The End-to-End-Expansion Edition Thursday, December 8, 2022

Apple Debuts Advanced Data Protection To Bring End-to-end Encryption To Messages In iCloud, Photos, Device Backups, Much More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has announced a dramatic expansion of end-to-end encryption for its various cloud services. Called Advanced Data Protection, this initiative expands end-to-end encryption to a number of additional iCloud services, including iCloud device backups, Messages backups, Photos, and much more.

iCloud already offered end-to-end encryption for 14 different data categories, including things like iCloud Keychain and Health data. Today’s expansion, however, brings the number of data categories protected by end-to-end encryption to 23.

Apple Claims A New iMessage Can Alert You If State-sponsored Spies Are Eavesdropping, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple’s new iOS and iCloud security initiative includes a new way for iMessage users to verify that they’re talking to the person they think they’re talking to. The company claims the new iMessage Contact Key Verification will let people who “face extraordinary digital threats,” such as journalists, activists, or politicians, make sure that their conversations aren’t being hijacked or snooped on.

Apple Announces Physical Security Key Support For Apple ID Two-factor, New iMessage Verification Technology, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that starting in 2023, users will be able to enhance their Apple ID and iCloud account protection using hardware Security Keys. This means you will have a physical hardware device that you can setup to serve as the second layer of two-factor authentication for your account.

Apple Kills Its Plan To Scan Your Photos For CSAM. Here’s What’s Next, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Instead, Apple told WIRED this week, it is focusing its anti-CSAM efforts and investments on its “Communication Safety” features that the company also initially announced in August 2021 and launched last December. Parents and caregivers can opt into the protections through family iCloud accounts. They work in Siri, Apple's Spotlight search, and Safari Search to warn if someone is looking at or searching for child sexual abuse materials and provide resources on the spot to report the content and seek help. Additionally, the core of the protection is Communication Safety for Messages, which caregivers can set up to provide a warning and resources to children if they receive or attempt to send photos that contain nudity. The goal is to stop child exploitation before it happens or becomes entrenched and reduce the creation of new CSAM.

“After extensive consultation with experts to gather feedback on child protection initiatives we proposed last year, we are deepening our investment in the Communication Safety feature that we first made available in December 2021,” the company told WIRED in a statement. “We have further decided to not move forward with our previously proposed CSAM detection tool for iCloud Photos. Children can be protected without companies combing through personal data, and we will continue working with governments, child advocates, and other companies to help protect young people, preserve their right to privacy, and make the internet a safer place for children and for us all.”

Apple: Most iCloud Data Can Now Be End-to-end Encrypted, by rank Bajak, AP

In a statement, [the FBI] said it remains a strong advocate of encryption schemes that provide “lawful access by design” so tech companies “served with a legal order” can decrypt data and give it to law enforcement. The agency said it “continues to be deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose,” insisting they hinder the FBI’s ability to protect Americans from crimes ranging from cyberattacks to violence against children, and terrorism.

Cryptographers and other cybersecurity experts have long argued, however, that attempts by law enforcement to weaken encryption with backdoors are ill-advised because they would inherently make the internet less reliable and hurt vulnerable populations including ethnic minorities.


MarsEdit 5 Lands On The Mac With Quick And Easy Micropost Blogging And Markdown Highlighting, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

MarsEdit 5 introduces a Micropost panel that can be activated with a system-wide keyboard shortcut so posting a thought to your blog can be as easy as churning out a joke on your timeline. While the rest of MarsEdit is a full canvas for blogging, the Micropost panel is tuned for speed with a text field and an optional title field. Future updates to the Micropost panel will bring photo and video attachments.

Dropbox And iCloud Rival Proton Drive Gets iOS App; Uses End-to-end Encryption, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Proton Drive offers a cloud storage service with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). This means that files are encrypted on your device before they are uploaded, so that not even Proton can decrypt them.

"I Made My Dream Synth": Hainbach's New App, Fluss, Is An Experimental Granular Playground, by Matt Mullen, MusicRadar

The app, which runs standalone on iOS or as an AUv3 plugin, enables the user to manipulate tiny grains of audio in a variety of complex ways, using a "kinetic" control interface that's geared towards live performance and realtime sonic manipulation.

Disney Dreamlight Valley Comes To Apple Silicon Mac, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Disney has brought an early access version of the "Dreamlight Valley" adventure game to the Mac App Store, incorporating many characters spanning Disney and Pixar movies.


A Year Of New Avenues, by Robin Sloan

As the plat­forms of the last decade crumble, we might put “founder” culture back on the shelf. Startup finance works fine if you dream of build­ing a business of a very particular kind; and, like, thank you for Shopify! Seriously! But for a decade, this very par­tic­u­lar kind of busi­ness had a lock not only on internet commerce, but inter­net cul­ture, too, with only ill effect.

I want to insist on an ama­teur internet; a garage internet; a pub­lic library internet; a kitchen ta­ble inter­net. Now, at last, in 2023, I want to tell the tech CEOs and ven­ture capitalists: pipe down. Buzz off. Go fave each other’s tweets.


Apple’s Mixed Reality Ambitions May Include Both xrOS And realityOS For Future Products, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

However, it seems that the company has two different AR/VR platforms, one based on iOS, and the other based on macOS. It’s unclear at this point whether the platforms have different purposes, or whether Apple has been experimenting with both. But what we’ve heard is that “realityOS” is what the company’s engineers have been calling the iOS-based platform, and “xrOS” would be the macOS-based platform.

Bottom of the Page

Quite a number of online columnists predicted back then when Apple first surfaced on-device CSAM detection that more end-to-end encryption was coming soon. They were right.

But, as far as I can tell, not many pundits predicted such a major software update coming during this winter. Good for Apple engineers.

It sure feels like a Christmasy Macworld Expo.


Thanks for reading.