Čvn 15

Apple Plans To Introduce Differential Privacy Very Soon

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Apple

Apple is taking an unusual stance on privacy. The company has no plans to collaborate with law enforcement on decrypting their own devices, though. Instead, the technology giant will focus on differential privacy, to compete with Google and Facebook.

Also read: One Bitcoin is Worth 51 Million Hacked iMesh Accounts

Apple has been making media headlines regarding privacy in the past few months. Ever since the San Bernardino case, the company has been adamantly clear on its position. CEO Tim Cook stated how Apple will not weaken device encryption because law enforcement agencies feel they need to. After all, the company is primarily in the business of hardware, instead of advertisements.

Differential Privacy is Coming To Apple Devices

But there is more, as Apple wants to introduce differential privacy in the future. Rather than sending data to Apple servers and creating a personal profile of the user, on-device intelligence, and crowdsourced learning will be used. To be more precise, this technology will be part of iOS 10 and macOS, which will replace OS X.

As a result of this different approach, iOS 10 devices can personalize apps for its users. For example, it would be possible to identify objects in Photos, or get more relevant information through the News app. Having these options available without getting information sent to Apple first is a positive take on protecting user privacy.

“Starting with macOS Sierra, Apple is using technology called Differential Privacy to help discover the usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individual privacy. In macOS Sierra, this technology will help improve autocorrect suggestions and Lookup Hints in Notes.”

Differential privacy is an interesting concept, which can combine great features with high privacy protection. Moreover, it is important to note this technology is rather statistical analysis, rather than a single piece of technology. Obscure data will be locked behind multiple techniques, including hashing, subsampling, and noise injection.

It is positive to see technology giants taking a clear stance in the privacy world. Although it remains to be seen how Apple will pull off differential privacy, in the long run, the concept holds a lot of promise. Technological solutions like these need to be thoroughly tested before being deployed to the masses, though.

What are your thoughts on Apple venturing into the world of differential privacy? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Sophos

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Apple

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Apple Plans To Introduce Differential Privacy Very Soon

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Kvě 24

Tim Cook: “Coding Needs To Be A Part Of Education”

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Coding Education

The topic of coding has been kicked around several times, as there is no dedicated educational program in place which teaches codes how to code. Apple CEO Tim Cook feels there is a growing need for such a platform, as it is equally as important as learning a secondary language.

Also read: Blockchain-based Remittance App AirPocket Comes To Latin America

Coding At A Young Age Needs To Be Stimulated

Earlier today, Startup Fest was kicked off in Amsterdam, and Apple CEO Tim Cook was one of the prominent speakers for the day. It did not take long before he touched upon the subject of stimulating children to learn coding at a very early age, and how schools need to develop an educational course on programming.

Tim Cook explained his vision for education as follows:

“Software development should be a mandatory class. We need to invest in the educational system, and people who can teach young kids how to code. We can’t expect our children to learn coding overnight, as they will need the proper guidance and environment to do so. Children aged nine to ten are the perfect demographic for stimulating an interest in coding and programming.”

This is quite an interesting statement, considering the educational system has not scaled well with the Information Age we live in right now. The methods of passing on knowledge have not changed much over the past thirty years, and children are not being prepared for the future that awaits. Coders are in high demand already, and it is expected that demand will only continue to grow.

Tim Cook also mentioned how there are plenty of opportunities for iOS developers in the enterprise sector. Most employees of big companies use their smartphone for emails and browsing the Internet, because there is a lack of enterprise apps.. The number of iOS apps for the enterprise sector is still relatively small, and Apple sees a lot of opportunities in this segment.

It is impossible to deny the educational system will need to change sooner or later. Coding has become a part of our society, and we need to prepare future generations for the challenges that await. Not everyone will take a liking to coding, and there is nothing wrong with that. But education needs to evolve over time, and it has failed miserably in doing so over the past few decades.

What are your thoughts on sparking an interest in coding at a young age? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Tweakers (Dutch)

Images courtesy of Tim Cook, Shutterstock

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Tim Cook: “Coding Needs To Be A Part Of Education”

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Úno 17

Apple Pay Set to Launch in China on February 18




Source: bitcoin

Apple Pay

Apple is about to launch it’s move into China, with its Apple Pay mobile payments platform set to go live on Thursday, February 18. Apple’s new digital payments application will be available to customers of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. 

Also read: Apple Responds to Backdoor Order in Effort to Save PR 

Apple Pay Enters a Unique Market

This announcement comes after previous news that Apple planned to expand Apple Pay into China sometime during 2016 without giving a specific date. With this expansion set to be executed on February 18, China will become Apple Pay’s fifth country included in its service area.

Apple has a unique opportunity in China, whose consumers have been used to using mobile payment options for goods and services for some time. This precedence may give Apple Pay a leg up in comparison to its reception in other countries, where retailers have met the new payments platform with skepticism. However, the existing Chinese mobile payment services may also create a challenge to Apple Pay, since it will have to figure out how to compete in an already-populated market.

Apple Pay’s expansion into China will bring stiff competition to Bitcoin, which receives most of its trading volume and mining power from China. As companies like Coinbase and Bitpay work to make bitcoin mobile payments easy for  the average customer, Apple Pay will offer them a method of mobile payments using a currency they are familiar with. Apple Pay allows users to connect their credit cards and checking accounts, so consumers can switch to mobile payments without much of a learning curve.

However, Bitcoin has advantages of its own, which have proven themselves in recent months. Chinese investors seem to look at Bitcoin as a place to preserve wealth in uncertain markets, with an explosion in Chinese trading volume sending the bitcoin price skyward at the onset of the most recent stock market crash. Bitcoin also offers a level of anonymity to a privacy-starved Chinese population, allowing them to conduct their online financial business away from the prying eyes of the government. Bitcoin’s strongest advantage, praised by the currency’s advocates, is its ability to connect the unbanked population to the global economy. This feature makes bitcoin a big contender in the payments market for developing countries, which have large populations of poverty-stricken citizens without access to traditional banking services.

China is shaping up to be a battleground for the future of FinTech, as Apple Pay and Bitcoin go head-to-head with well-established mobile payment services in China. The outcome of this competition may give evidence to the fate of Bitcoin in other markets, especially developing economies similar to China.

Do you think Apple Pay poses a threat to Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Source: Reuters

Images courtesy of Cult of Mac, Forbes

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Apple Pay Set to Launch in China on February 18




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Úno 17

Apple Responds to FBI Backdoor Order in Effort to Save PR

Source: bitcoin

Apple Responds to FBI Backdoor Order in Effort to Save PR

 February 17, 2016 — Apple is no stranger to handing over its users’ sensitive data to government – they went live on the NSA’s PRISM program back in late 2012, stated in their TOS and EULA documents that there should be expectation of privacy while using their services, and follow the common industry practice of handing over sensitive information they have on file with the issuance of a warrant. So the decision to reject a court ordered backdoor that would allow brute force decryption of their phones, accompanied by an open letter to Apple customers from CEO Tim Cook explaining their stance on the matter, has come as a surprise to many.

Also read: itBit to Expand Blockchain Operations Abroad

Apple’s Long History of Giving up User Data

Apple CEO Tim Cook

The order arrives in the aftermath of the San Bernadino Shootings. Many thought initially that the court was asking Apple to do the impossible: pull private keys out of thin air to give investigators access to the Shooters’ encrypted data, which would have demonstrated a laughable lack of understanding of the data encryption process on the FBI’s part. The open letter from Cook indicates that the government request is much more competent and insidious, though:

“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several key security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

Essentially, the court order mandates that Apple cooperates in assisting in the creation of a backdoor that would allow brute force decryption of any iPhone, which would be a disaster for Apple customers everywhere. It’s easy to see why Apple seems to have shifted its stance on privacy in this case: cooperation would, in addition to being a PR nightmare, but be setting a disturbing precedent that would allow law enforcement to circumvent 4th amendment rights even further, with corporate assistance. The FBI is citing the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify this court order, contending that the software backdoor is somehow a necessary act in analyzing their evidence.

Secure data, something that has been traditionally protected by 4th and 5th amendment rights, has been accessed previously through use of this law, including one case involving an iPhone 5s in 2014. Since that time, Apple has shifted its stance on personal information handoffs, and this is the first example where they’ve followed through on their new stated policies. While it is refreshing to see a multinational corporation defend it’s customers’ privacy, this protection of individual data may seem counter-intuitive to those who follow Apple’s data collection and analysis practices.

Remember: Apple is an information broker as much as they are a hardware and software company. They do sell their users’ data and metrics, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The problem here is that they lose their information collection capability if people stop using their phones because anyone can crack the built-in encryption. If people perceive your product as insecure and fundamentally flawed, they move away from your ecosystem, and if anyone has access to the information you’re trying to sell, it becomes much less valuable. The move to protect user data, in this case, makes as much sense for their data collection infrastructure as it does from a PR and best practices standpoint.

While it is nice to see Apple stand up to government pressures to invalidate user privacy, know that it is only because it serves Apple’s interests. They have a far from stellar track record when it comes to user data protection. For now, their goals dictate keeping strong encryption on their devices, but that has not and will not always be the case. Their policy on encryption will likely change with their corporate interest as it has several times in the past. Of course, this shifting stance on consumer rights is not unique to Apple, but in recent times, they’ve had the most extreme turnabout.

What do you think about this letter from Apple? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Apple

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Apple Responds to FBI Backdoor Order in Effort to Save PR

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