New twist to diplomatic dance: Trump says North Korea summit now on

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday an unprecedented nuclear arms summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States pulled out of will now go ahead as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore, adding another twist to a high-stakes diplomatic dance.

Telegram says its iOS app is updating again, a day after the CEO decried Apple’s block

What a difference a day — one with a public lament — makes. Today the CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov announced that the messaging app is updating again on iOS, putting to a close a six-week freeze, where Apple had stopped allowing Telegram to ship newer versions of the app globally, even while continuing to the app live in the App Store and allowing push notifications to those who already had it installed. Apple has also confirmed to us that it’s now allowing updates of the app again.

“Amazing news – Apple has just successfully reviewed our latest update for Telegram iOS, and we were able to ship a new version with long awaited fixes and improvements to the AppStore,” he wrote earlier today.

The change in course comes just one day after Durov announced that there were some glitches in the app after the release of iOS 11.4 because Apple had stopped letting Telegram’s developers ship iOS updates globally. The lack of updates also meant that the app was not compliant with GDPR regulations.

But what is still not completely clear is why Apple blocked the updates in the first place, nor what happened in the last 24 hours to change things.

Durov has claimed the freeze on updates was tied to the Russian government’s attempts to crack down on it: it came directly the wake of regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) reportedly writing to Apple to request it to remove the app from the App Store, and to stop allowing push notifications from the app for those who had already installed it. (In fact, RKN only released its statement about this days ago.)

However, Apple never removed the app, nor did it comply with the request to stop push notifications, even as it seemed to stop allowing Telegram to push updated versions.

“Apple has been preventing Telegram from updating its iOS apps globally ever since the Russian authorities ordered Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store,” he wrote yesterday. Google’s, Microsoft’s and Apple’s Mac app stores were not affected through all of this.

We have reached out to Telegram to see if it can explain the change of course. Apple has declined to comment specifically on this point.

The development today is the latest in a many-weeks saga that started with RKN announcing a ban on Telegram after the app refused to provide it with a way of viewing the encrypted messages on the app.

Russian law requires any apps or services operating in Russia to provide a way to monitor data in the app or service in question, by hosting servers in the country or providing other means of data access. It mandates this in the name of national security, although many third parties have disputed the requirement, and some like Telegram have said that apart from the ideological opposition to the rule, it would be impossible for the company to provide such keys.

Durov had run afoul of authorities with his previous company, the social network Vkontakte.com, over freedom of expression on the site, and that was part of the motivation for building Telegram in such a way.

Telegram’s solution for the last several weeks has been to work around the issue by appealing to people to use VPNs to access the service, and also by hopping on different IPs at hosting companies sympathetic to its attempt to continue offering its service without sharing data with Russian authorities.

Up to now, services like AWS and Google Cloud Platform have not asked Telegram to stop the hops, even despite some of the side effects: the IP hopping had the unintended consequence of RKN knocking out entire swathes of IP addresses to stop Telegram, rising to some 19 million IP addresses at its peak and causing a number of other services to go down, including some of Google’s itself. The situation has also led to a number of protests, with the app and the story going viral in the process.

Telegram has some 200 million users globally, with around 14 million users in Russia.

GM settles lawsuit with motorcyclist hit by self-driving car

(Reuters) – General Motors Co agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a motorcyclist involved in a minor crash with one of its self-driving cars in San Francisco late last year, the U.S. automaker said on Friday.

Google reportedly won’t renew controversial drone imaging program

It looks like the drama surrounding Google’s controversial involvement in Project Maven is coming to an end. Yet another report from Gizmodo on the subject says that Google won’t be renewing the project once its current contract runs out.

Project Maven is an initiative from the Department of Defense, which aims to “accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and machine learning.” The DoD has millions of hours of drone footage that pour in from around the world, and having humans comb through it for “objects of interest” isn’t a scalable proposition. So Maven recruited several tech firms for image recognition technology that could be used to identify objects of interest in the footage. As one of the leading AI firms, Google signed on to the project with a contract that reportedly lasts until 2019.

Maven was Google’s first military contract, and the move was immediately met with resistance by Google’s employees. Despite Google’s assurances that the project was “specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes,” an internal petition signed by over 4,000 employees demanded that Google leave the project. “The technology is being built for the military,” the letter read. “Once it’s delivered, it could easily be used to assist in [lethal] tasks.” The petition didn’t immediately result in a change in Google’s plan, which led to a dozen employees reportedly quitting the company in protest.

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Trump Administration Killed A Housing Discrimination Rule. Some Cities Are Following It Anyway.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development effectively suspended the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule on May 18.

Google plans not to renew military deal protested by employees: source

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google told employees on Friday that it would not renew a contract expiring next March to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery, a person familiar with the matter said, as the company seeks to defuse internal uproar over the deal.