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Introduction

At ACMECO i believe a fair go for my customers isn’t a big ask…… ACMECO Recommend before purchasing your new mobile check the price on repair e.g. Cracked LCD/Touch screen for future reference before you purchase as original parts have increased considerably to third party repairer’s - main manufactures will not supply directly to you or myself. Currently many parts are refurbished or of low grade, this is a way of bypassing manufactures policies of keeping parts in house. ACMECO source parts that are brand new or top grade after-market from Aussie (not China) whole sellers who purchase from loopholes overseas charging more than manufacturer service centres. Keep in mind an original part comes from a manufacturer factory and leaked to the wholesale world at a higher price. This is a misuse of market practice and i have forward relevant proof to ACCC on an ongoing basis. My aim with other reputable repairers is to level out a fair system and price for my customer repairs on par with manufactures service centres instead of using grey markets or after-market supplies. I believe it is time for a change for mobile parts industry to become available to anyone just as you can with electrical parts for an electrician can be purchased over the counter or plumbers wares available to the public over the counter. Car parts are also available to you over the counter etc. etc. So why not mobile parts, Ill let you decide why not. I have created this PAGE of information to make the public aware that all is not as it may seem. Please let me know how you feel by completing the above survey.

Apple taken to court by ACCC over alleged consumer

warranty misrepresentations

Friday 6th April

Apple taken to court by ACCC over alleged consumer warranty misrepresentations By Lucia Stein Updated Thu Apr 06 13:05:06 EST 2017 Photo  The ACCC alleges Apple illegally denied warranty repairs because of third party work on devices. The competition and consumer law watchdog is taking action against Apple over allegations it misled consumers about their warranty rights under the Australian Consumer Law. Key points: · ACCC alleges Apple breached the consumer law by denying warranty repairs to customers who had used a third party repairer · Consumer law gives customers rights to repair or replacement of faulty goods beyond manufacturer's warranty · ACCC said Apple's move may unfairly discourage people from using third party repairers The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Apple after an investigation into "error 53", which saw iPads or iPhones disabled after users downloaded an Apple IOS update. The ACCC alleges Apple represented to consumers with faulty products that they were not entitled to a free remedy if their Apple device had previously been repaired by an unauthorised third party repairer, even in cases where the repair was unrelated to the fault. Mr Sims said the central allegation was that consumers who had gone to third parties for repairs, for example to fix a cracked screen, were routinely refused any service to their Apple device, even if the fault had nothing to do with the cracked screen. "Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer's warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. "Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options - including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer." Rights outside of warranty The Australian Consumer Law's guarantees mean you can get some faulty goods replaced even if they are out of warranty.  The ACCC is alleging breaches of the law relating to 275 customers, with each breach carrying a maximum penalty of $1.1 million. However, even if the ACCC wins its case in full, it is extremely unlikely that Apple would be fined anywhere near the maximum penalty for each breach. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to have their goods fixed or replaced at no cost to them in situations where the goods or services are not of an acceptable quality - that is where they have faults, visible damage or do not do what you would normally expect them to. Mr Sims said those consumer guarantees extend to software or software updates loaded onto a product, which means any problems caused by software updates may entitle consumers to a free substitute under the Australian Consumer Law. Apple's behaviour 'very unusual' According to Mr Sims, Apple's behaviour is "very unusual" and not the sort of behaviour that should be going on in a modern economy. "I find [Apple's behaviour] puzzling. We often find with companies generally that they like to have goods repaired by themselves, rather than by third party repairers," he told the ABC. "I think the allegations we're making here, and which are now before the court, are extremely serious ... and I think the allegations if proven, reflect extremely bad behaviour." He said part of the benefit of putting matters like these before the court was to remind both consumers and companies of their rights and responsibilities under the consumer guarantees. The ABC has contacted Apple for its response. Posted Thu Apr 06 10:49:57 EST 2017 Right To Repair Hearing At Nebraska State Legislature (edited). US - Repairers begin the fight for   your rights.   The Next iPhone Could Put 15,000 Repair Companies Out of Business Jason Koebler  Apple's secret iPhone calibration machine and its Touch ID sensor will allow it to monopolize the repair industry. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the next iPhone will have some significant changes. The report notes that the next iPhone will not have a home button and will instead be made of a single piece of glass, a long-rumored and seemingly inconsequential move that is in fact central to an ongoing and hugely important legislative struggle between America's largest company and thousands of independent smartphone repair shops. Moving the Touch ID fingerprint-reading sensor from the home button into the screen itself will have the side effect of giving Apple a straightforward path to monopolizing screen repair. The move could give Apple unprecedented control over the ownership and repairability of your phone, which means that in the very near future, it's possible that the only company that will be able to do a simple iPhone screen replacement will be Apple itself. If the Wall Street Journal report is true (similar things have been reported by Bloomberg  and featureless, buttonless fingerprint-reading technology has been patented by Apple), the development could hurt thousands of independent smartphone repair companies around the United States, and it threatens the very concept of phone ownership. The move would combine the only part of the iPhone that can currently only be replaced by Apple (the Touch ID sensor) and the most often broken part of the iPhone (the screen) into one part. The removal of the home button would be an instant death blow to many of the roughly 15,000 independent smartphone repair companies in the United States, most of which are small businesses that work primarily on iPhones and specialize in screen replacement. A few caveats before we get to the meat of the matter: Even if Apple decides to not get rid of the home button in the next iPhone, the way the company currently handles Touch ID replaceability is still central to the ongoing right-to-repair legislation currently being considered in eight states; this matters, even if Apple kicks the redesign further into the future. This is because the only part of the iPhone that has a software lock preventing repair, and Apple's lobbying against this legislation has been focused on protecting that software lock. It is also entirely possible that Apple makes Touch ID easier to repair with the next iPhone by redesigning its software; this would be a good result. How independent iPhone screen repair works todayIf you crack the screen of your iPhone and take it to a third-party repair company, a technician can swap your broken screen for a new one. This screen may have been salvaged from another phone, or it might be an aftermarket part bought from any number of factories in China. These aftermarket parts are of varying quality—some are as good as Apple's original parts, others are less good. Regardless of the quality of the part, however, the repair tech never replaces the actual Touch ID button. Instead, they will swap it from your old screen onto your new one. The Touch ID sensor is paired with the "Secure Enclave" chip inside of the phone, which you may remember from the Apple vs. FBI encryption debate from last year. The Secure Enclave stores your fingerprint data, passcode, and other cryptographic information using a built-in random number generator. The security features that have to do with preventing repair, it should be noted, have nothing to do with the overall encryption of data on the iPhone. For the purposes of this article, accessing the data stored within the Secure Enclave is functionally impossible without entering your passcode to unlock the phone. Radio Motherboard explores the right to repair. Because fingerprints are stored on the Secure Enclave and not on the Touch ID sensor itself, it is impossible to save an unlock fingerprint on one phone, physically transfer that sensor to another phone, and unlock the second device using the fingerprint from the first. This is good, because otherwise you'd be able to unlock and take data from otherwise encrypted phones by simply putting a new button on them. But Apple took its Touch ID security one step further. "There's never a moment when you're not with somebody else, and there's cameras everywhere but the bathroom" Apple notes in a white paper that the Secure Enclave and Touch ID are given a "device's shared key," which is a unique cryptographic signature shared between the Touch ID and Secure Enclave. This means that replacement Touch ID sensors will not work if swapped onto your phone, because they aren't paired with the existing Secure Enclave in your phone. This was a big problem on the iPhone 5S, because the cable that connects the Touch ID sensor to the phone's logic board broke easily during standard repairs. Replacement buttons worked as a home button only; Touch ID would be forever broken on that device, meaning the user had to enter a passcode whenever they wanted to unlock the phone. This is what it looks like when you put a new Touch ID sensor on an iPhone: Taken as a whole, companies that repair iPhones employ skilled people. They know to be careful with the Touch ID sensor, and they know that the old sensor must be transferred to the new phone when doing a screen repair. It's a system that's annoying, but that works for the vast majority of cases. How iPhone screen repair at the Apple Store works today If you take a phone with a cracked screen to the Apple Store, the Geniuses there don't have to swap the button from your old screen to the new one. According to one current and two former Apple Store employees, there is a "Calibration Machine" in the back room of every Apple store that is able to reset the pairing between Touch ID buttons and the Secure Enclave. So when Apple replaces your screen, it simply recalibrates the new button to work with your existing phone. "The calibration machine was a rather big device (imagine something roughly the size of a fairly large microwave) that phones had to be inserted into after replacing the display," one former employee told me in an email. "It took about ten minutes per phone to calibrate them, and the device would run a battery of pressure-sensitive tests in addition to registering the display with the secure enclave. An iPhone had to be secured in the device, naturally, and a mechanical arm would perform the necessary functions." Image: Taylor Lewis A current Apple Genius told me that the machine is hooked up to an iMac, which is hooked up to a special server, which runs the software that recalibrate the device. Apple employees are told that the calibration machine costs between $20,000 and $60,000 (there are different models of calibration machine), and it is available only to Apple Stores, not to so-called "Apple Authorized Service Providers." No photos of the machine are available publicly, and I was told it would be impossible to take one without getting caught: "There's never a moment when you're not with somebody else, and there's cameras everywhere but the bathroom," the Genius told me. "Apple is so secretive that they don't even want us wearing our Apple shirts outside." I spoke with three different iOS security experts about how recalibration would work. Apple holds many of the secrets of Secure Enclave close to its chest, and little is known outside of Apple about the specifics of the Touch ID-Secure Enclave relationship. Only one of the three experts would speculate on the record about the mechanics of recalibrating the phone. Apple did not respond to request for comment on any aspect of this article and has ignored dozens of requests about repair issues from Motherboard over the past two years. In theory, Touch ID reprogramming should require only a piece of software and perhaps authentication from an Apple server, according to Luca Todesco, one of the world's best- known iPhone jailbreakers. "You probably don't need any hardware to do it," Todesco told me. "I wouldn't think there is much more required than some software running in the Secure Enclave Processor." Todesco said that the "pressure-sensitive tests" are likely standard touch screen tests that are done as part of "SwitchBoard," an internal app that ensures the phone is running properly before it's sold to or returned to a customer. "Apple is going to see it as an opportunity to cut off the aftermarket, to require software to do glass repair, which would be the end" Though we don't know exactly how Apple recalibrates phones, Apple Geniuses told me that the machine is unable to bypass what's known as "iCloud Activation Lock," a security measure that bricks phones that have been reported as stolen. The recalibration can only occur if the phone has been unlocked by a customer using their passcode, meaning they are the owner of the phone. This is an extremely important point: All three Apple Geniuses told me that the calibration machine can currently only be used on phones that have been unlocked by their owners using their passcodes. The calibration machine also cannot extract any data from the phone. The mere existence of this machine, however, is hugely important to the future of iPhone repair. The future of cracked screens this brings us to the next model of the iPhone. If Touch ID is integrated into the screen and the home button is removed entirely from the device, then any phone that has a cracked screen will have to be recalibrated with the Secure Enclave in order to function properly. And if Apple controls the only machine that can perform recalibration, that spells doom for independent repair. iFixit, a company that posts electronics repair guides on its website and sells iPhone replacement parts, says that roughly 15,000 companies have signed up for its wholesale parts sale program; most of those companies would struggle to survive if Apple makes this change to the iPhone. "If Apple integrates a component that has cryptography on it into a critical repair failure component, then we're going to have a problem," Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told me. "A substantial number of people who have bought a smartphone have broken their screens. It's a very common repair, and doing those repairs is a really important part of the economy." "You've got 15,000 repair shops across the country that are fixing these things," he added. "If there's a cryptographic element to fixing the glass, then our ability to do repairs could completely go away." Touch ID integration, then, is quite literally an existential threat to independent repair companies, and if Apple suddenly becomes the only company that is able to fix your phone if you break it, then do you really own it? Image: Jason Koebler Touch ID and the Right to Repair for the last several years, Apple has been lobbying  against "Right to Repair" legislation that has been proposed in several states around the country. The legislation would require manufacturers to sell repair parts and diagnostic machines and tools to third party repair companies and the general public. Bills are being considered in Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Tennessee, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Kansas. Specifically, legislation in these states notes that manufacturers "shall make available for purchase by owners and independent repair providers all diagnostic repair tools incorporating the same diagnostic, repair, and remote communications capabilities that such original equipment manufacturer makes available to its own repair or engineering staff." It also says that manufacturers "may not exclude diagnostic, service, and repair documentation necessary to reset a security-related electronic function from information provided to an owner or independent repair provider." Manufacturers must also allow owners to reset security systems back to their original state. "We've only got a one or two year window to get this done or it could be game over. So let's get it done." If the legislation passes, Apple will be required to sell its calibration machines on the open market. Not every mom-and-pop shop is going to buy a $20,000 calibration machine to fix a few iPhones, but many of the larger operations already shell out tens of thousands of dollars for top-of-the-line microscopes, and would surely buy the machine if it were made available. I went to the Electronics Reuse conference in Houston in October, which was full of repair professionals hoping to get at least one right to repair law passed this year. At one meeting, Wiens told members of the trade group Repair.org that this Touch ID issue is a ticking time bomb that has added urgency to the group's efforts. "Apple is going to see it as an opportunity to cut off the aftermarket, to require software to do glass repair, which would be the end," he said. "We've only got a one or two year window to get this done or it could be game over. So let's get it done." Apple has lobbied hard against this legislation, and later this week will send a representative to Lincoln, Nebraska, to speak at a hearing on the issue. Behind closed doors, Apple has told lawmakers that right to repair legislation would create security vulnerabilities for their customers and, in Nebraska, has told lawmakers that it would turn the state into a "Mecca" for hackers. "Apple has no problem inventing fear-based rhetoric that is not based in facts" Apple has never been specific about the types of security vulnerabilities it's worried right to repair will introduce, but it seems likely that Apple is lobbying at least in part to keep its calibration machine a secret and out of the hands of independent repair professionals. So, does Apple have a legitimate gripe with the legislation that is more compelling than the idea of a megacorporation losing a slice of the repair market? Security experts are split on this issue and, admittedly, not enough is known about the Touch ID / Secure Enclave architecture to make a completely informed call. Nicholas DePetrillo, a mobile security expert with Trail of Bits, told me that Apple simply doesn't want any changes made to its security architecture for repair reasons. "It boils down to the fact that Apple has legit security design reasons for this architecture, this is not simply to lock someone out of the phone or to kill third party repairs, it's hardware root of trust and to protect the consumer," he told me in an email. "No security professional will look at this and say, 'There's no reason for that! They're doing that simply to annoy third party repair shops.'" The fact remains, however, that Apple has not ever made a specific public case about how repair threatens security and has relied on the fact that essentially nothing is known about the recalibrating process. Todesco says that there are any number of ways that Apple could prevent Touch ID from being hacked, even if recalibration machines were made available to the general public. As I mentioned, recalibrating the Touch ID sensor does not: · Allow stolen, iCloud-locked phones to be unlocked · Allow anyone to unlock the phone without the passcode · Allow anyone to access the data within the phone without the passcode So what is Apple protecting? Todesco says any hacks on Touch ID would be far-fetched and would have "trivial countermeasures." "If you had an Apple server that handled recalibration requests, it would be very possible to enforce authorization from a user or to tell if their Touch ID sensor had been recalibrate by a malicious party," he said. "I honestly think it's more burdensome for Apple to repair all screens than for them to allow Apple to recalibrate," he added. "They make money from repairs, but losing the ability to repair would probably lose them customers." "Worst case scenario, we see Cellebrite in the repair business" The repair community, for its part, is not buying Apple's arguments. Apple has in the past introduced artificial software barriers to repair under the guise of protecting users' security, and has not earned the benefit of the doubt on the security issues (if any) of right to repair legislation. Apple spontaneously bricked thousands of user- and third-party repaired phones with a software update that caused a problem known as "Error 53" that affected any phone that had its home button replaced (Touch ID did not work on these devices but they could be used with a passcode). At the time, Apple noted that it was "the result of security checks designed to protect our customers … this security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used." Later, however, Apple pushed out an iOS update that fixed Error 53 and said the original error was a mistake and was "not intended to affect customers." "The real gateway to the secure boot chain of the device is always the passcode lock [and not Touch ID]," Jessa Jones, one of the world's best iPhone repair and data recovery experts, wrote to the Nebraska lawmaker who is sponsoring right to repair legislation. The letter was obtained by Motherboard, and Jones will be speaking to legislators at Thursday's right to repair hearing in Lincoln. "Without the passcode, no data recovery in the world can access data on any modern iOS device," she wrote. "Apple chose to do nothing about [Error 53], then they lied about it to inspire fear about device security, even though they knew this was not in the consumer's best interest and there was no security risk. This tells us that at least Apple has no problem inventing fear-based rhetoric that is not based in facts." One of the central question that legislators must grapple with, then, is whether manufacturers should be able to maintain such extreme control over their devices even after they've sold them. Apple has taken many steps to protect the security of their customers, but in doing so, has worked to monopolize the repair business. Apple thus far hasn't been willing to be honest and public about the specific security concerns it has with repair, and yet legislators have continued to allow it to kill legislation that is aimed at benefiting its consumers. "In other security-based industries such as locksmithing, there is no protective regulation in place to protect consumers from criminal intent," Jones wrote. "Consumers enjoy the freedom to employ any locksmith they choose. Criminal acts are criminal. It is counter to the freedom of our citizens to continue to ask consumers to throw away repairable devices over fear of potential criminal acts, especially when there is no evidence to support that there is a bona fide security risk from any aspect of independent repair." If Apple kills right to repair legislation and integrates Touch ID into the glass, Todesco jokingly imagines a future in which the world's best hackers partner with the repair community. "Worst case scenario," he said, "we see Cellebrite in the repair business." Update: One sentence of this article has been edited to be more specific about the relationship between Touch ID, Secure Enclave, and repair. AU Tax office set to recover $2 billion after audit of seven hi-tech multinationals Rod Chester, National technology writer, News Corp Australia NetworkFebruary 3, 2017 7:00pm APPLE Australia has confirmed it is one of the 50 hi-tech companies being audited by the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO will demand seven as yet unnamed hi-tech multinational companies pay up $2 billion as it winds up a series of long-running audits probing tax avoidance. While the ATO will not name and shame, it has confirmed it is currently auditing about 50 multinational corporations. It also confirmed it is reviewing hundreds of other companies for compliance with the general tax law and the multinational anti-avoidance law. The $2 billion, the ATO expects to collect by the end of the financial year comes from amended assessments it has already issued, or is in the process of issuing, to seven companies it describes as “operating in the energy and resources and e-commerce sectors”. The ATO has been probing 12 of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, for the past five years. Apple is one of seven hi-tech multinationals expected to pay $2 billion to the tax office. Picture: AFP Apple has insisted that it pays the right level of tax. In filing its June 2016 accounts, Apple Australia noted for the first time “the Australian Taxation Office is currently auditing the company’s income tax position for the year 2012”. “There are certain transactions and computations for which the ultimate tax determination is subject to the agreement by the relevant tax authority,” the results note. Apple Australia, which alongside Google and Microsoft fronted a 2015 senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance, has always insisted it had paid all taxes it owed in accordance with Australian law. The Apple accounts filed last week reported a tax expense of $58.5 million as an “adjustment relating to prior years”. Tax commissioner Chris Jordan said 24 multinational companies had approached the tax office seeking to amend their tax payments following recent changes to the legislation, choosing to be proactive rather than risk a higher penalty. Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said 24 companies have approached the ATO to amend their tax payments. Picture: News Corp The Federal Government announced a $679 million boost for the ATO in the recent budget to fund the Tax Avoidance Taskforce to target groups including multinational enterprises and ensure they “pay the right amount of tax, according to law, in Australia”. An ATO spokesman said the taskforce “will see a greater scrutiny of multinational and large public and private groups and wealthy individuals operating in Australia”. “It means that the ATO has more resources to undertake investigations and challenge the most aggressive tax avoidance arrangements.” The ATO predicts the Taskforce will recover $3.7 billion over four years. On the wider landscape, Apple is contesting a $18.6 billion tax bill in Ireland while Apple CEO Tim Cook this week predicted changes to the US tax laws which would impact on tech companies including Apple. In its quarterly results this week, Apple announced its cash horde had grown to $322 billion, with 94 per cent of that amount held outside of the US. Mr Cook said there were signs of changes to international tax laws which would allow Apple to bring more of those funds back to the US, which he said would be “very good for the country, and good for Apple”. CEO Tim Cook expects changes to international tax laws which would allow Apple to bring more of their funds back to the US. Picture: AF Mobile phones engineered 'not to last', expert says ABC NEWS By Malcolm Sutton  Updated 21 Oct 2014, 9:34am It is a common scenario: a customer is nearing the end of a 24-month mobile phone contract and despite taking impeccable care of the device, suddenly and for no apparent reason, it stops working like it should. University of Sydney Professor of Media and Communications Gerard Goggin said technology companies across a range of consumer goods were increasingly using the "built-in obsolescence" tactic, so manufacturers could "flog" another product. "It's a concept that has been obvious for a long time in terms of a consumer society," he said. "And there's a sense now in which the built-in obsolescence in devices is shorter than usual." He said the mobile phone industry had adapted to the concept by setting up plans that allowed customers to "post pay" on 24-month plans with telecommunication companies, so they could avoid paying lump sums for new handsets. Professor Goggin said manufacturers used cheaper components in products and experimented with more plastics in an effort to push for a "quick turnover" of products. Consumer protection: facts and fiction ACCC deputy chairman Michael Schaper says there is a misunderstanding among many consumers that they are not covered if their phones malfunction.He said if a 24-month contract has been entered with a telco, then "the expectation" is that the handset should last the full 24 months, unless it is obviously due to consumer mistreatment.Australian Consumer Law guarantees consumer protection for a reasonable length of time regardless of manufacturing warranties."If you've got a 24-month contract and you're paying money, you expect the phone is going to last at least that long. It's a fairly fundamental issue," Mr Schaper said.Mr Schaper said a spike in consumer complaints in 2009 and 2010 prompted the ACCC to take action on mobile phones."When you buy something from a retailer, the consumer has every right to go back to the retailer and say, 'make it good'," he said."The retail centre can't fob them off and say, 'you've got to go to the retailer'."Mr Schaper said another spike in complaints late last year led the ACCC to take action with Apple. The company had previously made "misleading representations" to a number of consumers, incorrectly saying its phones were only covered under its 12-month limited warranty.And despite being both a retailer and a manufacturer, customers returning to Apple stores with malfunctioning devices were being told they had to go back to the manufacturer."We expect bigger firms especially to have a much more sophisticated and a more proactive response to dealing with consumer issues," Mr Schaper said."If it's a minor breakdown, the consumer is entitled to a replacement or repair. If it's a major fault, it's a replacement, repair or refund."Minor is something that is an inconvenience but not the end of the world, but a phone that fundamentally doesn't work or keeps refusing to work, I'd call that major." He said the phenomenon first emerged for the mobile phone industry in Hong Kong about 10 years ago. "That had to do with the conspicuous consumption phenomenon - an intersection between the phones being fashionable and people increasingly wanting to have a new phone regularly," Professor Goggin said. "It was also catered for by being able to change the features of the phone, such as being able to change the face of a Nokia." Professor Goggin said there was still a market for longer lasting products - made obvious by the sale of heavy duty cases for mobile phones and other protective accessories - but when it came to the phones themselves, "it was a bit hard to point to example sometimes". He said Nokia Vertu was an example of a luxury, high-end brand, but companies "clearly believed there was an upside in having built-in obsolescence". "One of the features of mobile phone culture is novelty," Professor Gerard said. "People want the latest mobile, and there's still enough innovation in them to justify upgrades, although in three to five years' time that won't be the case. "There won't be that much new in this mobile market, and I feel a bit like that at the moment. I've just got an iPhone 5, why would I want an iPhone 6? There's not much difference in it." Manufacturers 'dropping the ball' on software JC Twining, the owner of 14-year-old Adelaide-based mobile phone repair company Axiom Communications, has been fixing phones for 20 years and said one of the areas that manufacturers were most culpable was software. Mr Twining said they were "dropping the ball a bit". "When Apple release a new software update, they release it for the current generation that's out, as well as the previous one," he said. "They also release it for a couple of older generations, but if you install that, your phone really starts to slow down." He did not believe it was a deliberate move but said shareholders were "obviously very interested" in getting a return on their investments. "There is that conflict of interest," Mr Twining said. "Do they make a phone that people want to replace every two years? Or do they make a phone that the consumer wants and wants to last a long time? "The tension between shareholders and customers is always interesting to me." Dropped phones the most common repair Mr Twining said 80 per cent of the repairs he made were for damage caused when owners dropped their phones - usually breaking the glass. There's a sense now in which the built-in obsolescence in devices is shorter than usual. Professor Gerard Goggin He said fading batteries were also a commonly reported problem, mainly because many people did not know how to look after lithium cells. "They still think they're nickel-based and you have to run them down a lot," Mr Twining said. "It's not true. If you run it down every day and don't plug it in in the evening and allow it to go flat, it might die as quickly as in six to 12 months and you need to have it replaced." Batteries were also under strain due to processors "getting more and more intense", increasing numbers of transistors and bigger screens. "And manufacturers are going for thinness," Mr Twining said. "If they made phones half a centimetre thicker, we'd get three times the battery life. "It's ridiculous, and the same applies for the glass. "If it was just a little thicker it would have much more impact resistance." iPhone 6 spurs 'abnormal' repair numbers Mr Twining said the longevity of hardware components, such as speakers, microphones and buttons, generally had not changed for 20 years. He has, however, received an abnormally high rate of repair requests for the new iPhone 6 "from day one" following its launch last month. "Previously all the phones could be gripped in your hand while you're walking down the street," Mr Twining said. "But the iPhone 6 is a much bigger size and people are just balancing them on their hand rather than gripping them, and they're falling." Another typical repair he made was to the Samsung Galaxy S5 that was released earlier this year, as a water resistant device. "It's designed to be water resistant and it's pretty good, but the small print says that under no condition is this phone impervious to water," Mr Twining said. "But people see the adverts and see people falling in swimming pools and think it's fine." A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the lasting integrity of iPhones or built- in obsolescence, but said its recent models had made a new sales record by selling more than 10 million devices in the first three days of its launch. Samsung did not respond to a request for comment. First posted 17 Oct 2014, 1:08pm Apple Touch Disease and Right to Repair  What does Touch Disease have to do with Right to Repair? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Touch Disease is a problem of premature aging. It’s the result of a design decision to make the iPhone 6 and, especially, the 6 Plus more flexible. The two phone models are simply too flexible—so over time small cracks develop in the soldered connections. The cracks deepen and separate more over time. Each crack disables more and more of the phone’s touch functionality. Every one of these phones was “born” with Touch Disease. It’s only a matter of time before they all show symptoms and premature death. The only solution is to replace the bad chips, restore the soldered connections, and reinforce the phone’s structure. It’s possible to fix these phones and it is being done— but not by Apple. Apple won’t make these repairs in house. They won’t provide any schematics or service documentation to independents willing to take on these repairs. They won’t subcontract repairs to techs that have already mastered these repairs. In fact, Apple won’t even acknowledge Touch Disease as an issue. The only solution Apple has for owners of afflicted phones: “Buy a New Phone” or pay $329 for a refurbed unit. Here’s where it gets nasty for customers. Apple refurb phones aren’t fixed—they are swapped with diseased units that haven’t yet shown symptoms. But, of course, many replacements start showing symptoms quickly. In fact, some users report that their replacement units showed symptoms of Touch Disease right out of the box. No surprise class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of users. Here's the cool part: Only independent repair techs have been able to offer a fix because some of them can have the skills and equipment to microsolder. It was independents that discovered how widespread the issue was on their own, they came up with best practices for fixing it on their own, and they even developed some hardware tweaks to prevent the issue from reoccurring. On their own. That's why we need independents in the repair business. Independents can innovate in different ways than the OEM. Innovations in repair are hindered, intentionally, by companies such as Apple that refuse to provide the basic schematic diagrams that would improve repair success and improve customer satisfaction. Apple goes so far as to fight against Right to Repair legislation to preserve their monopoly on repair—even when they aren’t capable of making the repair themselves.  
ACMECOmobile phone repairs
Tax Avoidance
On your next mobile phone purchase consider who is or is not paying there fair share of taxation in Australia. We do and so should large companies who deprive Australia billions in revenue that do not funnel back into our Hospitals, schools and other major infrastructure. ACMECO will keep you informed with developments and informative articles to help keep you in control.  
Thousands of complaints led to Apple court action Would not replace recalled iPhones if they were previously fixed by an "unauthorised repairer" By Tony Ibrahim tijourno  Last updated: 10 April 2017 Thousands of Australian Apple customers were denied their consumer rights to have products repaired, including those sold defective iPhones that were later recalled, according to court documents. The ACCC initiated Federal Court proceedings against Apple late last week for denying to fix iPhones and iPads handled by a third-party repairer, claiming its conduct is a violation of the guarantees protected by Australian Consumer Law. Court documents obtained by CHOICE reveal 275 Apple customers lodged complaints with the ACCC; however, these represent a small percentage of the total number of complaints made, says Rod Sims, chair of the ACCC. "By far the largest number of complaints went to Apple. Certainly we had a number of complaints, but Apple had thousands of complaints made to them," he says. An investigation was launched into Apple after a share of its customers tried updating to a newer version of iOS. The update disabled iPhones and iPads that had been repaired by "unauthorised" third-party repairers, in an issue widely known as "error 53". The ACCC found Apple went as far as refusing to repair or replace iPhones part of global recall programs. These iPhones were sold with defects causing the camera to be blurry or the standby button to improperly work. Apple allegedly turned customers affected by the recalls down for more than a year, up until January 2016. The ACCC believes such conduct was part of Apple's day-to-day conduct. "This was rooted in behaviour by Apple," Sims tells CHOICE. The ACCC contacted 13 Apple Stores across Australia mid last year as part of its investigation, including the flagship store on George Street in Sydney. A representative from each store confirmed Apple would not fix an iPhone at no cost if it had been handled by a third-party repairer. The policy was also marketed on the company's Australia website until February 2016, but has since been updated to reflect a backtrack on Apple's stance. "If you believe that you paid for an out-of-warranty device replacement based on an error 53 issue, contact Apple Support to ask about reimbursement," the revised webpage says. Other smartphone manufacturers are not suspected of similar behaviour, says Sims. "When dealing with systematic behaviour, we'll often focus on the biggest player because they're causing the most detriment, but here the behaviour seems to be particularly focussed with what Apple is doing. "We've got to win the case first before one talks about penalties. [But] if a penalty is to be decided, we then need to seek a penalty that is of sufficient deterrent value to Apple and that would have to be substantial." Apple Australia could not comment at the time of publication.
Choosing Your Next Mobile Its a jungle out there, so don’t rush into the latest and greatest - marketing today is brain-washing power which converts into huge profits. I my self have a hard time choosing a model. However I do look at build quality, battery performance and size, type of LCD technology , processor (as older technology can affect battery performance) and must have an SD card slot. Its a good idea to check the price to repair your future mobile LCD/Touch screen should it break (and it will) so SHOCK isn’t a nasty surprise. Currently I’m waiting on the release of ASUS ZenFone AR (ZS571KL) which has some impressive specifications including Amoled LCD, 8GB Ram, USB C, 5 magnet speaker with smart amp & impressive 23MP cameras. Future Technologies Now.

Right To Repair

 Australia

Apple is fighting legislation that would let you repair your own iPhone · Apple, Johnson & Johnson, the Consumer Technology Association, Lexmark, Toyota, Verizon are lobbying against the Fair Repair Act in New York. · The act would require digital product makers to release repair guides. · Consumers who currently repair devices themselves face voiding warranties. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. Apple is one of a number of companies lobbying to kill a new New York bill that would force companies to release information that would make it easier for customers and third-party shops to repair consumer goods. The lobbying efforts were first uncovered by Motherboard. Other companies involved in the effort to thwart the proposed "Fair Repair Act" include Johnson & Johnson Controls, the Consumer Technology Association, Lexmark, Toyota, Verizon and others. The bill seeks to "amend the general business law, in relation to the sale of digital electronic equipment diagnostic and repair information," and specifically calls on manufacturers "who operate and sell in New York State to make available diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and machines." It would allow third parties, and even consumers, to easily access the information required to repair devices on their own, instead of having to pay the original manufacturer for a repair. Apple has a reason to try to do so. The company sells its AppleCare+ insurance to customers, who can then visit an Apple Store to have a device repaired by professional staff. If you crack your iPhone screen and have it repaired elsewhere — perhaps because it's cheaper to do so — you risk voiding your warranty if damage is done to other components during the process. There's a reason why Apple and other companies are opposed to third-party repair, however. Third-party companies may not replace parts with those of the same quality offered by the manufacturer. A shop on the corner in New York City, for example, may use a very cheap replacement screen to fix a cracked iPhone, instead of one of Apple's more premium screens. By keeping repairs in-house and under warranty, Apple and other companies can guarantee a level of quality assurance. Motherboard said that the Digital Right to Repair Coalition is fighting on behalf of the bill and has spent $5,042 lobbying in its favour, while a conglomerate of firms has lobbied against it, spending $366,634 to date. Apple alone is paying a $9,000 a month retainer for a lobbying firm named Roffe Group, Motherboard said. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Todd Haselton Technology Product Editor
Social media 'more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol'  By Ahmad Ali Published: May 21, 2017 The research studies how social media platforms can impact health and well-being in young people. PHOTO: REUTERS Social networking websites can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol and can have an overall negative effect on young people’s mental health, says a new report. The study conducted by Royal Society for Public Health in the UK surveyed almost 1,500 young people aged 14 to 24 on how social media platforms can impact health and well-being in issues such as anxiety, depression, self-identity and body image. The research found that 91% of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social networking which has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. The increased use of social media may have also led to higher rates of anxiety and depression in young people which have risen by 70% in the past 25 years. You could read 200 books in the time you spend on social media every year The Status of Mind report found that most social media platforms have an overall negative effect on teenager’s well-being with YouTube being the only exception. The video streaming website was found to have the most positive impact, while major social media website such as Instagram, Snap chat, Face book and Twitter all demonstrated negative effects. Interestingly, photo sharing app Instagram was found to have worst impact on young people’s mental health. Instagram draws young women to “compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photo-shopped versions of reality,” said Matt Keracher, author of the report.
How the ACCC is forcing Apple to stop acting like dodgy car dealers · Apple stands accused of improperly forcing customers to use its own costly repair services, and flouting consumer protections when other repairers are used. by Peter Moon For the second time in under four years, the world's most profitable computer company finds itself in the crosshairs of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for failing Consumer Protection 101. In 2013, Apple was caught out ignoring the standard guarantee and repair rights assured to customers by the Australian Consumer Law. That episode ended in a court enforceable undertaking by the company to educate its staff and get its legal act together. There was no court case, and no formal admissions by Apple, but having your arm twisted into giving an undertaking is as near a miss as a company can have. Now, the ACCC has taken formal court action, alleging that Apple hasn't come to grips with a part of the law that humble motor mechanics understood 25 years ago. Put simply, buyers have warranty rights under the law, and they aren't voided simply because the customer might have had some work done by the local repair shop instead of the manufacturer's approved service centre. According to the consumer commission, iPhones and iPads can detect when certain components have changed. For instance, if the Touch ID sensor is disconnected and reconnected during a cracked screen replacement, Apple can tell. The commission's claim continues that in late 2014, some iThing users who attempted to install software updates found their devices rendered inoperative – "bricked" is the cool jargon for the phenomenon. It's said that Apple's update system was detecting subtle hardware changes and that was spoiling the attempted update. When some of those customers asked for a repair, Apple is alleged to have asserted that the mere fact that an unauthorised person had worked on a device voided any warranty rights. According to the ACCC's court documents, Apple US then published a website notice that said: "If the screen on your iPhone or iPad was replaced at an Apple Service Centre, Apple Store, or Apple Authorised Service Provider, contact Apple Support. If the screen or any other part on your iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere else, contact Apple Support about pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs." Translation: If anyone but Apple has opened your phone or pad, you'll need to pay for all future repairs. Legally, that could be partly true, if the third party service person damaged something. If Crazy Computer Repairs at the local mall broke your phone's motherboard during a screen replacement, it isn't Apple's job to provide a free fix for the board. But if there's a subsequent fault that has nothing to do with Crazy's work, Apple can't duck its warranty obligations just because Crazy laid a hand on the device. Decades ago, new car sellers tried on the line that using a non-authorised service centre automatically voided a buyer's statutory warranty. And it might, if the workshop used significantly sub-standard parts or processes that compromised the vehicle. But where everything is done to standard, the warranty survives. Even if there is a mistake or some corner cutting, it won't necessarily impact the warranty, if an unrelated fault appears. It seems that the motor industry now gets the point, but Apple didn't. Beyond the update debacle, says the ACCC, Apple also excluded customers from a product recall for faulty iPhone speakers, solely because it had detected non-authorised screen repairs. There was no suggestion that the screen replacement had affected the speakers, it was just an Apple rule that once you sought aid outside the Apple fold, there was no coming back. The case reached the Federal Court last month, and in a bizarre twist Apple US didn't respond to court documents that were delivered to one of its senior lawyers, who had acknowledged receipt, but not strictly according to service rules. So even though Apple's Australian outfit fronted up, the ACCC had to get special court permission to formally serve the US under the Hague Convention. In considering whether to grant that permission, Federal Court Justice Mark Moshinsky needed to consider the merits of the claims against Apple US, as they appear at this early stage. "I am satisfied that the ACCC has a prima facie case against Apple US in relation to the statement on the website page," opined Justice Moshinsky. Federal judges are notoriously dispassionate, and Apple US will get a fair hearing, but its strategy of forcing the court to make an adverse finding, even on a preliminary basis, is curious. Peter Moon is a technology lawyer with Cooper Mills.peter.moon@coopermills.com.au
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Blog

Introduction

At ACMECO i believe a fair go for my customers isn’t a big ask…… ACMECO Recommend before purchasing your new mobile check the price on repair e.g. Cracked LCD/Touch screen for future reference before you purchase as original parts have increased considerably to third party repairer’s - main manufactures will not supply directly to you or myself. Currently many parts are refurbished or of low grade, this is a way of bypassing manufactures policies of keeping parts in house. ACMECO source parts that are brand new or top grade after-market from Aussie (not China) whole sellers who purchase from loopholes overseas charging more than manufacturer service centres. Keep in mind an original part comes from a manufacturer factory and leaked to the wholesale world at a higher price. This is a misuse of market practice and i have forward relevant proof to ACCC on an ongoing basis. My aim with other reputable repairers is to level out a fair system and price for my customer repairs on par with manufactures service centres instead of using grey markets or after-market supplies. I believe it is time for a change for mobile parts industry to become available to anyone just as you can with electrical parts for an electrician can be purchased over the counter or plumbers wares available to the public over the counter. Car parts are also available to you over the counter etc. etc. So why not mobile parts, Ill let you decide why not. I have created this PAGE of information to make the public aware that all is not as it may seem. Please let me know how you feel by completing the above survey.

Apple taken to court by ACCC over

alleged consumer warranty

misrepresentations

Friday 6th April

Apple taken to court by ACCC over alleged consumer warranty misrepresentations By Lucia Stein Updated Thu Apr 06 13:05:06 EST 2017 Photo  The ACCC alleges Apple illegally denied warranty repairs because of third party work on devices. The competition and consumer law watchdog is taking action against Apple over allegations it misled consumers about their warranty rights under the Australian Consumer Law. Key points: · ACCC alleges Apple breached the consumer law by denying warranty repairs to customers who had used a third party repairer · Consumer law gives customers rights to repair or replacement of faulty goods beyond manufacturer's warranty · ACCC said Apple's move may unfairly discourage people from using third party repairers The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Apple after an investigation into "error 53", which saw iPads or iPhones disabled after users downloaded an Apple IOS update. The ACCC alleges Apple represented to consumers with faulty products that they were not entitled to a free remedy if their Apple device had previously been repaired by an unauthorised third party repairer, even in cases where the repair was unrelated to the fault. Mr Sims said the central allegation was that consumers who had gone to third parties for repairs, for example to fix a cracked screen, were routinely refused any service to their Apple device, even if the fault had nothing to do with the cracked screen. "Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer's warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. "Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options - including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer." Rights outside of warranty The Australian Consumer Law's guarantees mean you can get some faulty goods replaced even if they are out of warranty.  The ACCC is alleging breaches of the law relating to 275 customers, with each breach carrying a maximum penalty of $1.1 million. However, even if the ACCC wins its case in full, it is extremely unlikely that Apple would be fined anywhere near the maximum penalty for each breach. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to have their goods fixed or replaced at no cost to them in situations where the goods or services are not of an acceptable quality - that is where they have faults, visible damage or do not do what you would normally expect them to. Mr Sims said those consumer guarantees extend to software or software updates loaded onto a product, which means any problems caused by software updates may entitle consumers to a free substitute under the Australian Consumer Law. Apple's behaviour 'very unusual' According to Mr Sims, Apple's behaviour is "very unusual" and not the sort of behaviour that should be going on in a modern economy. "I find [Apple's behaviour] puzzling. We often find with companies generally that they like to have goods repaired by themselves, rather than by third party repairers," he told the ABC. "I think the allegations we're making here, and which are now before the court, are extremely serious ... and I think the allegations if proven, reflect extremely bad behaviour." He said part of the benefit of putting matters like these before the court was to remind both consumers and companies of their rights and responsibilities under the consumer guarantees. The ABC has contacted Apple for its response. Posted Thu Apr 06 10:49:57 EST 2017 Right To Repair Hearing At Nebraska State Legislature (edited). US - Repairers begin the fight for   your rights.   The Next iPhone Could Put 15,000 Repair Companies Out of Business Jason Koebler  Apple's secret iPhone calibration machine and its Touch ID sensor will allow it to monopolize the repair industry. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the next iPhone will have some significant changes. The report notes that the next iPhone will not have a home button and will instead be made of a single piece of glass, a long-rumored and seemingly inconsequential move that is in fact central to an ongoing and hugely important legislative struggle between America's largest company and thousands of independent smartphone repair shops. Moving the Touch ID fingerprint-reading sensor from the home button into the screen itself will have the side effect of giving Apple a straightforward path to monopolizing screen repair. The move could give Apple unprecedented control over the ownership and repairability of your phone, which means that in the very near future, it's possible that the only company that will be able to do a simple iPhone screen replacement will be Apple itself. If the Wall Street Journal report is true (similar things have been reported by Bloomberg and featureless, buttonless fingerprint- reading technology has been patented by Apple), the development could hurt thousands of independent smartphone repair companies around the United States, and it threatens the very concept of phone ownership. The move would combine the only part of the iPhone that can currently only be replaced by Apple (the Touch ID sensor) and the most often broken part of the iPhone (the screen) into one part. The removal of the home button would be an instant death blow to many of the roughly 15,000 independent smartphone repair companies in the United States, most of which are small businesses that work primarily on iPhones and specialize in screen replacement. A few caveats before we get to the meat of the matter: Even if Apple decides to not get rid of the home button in the next iPhone, the way the company currently handles Touch ID replaceability is still central to the ongoing right-to-repair legislation currently being considered in eight states; this matters, even if Apple kicks the redesign further into the future. This is because the only part of the iPhone that has a software lock preventing repair, and Apple's lobbying against this legislation has been focused on protecting that software lock. It is also entirely possible that Apple makes Touch ID easier to repair with the next iPhone by redesigning its software; this would be a good result. How independent iPhone screen repair works todayIf you crack the screen of your iPhone and take it to a third-party repair company, a technician can swap your broken screen for a new one. This screen may have been salvaged from another phone, or it might be an aftermarket part bought from any number of factories in China. These aftermarket parts are of varying quality—some are as good as Apple's original parts, others are less good. Regardless of the quality of the part, however, the repair tech never replaces the actual Touch ID button. Instead, they will swap it from your old screen onto your new one. The Touch ID sensor is paired with the "Secure Enclave" chip inside of the phone, which you may remember from the Apple vs. FBI encryption debate from last year. The Secure Enclave stores your fingerprint data, passcode, and other cryptographic information using a built-in random number generator. The security features that have to do with preventing repair, it should be noted, have nothing to do with the overall encryption of data on the iPhone. For the purposes of this article, accessing the data stored within the Secure Enclave is functionally impossible without entering your passcode to unlock the phone. Radio Motherboard explores the right to repair. Because fingerprints are stored on the Secure Enclave and not on the Touch ID sensor itself, it is impossible to save an unlock fingerprint on one phone, physically transfer that sensor to another phone, and unlock the second device using the fingerprint from the first. This is good, because otherwise you'd be able to unlock and take data from otherwise encrypted phones by simply putting a new button on them. But Apple took its Touch ID security one step further. "There's never a moment when you're not with somebody else, and there's cameras everywhere but the bathroom" Apple notes in a white paper that the Secure Enclave and Touch ID are given a "device's shared key," which is a unique cryptographic signature shared between the Touch ID and Secure Enclave. This means that replacement Touch ID sensors will not work if swapped onto your phone, because they aren't paired with the existing Secure Enclave in your phone. This was a big problem on the iPhone 5S, because the cable that connects the Touch ID sensor to the phone's logic board broke easily during standard repairs. Replacement buttons worked as a home button only; Touch ID would be forever broken on that device, meaning the user had to enter a passcode whenever they wanted to unlock the phone. This is what it looks like when you put a new Touch ID sensor on an iPhone: Taken as a whole, companies that repair iPhones employ skilled people. They know to be careful with the Touch ID sensor, and they know that the old sensor must be transferred to the new phone when doing a screen repair. It's a system that's annoying, but that works for the vast majority of cases. How iPhone screen repair at the Apple Store works today If you take a phone with a cracked screen to the Apple Store, the Geniuses there don't have to swap the button from your old screen to the new one. According to one current and two former Apple Store employees, there is a "Calibration Machine" in the back room of every Apple store that is able to reset the pairing between Touch ID buttons and the Secure Enclave. So when Apple replaces your screen, it simply recalibrates the new button to work with your existing phone. "The calibration machine was a rather big device (imagine something roughly the size of a fairly large microwave) that phones had to be inserted into after replacing the display," one former employee told me in an email. "It took about ten minutes per phone to calibrate them, and the device would run a battery of pressure- sensitive tests in addition to registering the display with the secure enclave. An iPhone had to be secured in the device, naturally, and a mechanical arm would perform the necessary functions." Image: Taylor Lewis A current Apple Genius told me that the machine is hooked up to an iMac, which is hooked up to a special server, which runs the software that recalibrate the device. Apple employees are told that the calibration machine costs between $20,000 and $60,000 (there are different models of calibration machine), and it is available only to Apple Stores, not to so-called "Apple Authorized Service Providers." No photos of the machine are available publicly, and I was told it would be impossible to take one without getting caught: "There's never a moment when you're not with somebody else, and there's cameras everywhere but the bathroom," the Genius told me. "Apple is so secretive that they don't even want us wearing our Apple shirts outside." I spoke with three different iOS security experts about how recalibration would work. Apple holds many of the secrets of Secure Enclave close to its chest, and little is known outside of Apple about the specifics of the Touch ID-Secure Enclave relationship. Only one of the three experts would speculate on the record about the mechanics of recalibrating the phone. Apple did not respond to request for comment on any aspect of this article and has ignored dozens of requests about repair issues from Motherboard over the past two years. In theory, Touch ID reprogramming should require only a piece of software and perhaps authentication from an Apple server, according to Luca Todesco, one of the world's best-known iPhone jailbreakers. "You probably don't need any hardware to do it," Todesco told me. "I wouldn't think there is much more required than some software running in the Secure Enclave Processor." Todesco said that the "pressure-sensitive tests" are likely standard touch screen tests that are done as part of "SwitchBoard," an internal app that ensures the phone is running properly before it's sold to or returned to a customer. "Apple is going to see it as an opportunity to cut off the aftermarket, to require software to do glass repair, which would be the end" Though we don't know exactly how Apple recalibrates phones, Apple Geniuses told me that the machine is unable to bypass what's known as "iCloud Activation Lock," a security measure that bricks phones that have been reported as stolen. The recalibration can only occur if the phone has been unlocked by a customer using their passcode, meaning they are the owner of the phone. This is an extremely important point: All three Apple Geniuses told me that the calibration machine can currently only be used on phones that have been unlocked by their owners using their passcodes. The calibration machine also cannot extract any data from the phone. The mere existence of this machine, however, is hugely important to the future of iPhone repair. The future of cracked screens this brings us to the next model of the iPhone. If Touch ID is integrated into the screen and the home button is removed entirely from the device, then any phone that has a cracked screen will have to be recalibrated with the Secure Enclave in order to function properly. And if Apple controls the only machine that can perform recalibration, that spells doom for independent repair. iFixit, a company that posts electronics repair guides on its website and sells iPhone replacement parts, says that roughly 15,000 companies have signed up for its wholesale parts sale program; most of those companies would struggle to survive if Apple makes this change to the iPhone. "If Apple integrates a component that has cryptography on it into a critical repair failure component, then we're going to have a problem," Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told me. "A substantial number of people who have bought a smartphone have broken their screens. It's a very common repair, and doing those repairs is a really important part of the economy." "You've got 15,000 repair shops across the country that are fixing these things," he added. "If there's a cryptographic element to fixing the glass, then our ability to do repairs could completely go away." Touch ID integration, then, is quite literally an existential threat to independent repair companies, and if Apple suddenly becomes the only company that is able to fix your phone if you break it, then do you really own it? Image: Jason Koebler Touch ID and the Right to Repair for the last several years, Apple has been lobbying against "Right to Repair" legislation that has been proposed in several states around the country. The legislation would require manufacturers to sell repair parts and diagnostic machines and tools to third party repair companies and the general public. Bills are being considered in Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Tennessee, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Kansas. Specifically, legislation in these states notes that manufacturers "shall make available for purchase by owners and independent repair providers all diagnostic repair tools incorporating the same diagnostic, repair, and remote communications capabilities that such original equipment manufacturer makes available to its own repair or engineering staff." It also says that manufacturers "may not exclude diagnostic, service, and repair documentation necessary to reset a security-related electronic function from information provided to an owner or independent repair provider." Manufacturers must also allow owners to reset security systems back to their original state. "We've only got a one or two year window to get this done or it could be game over. So let's get it done." If the legislation passes, Apple will be required to sell its calibration machines on the open market. Not every mom-and-pop shop is going to buy a $20,000 calibration machine to fix a few iPhones, but many of the larger operations already shell out tens of thousands of dollars for top-of-the-line microscopes, and would surely buy the machine if it were made available. I went to the Electronics Reuse conference in Houston in October, which was full of repair professionals hoping to get at least one right to repair law passed this year. At one meeting, Wiens told members of the trade group Repair.org that this Touch ID issue is a ticking time bomb that has added urgency to the group's efforts. "Apple is going to see it as an opportunity to cut off the aftermarket, to require software to do glass repair, which would be the end," he said. "We've only got a one or two year window to get this done or it could be game over. So let's get it done." Apple has lobbied hard against this legislation, and later this week will send a representative to Lincoln, Nebraska, to speak at a hearing on the issue. Behind closed doors, Apple has told lawmakers that right to repair legislation would create security vulnerabilities for their customers and, in Nebraska, has told lawmakers that it would turn the state into a "Mecca" for hackers. "Apple has no problem inventing fear-based rhetoric that is not based in facts" Apple has never been specific about the types of security vulnerabilities it's worried right to repair will introduce, but it seems likely that Apple is lobbying at least in part to keep its calibration machine a secret and out of the hands of independent repair professionals. So, does Apple have a legitimate gripe with the legislation that is more compelling than the idea of a megacorporation losing a slice of the repair market? Security experts are split on this issue and, admittedly, not enough is known about the Touch ID / Secure Enclave architecture to make a completely informed call. Nicholas DePetrillo, a mobile security expert with Trail of Bits, told me that Apple simply doesn't want any changes made to its security architecture for repair reasons. "It boils down to the fact that Apple has legit security design reasons for this architecture, this is not simply to lock someone out of the phone or to kill third party repairs, it's hardware root of trust and to protect the consumer," he told me in an email. "No security professional will look at this and say, 'There's no reason for that! They're doing that simply to annoy third party repair shops.'" The fact remains, however, that Apple has not ever made a specific public case about how repair threatens security and has relied on the fact that essentially nothing is known about the recalibrating process. Todesco says that there are any number of ways that Apple could prevent Touch ID from being hacked, even if recalibration machines were made available to the general public. As I mentioned, recalibrating the Touch ID sensor does not: · Allow stolen, iCloud-locked phones to be unlocked · Allow anyone to unlock the phone without the passcode · Allow anyone to access the data within the phone without the passcode So what is Apple protecting? Todesco says any hacks on Touch ID would be far-fetched and would have "trivial countermeasures." "If you had an Apple server that handled recalibration requests, it would be very possible to enforce authorization from a user or to tell if their Touch ID sensor had been recalibrate by a malicious party," he said. "I honestly think it's more burdensome for Apple to repair all screens than for them to allow Apple to recalibrate," he added. "They make money from repairs, but losing the ability to repair would probably lose them customers." "Worst case scenario, we see Cellebrite in the repair business" The repair community, for its part, is not buying Apple's arguments. Apple has in the past introduced artificial software barriers to repair under the guise of protecting users' security, and has not earned the benefit of the doubt on the security issues (if any) of right to repair legislation. Apple spontaneously bricked thousands of user- and third-party repaired phones with a software update that caused a problem known as "Error 53" that affected any phone that had its home button replaced (Touch ID did not work on these devices but they could be used with a passcode). At the time, Apple noted that it was "the result of security checks designed to protect our customers … this security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used." Later, however, Apple pushed out an iOS update that fixed Error 53  and said the original error was a mistake and was "not intended to affect customers." "The real gateway to the secure boot chain of the device is always the passcode lock [and not Touch ID]," Jessa Jones, one of the world's best iPhone repair and data recovery experts, wrote to the Nebraska lawmaker who is sponsoring right to repair legislation. The letter was obtained by Motherboard, and Jones will be speaking to legislators at Thursday's right to repair hearing in Lincoln. "Without the passcode, no data recovery in the world can access data on any modern iOS device," she wrote. "Apple chose to do nothing about [Error 53], then they lied about it to inspire fear about device security, even though they knew this was not in the consumer's best interest and there was no security risk. This tells us that at least Apple has no problem inventing fear-based rhetoric that is not based in facts." One of the central question that legislators must grapple with, then, is whether manufacturers should be able to maintain such extreme control over their devices even after they've sold them. Apple has taken many steps to protect the security of their customers, but in doing so, has worked to monopolize the repair business. Apple thus far hasn't been willing to be honest and public about the specific security concerns it has with repair, and yet legislators have continued to allow it to kill legislation that is aimed at benefiting its consumers. "In other security-based industries such as locksmithing, there is no protective regulation in place to protect consumers from criminal intent," Jones wrote. "Consumers enjoy the freedom to employ any locksmith they choose. Criminal acts are criminal. It is counter to the freedom of our citizens to continue to ask consumers to throw away repairable devices over fear of potential criminal acts, especially when there is no evidence to support that there is a bona fide security risk from any aspect of independent repair." If Apple kills right to repair legislation and integrates Touch ID into the glass, Todesco jokingly imagines a future in which the world's best hackers partner with the repair community. "Worst case scenario," he said, "we see Cellebrite in the repair business." Update: One sentence of this article has been edited to be more specific about the relationship between Touch ID, Secure Enclave, and repair. AU Tax office set to recover $2 billion after audit of seven hi-tech multinationals Rod Chester, National technology writer, News Corp Australia NetworkFebruary 3, 2017 7:00pm APPLE Australia has confirmed it is one of the 50 hi-tech companies being audited by the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO will demand seven as yet unnamed hi-tech multinational companies pay up $2 billion as it winds up a series of long-running audits probing tax avoidance. While the ATO will not name and shame, it has confirmed it is currently auditing about 50 multinational corporations. It also confirmed it is reviewing hundreds of other companies for compliance with the general tax law and the multinational anti- avoidance law. The $2 billion, the ATO expects to collect by the end of the financial year comes from amended assessments it has already issued, or is in the process of issuing, to seven companies it describes as “operating in the energy and resources and e-commerce sectors”. The ATO has been probing 12 of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, for the past five years. Apple is one of seven hi-tech multinationals expected to pay $2 billion to the tax office. Picture: AFP Apple has insisted that it pays the right level of tax. In filing its June 2016 accounts, Apple Australia noted for the first time “the Australian Taxation Office is currently auditing the company’s income tax position for the year 2012”. “There are certain transactions and computations for which the ultimate tax determination is subject to the agreement by the relevant tax authority,” the results note. Apple Australia, which alongside Google and Microsoft fronted a 2015 senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance, has always insisted it had paid all taxes it owed in accordance with Australian law. The Apple accounts filed last week reported a tax expense of $58.5 million as an “adjustment relating to prior years”. Tax commissioner Chris Jordan said 24 multinational companies had approached the tax office seeking to amend their tax payments following recent changes to the legislation, choosing to be proactive rather than risk a higher penalty. Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said 24 companies have approached the ATO to amend their tax payments. Picture: News Corp The Federal Government announced a $679 million boost for the ATO in the recent budget to fund the Tax Avoidance Taskforce to target groups including multinational enterprises and ensure they “pay the right amount of tax, according to law, in Australia”. An ATO spokesman said the taskforce “will see a greater scrutiny of multinational and large public and private groups and wealthy individuals operating in Australia”. “It means that the ATO has more resources to undertake investigations and challenge the most aggressive tax avoidance arrangements.” The ATO predicts the Taskforce will recover $3.7 billion over four years. On the wider landscape, Apple is contesting a $18.6 billion tax bill in Ireland while Apple CEO Tim Cook this week predicted changes to the US tax laws which would impact on tech companies including Apple. In its quarterly results this week, Apple announced its cash horde had grown to $322 billion, with 94 per cent of that amount held outside of the US. Mr Cook said there were signs of changes to international tax laws which would allow Apple to bring more of those funds back to the US, which he said would be “very good for the country, and good for Apple”. CEO Tim Cook expects changes to international tax laws which would allow Apple to bring more of their funds back to the US. Picture: AF Mobile phones engineered 'not to last', expert says ABC NEWS By Malcolm Sutton  Updated 21 Oct 2014, 9:34am It is a common scenario: a customer is nearing the end of a 24- month mobile phone contract and despite taking impeccable care of the device, suddenly and for no apparent reason, it stops working like it should. University of Sydney Professor of Media and Communications Gerard Goggin said technology companies across a range of consumer goods were increasingly using the "built-in obsolescence" tactic, so manufacturers could "flog" another product. "It's a concept that has been obvious for a long time in terms of a consumer society," he said. "And there's a sense now in which the built-in obsolescence in devices is shorter than usual." He said the mobile phone industry had adapted to the concept by setting up plans that allowed customers to "post pay" on 24-month plans with telecommunication companies, so they could avoid paying lump sums for new handsets. Professor Goggin said manufacturers used cheaper components in products and experimented with more plastics in an effort to push for a "quick turnover" of products. Consumer protection: facts and fiction ACCC deputy chairman Michael Schaper says there is a misunderstanding among many consumers that they are not covered if their phones malfunction.He said if a 24-month contract has been entered with a telco, then "the expectation" is that the handset should last the full 24 months, unless it is obviously due to consumer mistreatment.Australian Consumer Law guarantees consumer protection for a reasonable length of time regardless of manufacturing warranties."If you've got a 24-month contract and you're paying money, you expect the phone is going to last at least that long. It's a fairly fundamental issue," Mr Schaper said.Mr Schaper said a spike in consumer complaints in 2009 and 2010 prompted the ACCC to take action on mobile phones."When you buy something from a retailer, the consumer has every right to go back to the retailer and say, 'make it good'," he said."The retail centre can't fob them off and say, 'you've got to go to the retailer'."Mr Schaper said another spike in complaints late last year led the ACCC to take action with Apple. The company had previously made "misleading representations" to a number of consumers, incorrectly saying its phones were only covered under its 12-month limited warranty.And despite being both a retailer and a manufacturer, customers returning to Apple stores with malfunctioning devices were being told they had to go back to the manufacturer."We expect bigger firms especially to have a much more sophisticated and a more proactive response to dealing with consumer issues," Mr Schaper said."If it's a minor breakdown, the consumer is entitled to a replacement or repair. If it's a major fault, it's a replacement, repair or refund."Minor is something that is an inconvenience but not the end of the world, but a phone that fundamentally doesn't work or keeps refusing to work, I'd call that major." He said the phenomenon first emerged for the mobile phone industry in Hong Kong about 10 years ago. "That had to do with the conspicuous consumption phenomenon - an intersection between the phones being fashionable and people increasingly wanting to have a new phone regularly," Professor Goggin said. "It was also catered for by being able to change the features of the phone, such as being able to change the face of a Nokia." Professor Goggin said there was still a market for longer lasting products - made obvious by the sale of heavy duty cases for mobile phones and other protective accessories - but when it came to the phones themselves, "it was a bit hard to point to example sometimes". He said Nokia Vertu was an example of a luxury, high-end brand, but companies "clearly believed there was an upside in having built- in obsolescence". "One of the features of mobile phone culture is novelty," Professor Gerard said. "People want the latest mobile, and there's still enough innovation in them to justify upgrades, although in three to five years' time that won't be the case. "There won't be that much new in this mobile market, and I feel a bit like that at the moment. I've just got an iPhone 5, why would I want an iPhone 6? There's not much difference in it." Manufacturers 'dropping the ball' on software JC Twining, the owner of 14-year-old Adelaide-based mobile phone repair company Axiom Communications, has been fixing phones for 20 years and said one of the areas that manufacturers were most culpable was software. Mr Twining said they were "dropping the ball a bit". "When Apple release a new software update, they release it for the current generation that's out, as well as the previous one," he said. "They also release it for a couple of older generations, but if you install that, your phone really starts to slow down." He did not believe it was a deliberate move but said shareholders were "obviously very interested" in getting a return on their investments. "There is that conflict of interest," Mr Twining said. "Do they make a phone that people want to replace every two years? Or do they make a phone that the consumer wants and wants to last a long time? "The tension between shareholders and customers is always interesting to me." Dropped phones the most common repair Mr Twining said 80 per cent of the repairs he made were for damage caused when owners dropped their phones - usually breaking the glass. There's a sense now in which the built-in obsolescence in devices is shorter than usual. Professor Gerard Goggin He said fading batteries were also a commonly reported problem, mainly because many people did not know how to look after lithium cells. "They still think they're nickel-based and you have to run them down a lot," Mr Twining said. "It's not true. If you run it down every day and don't plug it in in the evening and allow it to go flat, it might die as quickly as in six to 12 months and you need to have it replaced." Batteries were also under strain due to processors "getting more and more intense", increasing numbers of transistors and bigger screens. "And manufacturers are going for thinness," Mr Twining said. "If they made phones half a centimetre thicker, we'd get three times the battery life. "It's ridiculous, and the same applies for the glass. "If it was just a little thicker it would have much more impact resistance." iPhone 6 spurs 'abnormal' repair numbers Mr Twining said the longevity of hardware components, such as speakers, microphones and buttons, generally had not changed for 20 years. He has, however, received an abnormally high rate of repair requests for the new iPhone 6 "from day one" following its launch last month. "Previously all the phones could be gripped in your hand while you're walking down the street," Mr Twining said. "But the iPhone 6 is a much bigger size and people are just balancing them on their hand rather than gripping them, and they're falling." Another typical repair he made was to the Samsung Galaxy S5 that was released earlier this year, as a water resistant device. "It's designed to be water resistant and it's pretty good, but the small print says that under no condition is this phone impervious to water," Mr Twining said. "But people see the adverts and see people falling in swimming pools and think it's fine." A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the lasting integrity of iPhones or built-in obsolescence, but said its recent models had made a new sales record by selling more than 10 million devices in the first three days of its launch. Samsung did not respond to a request for comment. First posted 17 Oct 2014, 1:08pm Apple Touch Disease and Right to Repair  What does Touch Disease have to do with Right to Repair? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Touch Disease is a problem of premature aging. It’s the result of a design decision to make the iPhone 6 and, especially, the 6 Plus more flexible. The two phone models are simply too flexible—so over time small cracks develop in the soldered connections. The cracks deepen and separate more over time. Each crack disables more and more of the phone’s touch functionality. Every one of these phones was “born” with Touch Disease. It’s only a matter of time before they all show symptoms and premature death. The only solution is to replace the bad chips, restore the soldered connections, and reinforce the phone’s structure. It’s possible to fix these phones and it is being done— but not by Apple. Apple won’t make these repairs in house. They won’t provide any schematics or service documentation to independents willing to take on these repairs. They won’t subcontract repairs to techs that have already mastered these repairs. In fact, Apple won’t even acknowledge Touch Disease as an issue. The only solution Apple has for owners of afflicted phones: “Buy a New Phone” or pay $329 for a refurbed unit. Here’s where it gets nasty for customers. Apple refurb phones aren’t fixed—they are swapped with diseased units that haven’t yet shown symptoms. But, of course, many replacements start showing symptoms quickly. In fact, some users report that their replacement units showed symptoms of Touch Disease right out of the box. No surprise class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of users. Here's the cool part: Only independent repair techs have been able to offer a fix because some of them can have the skills and equipment to microsolder. It was independents that discovered how widespread the issue was on their own, they came up with best practices for fixing it on their own, and they even developed some hardware tweaks to prevent the issue from reoccurring. On their own. That's why we need independents in the repair business. Independents can innovate in different ways than the OEM. Innovations in repair are hindered, intentionally, by companies such as Apple that refuse to provide the basic schematic diagrams that would improve repair success and improve customer satisfaction. Apple goes so far as to fight against Right to Repair legislation to preserve their monopoly on repair—even when they aren’t capable of making the repair themselves.  
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How the ACCC is forcing Apple to stop acting like dodgy car dealers · Apple stands accused of improperly forcing customers to use its own costly repair services, and flouting consumer protections when other repairers are used. by Peter Moon For the second time in under four years, the world's most profitable computer company finds itself in the crosshairs of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for failing Consumer Protection 101. In 2013, Apple was caught out ignoring the standard guarantee and repair rights assured to customers by the Australian Consumer Law. That episode ended in a court enforceable undertaking by the company to educate its staff and get its legal act together. There was no court case, and no formal admissions by Apple, but having your arm twisted into giving an undertaking is as near a miss as a company can have. Now, the ACCC has taken formal court action, alleging that Apple hasn't come to grips with a part of the law that humble motor mechanics understood 25 years ago. Put simply, buyers have warranty rights under the law, and they aren't voided simply because the customer might have had some work done by the local repair shop instead of the manufacturer's approved service centre. According to the consumer commission, iPhones and iPads can detect when certain components have changed. For instance, if the Touch ID sensor is disconnected and reconnected during a cracked screen replacement, Apple can tell. The commission's claim continues that in late 2014, some iThing users who attempted to install software updates found their devices rendered inoperative – "bricked" is the cool jargon for the phenomenon. It's said that Apple's update system was detecting subtle hardware changes and that was spoiling the attempted update. When some of those customers asked for a repair, Apple is alleged to have asserted that the mere fact that an unauthorised person had worked on a device voided any warranty rights. According to the ACCC's court documents, Apple US then published a website notice that said: "If the screen on your iPhone or iPad was replaced at an Apple Service Centre, Apple Store, or Apple Authorised Service Provider, contact Apple Support. If the screen or any other part on your iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere else, contact Apple Support about pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs." Translation: If anyone but Apple has opened your phone or pad, you'll need to pay for all future repairs. Legally, that could be partly true, if the third party service person damaged something. If Crazy Computer Repairs at the local mall broke your phone's motherboard during a screen replacement, it isn't Apple's job to provide a free fix for the board. But if there's a subsequent fault that has nothing to do with Crazy's work, Apple can't duck its warranty obligations just because Crazy laid a hand on the device. Decades ago, new car sellers tried on the line that using a non- authorised service centre automatically voided a buyer's statutory warranty. And it might, if the workshop used significantly sub-standard parts or processes that compromised the vehicle. But where everything is done to standard, the warranty survives. Even if there is a mistake or some corner cutting, it won't necessarily impact the warranty, if an unrelated fault appears. It seems that the motor industry now gets the point, but Apple didn't. Beyond the update debacle, says the ACCC, Apple also excluded customers from a product recall for faulty iPhone speakers, solely because it had detected non-authorised screen repairs. There was no suggestion that the screen replacement had affected the speakers, it was just an Apple rule that once you sought aid outside the Apple fold, there was no coming back. The case reached the Federal Court last month, and in a bizarre twist Apple US didn't respond to court documents that were delivered to one of its senior lawyers, who had acknowledged receipt, but not strictly according to service rules. So even though Apple's Australian outfit fronted up, the ACCC had to get special court permission to formally serve the US under the Hague Convention. In considering whether to grant that permission, Federal Court Justice Mark Moshinsky needed to consider the merits of the claims against Apple US, as they appear at this early stage. "I am satisfied that the ACCC has a prima facie case against Apple US in relation to the statement on the website page," opined Justice Moshinsky. Federal judges are notoriously dispassionate, and Apple US will get a fair hearing, but its strategy of forcing the court to make an adverse finding, even on a preliminary basis, is curious. Peter Moon is a technology lawyer with Cooper Mills.