The company told WIRED that while it is not ready to announce a specific timeline for expanding its Communication Safety features, the company is working on adding the ability to detect nudity in videos sent through Messages when the protection is enabled. The company also plans to expand the offering beyond Messages to its other communication applications. Ultimately, the goal is to make it possible for third-party developers to incorporate the Communication Safety tools into their own applications. The more the features can proliferate, Apple says, the more likely it is that children will get the information and support they need before they are exploited.
I re-read what I wrote about Apple’s announcements today and I am worried I came off as indifferent to the problem of CSAM and how it is enabled by the widespread adoption of internet-connected devices, especially with cameras. There are few problems — perhaps none — of a more pressing universal concern than ensuring children are not exploited and their safety is not at risk. But I am also worried about the use of these heinous crimes to make it harder or a public relations risk to increase user privacy and security.
This is a difficult needle to thread, but I appreciate these efforts to balance the privacy needs of many against the risks of creating unnecessary roadblocks for law enforcement or enabling criminals.
In a significant shift for the project, the company is now planning a less-ambitious design that will include a steering wheel and pedals and only support full autonomous capabilities on highways, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Apple’s previous vision for the car was to offer “Level 5” autonomy — the pinnacle of self-driving technology, which no automaker has attained. The current plan is considered below that because of its more limited scope.
It turns out truly self-piloting cars along arbitrary and varied routes may be a more difficult problem than some people have suggested. I am still betting against it being introduced in my lifetime. I like my odds.
It turns out truly self-piloting cars along arbitrary and varied routes may be a more difficult problem than some people have suggested. I am still betting against it being introduced in my lifetime. I like my odds.
iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data categories using end-to-end encryption by default, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and Health data. For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. The only major iCloud data categories that are not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.
Advanced Data Protection is part of three major iOS security enhancements, the others being iMessage key verification and enabling the use of physical security keys for Apple ID login. Apple says those other two features will be rolled out globally next year; encrypted iCloud backups, meanwhile, are available with iOS 16.2’s release first in the United States with a gradual rollout to the “rest of the world”.
When a user first turns on Advanced Data Protection, web access to their data at iCloud.com is automatically turned off. This is because iCloud web servers no longer have access to the keys required to decrypt and display the user’s data. The user can choose to turn on web access again, and use the participation of their trusted device to access their encrypted iCloud data on the web.
iWork collaboration and the Shared Albums feature in Photos don’t support Advanced Data Protection. […]
Unsurprisingly, it also says all devices logged in with the user’s Apple ID must be updated to the versions of their respective operating systems rolling out to beta testers today as release candidates.
The changes represent a new potential setback for law-enforcement officials. Last year, Apple proposed software for the iPhone that would identify child sexual-abuse material on the iPhone. Apple now says it has stopped development of the system, following criticism from privacy and security researchers who worried that the software could be misused by governments or hackers to gain access to sensitive information on the phone.
Stern also scored an exclusive interview with Craig Federighi and put together a video explaining the changes.
It sure seemed like the announcement of the CSAM detection features last year was a precursor for enabling fully end-to-end encrypted iCloud accounts. The logic was something like: law enforcement is already wary of widespread encryption and they use CSAM as a universal gotcha, so this is a way to solve both problems. But it ended up causing far more controversy — controversy that was not unwarranted. I do not know if you are aware of this, but big computer companies are not universally trusted with being able to accurately monitor user material in their own platforms.
This can be seen as a mea culpa, on one hand, but also a more firm line between what Apple sees as its role, and what tasks are best left up to individuals. Two of the three features Apple announced as part of its child safety initiatives were launched without much issue. Apple is now clarifying that users’ data is strictly their own, even if it is stored in iCloud. This applies to iCloud Photos; it also applies to Messages.
This is undeniably good news, but you should expect to see alarmist rhetoric about Apple protecting heinous criminals. Instead, think of it as protection for all users from law enforcement overreaches, creepy intelligence agencies, and overbroad policies. This is an excellent and long-overdue announcement for even us boring law-abiding people.
Workers at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant clashed with police after protests erupted at the factory in central China, where the sprawling facility employing more than 200,000 people has been under strict Covid-19 controls for weeks.
While Foxconn, in a statement obtained by the Journal, connected these protests to questions about pay, they are part of more widespread demonstrations in China against the country’s oppressive zero tolerance COVID-19 policies.
So often one item comes to symbolise an entire protest movement. In China, that item is a humble piece of blank paper.
Some have argued that the gesture is not only a statement about the silencing of dissent, but also a challenge to authorities, as if to say ‘are you going to arrest me for holding a sign saying nothing?'”
“There was definitely nothing on the paper, but we know what’s on there,” a woman who joined protests in Shanghai told the BBC.
There are powerful images in here — you have probably seen some of them — of demonstrations packed with people holding nothing but empty signs. That gesture is, to my eyes, just as effective as anything which could be written on the pieces of paper.
In recent weeks, Apple Inc. has accelerated plans to shift some of its production outside China, long the dominant country in the supply chain that built the world’s most valuable company, say people involved in the discussions. It is telling suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, they say, and looking to reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn Technology Group.
Turmoil at a place called iPhone City helped propel Apple’s shift. At the giant city-within-a-city in Zhengzhou, China, as many as 300,000 workers work at a factory run by Foxconn to make iPhones and other Apple products. At one point, it alone made about 85% of the Pro lineup of iPhones, according to market-research firm Counterpoint Research.
A Reuters analysis of Apple’s supply chain data shows China’s prominence in the company’s global manufacturing is declining: In the five years to 2019, China was the primary location of 44% to 47% of its suppliers’ production sites, but that fell to 41% in 2020, and 36% in 2021.
Apple will be using microchips produced by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. factory based in Phoenix, CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday at the event for the facility’s upcoming expansion.
The new chips won’t be powering next year’s iPhones, though, because building fabs takes a long time. TSMC broke ground on its 5nm fab in April 2021, and it won’t start producing chips until 2024. The newly announced 3nm fab won’t make chips until 2026.
Hard to overstate how important it will be if TSMC starts turning out world-class chips from Arizona. For Apple, yes, but more so for the world, overall, to get leading-edge fabrication out from under the thumb of China.
The timing of these articles is curious. It would be reasonably easy to conclude Apple is stepping up its efforts to diversify device manufacturing because of reduced iPhone 14 Pro production numbers instead of China’s human rights abuses. But these efforts have likely been underway for a while. It would be impossible to shift Apple’s supply chain within a matter of weeks or months; Counterpoint Research says a timeframe of years is more likely. And, as Gruber writes, a diversifying electronics manufacturing industry allows for more flexibility for every company in the business, not just Apple.
Until that happens, however, Apple remains in a tense relationship with policymakers in China. It recently altered AirDrop in the country in a way that makes it more tedious for demonstrators to directly exchange information. Apple, powerful and rich as it is, remains under the influence of not wanting to upset lawmakers in the country it most relies upon. Many people have observed how unlike the Cook doctrine it is for Apple to be so dependent on third-party manufacturing: is device assembly not a “primary technology” the company should “own and control”? But he was primarily responsible for Apple’s migration to contract factories when he was hired in 1998. It was a choice that contributed to Apple’s ability to survive its bleakest time; now, nearly twenty five years later, it looks increasingly like a liability.
Apple today announced Self Service Repair is now available in eight European countries, providing repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. Customers who wish to complete their own repairs will be able to perform many of the most common repairs for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and Mac notebooks with Apple silicon.
When Apple launched its Self Service Repair option, I wondered about its future and the company’s ongoing repairability commitments. Bringing it to European countries is both fulfills its promise to expand there this year, and a sign Apple knows in which direction the wind is blowing. But while you can buy parts for M1 Mac laptops and those older iPhone models, parts for desktop Macs, M2 models, and the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro remain unavailable. The dearth of iPhone 14 parts seems particularly notable as it is easier and faster to repair than its predescessor, so even more people should be able to do it.
We are excited to announce the launch of Unsplash+. An Unsplash+ subscription gives you access to curated content that is royalty-free and available for commercial use. Members will get access to a constantly growing library of premium visuals that are not available in the free Unsplash library, and enjoy an ad-free experience on Unsplash.com.
This was announced at the beginning of October but I had missed it until yesterday when I was combing through the site for a few images. And, in fairness, it does not mean Unsplash is no longer free. Unsplash Plus is a low cost subscription offering unique images protected by a more protective license in addition to the existing free library.
Still, the way Unsplash rolled this out makes using the site more frustrating if you are not a subscriber. A typical search results page now mixes Unsplash’s classic free-to-use images with “Plus” images. I have updated my browser CSS file to more clearly differentiate these images by adding a heavy blur.
[…] But if Mastodon gets enough community gravity to make me want to pay more attention, I’ll need an app. There are a lot of Mastodon client apps out there, and I’ve tried several of them, but none of them are really good enough or polished enough for me to use regularly. The truth is that modern Twitter clients have set the bar pretty high.
I am already finding this the biggest limitation to my adoption of Mastodon on the Mac. There are a few great iOS clients — I have been using Mammoth and I like it a lot — but I have not found a delightful native client for MacOS. I have found enough people to follow that my timeline is buzzing. What I am missing is Mac window chrome around it and an icon in my Dock.
Ellery Roberts Biddle, of Authoritarian Tech, after linking to a series of stories about the extreme oppression faced by people in China and Tigray, in Ethiopia — stories which should not be ignored, mind you — in an update about Meta’s suit against NSO Group:
This is why the legal challenge against the Israeli tech giant is so significant. After the original filing, NSO responded with its own court petition, seeking “sovereign immunity” from legal challenges in the U.S., arguing that it was merely acting as a contractor of foreign governments. But this tactic now looks likely to fail. In an amicus brief filed last week, the U.S. Justice Department issued a stern rebuke to NSO’s petition, noting that “no foreign state has supported NSO’s claim to immunity” and that NSO has “not even identified the states for which it claims to have acted as an agent.”
You have to wonder if the outcome would be different had a state stepped up to admit it used NSO Group’s spyware products — particularly a U.S. ally. Sure makes it a risky time to be in the spy-for-hire software business.
It leaves much to think about. There are huge ethical questions with unsatisfying answers. For example, Hansa was secretly operated by Dutch police for about a month before it was shut down. But when Greenberg asked investigators whether they had any qualms about facilitating thousands of drug sales, they seemed to give it little thought.
Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary look into a large and expertly coordinated investigation of a modern-day drug market kingpin, well narrated by Greenberg. I was a big fan of “Sandworm”, and I am looking forward to this book becoming available for me at my library.
I made a mistake. In my piece about the first month of Twitter’s new ownership at the hands of someone who is, at best, an unreliable narrator of his own reality, I did not add the word “alleged” to the phrase “Apple’s reduced advertising spend”. For some unknown reason, I decided that was the one claim I could take literally, even though the person making that claim is, at best, an unreliable narrator of his own reality.
The data contradicts Musk’s claims that the iPhone maker “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter.” Apple’s Twitter advertising purchases actually grew from October to November, Pathmatics’ research showed. Apple spent $1,005,784 on Twitter ads in the first 28 days of November, already more than that company’s October budget of $988,523, according to the analytics firm.
Yesterday, Musk said during a Twitter Spaces broadcast that Apple had “fully resumed” its advertising spend, just days after he claimed it had “mostly stopped” its Twitter ads. Neither of these claims is believable and I regret the error on my part.
Update: Ryan Mac, Mike Isaac, and Kate Conger of the New York Times report Apple paused its Twitter ad spending on November 19 following the mass murder at Club Q. This pause was over a week before Musk complained, and Pathmatics’ analysis indicates Apple’s spending from November 1 through when it paused spending was still higher than that of the previous month.
And the longer it goes on, the more the question needs repeating. Is hi-res audio a priority for Apple?
[AirPods engineer Esge] Andersen remains coy, saying that while audio quality is always a priority, “it is important to understand that we can still make big strides without changing the codec. And the codec choice we have there today, it’s more about reliability. So it’s about making something robust in all environments.”
Lossless support was rumoured for the second-generation AirPods Pro models since Bluetooth 5.0 is capable of 16-bit, 44.1 kHz streaming. But Apple Music streams files up to 24-bit and 192 kHz. Even if it is not possible to hear the difference with human ears, I am sure Apple would love to be able to say some version of its AirPods stream bit-perfect high-resolution audio — eventually.
The new disclosures, touted as “The Twitter Files,” were posted in a lengthy Twitter thread by investigative reporter and author Matt Taibbi (and retweeted by Musk). It’s based on “thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter,” according to Taibbi — shared with him, it would appear, with the blessing of Musk, the conservative tech mogul who is the world’s richest person.
In his newsletter, Taibbi said the process which produced this thread began four days prior and acknowledged he “had to agree to certain conditions” to cover it. Presumably, two of those conditions were to tweet his findings instead of putting them behind a paywall in his newsletter, and to not acknowledge Musk as the source of these documents.
If you are blessedly unaware of the backstory for Taibbi’s supposed blockbuster thread, Andrew Rice and Olivia Nuzzi reported it out back in September in New York magazine, except without nearly as much drama. Or you can read the story from Kate Conger and Mike Isaac, published in the NYT two days after the New York Post published its story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Taibbi’s thread today backfilled context from Twitter’s side, but it does not undermine past reporting on Twitter’s decision.
But you might not know that if you read Spangler’s story:
“Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe,’” Taibbi wrote. “They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.”
This is untrue by omission. As Micah Lee has repeatedly written, Twitter has used this tool to prevent distribution of Distributed Denial of Secrets materials. Under the same policy, it briefly blocked links to the Post story — which is what it said at the time — before lifting the block. This appears to be a rare demonstration of consistency in moderation. But it does not block Wikileaks links, raising questions about why DDoSecrets continues to be prohibited.
Musk, commenting on the reaction to the “Twitter Files,” tweeted, “Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is.”
What Musk is referring to here is that someone on Biden’s campaign team emailed Twitter with links to tweets containing nonconsensual nude images of Hunter Biden and others. There was almost no context in the email Taibbi published, and he did not add any aside from saying it was sent by a Biden staffer. But — and I cannot believe I need to say this, but — it matters what was in the tweets! The publication of nonconsensual or “revenge” pornography has long been prohibited on Twitter, and it is illegal in many regions. The removal of these specific tweets is not some kind of mysterious coverup.
What Musk does not say — and Spangler does not clarify — is that this entire ordeal took place before the presidential election. When these tweets were reported by Biden staff members, they were not acting as government officials. Twitter’s ability to decide whether to take action against its users and its internal processes for doing so is exercising its free speech in both law and spirit.
Perhaps the biggest wet blanket in Taibbi’s thread was his confirmation that government representatives were not involved in any moderation decisions around this story. Some staff members at Twitter decided all on their own that the Post story ran afoul of the site’s rules in a way that made sense at the time, and then some others raised questions about the decision, and then it was reversed. All of this was known already and was admitted by the company’s representatives.
Taibbi says tonight’s thread is just the first reporting he will do based on the documents leaked to him by Musk or someone acting on his behalf. I am sure there are people waiting for some smoking guns that prove some kind of specific political moderation bias, though one has yet to be seen in Twitter’s moderation decisions. I am certain there are going to be some embarrassing conversations in those files, especially for people who still work at Twitter and whose internal communications appear to have been unceremoniously dumped in the lap of a writer by the company’s new owner. But this thread? It is a mildly interesting distraction from Twitter’s current and much bigger problems.
I feel the worst for Hunter Biden, whose private struggles are treated by the worst kind of people as fodder for winning the political meme war. If the most serious allegations are true, which imply corruption of his now-President dad, that is a different story. For now, it is simply an exploitative and dehumanized glimpse into the darkest parts of his life.
“We want to write about stuff we know and that we invest in,” says [Margit] Wennmachers. This includes topics like crypto, biotech, fintech and real-estate, which all have dedicated partners at the firm.
Wennmachers’s job title at A16Z is “Operating Partner, Marketing” and was part of Future’s leadership. At the time of its launch, she said it was a long-term investment and effort, and I suppose fifteen months is long-term by somebody’s standards.
Future hasn’t published a new article in months, most of its editorial staffers have left, and its newsletter is defunct. A source familiar with Andreessen Horowitz’s content strategy confirmed to Insider that Future is shutting down.
Andreessen Horowitz remains committed to “going direct” and plans to continue to crank out content at a regular cadence, a person familiar with the firm’s content strategy said, but such material will live on its main website instead. A16z concluded over the past year that it wasn’t worth spending the time and energy building a new, separate brand given the firm’s prominence, the person added.
[…] As several people in Silicon Valley have told me, the firm wants to be another William Morris talent agency that mints celebrities—but with a client base composed of tech geeks and crypto oddballs rather than singers and actors. […]
Sure, the internet is great, but it has a serious flaw. There just aren’t enough ads. If you’re anything like me, you spend your time online casting your eyes across the screen, desperately hoping for another way to turn your attention into advertising revenue. At last, there’s some good news on that front, thanks to our hardworking friends in the tech industry. Starting December 23rd, Google is launching a new ad format called called “side rails” that will use show up on the sides of webpages and keep you company as you scroll.
According to Google’s documentation, these ads will actually begin appearing December 13, and they will automatically be switched on for any AdSense user who also uses anchor ads. All I want for Christmas this year is to make the web harder to read and, by golly, will Google deliver.
Now we can shift our work to editing the puzzle. Tracy Bennett, who joined The Times as an associate puzzle editor in 2020, will be the editor of Wordle. The game will have a Times-curated word list and will be programmed and tested like the Spelling Bee and the Crossword.
This includes themed answers, like last week’s DRIVE and FEAST which were chosen for American Thanksgiving. If there is one thing Wordle players wanted, it is for the Times to strip away the randomized fun and inject a serious sense of predictability.
The tech advocacy group Accountable Tech conducted an experiment in August and October to test Google’s pledge. Using a brand new Android device, researchers with the group analyzed their Google activity timeline, where the company shows what information is logged about an account holder’s actions. This activity helps make Google’s services “more useful” to users, according to the company – for instance, by “helping you rediscover the things that you’ve searched for, read and watched”. However, any information collected by Google is potentially subject to law enforcement requests, including the data logged in “My Activity”.
The group found that searches for directions to abortion clinics on Google Maps, as well as the routes taken to visit two Planned Parenthood locations, were stored in their Google activity timeline for weeks after it occurred. At the time of this article’s publication, the information was still stored and available at myactivity.google.com.
Not exactly surprising but still worrisome. In a narrower scope, it points to Google’s confusing mess of privacy settings, in which it treats location privacy as separate from searches and directions in Google Maps. The best thing you can do right now, regardless of who you are or what you think you will search for in the future, is to turn off Web and App Activity.
If you widen the scope, though, it is obvious such controls should not be left up to individual users to figure out, nor should it the decision of specific data brokers whether to retain or flush sensitive information. This is a systemic issue that requires a systemic legislative response.
With the passing of Bill C-19 this past June, the Copyright Act was amended to extend the term of copyright for literary, dramatic or musical works and engravings to life of the author plus a period of 70 years following the end of the calendar year in which that author dies. What was unclear at the time of royal assent was WHEN exactly this would come into force — if on or after January 1, 2023, one more year of works would enter the public domain. Unfortunately, we now know that this date has been fixed as December 30, 2022, meaning that no new works will enter the Canadian public domain for the next 20 years.
This legislation implements one of Canada’s obligations under the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement, is consistent with that of many other nations, and may support Canadian creators in the international marketplace.
Timothy Vollmer of Creative Commons pointed out how much this kneecaps the public domain and threatens new creative works. A disappointing development, to be sure.
According to a filing today in the “butterfly” keyboard lawsuit, the class action settlement has been approved. If you are part of the class — that is, a U.S. buyer of a 2015–2019 MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro model, and you had the keyboard repaired or a keycap replaced — you will receive your notice beginning December 12.
I am writing this in part to once again express my dismay that this suit was settled before substantial information was made public about this keyboard’s development and failure rate. I am sure there is an interesting story here. This specific era of Mac hardware made for a frustrating time to be an Apple customer, and it would be cathartic to understand it more deeply. I hope someone will tell it.
An HD cam filming driver-passenger conversations from the dashboard – an impossible space to fit one of your old-school movie cameras (Abbas Kiarostami’s 10). An unbroken 90-minute take gliding through St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum – an impossible length of time to capture in one go on 35mm (Aleksandr Sokurov’s Russian Ark). A nine-hour documentary that embeds us in the slow decline of a Shenyang industrial district, all shot by a crew of one (Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks). In the spring of 2002, Attack of the Clones wasn’t the only world premiere using digital cameras to recalibrate our expectations of what a film could be.
I was glad to see a brief mention of Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice”. It was shot almost entirely digitally, and its visuals now feel grainy and blocky, yet retain that Mann-specific cinematic feel.