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Apple to begin scanning iPhones for images of child sexual abuse: Why its latest move is drawing backlash – Times Now

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Representational image.&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspTwitter

Key Highlights

  • 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. 

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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. 

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EU demands that every smartphone, tablet be capable of being charged using a USB-C cable. – guru3d.com

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A standard USB-C charger with a USB-C connection will be required for all telephones, tablets, and other consumer gadgets sold in the European Union by 2023. This is stated in a bill that was presented by the European Commission (EC) on Thursday.

According to the European Commission, this is significantly more convenient for customers because numerous different charges are now frequently required for various gadgets. This, according to European Commissioner Thierry Breton, needs to be addressed immediately. It should be possible for everyone in the family to use the same charger in the near future, regardless of what phone they have.”

Furthermore, because manufacturers continue to include standard chargers with their products, a universal charger could help to reduce waste significantly. The new legislation will have a significant impact on Apple, in particular, because the business now supplies all of its mobile phones with a Lightning connector, which was previously unavailable. Numerous Android phone makers are already utilizing the USB Type-C connector.

Electronic earphones, smart watches, and fitness trackers will not be covered by the new rule. According to the European Commission, this is due to the size and manner in which these devices are used.

Apple doesn’t like European plans
Apple has already stated that it does not agree with the European Union’s objectives for the future. According to the tech giant, this would result in a stagnation of innovation as well as mountains of electronic garbage, as previously advertised accessories for Apple products would no longer be able to be utilized.Since 2010, the European Union has been developing ideas for a universal charger, but has so far relied on voluntary action from the sector to move forward. They were mainly unsuccessful in their endeavors.

Before it can be implemented, the law must first be passed by the EU’s member states as well as the European Parliament. The European Parliament has previously been informed of an important finding regarding a universal charger. Manufacturers will have two years to adjust to the new standard following the passage of the legislation.

With the new legislation, Apple’s Lightning cable would become obsolete.


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Google CEO sought to keep Incognito mode issues out of spotlight, lawsuit alleges – Yahoo News Canada

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By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai in 2019 was warned that describing the company’s Incognito browsing mode as “private” was problematic, yet it stayed the course because he did not want the feature “under the spotlight,” according to a new court filing.

Google spokesman José Castañeda told Reuters that the filing “mischaracterizes emails referencing unrelated second and third-hand accounts.”

The Alphabet Inc unit’s privacy disclosures have generated regulatory and legal scrutiny in recent years amid growing public concerns about online surveillance.

Users last June alleged in a lawsuit that Google unlawfully tracked their internet use when they were browsing Incognito in its Chrome browser. Google has said it makes clear that Incognito only stops data from being saved to a user’s device and is fighting the lawsuit.

In a written update on trial preparations filed Thursday in U.S. district court, attorneys for the users said they “anticipate seeking to depose” Pichai and Google Chief Marketing Officer Lorraine Twohill.

The attorneys, citing Google documents, said Pichai “was informed in 2019 as part of a project driven by Twohill that Incognito should not be referred to as ‘private’ because that ran ‘the risk of exacerbating known misconceptions about protections Incognito mode provides.'”

The filing continued, “As part of those discussions, Pichai decided that he ‘didn’t want to put incognito under the spotlight’ and Google continued without addressing those known issues.”

Castañeda said teams “routinely discuss ways to improve the privacy controls built into our services.” Google’s attorneys said they would oppose efforts to depose Pichai and Twohill.

Last month, plaintiffs deposed Google vice president Brian Rakowski, described in the filing as “the ‘father’ of Incognito mode.” He testified that though Google states Incognito enables browsing “privately,” what users expect “may not match” up with the reality, according to the plaintiffs’ write-up.

Google’s attorneys rejected the summary, writing that Rakowski also said terms including “private,” “anonymous,” and “invisible” with proper context “can be super helpful” in explaining Incognito.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max aren't rendering all apps in 120Hz – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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The iPhone 13 lineup officially went on sale on Friday September 24. As pre-order arrive to their customers’ doorsteps or Apple Stores in most markets, folks have noticed that the ProMotion feature isn’t working consistently.

The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max both feature Apple’s ProMotion displays, meaning they support refresh rates of 120Hz. The feature has been on the iPad Pro since 2017, but this is the first time Apple brings the feature to the iPhone.

iOS 15 supports ProMotion across all apps while scrolling or performing full-screen transitions like switching apps or swiping Home. 9to5Mac reports that many animations are still capped at 60Hz, breaking the intended experience of the ProMotion displays.

The iPhone 13 Pro’s display is rendering most animations in 120Hz, but there are still many animations that aren’t taking full advantage of the higher refresh rate. Apple’s first-party apps have all properly implemented the smoother transitions across the board, the issue only occurs with third-party apps.

Apple has confirmed to 9to5Mac that developers need to enable their apps to support higher framerates for apps that use custom rendering such as games. This is achieved by the developer adding a new info.plist key in order to opt-in for their apps to support 120Hz. Apple will make this documentation available to developers soon and a firmware update will fix a bug that isn’t letting Core Animation drive the refresh rates higher than 60Hz.

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