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Apple delays plan to scan iPhones for child abuse images – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple on Friday delayed a set of features designed to protect children from sexual predators on some of its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. The move follows criticism from privacy advocates and security researchers who worried the company’s technology could be twisted into a tool for surveillance.

In a statement, Apple said it would delay its new tools to identify images of child abuse on its devices as well as features to warn children about sexualized messages sent by SMS or iMessage. Apple had announced the tools last month.

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” a company spokesman said. The company didn’t respond to a request for further comment about when it plans to reintroduce these technologies.


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It was a surprise reversal by Apple, which has argued for weeks that its new features were built in thoughtful and privacy-protecting ways. Apple for years has promised its devices and software are designed with privacy in mind, representing an alternative to devices built with Google’s Android software.  The company even dramatized that with an ad it hung just outside the convention hall of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, which said, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.”

“We at Apple believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has often said.

Still, that didn’t calm policy and advocacy groups, nearly 100 of which signed an open letter to Apple asking it to reconsider implementing its technology shortly after it was announced.

“Though these capabilities are intended to protect children and to reduce the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), we are concerned that they will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children,” the group said in the letter, whose signatories include the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Privacy International.

The technology encountered resistance in part because it warns parents and children when they might be sending or receiving a sexually explicit photo using its Messages app. Apple received complaints from policy and rights groups who said that the software could have “disastrous consequences for many children.” Privacy experts, who agree that fighting child exploitation is a good thing, worried that Apple’s technology moves might open the door to wider uses that could, for example, put political dissidents and other innocent people in harm’s way.

“Apple’s plan to conduct on-device scanning of photos and messages is one of the most dangerous proposals from any tech company in modern history,” wrote Evan Greer, director of the advocacy group Fight for the Future, in a statement. “It’s encouraging that the backlash has forced Apple to delay this reckless and dangerous surveillance plan, but the reality is that there is no safe way to do what they are proposing. Apple’s current proposal will make vulnerable children less safe, not more safe. They should shelve it permanently.”

Proponents of Apple’s plans were disappointed by the company’s pause on the technology’s rollout, arguing that the tech giant had taken a thoughtful approach to a tough problem.

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EU Commission proposes removing chargers from all smartphone boxes – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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In a new press release by the European Commission, legislation is being put forth by the European Commission to standardize the charging plug across all consumer devices. It also plans to “harmonize” a fast-charging standard and “unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices”. This proposal will apply to “smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld videogame consoles.”

The Commission officially proposes four things:

  • A harmonized charging port for electronic devices: USB-C will be the common port.
  • Harmonized fast-charging technology: will help prevent different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
  • Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: the Commission says that EU consumers already have an average of three chargers and will only use two.
  • Improved information for consumers: OEMs will need to provide information about charging speeds and whether the device supports fast charging.

According to the EU Commission, European consumers spend €2.4 billion annually on standalone chargers not included with devices. Also, an estimated 11,000 tonnes of e-waste are made up of disposed/unused chargers every year. The EU Commission hopes that the proposed legislation could potentially save consumers €250 million per year on unnecessary charger purchases.

Fast-charging standardization is an interesting one. Many Chinese phone makers all use different fast-charging standards to compete with each other, but most will support some form of USB-C Power Delivery fast-charging. So OEMs would need to provide fast-charging information so that they are informed about what charging speeds they may expect from the charger they already have at home.


iPhone 12 Pro with included Lightning to USB-C cable

The proposed legislation will affect Apple the most. They’d need to make the switch from Lightning to USB-C. It’s been rumored for years that Apple would make this switch, and even though Apple’s MacBook and iPad have already switched to USB-C, its two most popular product lines: the iPhone and AirPods, continue to use the Lightning cable. This would hurt Apple’s sales of chargers and cables, so Apple isn’t giving in without a fight.

Even so, the proposed legislation still needs to be approved by the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision): It needs to be adopted by the EU Parliament and Council. Once (and if) the legislation is approved, a transition period of 24-months will be given to OEMs to transition to the new EU laws.

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Some iPhone 13 Pro animations affected by an issue that will be fixed – The Verge

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Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup launched Friday, and one of the key features of the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are their ProMotion displays with variable refresh rates that can top out at 120Hz. But as spotted by 9to5Mac, some app animations in third-party apps are currently only running at 60Hz. That might be frustrating if you were expecting to see buttery-smooth animations across all of your apps with the new phones, but when we asked Apple what was going on, the company shared two reasons why this might be happening.

One reason is that developers will need to update their apps to declare that they use the higher refresh rate. This can be done by adding an entry to the app’s plist, Apple tells The Verge, and the company says it plans to share documentation about the entry you need to add soon. But in some cases, animations built with the company’s Core Animation technology are also affected by an issue that will be fixed in an upcoming software update, Apple says.

Variable refresh rate screens offer a lot of benefits, including smoother animations and scrolling when you’re using the device and battery savings the screen runs at lower refresh rates. We were impressed with the screens on the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max in our review, and it’s good to hear that third party apps will be able to take full advantage of what they have to offer — though some may have to wait until after that software update.

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Today’s Homes Need a Professional Electrician’s Touch

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Credit: Ed Harvey via Pexels

Modern technology can be jaw-dropping at times, but it must be installed correctly and safely. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to show off one of the latest gadgets, only to see that it doesn’t work!

Professional electricians have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure that the wiring tucked out of view works as it should, so what is visible performs the way it’s expected to. Let’s check out the different services electricians provide for your home.

Safely, Efficiently Wire Smart Homes

The idea of a Smart Home where people can control a room’s temperature from their phone did not exist when many homes were built. Whether your home is from a previous generation or you’re building a new one from scratch, professional electricians can ensure the wiring will safely and sufficiently power all your devices if you want Smart appliances in it.

The electrical requirements are not the same in a house designed to power the lights versus one that can charge a car in the garage. Even though some aspects of a Smart Home can be self-installed, if you’re confident enough, most laypeople don’t know how to install it optimally.

If you have multiple smart devices, it’s better to have them streamlined, so they can talk to each other and be interconnected. You want your speakers, thermostat, locks, and more to work effortlessly, and professional electricians make it easy.

If you’re going to be charging an electric vehicle at home, ensure your EV Charger is hardwired to the electrical panel. A certified, licensed, and insured electrician needs to confirm the installation meets certification requirements.

If you need an electrician in Pickering or anywhere in the Durham region to wire your home for modern technology, look for a family-owned business that can get the job done quickly and with excellent customer service. Family-owned businesses specialize in customer satisfaction.

Safety Matters Above All

It’s hard for laypeople to identify faulty or dangerous wiring when they see it, and it’s hard to see behind those walls. Professional electricians have the equipment to measure the rate at which electricity is conducted, so they can safely install your home’s lighting.

Whether you’re moving into an old home that may have outdated systems or building a brand-new house, hiring a professional electrician to inspect and install the wiring is essential. Confirm first whether they’re an apprentice, journeyman, or a master electrician, and double-check that the business is bonded, licensed, and insured.

The safety of you, your family, and your home may be at risk unless a professional electrician has inspected your home’s wiring and deemed it safe. You can’t get this peace of mind any other way.

A home ought to have lights that turn on brightly and safely, but it’s common to expect a lot more from our gadgets, given today’s incredible consumer technology. Make sure you have a professional electrician inspect and wire the home, so you can feel confident that everything will work smoothly and safely.

 

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