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Apple says it will begin scanning iCloud Photos for child abuse images – TechCrunch

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Later this year, Apple will roll out a technology that will allow the company to detect and report known child sexual abuse material to law enforcement in a way it says will preserve user privacy.

Apple told TechCrunch that the detection of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is one of several new features aimed at better protecting the children who use its services from online harm, including filters to block potentially sexually explicit photos sent and received through a child’s iMessage account. Another feature will intervene when a user tries to search for CSAM-related terms through Siri and Search.

Most cloud services — Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft to name a few — already scan user files for content that might violate their terms of service or be potentially illegal, like CSAM. But Apple has long resisted scanning users’ files in the cloud by giving users the option to encrypt their data before it ever reaches Apple’s iCloud servers.

Apple said its new CSAM detection technology — NeuralHash — instead works on a user’s device, and can identify if a user uploads known child abuse imagery to iCloud without decrypting the images until a threshold is met and a sequence of checks to verify the content are cleared.

News of Apple’s effort leaked Wednesday when Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins University, revealed the existence of the new technology in a series of tweets. The news was met with some resistance from some security experts and privacy advocates, but also users who are accustomed to Apple’s approach to security and privacy that most other companies don’t have.

Apple is trying to calm fears by baking in privacy through multiple layers of encryption, fashioned in a way that requires multiple steps before it ever makes it into the hands of Apple’s final manual review.

NeuralHash will land in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, slated to be released in the next month or two, and works by converting the photos on a user’s iPhone or Mac into a unique string of letters and numbers, known as a hash. Any time you modify an image slightly, it changes the hash and can prevent matching. Apple says NeuralHash tries to ensure that identical and visually similar images — such as cropped or edited images — result in the same hash.

Before an image is uploaded to iCloud Photos, those hashes are matched on the device against a database of known hashes of child abuse imagery, provided by child protection organizations like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and others. NeuralHash uses a cryptographic technique called private set intersection to detect a hash match without revealing what the image is or alerting the user.

The results are uploaded to Apple but cannot be read on their own. Apple uses another cryptographic principle called threshold secret sharing that allows it only to decrypt the contents if a user crosses a threshold of known child abuse imagery in their iCloud Photos. Apple would not say what that threshold was, but said — for example — that if a secret is split into a thousand pieces and the threshold is ten images of child abuse content, the secret can be reconstructed from any of those ten images.

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It’s at that point Apple can decrypt the matching images, manually verify the contents, disable a user’s account and report the imagery to NCMEC, which is then passed to law enforcement. Apple says this process is more privacy mindful than scanning files in the cloud as NeuralHash only searches for known and not new child abuse imagery. Apple said that there is a one in one trillion chance of a false positive, but there is an appeals process in place in the event an account is mistakenly flagged.

Apple has published technical details on its website about how NeuralHash works, which was reviewed by cryptography experts.

But despite the wide support of efforts to combat child sexual abuse, there is still a component of surveillance that many would feel uncomfortable handing over to an algorithm, and some security experts are calling for more public discussion before Apple rolls the technology out to users.

A big question is why now and not sooner. Apple said its privacy-preserving CSAM detection did not exist until now. But companies like Apple have also faced considerable pressure from the U.S. government and its allies to weaken or backdoor the encryption used to protect their users’ data to allow law enforcement to investigate serious crime.

Tech giants have refused efforts to backdoor their systems, but have faced resistance against efforts to further shut out government access. Although data stored in iCloud is encrypted in a way that even Apple cannot access it, Reuters reported last year that Apple dropped a plan for encrypting users’ full phone backups to iCloud after the FBI complained that it would harm investigations.

The news about Apple’s new CSAM detection tool, without public discussion, also sparked concerns that the technology could be abused to flood victims with child abuse imagery that could result in their account getting flagged and shuttered, but Apple downplayed the concerns and said a manual review would review the evidence for possible misuse.

Apple said NeuralHash will roll out in the U.S. at first, but would not say if, or when, it would be rolled out internationally. Until recently, companies like Facebook were forced to switch off its child abuse detection tools across the bloc after the practice was inadvertently banned. Apple said the feature is technically optional in that you don’t have to use iCloud Photos, but will be a requirement if users do. After all, your device belongs to you but Apple’s cloud does not.

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Why did Apple change the camera position on the iPhone 13? – The Next Web

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Aesthetically, the iPhone 13 is similar to last year’s model — apart from one key element: the camera placement.

The iPhone 12 had vertically stacked lenses. On the iPhone 13, these are now diagonal. So, here’s the question we’re going to answer today: why?

In my mind, there are two key reasons Apple has changed the iPhone 13 lens placement — and you can split these into technical and marketing.

The technical reason for the diagonal camera layout on the iPhone 13

I’m beginning with this because I believe it’s the biggest reason for the design change.

Now, one of the new features introduced with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is something called “sensor shift image optical stabilization.”

This appeared in the iPhone 12 Pro models last year and is effectively a mechanism that moves the lens to help you get steadier shots. Think of it as a counter to the slight movement your hands make while you’re taking a photograph.

When Apple announced the iPhone 13, they showed the sensor shift image optical stabilization in action:

Watch this GIF a few times. Notice anything? About the size of the housing?

It’s plain to see that, comparatively, the sensor shift image optical stabilization hardware is large. In fact, it takes up a huge chunk of camera bump.

It’d be technically impossible to fit the mechanism in while keeping the vertical camera layout of the iPhone 12. Making the lens placement on the iPhone 13 diagonal is an elegant solution.

The other option would be changing the location of the camera bump altogether, potentially to the middle of the phone. But this would not only alter the iPhone 13‘s aesthetics, but it would also make a lot of accessories useless too.

That, friends, is the technical reason Apple has made the iPhone 13 cameras diagonal.

The marketing reason for changing the camera position on the iPhone 13

While I think this argument has legs, I don’t think marketing was a direct force for the change. Instead, it’s something that likely supported the shift.

Basically, the iPhone 13 is very similar to the iPhone 12. The upgrades, including things like a smaller notch, brighter screen, and a bigger battery, aren’t exactly attention grabbing,

These aren’t bad updates per se, but they’re expected, not lusted after.

Here’s a picture of the iPhone 13 phones to help break up this damn waffle.
apple iphone 13

Really, the biggest point of differentiation for the public at large is the new diagonal camera layout. It’s a clear way to signal that you’re in possession of the latest device and is an excellent marketing tool to encourage people to upgrade.

This is also partly the reason why the change has been mocked. For those outside the tech bubble, changing the iPhone camera layout seems like solely a cheap trick to increase sales. Which is a half truth.

Ultimately,  the new camera placement on the iPhone 13 is a technical solution that also delivers some marketing ammunition. Which is either lucky, clever, or, well, both.

There we have it! Two solid reasons why Apple has changed the position of cameras on the iPhone 13.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

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Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Pre-Orders – MacRumors

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Apple’s online store is down ahead of iPhone 13 mini, ‌iPhone 13‌, iPhone 13 Pro, and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States.


“You’re… early,” reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. “Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep.” Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, but since 2019, has been holding iPhone pre-orders at 5:00 a.m.

The ‌‌iPhone 13‌ mini, ‌iPhone 13‌,‌ ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, and ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max are launching in more than 30 countries and regions around the world, and a full list of launch times can be found in our time zone guide.

All of the new ‌iPhone 13‌ models are nearly identical in design to last year’s iPhone 12 models, featuring flat edges, an aerospace-grade aluminum enclosure, a glass back, and a slight increase in thickness.

Key features across the ‌iPhone 13‌ lineup include a faster A15 Bionic chip, camera improvements, longer battery life, and a smaller notch. The two Pro models also feature a ProMotion display with a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. The ‌iPhone 13‌ models are available in Pink, Blue, Midnight (black), Starlight (silver/gold), and (PRODUCT)RED.

If you’re hoping to get one of the models in the ‌new ‌iPhone 13‌ lineup on launch day, it’s a good idea to purchase early because there’s no word on how much supply Apple will have.

Pricing on the ‌iPhone 13‌ mini starts at $699, while pricing on the ‌iPhone 13‌ starts at $799, the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ starts at $999, and the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max begins at $1099. The official launch, when pre-orders will be out for delivery, is next Friday, September 24.

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The new iPad Mini seems great even if you love Android – Android Central

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Source: Apple

I’ve been an Android user since the first day the first Android phone became available, and I’ve been through many different devices. Of course, like many of you all, I’ve also owned and used iPhones, BlackBerrys, Windows phones, and all the rest of the “cool” tech because I just love cool tech.

I’m also very much a small phone guy because one of the most important things to me is how easy it is to carry something that basically lives inside my pocket. One of the reasons the Galaxy S21 is one of the best Android phones is because it’s not gigantic, for example. The only time I wish my phone were bigger is when I want to veg out and just consume.

I just want to consume.

That’s where tablets shine. Watching videos or playing games on something with a much larger screen is just better, ya know? Yes, I can use my phone and do those same things, and I won’t try to say it’s a bad experience because it’s not. It’s just not as good. I’ve been thinking about getting a smaller tablet to try it again, and Apple might just have shown me what I want in the 2021 iPad Mini.

No, I’m not some sort of “traitor” to the Android ecosystem because I owe zero allegiance to any tech company. I like the way Android works better than iOS does, but that’s just me, and plenty of people feel differently. But I don’t run out and buy a thing because some tech company made it. Every company needs to work for my dollars. And since Google is unwilling to remake the Nexus 7 with great new specs, I don’t have a “favorite” tablet brand.

Nexus 7

Nexus 7Source: Android Central

I want a tablet for all the wrong reasons, according to the companies that make them. I have no desire to replace my PC or Chromebook with a Pro tablet. I’m not going to replace my phone with a cellular tablet just because it can make calls and get messages. I like the phone and Chromebook I use, and don’t see how a tablet can replace either.

Since Google isn’t going to remake the Nexus 7, the iPad Mini might be the best substitute.

But the right tablet can tempt me, so long as it’s on the smaller side. I have a Pixel Slate here if I wanted to use a ginormous heavy tablet, and because it has a desktop browser, it’s going to be better at doing many of the things I want a tablet to do. It needs to be plenty powerful enough to play HD video without sputtering and have Wi-Fi that’s strong enough to keep up. A few cool games are a plus, too. My tablet would be just for fun and not at all for work.

I’ve thought about foldables here, too. Something like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could work, but I’m not yet sold on how the phone side of things play out. Maybe in a couple of years, but now I think I would end up spending twice as much on a device that I would only use as a tablet. Not an ideal situation for my wallet.

I basically ignored all the talk about how artists and professionals love the iPad Mini, but what I did pay attention to has me thinking it might be the one. The power is there — forget all the XX% faster marketing stuff, but I’ve seen enough from Apple to know the Bionic SoC platform is going to handle things. The size is right, and even the $500 price tag isn’t insane like many other Apple devices are.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen Taking Notes

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen Taking NotesSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Mostly though, it’s the ecosystem. Yes, that word gets tossed around a lot, and sometimes my brain goes numb after hearing it, but this is one place where everything can work great for me. All of Google’s services work well on iOS, so I know I’ll have the experience I want from Google Photos or YouTube, and Apple does a great job at filling in the rest.

Say what you will about Apple’s way of doing business, but the App Store has plenty of great tablet apps.

Yeah, Apple’s walled garden sucks. Ask anyone who wants to play Fortnite on a new iPad Mini about that if you want another opinion, and I’m not a fan of a company trying to tell me what I can do with something I paid money to buy. But I can’t deny that Apple has its shit together when it comes to tablet apps, and chances are I would find a few I would want to install. Google could learn a lot here.

I think an iPad Mini would complement my Android phone and my other tech in the right ways. I’m not rushing out to preorder one just yet, and I’ll wait to read some reviews before I whip out the plastic. I’d also recommend any Android or Chrome user as interested in the iPad Mini as I am to do the same thing.

I’ve talked to a lot of you guys who use an iPad along with your Android phones, and I think I get it now. I’m not going to write it off just because it’s from that fruit company. It might be what a lot of Android folks just like me are looking for.

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