Apple might share iPhone X face data with developers

Despite Apple claiming it securely stores your encrypted face info on the iPhone X, Reuters is reporting that the company permits developers to access “certain facial data” with user permission. This includes a visual representation of your face, and over 50 facial expressions.

Face ID was always going to be the iPhone X’s most talked about feature. With it, the days of fingerprint authentication could be numbered, replaced by face biometrics. But, there’s something about your mugshot being stored with Apple that’s (understandably) got people shook up. Senator Al Franken already pressed the firm on the security concerns the tech raises — prompting a response. Now, it’s the turn of privacy advocates. In the report, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology warn that the info could fall into the hands of marketers.

We know Apple’s Face ID tech works by using a mixture of camera sensors and neural networks to grab a mathematical model of your face. And, like Touch ID before it, Apple is granting developers access to its Face ID API, enabling them to use the unlock mechanism on all your fave apps — including secure banking and payment apps. But, the latest revelations suggest Apple is allowing devs to make off with more data than it is letting on. The same data reportedly cannot unlock the phone, because that functionality is limited to the overarching mathematical model. Reuters adds that Apple’s developer agreement forbids app makers from sharing the info with marketers. And, that those who break the rules risk getting kicked from the App Store.

But, privacy groups fear the company won’t be able to adequately police how devs use the info, which could lead to it finding its way to marketers. That, in turn, would result in more targeted ads, but these would use the tech to track your facial reactions (like a smile, or a raise of an eyebrow). Naturally, that kind of tracking data would be a goldmine for advertisers. But, it’s also important to note that Apple’s app review policy makes it extremely difficult for bad actors to get away with violations. Yet, with more than 2 million apps in the App Store, privacy experts warn that some may slip through the cracks. We reached out to Apple for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Source: Reuters

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WhatsApp lets you share any file you want

In its latest update, Whatsapp has upgraded a few of its capabilities. For starters, while its initial roll out of document attachments last year was limited to PDFs, users can now share any file type. Shared files are limited to 100MB according to WhatsApp’s website, but there are reports that iPhone users can send slightly larger files.

Additionally, you’ll be able to see all of your pictures and videos in the in-app camera by swiping up and if you’re sending lots of photos at once, they’ll now be grouped into a gallery that only displays five images with the last thumbnail displaying how many additional photos have been sent. WhatsApp will also stop compressing photos, allowing your original quality to remain intact. And to easily bold, italicize or strikethrough your text, you’ll just have to tap and hold the text to select it.

These changes are the latest tweaks to the app. Last year, WhatsApp launched video calling and earlier this year, two-step verification was rolled out to all of its users. Those were followed by Snapchat-style status updates, Siri integration and photo filters.

The new update is rolling out for Android and iOS now.

Source: WhatsApp

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Apple logs your iMessage contacts and could share them with police

Apple’s iMessage had a few security holes in March and April that potentially leaked photos and contacts, respectively. Though quickly patched, they are a reminder that the company faces a never-ending arms race to shore up its security to keep malicious hackers and government agencies out. But that doesn’t mean they will always be able to keep it private. A report from The Intercept states that iMessage conversation metadata gets logged in Apple’s servers, which the company could be compelled to turn over to law enforcement by court order. While the content of those messages remains encrypted and out of the police’s hands, these records list time, date, frequency of contact and limited location information.

When an iOS user types in a phone number to begin a text conversation, their device pings servers to determine whether the new contact uses iMessage. If not, texts are sent over SMS and appear in green bubbles, while Apple’s proprietary data messages appear in blue ones. Allegedly, they log all of these unseen network requests.

But those also include time and date stamps along with the user’s IP address, identifying your location to some degree, according to The Intercept. Like the phone logs of yore, investigators could legally request these records and Apple would be obliged to comply. While the company insisted that iMessage was end-to-end encrypted in 2013, securing user messages even if law enforcement got access, Apple said nothing about metadata.

Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it does comply with subpoenas and other legal requests for these exact logs, but maintained that message content is still kept private. Their commitment to user security isn’t really undermined by these illuminations phone companies have been giving this information to law enforcement for decades but it does illustrate what they can and cannot protect. While they resisted FBI requests for backdoor iPhone access earlier this year and then introduced a wholly redesigned file system with a built-in unified encryption method on every device, they can’t keep authorities from knowing when and where you text people.

Source: The Intercept

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