The Facial-Data Edition Saturday, December 9, 2017

Phil Schiller: 'Face ID Data Isn't Shared With Third Party Developers', by Erwin van der Zande,

Regarding Face ID: "I think we’ve worked really hard to maintain the trust we have with users about how this information technology is and isn’t used. First of all, no Face ID data goes to third parties. So what you enroll with Face ID, what you use to unlock your phone, that's an algorithm that is created and encrypted by the Secure Enclave. No third party that uses the iPhone camera has your Face ID data. We did create an API so developers can use the cameras to track facial movements, to do things like wrap stickers on your face (like Snapchat, ed.) That’s different than Face ID. They don’t have all the acces that Face ID has for that.

Schiller stresses the separate guidelines and strict policies developers have to adhere in order to get acces to that facial data. "We thought ahead to the same concerns you raised. For example, developers must be clear in their user privacy policies that they are using face data and what they are doing with that. So that you know. You have a choice to make whether you want to do that or not. You are in control. And also, every application that want to use face data must go through a special level of app review. We look at them specifically to understand what they are using the data for and does the user understand that. So uphold developer to do the right job for customers and ultimately let the customer decide."

Apple’s Widened Ban On Templated Apps Is Wiping Small Businesses From The App Store, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

These may not be the most-used apps, to be sure, but for the niche audiences they serve – say, for example, customers of a local pizza place that would rather have its own app rather than paying the fees associated with being on a food ordering platform like Seamless/GrubHub or Uber Eats – they serve a useful purpose.

As one app builder put it, the decision to limit these small businesses’ ability to compete on the App Store is as if a web hosting company said that they would no longer allow web pages built with WordPress templates or those made using website wizards from services like Wix or Squarespace.

Siri And Alexa Are Under Fire For Their Replies To Sexual Harassment, by Leah Fessler, Quartz

In February, months before the #MeToo movement erupted, I ran an experiment in which I sexually harassed Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home to document how these digital personal servants—whose names and voices are already feminized—peddle stereotypes of female subservience, putting their “progressive” parent companies in a moral predicament.

Now, those findings are being cited in a petition on the social network Care2 asking Apple and Amazon to “reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment.” The petition already has nearly 8,000 of its targeted 10,000 signatures. It asks people to sign if they want to see Siri and Alexa push back on sexual harassment when it’s directed at them. “In this #MeToo moment, where sexual harassment may finally be being taken seriously society, we have a unique opportunity to develop AI in a way that creates a kinder world,” the petition reads.

Photographers Showcase iPhones Art At The Red Brick In Aspen, by Anna Stonehouse, The Aspen Times

If it wasn't announced in the title of the Red Brick Center's new art exhibition, "iShow," most viewers could not guess that all of the works hanging at the gallery were created on smartphones.

The show, which opened Thursday night, showcases new work by 10 local photographers who have used their iPhones to remarkably diverse ends with the use of apps and filters, creative editing and printing processes.

High School Mentors Prove Coding Can Be Fun, by Allen Laman, The Herald

When you think of a computer coder or programmer, you probably don’t picture someone tapping an Apple iPad to guide a multi-colored ball of fuzz around the inside of a bright maze.

But this week, members of Jasper High School’s Advanced Placement Computer Science class showed first- and second-graders at Ireland Elementary and Fifth Street School that in its most basic form, coding can be an experience much more engaging than simply typing orders into a command prompt. Wednesday, it took the form of the video game app described above.

How To Rip The Mics Out Of Your MacBook And iPhone, by Brian Barrett, Wired

The good news for the targets of highly sophisticated cyberspies? There’s a practical fix for that audio espionage problem. The bad news: It requires some surgery.

No software setting can turn off a microphone such that a skilled hacker who controls your device can’t turn it back on. Instead, you can simply remove them, and then plug in an external microphone only when you truly need it.

Sources: Apple Is Acquiring Music Recognition App Shazam, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.


Apple Expands iPhone, iPad, And Apple Watch Accessory Lineup With Pink Fuchsia Cases, New Hermès Band, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Apple Pencil Case and Leather Sleeve for 10.5-inch iPad Pro are both available in a new Pink Fuchsia color shade. This is the same color that we’ve previously seen for Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases.

Type ‘Let It Snow’ Into The Apple Store App On iOS For A Surprise Holiday Easter Egg, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Simply head into the app, tap on the search icon in the upper-right corner, and type “let it snow.” You should then see snowflakes start to fall from the top of your display. Pretty cool, right? Shake your device to watch the snow move like a snow globe.


Apple Commits 'Turi Create' Machine Learning Development Tool To GitHub, by AppleInsider

Building on its acquisition of machine learning and AI specialist Turi, Apple this week committed "Turi Create" to GitHub, a new machine learning framework designed to help developers build machine learning models that can be parlayed into apps running on its major operating systems.