New York’s public transit asks Apple to solve this iPhone problem

New York’s mass transit agency wants Apple to come up with a better way for iPhone users to unlock their phones without taking off their masks, as it seeks to guard against the spread of the coronavirus in buses and subways.

In a letter to CEO Tim Cook obtained by The Associated Press, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Patrick Foye said riders have been seen removing their masks to unlock their phones using face-recognition technology, despite a recent update by Apple that simplifies the unlock process for people wearing masks.

Previously, an iPhone user wearing a mask would have to wait a few seconds as face recognition software tried to identify them before they eventually could enter a passcode. In response to the pandemic, Apple’s iOS 13.5, released in May, automatically presents the passcode field after a user swipes up from the bottom of the lock screen. Also, Apple Pay Express … Read the rest

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Black-owned food businesses are seeing a surge in publicity and customers—and hope that investors are next

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It was a regular afternoon in May for Denise Woodard. Her daughter raced past in the background while she attended Zoom meetings from her Jersey City apartment in the black leggings and T-shirt combo that had been her uniform even before coronavirus. But when she went to check her email, the founder of Partake Foods experienced something new: hundreds of new messages, all from retailers and companies interested in selling her vegan, allergy-friendly, gluten-free cookies.

Before the pandemic, Woodard’s company Partake Foods was already set to launch nationwide with Target and hit 2,700 stores by the end of 2020. But after the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers, Woodard and other Black business owners suddenly found themselves receiving more attention, the kind of interest from … Read the rest

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How Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest upended the filming of ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’

The filmmakers behind “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” moved quickly when Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on federal charges that she acted as a recruiter for the financier’s sexual abuse.

The fourth episode of the new Lifetime docuseries, which was intended to be a round-table with survivors, was redone to focus on Maxwell’s alleged crimes and her grooming of potential victims.

Filmmakers also incorporated more of Maxwell’s story into the series overall and conducted additional interviews. The four-part series was delivered at Lifetime just days before its Sunday premiere.

“If your timing can be great, our timing was great,” said executive producer Robert Friedman.

This combination of photos released by Lifetime shows participants in the new docuseries “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” Top row from left: Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Teresa Helm, Jena Lisa Jones, Kiki, Rachel Benavidez, Marijke Chartouni, Chaunte Davies, and Courtney Wild. The series premieres on Sunday.
Lifetime via AP

This wasn’t the … Read the rest

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Susan Rice sells Netflix shares ahead of Biden’s VP announcement

Former national security adviser Susan Rice, a Netflix director, sold some of her shares of the video streaming company worth $305,323 this week as speculation swirls that she is among the candidates to be Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.

A spokeswoman for Rice said the sale was unrelated to politics and was made under a stock trading plan she filed more than three months ago under Securities and Exchange Commission rules.

“Ambassador Rice’s sale of a fraction of her Netflix stock has nothing to do with VP speculation,” Erin Pelton said.

Rice, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is being vetted as a possible running mate for Biden. He’s expected to announce his choice next week.

The share sales followed the exercise of options and were disclosed in an SEC filing Thursday night. Netflix stock has nearly doubled in the past year. Rice, … Read the rest

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Instagram Reels is a real threat to TikTok

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. This is Fortune writer Aric Jenkins filling in for Adam.

There’s been a lot of coverage of TikTok this week, what with President Trump threatening to ban it in the U.S.—incensing Beijing and opening the door for Microsoft to buy the popular social media app for a reported $30 billion. Lest we forget, Facebook has also been working on a TikTok clone for Instagram that finally arrived on the platform yesterday. 

The new feature, Instagram Reels, is no small deal. Remember the last time the photo and video app copied a high-profile rival: Has Snap ever fully recovered from Instagram lifting the temporary 24-hour “Stories” feature that sent Instagram’s monthly active users to over 1 billion? Every time users scroll through a few Stories, they’re served an ad, which makes Instagram money, of course, not to mention a cut of all those e-commerce sales.… Read the rest

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