Apple removes Secret app from Brazilian App Store for not conforming with local laws

secret-brazil

Following a recent ruling that Apple would have ten days to remove the anonymous social app Secret from its Brazilian App Store, Apple has complied with the order. The justification for the removal, according to a source close to the situation, can be found in section 22.1 of the App Store Guidelines:

Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws

As noted by the judge, the Brazilian constitution prohibits anonymous freedom of expression, which essentially makes Secret and other apps like it illegal with that country.

Per Article 5, Section IV of the Constitution of Brazil:

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Brazilian judge orders Apple, Google remove Secret from the app stores, remotely delete from users’ phones

Update: At the moment, this ruling is still unofficial. A Brazilian prosecutor is pushing for the removal of these apps, but the judge has not officially ordered any action just yet. A source tells us that Secret has sent counsel to Brazil to investigate the situation, though we’ve been told this ruling would really be against Apple, Google, and Microsoft rather than the Secret app itself. Original story below:

A judge in Brazil has had it with the anonymous bullying carried out on social networking apps like Secret and has stepped in to put a stop to it, according to a report from  Estadao [translation]. Judge Paulo Cesar de Carvalho has ruled that Apple and Google must delete the application from their respective app stores, but the ruling doesn’t stop there.

According to the report, the judge has demanded that both companies remotely delete the application from every device that has installed it in the country. While that might sound like a hilarious case of a judge not understanding how technology works, you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually a capability that both companies possess.

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Apple’s Ahrendts to oversee slew of new China, Italy, U.S. stores as organizational restructuring planned

Seeking to enhance Apple’s retail store divison and bring the customer experience to higher levels, new Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts is planning a fundamental restructuring of Apple’s retail stores as she prepares a series of new store openings across the globe for the second half of 2014 and first half of 2015…

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Here are all 24 new dictation languages arriving in iOS 8 & OS X Yosemite

Dictation-OS-X-Yosemite

During its unveiling of iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite yesterday, Apple mentioned that it’s adding 24 new dictation languages, but it didn’t specify what those languages would be. Dictation, a feature available on both iOS and OS X, uses speech-to-text technology powered by Nuance to let users input text using only their voice rather than a keyboard or touchscreen.

Apple has gone from just 8 languages (with a few variations for some) to over 30 in Yosemite. In case you’re curious if your language will make the cut by the time the new operating systems are released this fall, below we’ve included a full list of new supported languages and variations by country:

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Apple’s iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U Course Manager hit new markets in Asia, Latin America, Europe

iTunes U, Text Books

Update: Apple says iBooks Textbooks are available in all countries with a paid iBooks store and that a full updated list of countries with access to iTunes U Course Manager can be found on its enrollment website.

Apple just put out a press release announcing that it’s expanding availability of its educational content– iBooks Textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager– into new international markets. Starting today, both of the services are rolling out to new countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, bringing the total number of countries with textbooks up to 51 and the total number with access to the iTunes U Course Manager to 70. Apple also shared some stats on the growth of iBooks Textbooks, which now cover 100 percent of the US high school core curriculum: Read more

Apple plans to open first store in Brazil by March 2014

Image of the mall where the Apple Store will be located

Image of the mall where the Apple Store will be located

Apple currently plans to expand its retail store presence to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early next year, according to information provided by a source. This person says that Apple is targeting a store opening between February and March 2014, but delays due to construction and staffing are always possible.

Approximately one year ago, Apple confirmed to various media outlets in Brazil that it is planning to open a store in the country. However, Apple has remained mum on when this store would open. “We look forward to the opening of the first Apple Store in Brazil, where we have long standing customers and hope to win many more each day,” the company said last year…

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Flurry of new Apple Stores on the way in Japan, France, China, Brazil & Italy

tokyo

Tokyo skyline: vacationadvice101.com

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is planning its first new store in Tokyo since 2005.

Apple plans to open a store in Tokyo’s upscale Omotesando shopping district as early as March, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by February, the person said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak for Apple.

Tokyo is noted for its high land values. Bloomberg estimating the cost of the land at around $164M with the finished store expected to be worth a staggering $256M …  Read more

Apple launches iBookstore in New Zealand and Latin America ahead of iPad Mini and iTunes 11

Apple plans to launch the iBookstore in Brazil ahead of its media event tomorrow, according to a new report by BlogDoiPhone (translated).

The store is not currently live (update below), but screenshots of its existence are above and below. BlogDoiPhone noted a few books have begun to appear in Brazilian Portuguese when doing a search. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, for instance, now has a live link.

Many rumors indicate Apple will have a strong focus on education at its media event tomorrow, and recent leaks on iBooks 3.0, coupled with today’s news about the iBookstore rolling out to Brazil, seems to back those reports.

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Foxconn workers in Brazil threaten strike over working conditions

Following audits and a major overhaul of workers’ rights at Foxconn factories in China, a report from newspaper Jornal de Jundiai (via Evertiqclaimed 2,500 workers at a Foxconn plant in Jundiai, Brazil are threatening to strike if the company does not meet their demands by May 3. The plant in Jundiai is currently responsible for the assembly of some of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2 units:

Newspaper Jornal de Jundiai reports that workers at the plant will strike if issues surrounding severe water shortages, food, and transportation of employees are not resolved… In a statement the United Steelworkers of Jundiaí and Region said workers decided to give 10 days (from the Monday) for the company to resolve the issues raised in a meeting on Monday… According to the report by Jornal de Jundiai, a spokesman from the union said that lack of water as well as poor quality food was an issue for workers. As the number of employees at the plant grows, workers also complain that the infrastructure for transport has remained the same size, causing overcrowding in buses. Read more

Foxconn to set up five manufacturing facilities in Brazil, each employing 1,000 workers [UPDATE: Foxconn denies]

Apple and Foxconn are continuing to work on bringing that $12.5 billion iPad plant in Brazil online (there have been no iPads “Made in Brazil” seen yet, unlike iPhones). Meanwhile, the country’s Secretary of Planning and Development of the State of São Paulo Julio Semeghini revealed today that Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer will build up to five factories in Brazil with a thousand employees each.

According to a local report by Folha.com, Foxconn of Taiwan (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.,) will leverage the additional plants to build notebooks and PCs, electronic components, connectors, batteries and precision machine elements. The plants should be located in Jundiai; São Paulo and business negotiations will resume when the Chinese New Year wraps up, according to the secretary.

The development could indicate plans to assemble an even greater portion of Apple products in Brazil, not just iPads and iPhones. Even so, poor machine-translated text suggested the secretary said, “The parts produced here will also help in the assembly of Apple products,” as “the company starts to import kits for assembly in Brazil iPad and iPhone.”

UPDATE: A Foxconn representative refuted the story, dismissing it as “pure speculation” amid what appears to be a power struggle over the Taiwanese firm’s billions of dollars in potential greenfield investments in the country. Foxconn, which already operates six plants in Brazil, wouldn’t acknowledge that iPhone or iPad production is taking place in any of the existing facilities.

UPDATE: Reader MarckOliver has submitted the following translation:

Parts produced in Brazil will aid in assemble of Apple products, said the Secretary. For now the company will import those kits from China to assemble in Brazil.

Reader Renato Selman concurs, telling us that while Foxconn will just assemble Apple gear using imported parts, “in the future Foxconn will use other components produced in Brazil”.


Thousands apply for jobs at Foxconn factories in China.
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Too little, too late: Google launches Orkut for iPhone

Orkut, a Google-owned social network, has had little luck challenging MySpace, hi5, Tagged or Facebook —the undisputed social networking leader (some people even liken Orkut to a poor man’s Facebook). Nevertheless, Orkut is still popular in India and Brazil, where more than 80 percent of its 66 million active users come from, as of October 2011. Today, the search company released a native Orkut client for iPhone. It is available free of charge on the App Store and comes with the usual assortment of features, ranging from updating your status and checking your scraps and messages to browsing your friends’ profiles and uploading photographs. It is interesting that Google chose to release the app just as Facebook has finally managed to beat Orkut in Brazil, per latest comScore metrics.

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