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Exclusive: Apple’s child protection features spark concern within its own ranks

A backlash over Apple’s move to scan U.S. customer phones and computers for child sex abuse images has grown to include employees speaking out internally, a notable turn in a company famed for its secretive culture, as well as provoking intensified protests from leading technology policy groups.

Apple employees have flooded an Apple internal Slack channel with more than 800 messages on the plan announced a week ago, workers who asked not to be identified told Reuters. Many expressed worries that the feature could be exploited by repressive governments looking to find other material for censorship or arrests, according to workers who saw the days-long thread.

Past security changes at Apple have also prompted concern among employees, but the volume and duration of the new debate is surprising, the workers said. Some posters worried that Apple is damaging its leading reputation for protecting privacy.

Though coming mainly from employees outside of lead security and privacy roles, the pushback marks a shift for a company where a strict code of secrecy around new products colors other aspects of the corporate culture.

Slack rolled out a few years ago and has been more widely adopted by teams at Apple during the pandemic, two employees said. As workers used the app to maintain social ties during the work-from-home era by sharing recipes and other light-hearted content, more serious discussions have also taken root.

In the Slack thread devoted to the photo-scanning feature, some employees have pushed back against criticism, while others said Slack wasn’t the proper forum for such discussions.

Core security employees did not appear to be major complainants in the posts, and some of them said that they thought Apple’s solution was a reasonable response to pressure to crack down on illegal material.

Other employees said they hoped that the scanning is a step toward fully encrypting iCloud for customers who want it, which would reverse Apple’s direction on the issue a second time.


Last week’s announcement is drawing heavier criticism from past outside supporters who say Apple is rejecting a history of well-marketed privacy fights.

They say that while the U.S. government can’t legally scan wide swaths of household equipment for contraband or make others do so, Apple is doing it voluntarily, with potentially dire consequences.

People familiar with the matter said a coalition of policy groups are finalizing a letter of protest to send to Apple within days demanding a suspension of the plan. Two groups, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) both released newly detailed objections to Apple’s plan in the past 24 hours.

“What Apple is showing with their announcement last week is that there are technical weaknesses that they are willing to build in,” CDT project director Emma Llanso said in an interview. “It seems so out of step from everything that they had previously been saying and doing.”

Apple declined to comment for this story. It has said it will refuse requests from governments to use the system to check phones for anything other than illegal child sexual abuse material.

Outsiders and employees pointed to Apple’s stand against the FBI in 2016, when it successfully fought a court order to develop a new tool to crack into a terrorism suspect’s iPhone. Back then, the company said that such a tool would inevitably be used to break into other devices for other reasons.

But Apple was surprised its stance then was not more popular, and the global tide since then has been toward more monitoring of private communication.

With less publicity, Apple has made other technical decisions that help authorities, including dropping a plan to encrypt widely used iCloud backups and agreeing to store Chinese user data in that country.

A fundamental problem with Apple’s new plan on scanning child abuse images, critics said, is that the company is making cautious policy decisions that it can be forced to change, now that the capability is there, in exactly the same way it warned would happen if it broke into the terrorism suspect’s phone.

Apple says it will scan only in the United States and other countries to be added one by one, only when images are set to be uploaded to iCloud, and only for images that have been identified by the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children and a small number of other groups.

But any country’s legislature or courts could demand that any one of those elements be expanded, and some of those nations, such as China, represent enormous and hard to refuse markets, critics said.

Police and other agencies will cite recent laws requiring “technical assistance” in investigating crimes, including in the United Kingdom and Australia, to press Apple to expand this new capability, the EFF said.

“The infrastructure needed to roll out Apple’s proposed changes makes it harder to say that additional surveillance is not technically feasible,” wrote EFF General Counsel Kurt Opsahl.

Lawmakers will build on it as well, said Neil Brown, a U.K. tech lawyer at “If Apple demonstrates that, even in just one market, it can carry out on-device content filtering, I would expect regulators/lawmakers to consider it appropriate to demand its use in their own markets, and potentially for an expanded scope of things.”

Source: Reuters



These are the top 10 Tips and Tricks in iOS 15 you need to check now

iOS 15 is now available to download and there are a lot of new features that you’re going to love. I want to cover some of my top tips and tricks for iOS 15, especially for new users so let’s get right into it.

1. How to use Live text in iOS 15.

First of all, let’s talk about one of the coolest features with iOS 15 and that is something called Live text. live text is a feature that lets you basically select text directly from your camera or a picture and lets you copy and paste it, look up a definition or actually translate it. to activate this feature, you can do it in a couple of different ways. The easiest way to do this is to open up the camera app and point your camera at the text you want to select. when the camera recognizes that text, you will see an icon pop up in the bottom right. select that icon and you will see a little pop up of a photo that your iPhone took and all of the text in that image. from there all you have to do is drag and hold your finger over the text in the photo, like you would with any other text on your iPhone and you will be able to select all of the text or a specific portion of it, and then from there, you can copy the text, paste it into another app, look up a word for a definition, translate the word into another language or share the text with another app.

Another way to activate this feature is just to go into your photo library and any photo with existing text should already be retroactively added to use this feature. so, you can select text even from older photos you took before iOS 15 even came out, and it works exactly the same way as if you opened up the camera app directly with all of the same options. This is a really cool feature and I find it extremely useful for copying and pasting information, especially on those certain websites or apps where you actually can’t select text for some reason. Well now you can just screenshot it and then copy and paste from there or if we’re just taking quick photos of something you want to share like a menu at a restaurant, and you could just take a photo of it then copy and paste it to one of your friends. This is one of the most useful iOS 15 features and it’s really easy to use and understand for new users.

2. Safari new address bar trick.

Now, if you are not a new user to iOS, I mean a lot of people have been using iPhones for a long time, you might have noticed that when you opened up Safari, things look a little bit different with a new tab bar option which now places the address bar at the bottom of your iPhone screen and move some things around as well. And while you may like this new tab bar design, I’m sure there’s a lot of people reading this article may not like it based on preference. After being used to almost 15 years of the iPhone browser design, where the address bar was at the top of their iPhone and I totally get that because it took me so long to get used to the address bar being on the bottom and I would just constantly tap the top to enter in a new website and it was so frustrating. So, if you don’t like this new change, fear not, because you can actually revert it back to the old-style single tab design. To do this, all you have to do is go into settings, scroll down to Safari. Tap Safari and then scroll down to the tabs area, from there you can change the settings of Safari from the new tab bar back to the old single tab design. Once you do this, you will get the old design and everything will be where you remember it from iOS 14 and basically every other iOS version before that. The safari URL will be at the top.

3. Face time new feature.

Perhaps one of the most use feature with an iPhone is FaceTime and iOS 15 gives us a simple feature that I think is actually going to be one of the most used features on this list. Now, while a lot of the share play features are unfortunately delayed with iOS 15, One feature that is not delayed is the ability for the first time ever on FaceTime is to have a FaceTime call with Android users and not only Android users but Windows users or frankly any user that can access a web browser. So now you can FaceTime with anyone, even people who don’t own an iPhone and doing this is so simple, all you have to do is go into the FaceTime app and on the top, you will see a new option to create a link, tap on it and you will get options to share this link easily to services like messages, email, Twitter, and more. Or you can just simply tap on copy and then you can paste this link to anyone. When you send this link to a non-iPhone user, all they have to do is click on the link and it will open in their web browser. they get to pick a name, and then they are right in your FaceTime call. so now you don’t have to leave out that one random sibling who just, you know, kept on refusing to get an iPhone and everyone else in the family got an iPhone, and they were constantly left out of the family FaceTime calls lol.

4. Offline feature added to Siri.

Another thing you need to try in iOS 15 is the faster offline Siri because now in iOS 15, certain Siri requests can be done on device without a connection to the internet and will even work in airplane mode because you don’t need an internet connection, and because you don’t need an internet connection, you don’t need to wait to send and receive this data and Siri can do voice tasks very quickly. For example, you can now tell Siri to open an app control system setting, set a timer or an alarm or skip or play a previous music track. all of these requests work offline now, and because of that, they are just super-fast to activate. so, give it a try for yourself.

5. Custom focuses added in iOS 15.

Another tip, you’ll want to try is taking control of your digital lifestyle by setting custom focuses. focus is a new system in iOS 15 that completely changes the way you manage your phone’s notifications and what apps you see, and like its name implies focus helps you focus on the task at hand by creating a custom status that allows you to control what notifications you can receive on your device from people, as well as apps, and you can even customize it with personal dedicated pages that surface when you turn on that focus. So, let’s say when you are in work mode, you can allow notifications from a select group of close family members, friends or other people that you communicate with for work reasons. then you can also choose to mute notifications from apps that can be distracting. And finally, you can have a custom page with the apps that you use most frequently during your work day. For example; mail, YouTube studio, Whatsapp, Calculator and so on, along with some other helpful widgets. You can set these focuses to be enabled automatically depending on time, location or even when you are opening a specific app. So, let’s say you are watching YouTube or playing a game and you don’t want any notifications to come through. Well, you can set that up as well. custom focuses are one of the biggest overhauls to how you manage notifications on the iPhone.

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Google Doodle celebrates the search engine’s 23rd birthday

Google is marking its 23rd birthday on Monday with a new Doodle. The animated Doodle features a layered birthday cake with rainbow sprinkles and the number 23 written on the top. The search giant’s name, which is also covered in frosting and sprinkles, is floating above and the flickering green birthday candle stands in for the “L” in “Google.”

Officially established on Sept. 4, 1998, Google was co-founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. In 1997, Brin, a graduate student at Stanford University at the time, was tasked with showing Page around campus. The following year, the pair developed the first prototype of Google together in their dorms.

Sundar Pichai, the current CEO of Google and its parent, Alphabet, succeeded Page in 2015.

Since those early days, Google has grown to become one of the most expansive tech companies in the world. With its market dominance has come increased scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and its own employees. In July, a group of state attorneys from 36 US states and Washington, D.C., sued Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws with its Play store for Android apps. In recent years, Google employees have protested and accused the search giant’s management of retaliating against some of its workers. Google and Alphabet employees have also formed a union so they have a “meaningful say” in decisions.

Source: Cnet

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New features and 19 settings you need to change now in Apple iOS 15

Today I’m to be showing you some new settings in iOS 15 that you need to change on your iPhone right away. So, these are going to be settings that will have an impact on your privacy, your battery life and just overall ease of use throughout iOS 15. So, now let’s go ahead and get into the settings that you should strongly consider changing immediately once you have an iOS 15.

1. Safari.

The first one has to do with Safari and your IP address. So, if you open the settings of your iOS and navigate to Safari click on it, and then scroll down until you see hide IP address, you want to tap on that and make sure that is turned on, you do not want this off. this will hide your IP address. your IP address can be used to determine personal information like your location and this is going to protect you from that. Now you might also see from trackers, so you need to make sure that’s enabled, that’s only if you have a private relay enabled. if you don’t have private relay enabled.

2. Private relay.

So, in iOS 15 and iCloud there is a new feature called Private relay, and you can see that in your iOS settings. If you tap on that, you may want to consider turning this on. So, this is going to hide your IP address and your internet activity, so that websites cannot build a profile for you based on your web activity. however, this is not a VPN, it only works in Safari and it can’t hide the region you’re connecting from, so you’re not going to get the same benefits that you do from a VPN, but this is still a very great feature to have in iOS 15.

3. Hide my email.

So, this is another really great privacy feature in iOS 15 that’s going to allow you to use a unique random address that forwards to your actual email address, this is going to keep your personal emails private. this is great if you want to maybe sign up to a website’s newsletter, to get a discount, or if you just thought your information might get sold to a third party, then you definitely want to have an alias email set up and of course if you start getting spammed, you can delete that alias email and just create a new one, very easily.

So, if you want to do it just tap on create a new address on Hide my email section in your iOS settings. Once you click on “create new email” You will see that it gives a random email. basically, it just combines random words with numbers and that’s what you get for your alias email address which you are able to label them.

4. Focus mode.

Now the next thing you might want to change has to do with focus modes and notifying others when you are in a focus mode. so, as you may know already in iOS 15 once you enter a focus mode, an alert will be shown to other people who attempt to text you and it will let them know that your notifications have been silenced. you can disable this if you go into your settings and navigate to focus, then change the focus status. you could turn it off for everybody or selected people only. so that is definitely a setting you should consider changing if you don’t want specific people seeing when you’re in that focus mode.

5. Background sound.

The next setting, you may want to change is inside of accessibility. so, if you go into your accessibility of your iOS settings, you then navigate to audio visual and then to background sounds. So, what this feature does is, it plays some background sound like the rain, ocean and just different ambient noises that will help you concentrate or go to sleep and you can also stop sounds when locked.

6. Preserve night mode.

The next setting, you may want to change in iOS 15 has to do with the Camera. so, if you go into camera settings, navigate to preserve settings and then turn on your night mode and also live photo. This feature helps you to take better photos at night or in low light.

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