of them in an environmentally-friendly manner.
The US government has joined Google and Facebook in criticising a new decree by the Vietnamese state that bans social network users from sharing information and stipulates that international companies must hold servers inside the country. The 20.4 clause of Decree 72, which is due to become active on 1 September, states that a person's social network page "should be used to provide and exchange information of that individual only; it does not represent other individual or organization, and is not allowed to provide compiled information." Speaking at a press conference to announce the decree, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang claimed that the move has been made in order to prevent the spread of false information. He also clarified the rather vague wording of the decree, telling reporters: "Personal webpage owners are only allowed to provide their own information, and are prohibited from taking news from media agencies and using that information as if it were their own." Despite heavy lobbying of the Vietnamese government, which resulted in some of the more extreme proposals being dropped during the drafting process, the US Embassy in Hanoi, along with Google and Facebook, have expressed their disappointment with the final order. For more details, follow the link above.
Samsung is readying to enter the smart watch market after filing a trademark for the "Samsung Galaxy Gear" device at the US Patent & Trademark Office. A filing at the Office was made on 29 July. The trademark covers "wearable digital electronic devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band or bangle, capable of providing access to the Internet, and for sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages," according to Samsung's filing. The application goes on, "the devices could also be used for the wireless receipt, storage and/or transmission of data and messages, and for keeping track of or managing personal information on smartphones, tablet computers and portable computers." Yesterday, the South Korean tech giant sent out invites to a special event on 4 September, where it is expected to launch the Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3 phablet.
More threats of violence against high-profile women have emerged on micro-blogging site Twitter. Journalists Laurie Penny and India Knight were the latest victims in a recent online surge in abuse against women. Both received bomb threats yesterday. Penny, who writes for the Guardian, tweeted a screenshot of the offending message, which read, "Your house is going to be firebombed at 8.14pm today. This is definitely going to happen. Make sure your there so u die." Other recent high-profile victims of Twitter death threats include classicist Mary Beard, journalists Hadley Freeman, Grace Dent and Catherine Mayer and Labour MP Stella Creasy. Beard, who reported a bomb threat to police on Sunday, has called for abuse to be distinguished from the extreme types of threats she and fellow women have been subjected to. Speaking of the bomb messages, Beard said, "These are criminal threats, they are threats of violence and death and all you can do is take them to the police. There is no two ways about it, threatening to kill someone is a crime and that's what I and other people have done and I hope other women who get these threats will do the same."