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  • EFF urges Apple to drop CSAM tool plans completely

    crowley said:
    I have heard of the EFF and know what they do.  They've done some decent and worthwhile campaigning in the past, but they're very close to being
    no-compromise privacy zealots.  And I doubt Apple are going to be much bothered to engage with people who cannot be reasoned with given the concurrent obligations Apple feels that it has.

    "no-compromise privacy zealots" is how a lot of people would describe Apple.  Remember the San Bernardino case where they refused to help decrypt the shooter's iPhone? What about when the FBI asked for a backdoor to help fight crime?  In both cases, Apple has clearly said "NO, we will not help you hack our phones because it would compromise our users' privacy."  Beginning in MacOS 10.8, Apple added privacy checks that required applications to ask permission to read your personal data.  In Mojave (10.14), they ramped it up with the requirement to ask permission to use the camera and microphone, and in Catalina (10.15) they make apps ask permission to use screen recording or scan most files on your disk.  They have made an entire series of commercials about privacy.

    The one place, sadly, where Apple has "compromised" is in their dealing with China, where they contracted iCloud to GCBD, a company that is capable of being influenced the Chinese Communist Party.  Without this arrangement, the CCP would have embargoed ALL iPhone sales inmainland China.  Period.  This set a terrible precedent, and the EFF and others continue to give them flak for it.  The CSAM image scanning would be a bridge too far, because scanning and reporting rules could be enforced by foreign governments looking to silence dissidents for sharing memes or pictures that match a "known database" of images.
  • Apple details user privacy, security features built into its CSAM scanning system

    If multiple high-ranking executives at Apple have to come out with damage control PR in the span of one week, this should be a clue that the initiative, however well-intentioned, is deeply unpopular and should be abandoned.

    Apple is not law enforcement or a government agency.  They can't say no forever.  They've already said yes to exemptions for China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia just to keep selling the phones in those countries.  This CSAM process can and will be abused by foreign governments to coerce Apple to carve out exemptions under the threat of having Apple devices banned, embargoed, or cut off from the Internet.
  • Eve, Coulisse say that Thread-enabled MotionBlinds will debut in early 2022

    I wanted to compare these new shades to the Lutron Serena Smart Blinds, which has been pretty much the only game in town for ultra-wide blinds (over 48") or for homeowners who wanted to "graduate" from IKEA to something nicer.

    For those of you who don't know, the IKEA Fyrtur smart blinds come in a handful of fixed widths from 60-120cm (23 5/8" ~ 47 1/4").  Each blind works independently with the items included in the package, but to integrate them with the big 3 smart home systems, you must use three components: the remote control, the signal repeater, and the Trådrfri gateway.  Only the Trådfri is a separate purchase.  The IKEA system uses ZigBee, and it's a bit of a chore to set up and pair for the first time.  Once it's paired, though, it's fine and dead reliable.  If you have to reset it, though, it's going to be a real test of your patience.

    So I went to the Belgian pre-order site to price out some blinds for my nearly 8-foot wide living room window, with the following options:
    • Essential White
    • Rolgordijn (Single blind)
    • In Het Venster (in the window)
    • Width and height: 236 x 120 cm (approx 93" x 47")
    • Transparantie: Verduisterend (opaque)
    • Material color: white
    • System type: Cassette (looks cleaner)
    • System size: Klein (small).  The large is not needed unless you have really tall windows.
    • System color: white
    • Motor side: right

    The final price as configured is 358.37 Euros, or a shade over $400.

    Meanwhile, a comparably configured, battery-operated Lutron Serena shade costs anywhere from $800 - $1,200  :s  depending on fabric and options.

    These Eve Smart Blinds are going to fill the void between those who want to do better than IKEA, and homeowners who can't justify $1,000 per window on smart blinds.
  • Continued iOS 14 security updates were meant to be temporary, Apple says

    fahlman said:
    I support thousands of Windows computers and hundreds of macOS computers as my job. I would never use Windows personally. It's even a double-edged sword in the enterprise due to the manageability, but its a security nightmare.
    I have worked in environments with many thousands of Windows and Mac computers.  The Windows admins have far more BS to deal with: driver packs, KBs and hotfixes, quality rollups, cumulative rollups, etc.  Patching is a major headache on Windows, especially with how I've seen it work in SCCM.  If you want an 'easy' solution, be prepared to pay a lot of money for a third party product, or else you're using something like Ninite for a small/medium office.  On the Mac, there are so many awesome developers who have created whole patching solutions FOR FREE and posted them on Github with excellent documentation.  Nudge is an example of one designed to encourage users to install their macOS updates in a timely manner.  Even a halfway competent admin with some scripting chops can make sense of most of the offerings and roll them out quickly, and the developers are motivated by Apple's mantra of making great user experiences.
  • Disney World visitor claims $40,000 credit card fraud occurred after losing Apple Watch

    It is very difficult, but not completely impossible, to rack up $40,000 in charges at Disneyland/DisneyWorld.  

    That being said, such large transactions (or many smaller ones) would have been flagged as fraudulent and blocked by any credit card issuer almost immediately... except for a very small line of AMEX cards for "rich people with f*** you money" — namely, the AMEX Platinum, and the AMEX Black / Centurion card.  Those cards are often used for unusual purchases with large dollar amounts and they are designed not to pester the user with fraud warnings.  They also have high annual fees to cover situations like this and ensure the owner is serious about using them, and they have 24/7 concierge services.

    Is it possible that this woman was already being targeted for theft?  Yes.

    Is it possible that a shady Disney employee found the watch 'backstage' and unlocked it with a simple passcode?  Yes, but extremely unlikely as this person would be risking their job, their entire career at Disney, and serious jail time.

    Is it possible that this story is made up to avoid paying for $40,000 worth of stupid charges at Disneyland?  Yes.  The police report is only one side of the story.  Credit card issuers can absolutely tell the difference between charges from an Apple Watch, a phone, and a physical card.  Each one has a unique token.

    AMEX has a very lenient policy toward 'chargebacks' and reversals.  This is the number 1 reason that AMEX is not accepted by smaller merchants, as the per-swipe rate is much higher than VISA/MC, and the insurance required to accept these cards can be unaffordable due to the potential for fraud.  And a business that can't afford to pay for chargeback protection would be completely on the hook when a nasty customer abuses AMEX chargebacks.
  • Anti-robocall legislation passes through US House, on track to become law

    Thank goodness.  I've started getting random phone calls from people who swear that I called them, and I have had to explain that someone is spoofing my phone number.  I'm not happy about it.  Hopefully this bill, along with STIR/SHAKEN, will put the proverbial nail in the coffin.
  • App Privacy Report to debut in iOS 15.2 beta, code for Communication Safety appears [u]

    This is great idea! Its pure innovation by Apple: the chip itself do it for the kids! No third human eyes to review contents. They can ask help to review the image also to parents. Again one reason more to love Apple and their incredible technology!
    90+ human rights groups and thousands of privacy and safety advocates believe otherwise.

    A feature like this can open the doors to abusive requests by hostile governments, compelling Apple to flag "inappropriate" content like political cartoons, memes critical of the regime, images promoting LGBT equality or other important social issues.  The "penalty" for non-compliance would be to have those devices banned for sale or for use at all within those countries.
  • Everything Apple Sherlocked in macOS Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16

    MrBunside said:
    The touchbar is one of Apple’s products that they never really had much faith in. When you look at them in the Apple stores, most employees don’t know that much of what you could do with it. From that perspective, it’s clear that Apple didn’t want to spend a lot of time training their employees on how to really get good usage out of it. 

    I'll give the hardware devs a pass on this one - they weren't certain how it could be used but threw it into the real world to let others see if they could figure something out. They could not.

    Physical keys with embedded LCDs would be useful for apps like Logic and FCP, but again has no obvious advantage for most users
    What people were imagining, or hoping for, was the Optimus Maximus keyboard by Art Lebedev design.  Every single key has a reprogrammable full-color OLED display.  It was WAY ahead of its time in 2008, and also hideously expensive at $1,500.