The Security-and-Privacy Edition Saturday, October 13, 2018

Apple Rebukes Australia’s “Dangerously Ambiguous” Anti-encryption Bill, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

In a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, Apple said that it “would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat.”

“We appreciate the government’s outreach to Apple and other companies during the drafting of this bill,” the letter read. “While we are pleased that some of the suggestions incorporated improve the legislation, the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security.”

“This is no time to weaken encryption,” it read. “Rather than serving the interests of Australian law enforcement, it will just weaken the security and privacy of regular customers while pushing criminals further off the grid.”

VoiceOver Bug Lets Hackers View iPhone Photos, Send Them To Another Device, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Amateur iOS hacker Jose Rodriguez on Friday unearthed another obscure, yet effective, lock screen bypass that leans on an unpatched bug in VoiceOver to gain unauthorized access to photos on a target device.

No One Can Get Cybersecurity Disclosure Just Right — Especially Lawmakers, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

GDPR was conceived to be a broad and flexible framework, but its prescriptive elements can seem impractical or unreasonable. And this hints at the larger tension between the need for codified disclosure requirements, and the difficulty of making rules that account for all situations.

The Facebook Hack Could Haunt Its Victims For Years To Come, by Will Oremus, Slate

The good news is, the number of users whose accounts were hacked was 30 million, down from Facebook’s original estimate of 50 million. Facebook also now says that it believes users’ accounts on Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp, and third-party apps were not affected. [...]

The bad news is Facebook can now confirm that the vast majority of those victims did indeed have their personal information stolen. (All it had said previously was that their accounts were accessed.) And while Facebook still doesn’t know just what the hackers plan to do with that information, the possibilities are many. As for who did it, Facebook said: “We’re cooperating with the FBI, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack.”

More Than Just Fitness

Apple Watch Series 4: We Hiked For Six Hours So You Wouldn't Have To, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

Like its predecessors, the Apple Watch Series 4 is a worthy fitness companion for all levels. The longer battery and better screen are great incentives for distance runners who were waiting to make the plunge to an Apple Watch or just looking to upgrade from an older model. But 6 hours of tracking is still miles behind other dedicated fitness watches that can go for days on a charge.

The biggest selling point of the Apple Watch is that it does so much more than just fitness. The added cell connectivity means you can comfortably leave your phone behind on a run and still have all the essentials: music, messages, calls or car service.

And with the Series 4 you have new health features like the EKG, irregular heart rate notifications and fall detection.

My Apple Watch Turned Me Into A Workout Troll, by Cory Stieg, Refinery 29

At the end of the day, exercise should be a joyful experience that makes you feel good — not shamed — about your body or activity level. And for me, sharing my stats with a supportive loved one who I trust to make me laugh with silly messages adds a layer of fun that my workouts were otherwise missing.

Hands-On With The New Reflective Sport Loop Band For Apple Watch Nike+, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Introducing reflective thread details for runners to improve visibility during low-light runs is clever. The hoop and loop closure makes it infinitely adjustable so you can easily tighten it for a run and loosen it during daily wear. The reflective detail is only dramatic when it makes contact with a bright light source so it won’t stand out too much away from headlights and camera flashes. As a safety measure for running at night, the reflective thread is certainly helpful but the strap is a small target for making you visible to drivers. I often run at night with the blinking flash light feature enabled on Apple Watch, but it’s just one more safety precaution in addition to a few others.

Exploring Custom watchOS Watch Faces, by David Smith

So last week I spent a lot of time working through ideas around making better complications for the Apple Watch Series 4. This showed some progress but is ultimately limited by the constraints imposed by the current watchOS watch face system.

So when the broader discussion got to the point of talking about totally custom watch faces I was very interested. Especially when Steve Troughton-Smith worked out a little hack to hide the time from full screen watchOS apps. Now I was off to the races. We don’t have a means to replace the actual watch faces on our watches but we can make watch apps that look like them and run those on my wrist.


A Tour Through The Mojave Features That Make It Stand Out, by Jeff Carlson, Seattle Times

Now that the macOS counterpart, Mojave, is in the wild, I want to focus on some of the features that make it stand out.

Keep Your Favorite iOS Shortcuts Up To Date With RoutineHub, by David Murphy, Lifehacker

While there have been a few “central hubs” for shortcuts that have popped up following iOS 12's release, I like RoutineHub’s simple, organized layout—and its growing number of shortcuts. More importantly, if you have a shortcut you want to share with the world, RoutineHub makes it easy to add in an update module, which gives you version control and your shortcut’s fans a way to get the latest and greatest version of your creation.

Sometimes It’s Better To Just Start Over With iCloud Photo Library Syncing, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So if you temporarily turn off iCloud Photo Library and turn it back on, it might be easier to just delete all your photos from your iPhone first, and let them all sync back from iCloud.


You’re Never Too Old To Be A Genius, by Allison Schrager, Quartz

More recent research, from then-psychology graduates students at Harvard, suggests it is not so simple. Some types of fluid intelligence peak early. Raw processing speed, ie. how quickly we do a mental task, reaches its greatest potential around 18 or 19, but we don’t master other abilities, like reading emotional states, until our 40s or 50s. As we age, we combine our changing fluid intelligence with our increased wisdom. As a result, we are not our smartest selves at any one age; we excel in different areas at various points in our lives. The researchers estimated we are best at facial recognition before 20. But many other tasks that involve thinking and knowledge peak in middle age. It turns out you are best at solving arithmetic problems and comprehension in your 40s and into your 50s.

The Future Of Work Might Actually Be ... Good?, by Paris Martineau, Wired

As technology grows more sophisticated, Brown-Philpot thinks robots and machines will become more integrated into our everyday lives, more as intermediaries between customers and employees than as direct substitutes. Sure, the TaskRabbit of the future could be summoned to your home by a smart fridge programmed to automatically send out a repair request when malfunctioning, posits Brown-Philpot. But the nuanced human expertise of the dispatched Tasker is irreplaceable. “I just believe that robots are never going to replace the empathy and judgment that humans can provide,” she added.


Man Wearing Apple Maps Backpack Surveying San Francisco On Foot, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

MacRumors reader Dante Cesa spotted a man wearing an Apple Maps backpack featuring a LIDAR rig, GPS, and multiple cameras, some of the same equipment that's previously been spotted on Apple's mapping vans.

Tim Cook Visited Headquarters Of Bytedance In Beijing, by Gabriel Li, Pandaily

Tim Cook swung by the headquarters of Bytedance Thursday, tasting life of Internet celebrity on the live-streaming app TikTok with Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming and other creators.


Meetings with Chinese developers and business partners on Cook’s China trip seem to have grown into a routine for the past years. In March 2017, Cook visited the headquarters of the bike-sharing company Ofo.

Cops Told ‘Don’t Look’ At New iPhones To Avoid Face ID Lock-Out, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

But Face ID can of course also work against law enforcement—too many failed attempts with the ‘wrong’ face can force the iPhone to request a potentially harder to obtain passcode instead. Taking advantage of legal differences in how passcodes are protected, US law enforcement have forced people to unlock their devices with not just their face but their fingerprints too. But still, in a set of presentation slides obtained by Motherboard this week, one company specialising in mobile forensics is telling investigators not to even look at phones with Face ID, because they might accidentally trigger this mechanism. “iPhone X: don’t look at the screen, or else… The same thing will occur as happened on Apple’s event,” the slide, from forensics company Elcomsoft, reads. Motherboard obtained the presentation from a non-Elcomsoft source, and the company subsequently confirmed its veracity.

Bottom of the Page

I'm not sure how representative I am, but I subscribe to Apple Music because I want some good audio entertainment. The only 'original' audio content Apple is doing all these while are the various shows on Beats 1, which have a rather narrow focus.

I wish Apple will invest more in audio programming. If Beats 1 can be compared to BBC Radio 1 (I'm not sure because I don't listen to either of them), I hope Apple can do more stuff like BBC's Radio 3, Radio 4, or even World Service.


Thanks for reading.