- Apple has attempted to clarify, via a blog post, that the scanning of these images will be done so without actually seeing the image but only looking for a ‘fingerprint match’
- Additionally, Apple is also planning to scan users’ encrypted text messages for any sexually explicit content as a measure to protect children
- While celebrated by human rights organisations, security watchdogs have raised concerns over the privacy creep borne out of the rollout of the latest measures
In a move that has attracted plaudits and criticism alike, Apple announced the rollout of a new feature that will scan images and text messages on iPhones and other Apple devices for known images of child sexual abuse.
The software, said Apple in a statement, will “help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).”
The tool, ‘neuralMatch,’ designed to scan for known images of child sexual abuses will do so before an image is uploaded onto iCloud. If it detects a match, the image will be sent for review by a human. If the image in question is found to be child pornography, the user’s account will immediately be disabled with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) notified.
Apple has attempted to clarify, via a blog post, that the scanning of these images will be done so without actually seeing the image but only looking for a ‘fingerprint match.’ It’s only when these matches exceed a specific threshold will the NCMEC be informed.
It said that the database of known child sexual abuse images is turned into ‘an unreadable set of hashes that is securely stored on users’ devices.’ Before an image is uploaded onto iCloud, the operating system will check if it matches against the known CSAM hashes using a ‘cryptographic technology called private set intersection.’
A ‘cryptographic safety voucher’ that includes the match, the result and other encrypted data will then be saved on iCloud along with the image. These vouchers, Apple has said, cannot be deciphered by Apple unless a certain CSAM threshold is crossed. Additionally, Apple is also planning to scan users’ encrypted text messages for any sexually explicit content as a measure to protect children.
Privacy creep concerns
While celebrated by human rights organisations, security watchdogs have raised concerns over the privacy creep borne out of the rollout of the latest measures. Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp which is known for its end-to-end encryption that disables anyone from gaining access to content shared between users of the text-messaging service, said “I think this is the wrong approach and a setback for people’s privacy all over the world.”
“Can this scanning software running on your phone be error-proof? Researchers have not been allowed to find out,” he continued on Twitter.
Mathew Green, a prominent cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins University, expressed similar sentiments, warning also that the tool may be used by malicious actors to frame individuals by sending harmless images that trigger child pornography matches, effectively fooling the software.
“Researchers have been able to do this pretty easily,” he said. He also alerted to the possibility of governments or government agencies abusing the software to quell dissidents. “What happens when the Chinese government says, ‘Here is a list of files that we want you to scan for? Does Apple say no? I hope they say no, but their technology won’t say no,” he said.
It bears mentioning that tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook are coming under increasing pressure by government and law enforcement authorities to provide access to encrypted content shared between users. Striking a balance between cracking down on criminal activity such as the sharing and consumption of child pornography and maintaining the high levels of privacy that these companies have insisted continue to exist on their software, is proving to be a challenge.
However, others have welcomed Apple’s latest features. John Clark, the president and CEO of the NCMEC, said in a statement, “Apple’s expanded protection for children is a game-changer.”
“With so many people using Apple products, these new safety measures have lifesaving potential for children,” he added.
The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia drops into Fortnite with his mate Doom Slayer
(Pocket-lint) – Fortnite has always been the king of the crossover and now it’s at it again with Chapter 4 Season 1 with Geralt and Doom Slayer making an appearance.
The next big thing in Fortnite is now live with Chapter 4 Season 1 getting an all-new map and a whole lot more. One of those things is a new character called Selene, available from the get-go. But things will get interesting for The Witcher fans come mid-season when Epic Games adds Geralt of Rivia as Battle Pass skin.
As always, the Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks and as you progress through you’ll unlock items and whatnot. Geralt will be unlocked via that Battle Pass, as will Doom Slayer – of DOOM fame, of course. Other unlockable skins include Massai, Dusty, Nezumi, Helsie, and The Ageless. The Geralt unlock won’t be available until later on in the season, Epic says.
The latest season includes plenty of other tweaks and treats and makes use of Unreal Engine 5.1, making this the best-looking version of Fortnite to date on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
All of this will take place on a brand-new island with new points of interest that include The Citadel, Anvil Square, and Brutal Bastion.
The new season of Fortnite is up and running right now and you can get involved yourself. You can play Fortnite on just about anything right now and the download is of course free.
Writing by Oliver Haslam.
‘Elden Ring’ Reveals Free PvP Colosseum Update, Hopefully Ahead Of DLC Announcement
FromSoftware has just released a new trailer for an upcoming free update to Elden Ring that drops tomorrow, Wednesday December 7.
It’s a PvP-focused update to the game which will herd players into battles into the many colosseums doting the map, hence why it’s called the “Colosseum Update.” They just released a new trailer for it, which you can see below:
According to the official press release about the addition, we have some confirmation on what exactly the modes are that will be added:
“The Colosseums of Limgrave, Leyndell and Caelid will open their gates, allowing players to engage in battles such as duels, free-for-alls and team fights.”
In the trailer, we see a traditional 1v1 battle at the start, but it progresses to players fighting each other’s summons, and then finally a 3v3 team fight battle which is well beyond anything the game is currently capable of now.
Elden Ring has spent many months balancing all of its magic and weapon skills in an effort to try to create more parity in PvP, which has turned out to be a significant part of the game, and the core of the game’s endgame once you’ve done everything in PvE.
There is a theory that I personally subscribe to, that FromSoft is revealing this PvP update now and launching it tomorrow so it will not get drowned out by a potential announcement this Thursday at The Game Awards. There are rumblings, and fervent prayers, that this would be the stage in which they would finally announce sizable, PvE DLC for Elden Ring. We are well, well behind the pacing of past DLC announcements from FromSoft games, given that Elden Ring came out almost ten months ago now, but it’s obviously a bigger game than past ones. Elden Ring DLC repeatedly is brought up as the “World Premiere” at The Game Awards that everyone is hoping to see, and these days, with the demise of E3, it’s pretty much the biggest place in the industry to debut things, outside of first party PlayStation and Xbox showcases.
That’s the hope anyway, but the concrete facts right now are just that this PvP update will come tomorrow, so get your builds ready and find some teammates in order to take on the toughest PvP challenges in the game yet. Should be a lot of fun.
Witcher 3’s Free DLC Update Doesn’t Have A Switch Release Date Yet
Next week sees the arrival of The Witcher 3‘s “next-gen” update across multiple platforms, but new information suggests it won’t be coming to the Nintendo Switch on the same date.
Our friends at Eurogamer caught up with CD Projekt Red ahead of the free update’s release, and apparently, there’s “no specific release date yet” for the Nintendo Switch version of the game. All that’s known is it will arrive “later than 14th December”.
Witcher 3 next-gen update producer Ryu Underhill mentioned how the team was “working hard to bring it to [Switch] players” as soon as possible, and more information will be shared in the near future.
When the Switch version of this update does arrive, players can expect the “same fixes and additional content” as other platforms like Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Switch will also receive cloud-save and cross-progression features, as well as the new Netflix DLC. This new quest will last for about “half-an-hour”, according to Eurogamer:
“…it’s about half-an-hour’s worth, plus a bit more for a follow-up step. It was flagged as level 15…”
Obviously, the Switch update will not include “next-gen features such as visuals/technical/gameplay improvements, modes” or “other additions” exclusive to next-generation platforms.
Via Eurogamer: “The Witcher Netflix DLC is a new scavenger hunt-style quest that takes place inside The Devil’s Pit in Velen. The Devil’s Pit is the place you find yourself immediately after leaving the starter zone of White Orchard. It’s that big, circular, wooden-fence-ringed place where nothing seems to actually happen. Currently, there are only some humanoid enemies in there, and the big door to the mine is closed. This DLC opens those doors.”
You can see more of this next-generation update in our previous Witcher 3 coverage:
Are you looking forward to trying out this update? Comment below.
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