5 non-health tech stories you should care about this week

Apple scrambled to get out a fix for the “error 53” message that has been plaguing iPhones after screen repairs, plus laws protecting whistleblowers in cybersecurity cases seem long overdue.

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Another week has come and gone, so it’s time to take a look at what you may have missed in the world of technology outside healthcare.

Here are five interesting general technology stories from this shortened work week (thanks to President’s Day in the U.S.) that people in healthcare should pay attention to, since these issues could have an impact on health tech in the future.

1. “Apple releases software update to correct ‘error 53′” (CNet)

The error, first reported by The Guardian two weeks ago, affected users who had used a third party to fix a cracked screen or a failing Touch ID-enabled home button. Error 53 appeared as a security measure, said Apple, adding it was caused by a precaution put in place to stop the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor being exploited. But it rendered iPhones unusable once the error message appeared.


2. “Cybersecurity whistleblowers: Get ready for more” (CIO)

While there are nearly two dozen laws in various states that provide protection for whistleblowers in areas ranging from asbestos to drinking water, solid waste, railroads, motor vehicles, shipping containers, pipelines aviation, consumer products, hazardous waste, food, drugs and more, there is nothing on the books that provides specific protection for those involved with cybersecurity.

3. “Data Broker Must Pay $4.1M For Selling Sensitive Information To Scammers” (Consumerist)

According to the FTC’s original complaint [PDF] against John Ayers, LeapLab, Leads Company and SiteSearch, the companies bought hundreds of thousands of loan applications submitted by financially vulnerable consumers to payday loan sites.

The applications contained the consumer’s name, address, phone number, employer, Social Security number and bank account number, including the bank routing number.

The data brokers then sold about 95 percent of that information for $.50 each to non-lenders that had no legitimate use for the details, the FTC alleges.

4. “Life After a Hack: Sony Entertainment Boss Lynton’s Newfound Love for His Fax Machine (Video)” (ReCode)

More than a year later, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton says that the infamous hack has changed how he communicates with colleagues and loved ones. Talking with Peter Kafka onstage at the Code/Media conferenceat The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif., Lynton said that he is back to using his fax machine.

5. “Apple’s Line in the Sand Was Over a Year in the Making” (The New York Times)

Time and again after the introduction of theiPhone nearly a decade ago, the Justice Department askedApple for help opening a locked phone. And nearly without fail, the company agreed.

Then last fall, the company changed its mind. In a routine drug case in a Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors sought a court order demanding that Apple unlock a methamphetamine dealer’s iPhone 5S running old, easy-to-unlock software. The company acknowledged that it could open the phone, as it had before. But this time, it pushed back.

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