UK government ignites debate over privacy vs. safety

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 09:28:00 -0800

Most technologists understand that end-to-end encryption in messaging keeps people safe and empowers commerce. But the UK government is launching a publicity blitz to have that layer of protection removed.

The decision will affect every nation the UK does business with, including those that still value the right to privacy and free speech.

Privacy versus safety

Rolling Stone reports the UK has developed an emotive ad campaign around child safety to build support for its argument. Of course, this campaign comes nowhere near addressing the threat to free speech, commerce, or privacy in such a move. Naturally, the reaction across most of the tech industry has been a series of shared oaths as people who know about this stuff ask: “Do we have to explain this again?”

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Cellular networks revolt against Apple privacy moves

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 09:43:00 -0800

Every time Apple attempts to inject a little more privacy into the digital world, it faces pushback – but the evidence suggests opponents would be better off going along for the ride.

A bigger business with more privacy

Take Do Not Track for ads and the move to quash IDFA tracking in iOS 14. When Apple first announced its plan, critics across the ad industry complained it would damage their business.

Apple counter-argued that it would simply inspire advertisers to think more creatively about how to reach customers — while also providing more privacy to those customers.  

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Google finds a nation-state level of attacks on iPhone

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2022 03:31:00 -0800

When it comes to mobile security, users are routinely warned to be extremely careful, avoid suspicious links, emails, and attachments. But the growth of no-click attacks sidesteps these soft defenses.

Google recently drilled into one such attack, which happened to have hit an iPhone. “We assess this to be one of the most technically sophisticated exploits we’ve ever seen, further demonstrating that the capabilities (one vendor) provides rival those previously thought to be accessible to only a handful of nation states,” said the Google advisory.

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Apple is sneaking around its own privacy policy — and will regret it

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2022 03:04:00 -0800

Apple has a rather complicated relationship with privacy, which it always points to as a differentiator with Google. But delivering on it is a different tale. 

Much of this involves the definition of privacy. Fortunately for Apple’s marketing people, “privacy” is the ultimate undefinable term because every user views it differently. If you ask a 60-year-old man in Chicago what he considers to be private, you’ll get a very different answer than if you asked a 19-year-old woman in Los Angeles. Outside the US, privacy definitions vary even more. Germans and Canadians truly value privacy, but even they don’t agree on what they personally consider private.

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7 smart steps to get your Android phone in tip-top shape for 2022

Credit to Author: JR Raphael| Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2022 03:00:00 -0800

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I find the start of a fresh voyage around this shiny ol’ sun of ours to be a fine time for tidying up, optimizing, and getting good and organized for the months ahead. And while I’d love to pretend I’m the type of person who has one of those disgustingly pristine, clutter-free desks you see on the internet, let me be brutally honest: The physical space around me tends to resemble a half-abandoned hog parlor.

But my Android phone? My Android phone is as orderly as can be, gosh darn it. And if you ask me, that makes far more of a difference than the state of the physical space around me.

Our mobile devices are where we do so much of our actual work and contemplation these days, after all — and yet it’s all too easy to overlook the importance of maintaining an optimal arrangement for both productivity and security within ’em. So now, as we gaze ahead at the promise-filled 2022 calendar, join me in taking 10 minutes to get your own trusty Android phone fine-tuned and fully ready for the coming year.

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When biometrics can be outsmarted this way, we need to talk

Credit to Author: Evan Schuman| Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2022 06:43:00 -0800

It’s one of the sad facts of mobile authentication that the industry tends to initially support the least effective security options. Hence, phones initially supported authentication based on fingerprints (which can be impacted by prescriptions, cleaning products, hand injuries, and dozens of other factors) and then moved on to facial recognition. 

In theory, facial recognition is supposed to be more accurate. Mathematically, that’s fair, as it is examining far more data points than scanning a fingerprint. But the reality in the real world is much more problematic. It requires a precise distance from the phone and yet offers no pre-scan markers for the user to know when they hit it correctly. That’s one reason I see facial recognition reject a scan roughly 40% of the time — even though it will approve a positive scan two seconds later.

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Did Apple send its controversial CSAM scanning back to the lab?

Credit to Author: Jonny Evans| Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2021 10:03:00 -0800

Apple appears to have stepped back on its least popular innovation since the Butterfly Keyboard, stealthily slicing mentions of its controversial CSAM scanning/surveillance tech from its website following widespread criticism of the idea.

Child protection tools

The company in August announced plans to introduce ‘surveillance as a service’ on iPhones.

At that time, it revealed new communication safety features now available in iOS 15.2 and another tool – including the capacity to scan a user’s devices against a set of data to identify child sexual abuse material (CSAM). If such material was discovered, the system flagged that user up for investigation.

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