The Ask-to-Trust Edition Monday, October 14, 2019

How Safe Is Apple’s Safe Browsing?, by Matthew Green, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering

The problem is that Safe Browsing “update API” has never been exactly “safe”. Its purpose was never to provide total privacy to users, but rather to degrade the quality of browsing data that providers collect. Within the threat model of Google, we (as a privacy-focused community) largely concluded that protecting users from malicious sites was worth the risk. That’s because, while Google certainly has the brainpower to extract a signal from the noisy Safe Browsing results, it seemed unlikely that they would bother. (Or at least, we hoped that someone would blow the whistle if they tried.)

But Tencent isn’t Google. While they may be just as trustworthy, we deserve to be informed about this kind of change and to make choices about it. At very least, users should learn about these changes before Apple pushes the feature into production, and thus asks millions of their customers to trust them.

Apple Is Suffocating Mobile-payment Rivals, by John Detrixhe, Quartz

Payment company executives Quartz has spoken with grumble about Apple’s stranglehold on NFC. But for the most part, they’re not willing to pick a fight with a company that has a cash hoard of around a quarter of $1 trillion. It’s better to be friends with the tech titan that controls the App Store and has deep relationships from Washington to Shenzhen.


The MacOS Catalina Privacy And Security Features You Should Know, by David Nield Wired

MacOS Catalina is live and out now for the masses to download—and Apple being Apple, it's packed with features focused on user security and privacy. Here's how Catalina promises to make your Mac safer and better protected than ever, from warnings about weak passwords to smart ways to retrieve a lost MacBook.

3 Tips To Take Better Photos With Your iPhone That We Learnt In A Today At Apple Session, by Aaron Brown, Express

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been a little dismayed to discover that the shots you’re getting from the camera app aren’t quite billboard-worthy.

Thankfully, Apple runs a number of masterclasses to help you eke the best out of its hardware.

Armed with a shiny new iPhone 11 Pro Max, which boasts the first triple-camera system seen on any Apple device, we headed down to the Covent Garden Apple Store to see what we could learn. Turns out, we could learn a helluva lot.

Apple Card User Claims To Be Victim Of Fraud Despite Never Using Titanium Card, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

With the previous case we heard about, the most likely explanation was the information of the titanium Apple Card being skimmed and cloned by a thief. However, since with this latest case Larry claims he has only ever used Apple Pay with his Apple Card and never used the physical one, the skimming theory would out the window.


iPhone 11's Deep Fusion Camera: Is This All There Is?, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

But it's an interesting philosophical discussion: Can a feature be so important that it gets a marketing name, but not important enough to be advertised in the interface?

Moving Beyond ‘Zuck Sucks’, by Anthony Nadler, Hamsini Sridharan, and Doron Taussig, Columbia Journalism Review

How could journalists cover the multiple crises rocking Big Tech as something other than an unquenchable dumpster fire? We suggest that journalists covering technology take inspiration from the solutions journalism movement and creatively adapt some of its playbook. “Solutions journalism” is a fad, and a popular one. You may have read about it in a colleague’s grant proposal. But it’s a fad with something real to recommend.

Solutions journalism is reporting that focuses on the responses to social problems that other reporting describes and defines. Its proponents argue that such an approach offers several potential benefits, including sharing insights about what works, reducing the sense that the press only shows up when things go wrong (which contributes to distrust of journalists), and, crucially, combating the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness that accrues from a flood of bad news.

Bottom of the Page

Getting rid of Google and Tencent for the Safe Browsing feature seems like something that Apple can solved by just throwing money at the problem.


Thanks for reading.