Feds say Boeing 737 needs to be better designed for humans

Promotional image of Boeing 737 passenger jet plane.

The two 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people and led to what is, so far, a six-month grounding of the jet, stemmed in part from Boeing’s failure to accurately anticipate how pilots would respond to a malfunctioning feature that pointed the jets toward the ground. That’s the key finding from a report the National Transportation Safety Board published Thursday, which included a series of recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration. The NTSB advised the regulator to have Boeing consider how 737 MAX pilots would handle not just problems with the MCAS system alone, but how they respond to multiple simultaneous alerts and indicators. In short, the NTSB says Boeing was wrong to assume pilots would respond correctly to the problem that ended up killing them.

The crashes of Lion Air Flight 610, in October 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, in March, stemmed from a feature Boeing designed to prevent stalls. In both cases, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, activated in response to a false reading from a faulty angle of attack sensor. The pilots fought to counteract the system, which pushed the nose of the plane down, but ultimately failed.

When Boeing tested what would happen if the MCAS malfunctioned, it didn’t account for other elements. The Lion Air and Ethiopian pilots on the doomed planes dealt with a cascade of problems and warnings: Their control sticks shook. Various alarms sounded. When the pilots retracted the flaps, the plane’s downward push required extra force to keep the jet aloft. The result: Their reactions “did not match [Boeing’s] assumptions,” the NTSB found. “An aircraft system should be designed such that the consequences of any human error are limited.”

The FAA hasn’t said whether it will adopt the recommendations of the NTSB, which has no regulatory or enforcement power. And this is far from the end of the 737 MAX saga: Boeing and the FAA are still negotiating a fix to the plane’s software, and congressional, international, and criminal investigations into the crashes are ongoing.

But as its title—“Assumptions Used in the Safety Assessment Process and the Effects of Multiple Alerts and Indications on Pilot Performance”—indicates, the NTSB report is about more than one troubled jet, one feature, one company, or even one country. The safety board wants the FAA to apply this sort of thinking to all the planes it certifies. And it hopes the agency will encourage its peers around the world to do the same. That’s because the report is all about the question at the core of modern aviation safety: How to ensure that pilots can work with the computers that have taken on more of the work in the cockpit. It’s about a field of study called “human factors.”

“The field of aviation has been the cradle of human factors, and its biggest beneficiary,” says Najmedin Meshkati, who studies the field at the University of Southern California. Where ergonomics and biomechanics center on physical responses, human factors tends to center on the gray stuff packed into their skulls. It matters in fields from self-driving cars to coal mines—anywhere people interact with machines. It’s long been a major focus in aviation because so many crashes trace back to pilots’ failure to understand what the plane’s myriad and complex systems are doing, why, or how to influence them. “Whenever you have a human error, and the consequence isn’t immediately noticeable or reversible, human factors is important,” Meshkati says.

That’s often the case in aviation—and the error doesn’t always come from the human. The rising use of automation in aviation has produced major safety and practical benefits, but also distanced humans from the workings of the planes they’re commanding. Meshkati draws a distinction between decision making and problem solving. The former is usually routine and procedure-based, like using your altitude, airspeed, and heading to calculate a landing path. Computers are very good at this. Problem solving comes in when some combination of factors means the procedures don’t work, when a person needs to absorb information and devise a new formula that will keep them safe. This is where humanity has the edge, but hardly a guaranteed victory.

According to the NTSB report, Boeing counted on pilots following a procedure that would get them out of a situation where MCAS malfunctioned. But Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian 302 demanded problem solving: Each set of pilots was fighting a plane that wanted to dive, while considering a cascade of malfunctions and signals. Better human factor thinking, Meshkati says, would have required less, or easier, problem solving. It could have produced a procedure that fit the actual conditions of the flights, allowing for good old decision making.

Of course, the FAA has other things to consider. The NTSB’s recommendations are “absolutely valid,” says Clint Balog, a flight test pilot and human factors expert with the College of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle University. But, he says, the safety agency trends toward idealism. “The FAA has to consider, what is realistic testing?” If airplane makers had to test for every possible combination of malfunctions and cockpit alarms, they’d never get another plane certified, he says. Not all pilots are equally skilled, by virtue of their natural talent, training, or experience. It doesn’t make sense, Balog says, to design for the worst of the bunch—or the best. Cockpits as physical spaces, he points out, are designed for pilots of many shapes and sizes. But designers had to settle on limits on who can sit comfortably or reach every control. “We’ve got to figure out how to do the same thing for cognitive capability,” Balog says.

This story first appeared on wired.com.

‘Checkm8’ used to jailbreak iPhone X running iOS 13.1.1


The security researcher who developed the “Checkm8” exploit has continued working, and has demonstrated an iPhone X booting in verbose mode with the aid of the exploit that was revealed on Friday.

According to “axi0mX.” the jailbreak took only seconds on an iPhone X running iOS 13.1.1. As the exploit is in the boot ROM, the operating system version isn’t really relevant to the exploit, as the security chain is broken before the device gets to the patchable iOS part.

As before, the exploit still requires a tether, meaning a connection to a computer. Additionally, a reboot will prevent any system modifications like keyloggers installed during the jailbreak from loading, and restores the Secure bootchain.

As the developer of the exploit said on Saturday, the demonstration is the next logical step in developing a new and full jailbreak. Because of the limitations involved in a boot ROM exploit and the Secure Enclave engineering in the iPhone 5s and later, it still doesn’t imply anything further in regards to device security.

The exploit works on any iPhone up to and including the iPhone X. User data and passcode security is maintained with any device that includes a Secure Enclave, including the iPad Air and newer, iPod touch seventh generation, and the iPhone 5s and newer.

PGC Helsinki: Cuneyt Unar will be hosting a session about using blockchain techn | Pocket Gamer.biz

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2019 will take place on October 1st to October 2nd. To give you a taste of what to expect, we’ll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.

For more details on PGC Helsinki and to book a ticket, head to the website here.

In this speaker spotlight we caught up with Cuneyt Unar, the VP of Marketing at Celer Network. Unar has 10+ years of experience on data-driven mobile app marketing in a highly competitive landscape that drive positive ROI. Specialized on mobile focused product marketing, UA, paid and organic growth and mobile publishing platforms with entrepreneurial spirit.

At Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2019 he’ll be presenting a session about levering blockchain technology in mobile gaming.

PocketGamer.biz: Could you tell us a bit about your company?

Cuneyt Unar: Celer Network is a leading layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contract. It enables everyone to quickly build, operate, and use highly scalable decentralized applications through innovations in off-chain scaling techniques and incentive-aligned cryptoeconomics.

What does your role entail?

I am overseeing all the marketing channels including UA, ASO, Growth, Social Media and Product Marketing.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

I am an avid gamer and believe in making the world a better place through games

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

My advice would be foremost to act upon it.

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

The mobile gaming space is evolving in many different areas from publishing to monetization, from user acquisition to product development. It is a fast-paced environment where all the stakeholder should do their due diligence to catch up. Being an early adopter in evolving technologies can be a huge advantage in the competition which is exactly the same reason why I love attending such industry conferences.

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

User acquisition is a lucrative space in the industry and with the most recent changes of Google and Facebook, advertisers will have less and less control and power on their media buying tactics. This shift is making user acquisition an area of data science, where all the marketers need to think of creative ways how to acquire, retain and systematically process the valuable data (user) they pay for. I do predict to see an increasing number of solutions in this part of the space.

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

Well, I started when Google Play was called Android Bazaar, so many things have changed. The market has become more competitive and we have seen many indie developers leading the top charts week after week. Traditional gaming businesses did a stellar job transforming their business into mobile and capitalizing on the mobile app stores. Google and Apple have built publishing platforms from scratch and in such a short period, their platforms evolved into a complex platform of products which is not only making a developer’s life easier but helping the product and marketing organizations tremendously to make data-informed decisions.

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

I am looking forward to learning from my peers in the industry as well as embracing new faces. This is an ever-evolving and growing industry and I can not think of a better place to catch up with everyone in the mobile gaming.

Oprah’s Book Club starts a new chapter with Apple

Cupertino, California — Apple and Oprah Winfrey today announced Oprah’s Book Club will connect a community of readers worldwide to stories that truly matter by today’s most thought-provoking authors. Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN, will partner with Apple to build a vibrant, global book club that has the power to both transport and transform people — turning every book into an opportunity for self-discovery, and bringing the world together through reading.

Winfrey’s first book selection is “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, available for pre-order now on Apple Books in both ebook and audiobook formats, and debuting tomorrow.1 Winfrey will interview Coates for the first installment of her new exclusive Apple TV+ series, “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering November 1. A new episode will be available every two months. For every Oprah’s Book Club selection sold on Apple Books, Apple will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries, fund programs that give access to everyone and create lifelong readers at an early age. 

Developer of Checkm8 explains why iDevice jailbreak exploit is a game changer

The bootrom of an Apple Watch Series 3, as shown through a hex viewer. Yep, Apple Watches series 1, 2, and 3 are also vulnerable to Checkm8.
Enlarge / The bootrom of an Apple Watch Series 3, as shown through a hex viewer. Yep, Apple Watches series 1, 2, and 3 are also vulnerable to Checkm8.

Often, when new iOS jailbreaks become public, the event is bittersweet. The exploit allowing people to bypass restrictions Apple puts into the mobile operating system allows hobbyists and researchers to customize their devices and gain valuable insights that may be peeking under the covers. That benefit is countered by the threat that the same jailbreak will give hackers a new way to install malware or unlock iPhones that are lost, stolen, or confiscated by unscrupulous authorities.

Friday saw the release of Checkm8. Unlike just about every jailbreak exploit released in the past nine years, it targets the iOS bootrom, which contains the very first code that’s executed when an iDevice is turned on. Because the bootrom is contained in read-only memory inside a chip, jailbreak vulnerabilities that reside there can’t be patched.

Checkm8 was developed by a hacker who uses the handle axi0mX. He’s the developer of another jailbreak-enabling exploit called alloc8 that was released in 2017. Because it was the first known iOS bootrom exploit in seven years, it was of intense interest to researchers, but it worked only on the iPhone 3GS, which was seven years old by the time alloc8 went public. The limitation gave the exploit little practical application.

Checkm8 is different. It works on 11 generations of iPhones, from the 4S to the X. While it doesn’t work on newer devices, Checkm8 can jailbreak hundreds of millions of devices in use today. And because the bootrom can’t be updated after the device is manufactured, Checkm8 will be able to jailbreak in perpetuity.

I wanted to learn how Checkm8 will shape the iPhone experience—particularly as it relates to security—so I spoke at length with axi0mX on Friday. Thomas Reed, director of Mac offerings at security firm Malwarebytes, joined me. The takeaways from the long-ranging interview are:

  • Checkm8 requires physical access to the phone. It can’t be remotely executed, even if combined with other exploits
  • The exploit allows only tethered jailbreaks, meaning it lacks persistence. The exploit must be run each time an iDevice boots.
  • Checkm8 doesn’t bypass the protections offered by the Secure Enclave and Touch ID.
  • All of the above means people will be able to use Checkm8 to install malware only under very limited circumstances. The above also means that Checkm8 is unlikely to make it easier for people who find, steal or confiscate a vulnerable iPhone, but don’t have the unlock PIN, to access the data stored on it.
  • Checkm8 is going to benefit researchers, hobbyists, and hackers by providing a way not seen in almost a decade to access the lowest levels of iDevices.

Read on to find out, in axi0mX’s own words, why he believes this is the case:

Dan Goodin: Can we start with the broad details? Can you describe at a high level what Checkm8 is, or what it is not?

axi0mX: It is an exploit, and that means it can get around the protection that Apple built into the bootrom of most recent iPhones and iPads. It can compromise it so that you can execute any code at the bootrom level that you want. That is something that used to be common years ago, during the days of the first iPhone and iPhone 3G and iPhone 4. There were bootrom exploits [then] so that people could jailbreak their phone through the bootrom and that later would not be possible.

The last bootrom exploit that was released was for iPhone 4 back in 2010, I believe by Geohot. After that, it was not possible to exploit an iPhone at this level. All the jailbreaks [that] were done later on [happened] once the operating system boots. The reason that bootrom is special is it’s part of the chip that Apple made for the phone. So whatever code is put there in the factory is going to be there for the rest of its life. So if there is any vulnerability inside the bootrom, it cannot be patched.

Persistence and Secure Enclave

DG: When we talk about things that aren’t patchable, we’re talking about the bug. What about the change to the device itself? Is that permanent, or once the phone is rebooted, does it go back to its original state?

A: This exploit works only in memory, so it doesn’t have anything that persists after reboot. Once you reboot the phone… then your phone is back to an unexploited state. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do other things because you have full control of the device that would modify things. But the exploit itself does not actually perform any changes. It’s all until you reboot the device.

DG: In a scenario where either police or a thief obtains a vulnerable phone but doesn’t have an unlock PIN, are they going to be helped in any way by this exploit? Does this exploit allow them to access parts of this phone or do things with this phone that they couldn’t otherwise do?

A: The answer is “It depends.” Before Apple introduced the Secure Enclave and Touch ID in 2013, you didn’t have advanced security protections. So, for example, the [San Bernardino gun man’s] phone that was famously unlocked [by the FBI]—the iPhone 5c— that didn’t have Secure Enclave. So in that case, this vulnerability would allow you to very quickly get the PIN and get access to all the data. But for pretty much all current phones, from iPhone 6 to iPhone 8, there is a Secure Enclave that protects your data if you don’t have the PIN.

My exploit does not affect the Secure Enclave at all. It only allows you to get code execution on the device. It doesn’t help you boot towards the PIN because that is protected by a separate system. But for older devices, which have been deprecated for a while now, for those devices like the iPhone 5, there is not a separate system, so in that case you could be able to [access data] quickly [without an unlock PIN].

DG: So this exploit isn’t going to be of much benefit to a person who has that device [with Secure Enclave] but does not have the PIN, right?

A: If by benefit you mean accessing your data, then yes, that is correct. But it’s still possible they might have other goals than accessing your data, and in that case, it’s possible they would get some benefit.

DG: Are you talking about creating some sort of backdoor that once the owner puts in a PIN it would get sent to the attacker, or a scenario like that?

A: If, say, for example, you leave your phone in a hotel room, it’s possible that someone did something to your phone that causes it to send all of the information to some bad actor’s computer.

DG: And that would happen after the legitimate owner returned and entered their PIN?

A: Yes, but that’s not really a scenario that I would worry much about, because attackers at that level… would be more likely to get you to go to a bad webpage or connect to a bad Wi-Fi hotspot in a remote exploit scenario. Attackers don’t like to be close. They want to be in the distance and hidden.

In this case [involving Checkm8], they would have to physically hold your device in their hand and would have to connect a cable to it. It requires access that most attackers would like to avoid.

The ‘Checkm8’ exploit isn’t a big deal to iPhone or iPad users, and here’s why

On Friday morning, news —and bad headlines —started circulating about an exploit ranging from the iPhone X all the way back to the iPhone 4s. But, despite the typical mass-media responses to the news, the exploit will have effectively zero impact on the consumer. Here’s why.

Apple's iPhone 5c, the last without a Secure Enclave

Apple’s iPhone 5c, the last without a Secure Enclave

On Friday morning, hacker axi0mX revealed the “Checkm8” exploit. For the first time in nearly a decade, this particular vector is aimed at the boot ROM in an iPhone or iPad, as opposed to trying to pry open the iOS software.

A series of tweets broke down the exploit —and spelled out some limitations and answers about the exploit. Cue Internet drama.

User vulnerability?

The Checkm8 exploit isn’t a drive-by attack. A user can’t visit a website and be targeted for malware installation. The exploit isn’t persistent, meaning that every time the iPhone is rebooted, the attack vector is closed again.

Earlier iPhones, from the iPhone 5c and earlier, lack a Secure Enclave. If you surrender access to your phone, a dedicated assailant can extract your iPhone PIN. But, phones with a Secure Enclave —everything from the iPhone 5s and on —cannot be attacked in such a manner.

Furthermore, the exploit is tethered. That means that an iPhone or iPad needs to be connected to a host computer, put into DFU mode, and exploited that way —and the exploit doesn’t always work, relying on a “race condition” according to Checkm8.

Software like keyloggers or other malware could theoretically be installed following an attack. But, other mechanisms that Apple has put into place will defeat that, following a device reboot.

Apple has implemented what’s called a “Secure bootchain.” In short, there are steps at every part of iOS software implication that check the integrity of the previous step —and some that check the next step —to be sure that the phone is safe. The secure bootchain checks wouldn’t allow software that doesn’t comply to function after a hard reboot of an iPhone.

We’ve gleaned this information above from Apple in the hours following the exploit’s release. The developer axi0mX confirmed these findings, and discussed the implications further in an Ars Technica interview on Saturday morning.

All this said, in short, a user has to either specifically want to do this procedure to their iPhone and take the steps to execute them, or be careless with device physical security and be specifically targeted by an assailant for it to be of any real concern.

If you’re really worried about it, it’s time to ditch the iPhone 5c or older that you may be hanging on to. And, you can always completely shut down your iPhone after you’ve left it unattended for any period of time.

A reboot will not just flush out the exploit, but also break any software that may have been installed in your absence.

Jailbreaking is fine!

We’re not opposed to jailbreaking here at AppleInsider. A few staffers have done it in the past.

AppleInsider doesn’t generally cover jailbreak exploits. In the cat-and-mouse game that is constantly raging between Apple and the jailbreak community, information published today is often outdated tomorrow. This isn’t much different than that in actuality, but it got a much wider audience outside of the tech media.

In that media, in the very few hours after the Checkm8 exploit was revealed, there has been a lot of fear, paranoia, and finger-pointing done across the internet. There is no real reason for it at all. Fortunately, as of yet, there haven’t been any “nasty secret” style headlines regarding this matter. We’re sure that some content management system someplace has one stored, though, and we’re also pretty sure we know who’s going to do it first.

Most of the headlines are right. This is a big deal for the jailbreak community. We don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. Because of limitations for assailants, it just makes no difference to nearly every iPhone or iPad user outside of that community, though.

If you take anything away from this, it should be that your are no less safe today from the reveal of Checkm8 than you were yesterday, or the day before, or four years ago. Malware can’t exploit it at all, and if you maintain physical security of your iPhone 5S and newer, then your passcode —and your data —remains safe.

IKEA’s AR App Now Lets You Preview Multiple Furniture Items

IKEA has just stepped up the game with its augmented reality app “Place”. For those unaware of Place, it is the mobile app of the Swedish furniture giant that allows people to make use of AR to bring in the furniture right to their living room in order to get a rough idea of how it would look like after installation. With the recent update, the app has been made more practical and reliable.

In the latest version of the app, IKEA has added support for placing more than one item to your home so that you can view all the furniture you’re planning to buy, at the same time. Cool, right? This update would be perfect for people looking forward to furnishing their new home.

“Sometimes we all need that little bit of inspiration that sparks new ideas. That’s exactly what we want to achieve with Ikea Place.”, said Gerry Rogers, digital transformation leader at IKEA.

You can either manually pick all the items or explore the collection of Room Sets that are available by default. The update is live on the iOS App Store and will be coming soon to the Android version in the near future.

The new update also allows you to create and add products to a wish list so that you can easily remember what you’ve previously viewed or you’re planning to buy.

With smartphone makers pushing AR further ahead, we will be seeing similar AR-based applications from different brands for visualizing their products in the foreseeable future.

So, will you consider trying out the app before your next IKEA purchase? Tell us in the comments.

Download IKEA Place (iOS, Android)

Nonprofit fights TV networks in court to keep free TV service alive

A TV set left on a sidewalk with a sign that says,

Getty Images | Jacobo Zanella

A nonprofit organization that provides free online access to broadcast TV stations has accused TV networks of colluding to limit access to those channels.

The nonprofit that runs Locast, the free TV service, made the allegations in an answer to a lawsuit filed by ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. The networks alleged in July that Locast is violating their copyrights and are seeking a permanent injunction to shut the TV service down. The Locast operator filed its answer to the TV networks’ complaint yesterday and tried to turn the tables by making several counterclaims against the TV networks.

“Plaintiffs have colluded to limit the reasonable public access to the over-the-air signals that they are statutorily required to make available for free,” Locast’s court filing says. “[The networks] have opted instead to use their copyrights improperly to construct and protect a pay-TV model that forces consumers to forgo over-the-air programming or to pay cable, satellite, and online providers for access to programming that was intended to be free.”

Locast cites nonprofit exemption

While broadcast TV networks are available for free over the air with an antenna, the networks reportedly collected $10.1 billion in 2018 via retransmission fees they charge TV providers for the right to carry those channels. The networks want to shut Locast down because free, widespread availability of their channels over the Internet would threaten their retransmission business.

The TV networks’ lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York against Sports Fans Coalition New York (SFCNY), the nonprofit that operates Locast, and SFCNY founder David Goodfriend.

Locast, available in 13 US markets so far, retransmits local broadcast signals via an online streaming service and detects users’ locations so that each channel’s stream is available only in the local broadcast area. SFCNY argued in its court filing that US copyright law “unambiguously states that retransmissions by non-profit entities do not constitute copyright infringement.” Specifically, the law says that secondary transmissions are not copyright infringements if they are made by a “nonprofit organization, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage.”

Locast doesn’t charge users for its service but solicits donations to pay for its operation.

Locast: TV networks limit reach of channels

The TV networks have deliberately made it difficult to access their channels over the air despite the US government granting them “free licenses to portions of the limited, publicly owned broadcast spectrum,” SFCNY alleged.

“The broadcasters have colluded to limit practical access to the over-the-air signals by broadcasting signals that they know are of insufficient strength to be accessed by all members of the public within the relevant local geographic areas,” SFCNY wrote. The networks thus are not fulfilling their spectrum-license requirement “to operate in the public interest,” SFCNY wrote.

The SFCNY/Locast filing continued:

This failure has led to poor quality over-the-air transmissions in many markets, forcing consumers to pay for video services that include local or national television programming, including: (i) through cable or satellite providers; (ii) online through the cable or satellite providers’ authenticated video services; (iii) over-the-top streaming services offered by the broadcasters for a monthly fee (e.g., CBS All Access); or (iv) virtual pay-TV providers (e.g., YouTubeTV).

SFCNY claims that broadcasters “intentionally purchase low-end equipment even though other equipment is available for sale that could provide better over-the-air coverage,” but doesn’t seem to have direct evidence for this claim. The filing says that Goodfriend got this information “from a major market participant” who had in turn been given the information “by vendors of transmitter equipment.”

SFCNY also wrote that networks have prohibited their local broadcast affiliates from providing online streaming of over-the-air live television broadcasts, the court filing said.

No Locast on YouTube TV

TV networks have also pressured TV providers to avoid partnering with Locast, according to Locast’s filing. For example, when Locast met with senior executives at YouTube TV in April 2019, “the executives indicated that they had been told that if YouTube TV provides access to Locast, then YouTube TV will be punished by the Big 4 broadcasters in negotiating carriage agreements for other non-broadcast programming channels,” SFCNY’s court filing said.

Pay-TV providers have complained about the high cost of retransmitting broadcast TV channels and could benefit from an expansion of Locast service. Locast received a $500,000 donation from AT&T but says the TV networks pressured others to refrain from donating.

In addition to filing “a sham copyright infringement claim” against Locast, networks have been “threatening business retaliation and baseless legal claims against any current or prospective donors, supporters, or business partners of Counterclaim-Plaintiffs,” Locast claimed. Cable company RCN “committed to donating $750,000 to SFCNY” but later decided not to because of “intimidation from the broadcasters,” SFCNY claimed.

The TV networks argue that Locast isn’t eligible for the nonprofit exemption under copyright law because it has “commercial purposes.” The networks’ evidence for this is AT&T’s $500,000 donation and the fact that Goodfriend is a paid lobbyist for Dish. SFCNY says it hasn’t received any funding from Dish.

SFCNY accuses the TV networks of conspiracy in restraint of trade and other violations of competition laws and seeks financial damages and an injunction that would prevent the networks from continuing their copyright infringement lawsuit. “Plaintiffs’ litigation is meant to intimidate Defendants into shuttering the Locast service—and should that strategy not work, to bury Defendants under costly and needless litigation,” SFCNY wrote.

The law firm representing broadcast networks in the case contacted Ars with the following statement responding to the Locast filing:

Locast’s filing only confirms that it has no answer for its industrial scale violations of the law. Sixteen million households receive broadcast television free over the air, which represents a nearly 50 percent increase in the last eight years. Locast does nothing for those households; it serves the interests of its pay-TV patrons, who have provided Locast and its founder with hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees, donations and nationwide distribution on certain pay-TV platforms. We trust the courts to see right through this façade and recognize Locast for what it is—not a public service organization, but a creature of certain pay-TV interests with an entirely commercial agenda.

Three Apple original films to hit theaters this fall ahead of Apple TV+ debut


Theatrical release dates for Apple original films “The Banker,” “Hala” and “The Elephant Queen” have been set ahead of their respective debuts on subscription video service Apple TV+, the first of which will hit cinemas in October.

Apple’s “The Elephant Queen” debuts in theaters in October.

Citing sources familiar with Apple’s original content plans, Variety reports the tech giant has enlisted the help of small distribution houses in an effort to stage theatrical showings of its content across the U.S.

Wildlife documentary “The Elephant Queen” will be the first of Apple’s films to go curtains-up at theaters on Oct. 18, the report said. Apple’s first major property purchase, the documentary by British filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble tracks a small elephant herd, and particularly a mother nicknamed Athena, through a perilous drought-stricken journey of survival.

Indie stalwart A24 is assisting with distribution for “The Elephant Queen,” which is expected to stream on Apple TV+ on Nov. 1. The studio inked a five-film, multi-year deal with Apple that includes Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks.”

Jada Pinkett Smith-produced drama “Hala” will reach theaters on Nov. 22 ahead of a streaming release in December. Picked up at the Sundance Film Festival, “Hala” focuses on a teenage Muslim girl who navigates the discordant worlds of a traditional household and a modern high school in Chicago. Greenwich Entertainment is assisting Apple on release.

Finally, period piece “The Banker” will make its theatrical debut on Dec. 6. The film, which stars Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as real estate and finance moguls in the Jim Crow era, is being pushed to market with consultation from Bleecker Street and should arrive on Apple TV+ in January, the report said.

Details from Variety follow an earlier Wall Street Journal report that noted Apple was in talks to bring a selection of its original films to cinemas around the country.

Following their theatrical runs, Apple’s films will be made available to iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac owners via Apple TV+, the company’s upcoming subscription video service. Announced at a special event in March, Apple TV+ will provide access to original content purchased or produced by Apple starting Nov. 1 for a $4.99 monthly fee. As the service is currently in its early stages with only a handful of shows and movies expected at launch, Apple is offering a year of free service with qualifying iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac and iPod purchases.