The Designed-to-Prevent Edition Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Apple Open To Expanding New Child Safety Features To Third-Party Apps, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple said that while it does not have anything to share today in terms of an announcement, expanding the child safety features to third parties so that users are even more broadly protected would be a desirable goal. Apple did not provide any specific examples, but one possibility could be the Communication Safety feature being made available to apps like Snapchat, Instagram, or WhatsApp so that sexually explicit photos received by a child are blurred.

Another possibility is that Apple's known CSAM detection system could be expanded to third-party apps that upload photos elsewhere than iCloud Photos.

Apple Says It Will Refuse Gov’t Demands To Expand Photo-scanning Beyond CSAM, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

None of this means that Apple lacks the ability to expand the technology's uses, of course. Answering the question of whether its photo-scanning system can be used to detect things other than CSAM, Apple said that it "is designed to prevent that from happening."

Apple’s Mistake, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

It’s truly disappointing that Apple got so hung up on its particular vision of privacy that it ended up betraying the fulcrum of user control: being able to trust that your device is truly yours.

Apple Publishes FAQ For Their New Child Safety Features (PDF), by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I think it’s a genuine “we’ll soon find out” mystery how many iCloud Photo users are going to be accurately flagged for exceeding the threshold for CSAM matches when this goes live. If the number is large, it seems like one innocent needle in a veritable haystack of actual CSAM collections might be harder for Apple’s human reviewers to notice.

Coming Soon?

Apple Readies New iPhones With Pro-Focused Camera, Video Updates, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The new handsets will include a video version of the phone’s Portrait mode feature, the ability to record video in a higher-quality format called ProRes, and a new filters-like system that improves the look and colors of photos, according to people familiar with the matter.


For this year, the company will retain the same 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch regular sizes and 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro screen dimensions, as well as their designs.


Onyx Review: A Must-have Utility For Your Mac Software Toolbox, by Chris Barylick, Macworld

There’s a reason Onyx has been among the tools of choice for Mac techies for almost two decades now, the final program you ran on a client’s computer to clean things up before you wrapped things up. And while it may take a little research and some care before using, it’s worth trying out and perhaps adding to your selection of tools the next time you’re fixing a Mac.

How To Use Running Apps To Hit The Road, by Suzie Glassman, Wired

There are four basic types of runs all the running apps offer, though each may call them something different. They focus on one of three variables: duration, frequency, and intensity. While your training program should include a mix of all three, only focus on improving one variable at a time. Trying to do too much can cause burnout or injury.

Parallels 17 Brings Enhanced Windows Gaming Experience, The First macOS Monterey Virtual Machine Running On Apple Silicon, More, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Headlining this release is an enhanced Windows gaming experience, the ability to run macOS Monterey betas in a virtual machine on Apple Silicon, and a virtual TPM chip for Windows.

Alfred 4.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Running with Crayons has published Alfred 4.5 with the new Universal Actions feature for Powerpack users, enabling you to take any text, URLs, or files and perform actions on them from anywhere on your Mac using the Universal Action hotkey.

Art Text 4.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release adds new vector drawing tools for improved logo design, bundles new badge and logo design templates plus 300 new vector icons and shapes.


The Apple Store Gets Its Tab Back, by Ken Segall

There is a well-established pattern on The tabs mostly have generic names (Watch, TV, Music), and when you click a tab you are greeted with the full product name on the product page.

But click on the Store tab and all you see is … Store. Inexplicable.

Apple Keeps Shutting Down Employee-run Surveys On Pay Equity — And Labor Lawyers Say It’s Illegal, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Apple insists it does not have a problem with pay inequality. Skeptical Apple employees have been trying to verify that claim by sending out informal surveys on how much people make, particularly as it relates to women and underrepresented minorities. But the company has shut down three of those surveys, citing stringent rules on how employees can collect data. Now, multiple labor lawyers tell The Verge the company may be violating worker protections: the surveys can be considered a form of labor organizing — under US law, employees have the right to discuss pay.

Big Tech Call Center Workers Face Pressure To Accept Home Surveillance, by Olivia Solon, NBC News

The worker said that she signed the contract, a copy of which NBC News has reviewed, because she feared losing her job. She said that she was told by her supervisor that she would be moved off the Apple account if she refused to sign the document. She said the additional surveillance technology has not yet been installed.


Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy said that the company “prohibits the use of video or photographic monitoring by our suppliers and have confirmed Teleperformance does not use video monitoring for any of their teams working with Apple.” Leahy said that Apple had audited Teleperformance in Colombia this year and did not find any “core violations of our strict standards.”

Bottom of the Page

Realistically, if some governments want to force Apple to install some backdoor code into the devices Apple is selling, there is really no need to wait for Apple to implement some backdoor-like scanning-and-or-hashing code into the devices before starting to enact laws. It is not like all these governments are waiting to see if Apple has the technical capabilities to add some scanning-and-or-hashing algorithms before enacting laws for Apple.


Thanks for reading.