Apple’s next-gen iPhone/iPad iOS adds feature to block criminal and political snoops – and coppers!


appletoolbox.com

❝ Apple in a statement to AppleInsider on Wednesday said iOS 12’s incarnation of “USB Restricted Mode” will thwart not just criminals, but searches by spies and police.

❝ In regards to law enforcement, the feature was created to protect iPhone owners in countries where the police seize phones at will. The move is aimed at regions with fewer legal protections than the U.S…

❝ Apple decided to make improvements to iOS security after learning of iPhone cracking techniques being used by both criminals and law enforcement agencies…With USB Restricted Mode, those attempting to gain unwarranted access to an iPhone will have an hour or less to reach a cracking device before being locked out.

Bravo! Apple still leads the pack when it comes to concern for individual privacy, offering protection ignored by many in the tech industry. And a helluva lot of politicians, pimps and police.

APPLE, INFLUENCE, AND IVE

❝ Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, Inc., is sitting across from me at a seamless white oak table. We’ve met a few times before, and I know he cares about watches. He must, right? But I’ve never actually asked him. So I do. And thank God, he does – he recounts a tale of buying an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the early ’90s. I exhale, because the hypothesis of this interview, at least in my mind (likely not in Apple’s), is that the watch industry and its all-too-vocal supporters have got it all wrong. Jony, the creator of what is, by at least one definition, the number one watch on Earth, is a friend, not a foe. But, like any great question of power and influence, it’s not so simple.

Read the article through from the beginning. I’ve always found Jony Ive fascinating. I’ve been fortunate enough to know, casually or well and deeply, a fair number of creative talents in my journey through this life of mine. So, no surprises. But, the eloquence of curiosity, perception coupled with high standards, makes this an interesting read. One worth reflecting upon. And reading, again.

Thanks, Om Malik – no surprise finding a great read via Om’s blog

The Unrelenting American Disease

❝ The U.S. is big, and getting bigger. Since the 1980s, American adults’ obesity is at epidemic proportions, and there does not seem to be an end in sight…

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey…which takes various measures of the health and nutrition of children and adults in the U.S…using interviews and physical exams.

❝ The CDC results were mixed: in the young, the prevalence of obesity was 16.8 percent in 2007; it was 18.5 percent 10 years later.

There were no significant differences when looking at age or gender, but that’s still nearly 2 out of every 10 kids weighing in as obese. Our youth aren’t in the clear just yet.

For adults, it was a more stark story: obesity increased from 33.7 percent to 39.6 percent over 10 years — it stood out most in women, and in adults over 40. That’s a shocking 2 out of 5 adults.

If you can find the right switch to turn on in your personality, I believe you can turn this around. Yes, you need all the tools: better nutrition, exercise – many levels and qualities of exercise – support from folks most important to your personal life [my wife makes more difference than anything]. But, if I can make changes at my advanced age, anyone can. I took off 60 lbs in the last 16 months. I now weigh what I did in 1955.

Yes, my iPhone, iPad, Apple’s Health Kit – along with linked software and a Bluetooth scale all helped. I’ve always been a geek. 🙂

Apple counters FBI whining – called Feds immediately about unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

❝ Apple…reached out to the FBI to offer assistance in getting into the gunman’s iPhone and expedite its response to any legal process. The attack, which left 26 dead and many more injured, was committed by now-deceased Devin P. Kelley, who is confirmed to have been carrying an iPhone that may have crucial information about his activities in the lead up to the shooting.

❝ The FBI originally cast blame on Apple yesterday without mentioning the company by name, with FBI special agent Christopher Combs blaming industry standard encryption from preventing law enforcement from accessing the contents of devices owned by mass shooters…

However, a Reuters report…revealed that the FBI did not ask Apple for assistance during a critical 48-hour window, in which Kelley’s fingerprint could have still unlocked an iPhone equipped with Touch ID. (The model of Kelley’s iPhone remains unknown, as does whether he enabled Touch ID.) An Apple spokesperson…confirms it did contact the FBI with an offer of assistance upon learning of Kelley’s locked iPhone on Tuesday…

❝ In other words, the FBI appears to be using this situation as another opportunity to paint the iPhone as antagonist to law enforcement procedures, in an apparent effort to drum up support for weakening tech industry encryption

Please, please, don’t delude yourselves into accepting lies from the Feds about clean hands and principled investigations. I was one of a thousand or so Americans who won a class action suit against these creeps for illegal wiretaps, unconstitutional snooping.

They eavesdropped on everyone from civil rights activists to conservative creeps like Joe Lieberman without the least concern for law or jurisprudence. Do people think their lack of principles has been upgraded because they were caught at corrupt practices?

Ad industry whines Apple Safari update is against tracking

❝ Six ad industry organizations have crafted an open letter complaining about changes coming to Apple’s Safari browser, claiming that a new feature — “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” — will hurt both them — and the public.

Har!

❝ The technology’s restrictions on cookies blah, blah, blah!…Some of the groups behind the statement include the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Advertising Federation, and the Data and Marketing Association…

❝ Intelligent Tracking Prevention will be present in both iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, launching Sept. 19 and 25, respectively. Apple has argued for the technology as an essential privacy measure, since people may not want their data captured for purposes they don’t consent to.

NSS. Mail me a penny postcard when someone discovers an honest and legitimate concern for public interests somewhere hidden in the bowels of ad agencies.

NYPD handcuffed by investment in Microsoft’s Windows Phone

The New York Police Department must replace some 36,000 smartphones running Microsoft’s defunct Windows Phone platform…plans to provide its officers with replacement iPhones by the end of the year.

The NYPD’s ill-advised investment in Windows Phone…lasted just two years. The switch to Apple’s iPhone was prompted by the announcement from Microsoft in July that it has terminated support for Windows Phone 8.1.

The 36,000 phones were purchased as part of a $160 million program intended to help modernize New York City’s police force with new technology. Officers were equipped with Nokia Lumia 830 and Lumia 640XL smartphones.

Smartphones have become a crucial tool in law enforcement, with the NYPD using them on the street to receive alerts, search databases, file reports, and even get real-time updates on 911 calls.

Wonder who got what in the NYPD or NYC purchasing department to make the original decision. There were plenty of naysayers for sound technical and economic reasons. No one listened.

U.S. Stores: Too Big, Boring and Expensive

❝ It’s easy to blame all of the industry’s woes on Amazon, the online giant. There’s little doubt that the fifth-largest U.S. company by market cap has been disrupting traditional retailers…But online is far from the only source of retail’s problems: The large chains, the malls they usually find themselves in, and even flagship urban stores have failed to adapt to rapidly changing consumer tastes. This lag has been readily apparent for more than a decade.

❝ Note that this is not the product of hindsight; during the financial crisis, it was clear to me that “retail shopping will emerge from the recession with a much smaller footprint than before.” In 2010, I reiterated those views, observing that “the United States still has too large of a retail footprint — 40 square feet of retail space for each person; that is the most per person in the world … that needs to come down appreciably.”

❝ My present views are even less optimistic. We are probably closer to the beginning of that transition than the end. This is a generational realignment in the way consumers spend their discretionary dollars, and the ramifications and economic dislocations are going to last for decades.

❝ The build cycle. One aspect of the “overstored” issue is the mismatch between retail trends and the construction cycle. Trends change much faster than permits can be issued, buildings constructed and subsequently rented. That lag can be consequential.

Look at the growth in big malls since the 1990s. Forbes notes that “since 1995, the number of shopping centers in the U.S. has grown by more than 23 percent and the total gross leasable area by almost 30 percent, while the population has grown by less than 14 percent.” All of the retail construction reflected a very ’90s shopping perspective, one that’s considerably different today. It is more than just the rise of the internet: Sport shopping, retail therapy, and conspicuous consumption offer less prestige today than they once did.

❝ Bor-ing!…The wild success of the nearly 500 Apple stores provides lessons for other retailers. At $5,546 in sales per square foot, Apple sells more goods at retail than any other store in the world. The same exact products can be purchased at Best Buy, at Amazon, or even Apple’s own website. Yet the company has hit upon a formula that sends more than 1 million visitors per day worldwide into their retail locations with money to spend. (Surveys have shown that putting an Apple store in a mall increases sales 10 percent for all the other retailers.)…

❝ One last issue: price. Thanks to “showrooming” — checking out stuff in stores only to buy online after finding out how much less it costs — consumers have learned how stiff mark-ups can be in retail. When customers believe they’re overpaying, it does not lend itself to repeat business…

❝ Those warnings about excess retail space are almost a decade old. If anything, the existential threat to the consumer retail industries are even more acute today.

Most of Barry Ritholtz’s writing gets onto this site – when I feel it fits – pretty quickly. Been saving this one for more than a couple of weeks. Reports the past few weeks continue to bear out everything in this piece he wrote for Bloomberg in March. The great Howard Davidowitz matches Barry’s analysis with even more colorful language and greater forecasts of doom for shopping center and mall anchor stores.

Keep your eyes open for bargains at “Going Out Of Business” sales!

Apple, Facebook, Twitter and more say they won’t help Trump build a registry of Muslim-Americans

Twitter was the first big tech company to say it would refuse to hand over data to help the United States government build a registry President-elect Donald Trump has described that would be used specifically to track Muslim-Americans…

As of Friday, companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, IBM, Uber and Microsoft have all chimed in to likewise refuse to hand over data to help build a database that would profile Muslim-Americans…

❝ Trump’s potential plan to create a registry of Muslim-Americans was a topic that surfaced repeatedly on the campaign trail. And, unlike many of Trump’s campaign promises, this one may actually be on the table. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s transition team, said that after the election, Trump’s policy advisers began discussing a proposal to build the registry…

❝ Trump has promised to be heavy on surveillance, which has long required the cooperation of technology companies that collect user data to provide services and sell ads. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google get so many requests for user data from the government and law enforcement that they voluntarily publish regular transparency reports to detail, in broad figures, how these requests are made and fulfilled…

❝ Twitter, the one major tech company noticeably absent from Trump’s tech summit, has long had an anti-surveillance rule. Earlier this year, Twitter shut off access to at least two different companies that were providing surveillance services to U.S. law enforcement efforts.

Nice to see a number of money-making geeks still care about constitutional freedoms. Even even a few that our elected officials in Congress and the White House haven’t gotten round to explicitly codifying. Like privacy.

Apple, tech corporations, support Microsoft fight against gag order on federal snooping

❝ Microsoft has received the backing of Apple and other major technology, media and pharmaceutical companies in its legal fight to dislodge laws preventing it from informing customers of government requests for user data.

Apple was among a host of companies and corporate lobbies to file amici curiae, or friend of the court, briefs siding with Microsoft in its case to end gag orders targeting the release of government requests for data…

❝ In April, Microsoft lodged a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department, saying a government statute that allows the government to search or seize customer data without their knowledge is unconstitutional. The DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July…

These secrecy orders, Microsoft argues, violate the Fourth Amendment, which permits citizens and businesses the right to know of government searches or seizures of property. Microsoft is also having its First Amendment rights trampled on by not being afforded the opportunity to inform customers about the investigations…

❝ To increase transparency, Apple issues a biannual Report on Government Information Requests, with the latest release showing U.S. government data demands impacting nearly 5,200 accounts during the six-month period ending in April.

Uncle Sugar can’t continue to have it both ways. Our government blathers constantly about needing access to otherwise private information from individuals, organizations and businesses and, then, claim they need to have the process shrouded in secrecy for a number of crap reasons. Which usually ends up being “we need it – and that’s that!”