Tag Archives: apple

Apple knew about the FaceTime eavesdropping bug already a week ago

Recently a post went viral on 9to5mac about a FaceTime breach which allowed you to listen and see the person you were calling without them knowing or accepting the call.  But this post is not about the bug itself, it’s about Apple’s response.

On 19th January Michele Thompson’s 14 year old son made this discovery and a day later his mom tried reporting the bug to Apple. She sent a video, emailed, faxed them, made posts about it on Facebook and Twitter, but to no avail. Apple decided to disable Group FaceTime calls after more than a week after the report made by Michele T, on Monday 28th of January. They announced to have it fixed later this week.

The bug is now branded as FacePalm and got pretty popular so beware what you say when someone calls you. On top of that, a lawsuit have been filed towards Apple by a Houston Texas-Based Lawyer who claims that the exploit enabled an unknown entity to eavesdrop on his private conversation with a client.

This puts Apple in a pretty bad light, since they are pretty good at boasting how secure their products are and how they care about their customers. During the CES 2019 Conference Apple put up a poster which said:

Whatever happens in you iPhone, stays in your iPhone.

If an exploit like that went through testing and got released it makes me wonder how many more infectious bugs can be out there to discover and used for a wrong cause.

sources:

https://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/apple-knew-about-facetime-eavesdrop-issue-since-last-week-faces-a-lawsuit-because-of-the-bug/articleshow/67773411.cms

https://www.nytim es.com/2019/01/29/technology/facetime-glitch-apple.html?ref=oembed

https://9to5 mac.com/2019/01/29/apple-facetime-eavesdropping-lawsuit/

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Facebook pays teens to install an app that spies on them

Once again Facebook finds itself in a position no company should end up in. It was reported that they have been secretly paying teenagers and adults to install a VPN  app that allows them to collect all the data on how they use their smartphones.

“Project Atlas”

It all began in 2016 with the so-called “Facebook Research” app where some of the users were being paid 20$ a month for permission to gather all kinds of data from their device. It enables Facebook to view web searches, location information, private messages on social media apps, and a lot of other activities. What is more, Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. To mask its involvement in everything, the program is said to be administered through beta testing services like Applause, BetaBound and uTest and is referred to as “Project Atlas.”

Violation of policies

The app was also available on iOS, however, since it can decrypt and analyzy users phone activity it was a violation of Apple policy. After the report on the app, Facebook stated that it would shut down the iOS version of its app. In this case, Apple was quicker and had already blocked the “Facebook Research”  on their system.

“We designed our Enterprise Developer Program solely for the internal distribution of apps within an organization. Facebook has been using their membership to distribute a data-collecting app to consumers, which is a clear breach of their agreement with Apple. Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to protect our users and their data.” – statement from Apple spokesperson

Not a bright future

Facebook has had a rough couple of years now, especially after it was revealed that the data of 87 million users had been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. It is also scandalous, that ads for this app that ran on Instagram and Snapchat specifically asked for participants to be 13 to 17 years old. Who knows what we will find out in the future, but if you have any thoughts what can also be wrong with Facebook feel free to share it in the comments.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.marketplace.org/2019/01/30/tech/facebook-has-been-paying-teens-data-what-does-mean-calls-regulate-company
  2. https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/29/facebook-project-atlas/
  3. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/1/30/18203803/facebook-research-vpn-minors-data-access-apple
  4. https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3070119/facebook-has-been-paying-teens-for-unfettered-access-to-their-data
  5. https://www.techzim.co.zw/2019/01/facebook-was-paying-teens-20-month-for-all-of-their-data/

 

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Facebook sells its users’ data!

The fact that web portals manage the data of their users without their awareness is known not from today, but the way in which Facebook does, it’s just beyond comprehension.

The New York Times is showing the truth.

In connection with recent reports from The New York Times, we read that Facebook sold access to various types of “sensitive data” about its users to such companies as: Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Netflix, Spotify. Netflix and Spotify had even access to private correspondence. In most cases, the data obtained by the companies were to help in the selection and positioning of advertisements for users of the said portals. It does not change the fact that through the sale of these data Facebook broke an agreement from 2011 with the American Federal Trade Commission, which clearly states that Facebook can share user data only if it is given accurate and explicit consent.

Companies answer the allegations!

All companies mentioned in the report of The New York Times issued a special statement. One of them is the statement of the Netflix press office regarding access to private correspondence of Facebook users. We read in it about:

“Over the years, we’ve tested various solutions to help Netflix understand the wider community, one of which was a feature introduced in 2014 that allowed site users to recommend their favourite series and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or a Netflix account. It has not been that popular as we assumed, which is why we decided to remove it in 2015. At no time did we have access to private messages of Facebook users, or we asked for the possibility of receiving them. “ – Netflix press office says.

The New York Times was really well prepared for this investigation.

It doesn’t change the fact, that The New York Times interviewed more than 60 people, including former employees of Facebook and its partners, former government officials and privacy advocates. Thanks to that we can be sure that Facebook did something illegal and now tries to bury the truth.

“The Times also reviewed more than 270 pages of Facebook’s internal documents and performed technical tests and analysis to monitor what information was being passed between Facebook and partner devices and websites.” – as The New York Times said.

What is my view about this situation?

In my opinion, companies that have access to sensitive data of their users should make every effort to ensure that this data does not leak. In this way, eg. Apple, which extremely highly appreciates the safety of data users of their products and whenever they commit some “mistakes at work”, they plead the guilty and try to repair the whole situation (eg. icloud leaks affair).

Facebook approaches similar situations in a different way, which tries to whitewash the truth and pass the buck on others. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is a perfect example of frauds and deceptions, thanks to which we learned how Facebook can influence election results in one of the most powerful countries in the world, such as the USA is. That sort of stuff is not conducive to peace but exacerbates the conflict on the Facebook and Users relations.

Counter-argument to this whole situation is the fact that the majority of Facebook users do not care about privacy policy. They accept all consents without prior reading. They do not follow the basic security rules on the Internet. They share their private lives via Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. For this reason, it can be assumed that such users agree to full surveillance, which is not said to be bad. If we have nothing to hide, why should we be disturbed by the fact that someone can earn from it. I believe that if there is already such a situation, it would be great if the company / person who earns money on their users, would inform them about everything and admit theirs guilt when they fails.

Sources:

https://cnn.it/2LJ9ZYd
https://cnn.it/2EUlpGY

Photos:

https://bit.ly/2SuobXh
https://bit.ly/2EZFLiM
https://bit.ly/2CH3Zfx

author: Michał Żelazo

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Apple banned in China

You can’t buy Apple iPhones in China anymore!

Well, actually… For now the court injuction is not in force yet, however, things may change in the future. Let’s start from the beginning.

Qualcomm dispute over patents

The open battle between Apple and Qualcomm over intellectual property covering wireless networks and devices has lasted for quite a while now, so you could think that things are going to get resolved soon. In fact, not so long ago both enterprises decided to break off negotiations and go to the court. For one of them it wasn’t the best idea. A Chinese court decided to preliminary ban import and sale of almost all models of iPhone’s which are available in China. What is interesting is the fact, that the case did not relate to the wireless networks what actually started this dispute, but the violation of two patents which the Qualcomm owns.

Apple is not going to give up

Apple has issued a statement, however, saying that “all iPhone models remain available for our customers in China.” Apparently, according to the filling, new models with iOS 12 have undergone changes which void Qualcomm’s complaint.

“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple in a statement for CNBC

What is more, iOS 12 can run on all the devices named in the decision, so the impact of it is still unclear. If the court rule were to come in force it would be a huge step back for Apple, since China generates 1/5 of the company’s revenue.

 

The future

Even though it might look like Apple is in big trouble, the fact is that they have a solid background.

“Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”

This means that Apple is going to appeal to higher instances, for what they 10 days from the day of the preliminary ban. However, the future doesn’t look so bright for Qualcomm either. Apple stopped paying licensing fees and no longer uses its chips in the iPhone’s. That’s contributed to a string of annual revenue declines for the company.

Recently Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that he has interest in settling the case, but he expects a lengthy legal battle.  Considering that the dispute is already two years old, we might not see the end of it in the upcoming months. As for now we can only sit back and watch how the things are going to get resolved.

 

Sources:

  1. Miller, C. (2017, February 01). Tim Cook says he’s open to settling Qualcomm lawsuit, but expects a lengthy legal battle. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://9to5mac.com/2017/01/31/tim-cook-discusses-qualcomm-suit/
  2. King, I., Decker, S., & Gurman, M. (2018, December 11). IPhone Ban in China May Push Apple, Qualcomm Toward Settlement. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-10/iphone-ban-in-china-may-push-apple-qualcomm-toward-settlement?srnd=technology-vp
  3. Górecki, D. (2018, December 11). Chiński sąd orzekł na korzyść Qualcomm i zakazał sprzedaży iPhone`ów. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://ithardware.pl/aktualnosci/chinski_sad_orzekl_na_korzysc_qualcomm_i_zakazal_sprzedazy_iphone_ow-8019.html?fbclid=IwAR3SH51IsKJoIq3l_kYpGyJ0V5sEXp2U9AdrrGvrm2lG2ygdKMFqdDLoKGo

 

 

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New flagship smartphones every year. Do we really need it? LG says no!

How much can companies improve a smartphone in one year? Does the industry really need it? The new flagship phones launched every year are standard in the smartphone industry. The only question is, what is the purpose, besides filling the producers’ pockets? The new iPhone from Apple, Galaxy from Samsung or the V series from LG appears every year. These are flagship phones, that is, the fastest, best and the most expensive phones of a given manufacturer. LG slowly breaks out of this trend and announced that it will no longer launch new phones every year, and only when it is needed or will have something interesting to present. LG’s Vice Chairman, Jo Seong-jin said:

“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do. We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”

Designing a new smartphone model is certainly not an easy process. It is necessary to design a new graphics processor, a new CPU as well as most of the components that make up the smartphone. And then you have to start production of all these components and assemble them. And all this in one year! This means more or less that when a new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy has a premiere, they already know what the next model will feature, and maybe the production process has already begun. The question should be asked whether we need it, and whether it is necessary to spend a thousand dollars a year on the phone, which is several percent faster than the predecessor. It is worth mentioning that if there were no software updates that slow down older phones, we would not have noticed a difference in performance.

The last affair with Apple and slowing down of older iPhones has proven that the companies force us to buy a new model in a very cunning way. Apple under the pretext of saving battery life in older models began to slow them down through software updates. I wonder how many people were fooled and actually believed that their smartphone has become too slow after just one year. On a global scale, probably millions.

 

Sources:

  • https://www.androidcentral.com/lg-will-stop-releasing-new-phones-every-year
  • https://android.com.pl/news/107561-lg-nowe-smartfony-premiera-nie-beda-wydawane-regularnie
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Animoji – new way of killing time from Apple

If you are still not convinced whether to buy the new iPhone X or not for only $999, this new feature might convince you to purchase it.

iOS 11 includes a new animated emoji feature known as “Animoji”. This responds to facial expressions via the iPhone X camera, to animate various 3D animated emojis that can be sent as a video file with sound.

Maybe this feature is not what makes you pay $999 from your pocket, but in reality, emotions are a good selling instrument, and in this case, animated emoticons – is a 100% hit. The people who get the iPhone X and try this new function are full of joy. Similar reactions once caused, and still cause, the Snapchat application filters, but Apple technology went on much further.

What we imagine for ourselves as entertainment or silliness, is a complex technology based on rather complicated processes. Each animoji has a range of expressions which respond to the face being recorded. The Animoji mouth also animates to match the words being spoken, or sung in the case of “Animoji Karaoke” – the new trend on the Internet.

With the help of Animoji people record clips and sing famous songs, and it looks like it is only the beginning.

Look at this version of the STAR WARS songs 🙂

There are even step-by-step instructions available on the Internet on how to record your own Animoji Karaoke song. Here is one of them https://www.imore.com/make-animoji-karaoke.

I personally do not share the affection about animoji (maybe because I don’t have the iPhone X), but Apple fancies animoji as the evolution of emoji. Moreover, they might also be the next stage in the development of voicemail. They certainly make sound messages vastly more interesting and engaging.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/6/16611922/animoji-apple-iphonex-hate-love

https://emojipedia.org/animoji/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/11/06/animoji-karaoke-weird-wonderful-new-iphone-x-trend/

https://www.imore.com/make-animoji-karaoke

https://wylsa.com/karaoke-animoji/

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APPLE TV : Apple May Start Making Its Own TV Shows

appletv

 

 

Creation of unique content is not a new thing for the company Apple, which has already managed to create from scratch the radio Beats 1 and from time to time shot some videos for the musicians to broadcast exclusively in their Apple Music. However, according to recent reports, it is just the beginning and Apple TV is o its way to come out.

According to the report Apple has been speaking with TV studios and producers to create new TV shows that will be offered exclusively to iTunes users. It’s also said that these shows might be included in some kind of a TV offering that Apple is likely to unveil later this year in September.

As the ”The Street” reports, currently  Apple is the initial stage of negotiations with the representatives of Hollywood production  about possible cooperation to create unique content. Presumably it comes to their own series and TV shows that will form the basis of its own subscription television service operating on the principle of Apple Music.

I believe that it can be a real good move and there are some successful examples of such initiatives which we all know – Amazon and Netflix, which for a long time were simple distributors of content, began to produce the shows themselves, that brought them great success. It could be easily possible that after a while we watch series issued in the  Apple studio.

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Apple acquired motion capture technology used in Star Wars

Apple acquired a startup Faceshift, who developed a widely used motion capture technology. Rumors about buying the company from Cupertino Faceshift were before, but now Apple has officially confirmed the purchase, according to TechCrunch.

The publication writes that Apple has not confirmed the deal direct text, but the company voiced its standard response to the case of the purchase: “From time to time Apple buys smaller technology companies. And we generally do not discuss our goals and plans”.

Company Faceshift, founded in 2012, is located in Zurich. It motion capture technology is actively used in scientific research, computer games and film industry in particular, for the filming of the latest Star Wars.

motion-capture

Faceshift is the author of the method of animation characters and objects without the use of markers. This technology requires no special costume or sensors, that is the actor was for the camera in any clothes. Markerless motion capture is especially convenient when shooting the fights, falls, jumps and other complex movements, during which markers may be damaged.

Faceshift has consumer software solutions, including Faceshift Freelance and Faceshift Studio. Sales last stop after the company was bought by Apple. With this program you can create characters and export them to the software for 3D-animation.

It is unknown what the purpose of the acquisition of Apple. In addition, company from Cupertino have patents on the technology of motion capture, face recognition and augmented reality, which Apple acquired earlier along with three other European companies working in this field – PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio. The media speculated that the company uses the acquired technologies in the new generation Apple TV.

More info on a company : Here

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Don’t mock it – that’s how your next laptop is going to look like

Apple Corporation released its new Macbook early this year and it became a remarkable event. Portable laptops with high resolution displays have been scattered all over the market and apple addicts reasonably have been begging for retina display for airs ever since. But company went further and issued a pretty controversial device. I believe even the laziest dropped some cramps toward this guy. Here I want to express my opinion on the main “controversial” features of new Macbook 2015.

  1. Weak performance. On the main issues turned out to be performance. Mobile processor Intel Core M  is considered slower then many of mobile processors and raised many questions. Graphic chip of old generations should bring poor contribution as well.  Let’s disregards absolute number and turn to experience. Eventually that matters. From my own using I may say I haven’t had any visible problems working with this laptop. By working I mean WORKING 🙂 a bit photoshop, Adobe premiere (yet 4k video is unbearable for this guy. However with lack of options, Macbook 12 can try little by little), browsing, playing games like Hearthstone, multitasking (like playing, then browsing, then playing again). I could heat it up to 60 degrees Celsius – so believe, I am not merciful user:)  So in the end of the day I can admit – this laptop fits perfectly for my daily tasks. Don’t rely on its power for hard editing or playing  – be realistic. But for 95% normal (not geek gamers) – Macbook 12 delivers enough performance.maxresdefault
  2. USB Type C. Ok, I agree…I was stunned quite a while. However it requires double considering. How often do we use our USB nowadays in comparison with what had been lately, say, 5 years ago? I believe more seldom, right? And this is the point – we are moving away from wires and USBs. Pen drives? – cloud storage. Additional periphery (big monitors, projectors, mouses, keyboards etc) – look for macbook pro. Charge a phone – come on…. Keep in mind that Type C is going to be evolved and included in other devices. And after all, someone has to be a trailblazer, so let it be Apple and this gorgeous laptop.apple-watch-event-2015-0176
  3. Price. The cheapest model costs 1299$ what caused waves of embarrassment and blaming Apple’s policy. But if we go back to 2008 and check its price tag – the price for macbook 2015 would not have seemed to high. I believe we must give a company a time to settle things down. Next generations will have more optimised and balanced price I am assured.

In the end let’s make thing clear: I have no intention to sell You the new Macbook. What I want to say is that You have to touch it, use it for a while and then make up your own objective opinion. But I am convinced, whether You like it or despise it, don’t tease it to harsh because your future laptops will look like New Macbook.

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Apple pickpocket

apple more dollarsEvery year Apple “generously” give us a new version of its phone. Lately, even doubling impressions, since there are two iPhones and even more colours. Some say that changes are good from the point of view of the user. But I have the impression that Apple behaves like a wolf in sheep’s skin. In the old days iPhone was setting the standards – not always had the best components but innovative features combined with (no doubts) the best design in the market and unmatched clarity iOS formed product practically unbeatable. Until now. In my opinion Apple shot itself into its foot. After the death of visionary Steve Jobs from the main innovator in the mobile market dropped to a miserable copyist of Asian copmetitors solutions which has not worked well. The famous “bend gate“, smaller batteries and skyrocketing prices in Poland discourages more customers. Of course queue for new iDevices is not declining but it remain some disgust. But the thing I was most upset was that suddenly “normal” iPhone (without Plus) has become secondary product. It is no longer the best product on the market in favor of greater Plus model. Why? Of course it’s about money. If you want to buy the iPhone which „lasts” whole day on a single battery charge you have to purchase Plus with a larger battery (obviously it’s more expensive). The same is about the camera – only in iP6Plus there is optical photo stabilization (more expensive). Not to mention the added functionality of the system in Plus (some features similar to the iPad’s software). Of course company explains lack of those by size of the casing or screen in iP6 but really „basic version” of this phone could easily handle all these functionalities. In addition there’s new swindle called “ChipGate” – the latest S versions processors comes from two companies – Samsung and TSMC. On paper the specification of this first looks little bit better (first of all why there are any differences?) but in practice during tests it turned out that it consumes much more energy for the same activities and was getting hotter. Moreover the calculations showed that there are more better processors (in percent of all) installed in… Plus versions (which are of course more expensive!). The cherry on top is that in practice customers in store can’t choose which processor will have because there’s no possibility to turn it on before buying (only in refurbished versions). Last but not least is that Apple continues to treat Poland as a third world country. In theory in Poland Apple’s market share ranks at around 2,14% but it still does not explain why Siri – which is one of the basic functionalities since the iPhone 4S and one of the main tools in using iWatch – is still not Polonized. Not only that iDevices premieres in Poland are delayed, we need to pay more for them comparing to other countries and in addition we can’t use all the features of the iOS. This way Apple simply pulls out lots of money from client’s pockets by not ensuring access to all its solutions and forcing customers wanting to have the best possible equipment to purchase more expensive variants. The icing on the cake is basic capacity of 16GB. To what extent is this enough – a few hundred pictures, songs and few apps? Of course you can buy a bigger capacity versions that are… more expensive. The conclusion is one – the company that once was famous for its innovation and unmatched facilities for not small amount of money has become a company that has increased the capacity of the screens in their devices (unthinkable at the Jobs times) and the efficiency of extracting even more money from their customers pockets.

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