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Apple urged to abandon child safety features

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The tech giant is defending its new features, aimed at preventing the spread of child sexual abuse material, despite mounting pressure from privacy advocates.

Apple plans to scan iCloud photos for child sexual abuse images, and says its “method of detecting known CSAM (child sexual abuse material) is designed with user privacy in mind”.

The company has also announced a parental control option, which warns children and their parents when they are about to view or send sexually explicit photos in the Messages app.

But privacy groups claim the new features will “create new risks for children”.

Concerns have also been raised that the scanning software “could be used to censor speech and threaten the privacy and security of people around the world”.

A coalition of more than 90 rights groups has now written to Apple CEO Tim Cook, outlining their concerns, and urging the tech titan to abandon its plans to introduce the new features.

The signatories include civil rights, human rights and digital rights groups.


“Though these capabilities are intended to protect children and to reduce the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), we are concerned that they will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children.”

Letter sent to apple ceo tim cook

The coalition of rights groups has raised concerns that the scan and alert feature in Messages “could result in alerts that threaten the safety and wellbeing of some young people.

The groups say LGBTQ+ youths with unsympathetic parents are particularly at risk.

They also claim that once the “CSAM hash scanning for photos is built into Apple products, the company will face enormous pressure, and possibly legal requirements, from governments around the world to scan for all sorts of images that the governments find objectionable”.

Apple defends its child safety features

Apple has sought to allay concerns, pushing back against claims that the technology will be used for other purposes.

The trillion-dollar company insists it won’t give in to pressure from any government to use the technology for other surveillance purposes.

Apple says it “will refuse any such demands”

“Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM child sexual abuse material stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government’s request to expand it.”

“We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands. We will continue to refuse them in the future,” Apple said in a recent FAQ.

Business

TikTok’s parent company loses $7bn

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TikTok’s Parent company sees losses grow as it tries to outplay Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has experienced a loss of more than $7 billion dollars in operating costs, tripling last year’s records.

The company attributes the huge loss to its massive investment in global growth. It detailed the results in a financial report which was provided to internal stakeholders.

In the first quarter of 2022, the company recorded a profit in its operating costs, with the company’s revenue expanding by more than 80% to $61.7 billion in 2021.

But expenses that are focused on expanding its products worldwide continue to swell at a rapid rate.

While TikTok is one of ByteDance’s most successful and well-known products, the company owns a wide range of digital platforms including: Douyin, Toutiao, Vigo Video, Helo, Lark and BytePlus. In total, it attracts hundreds of millions of users in China alone and 1 billion TikTok users worldwide.

The internal report was emailed to all ByteDance’s 130,000 employees. In a note of assurance, company execs “remain confident in the strength of our business and organisation.”

The ability for ByteDance to continue to invest in the company’s growth is clearly a strong advantage the company has over its competitors in the market.

A new report found Australians spent more time on TikTok in the last 12 months than on Facebook, a leader for many years in the space.

With other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube scrambling to compete with TikTok, it seems ByteDance must have a long-term expansion strategy in mind.

The company is evidently trying to arrive at a place where such massive losses relating to operating will be a distant memory.

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Business

Australian government will temporarily change telco laws amid Optus data breach

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Australians impacted by the Optus data breach are set to be given greater protection as authorities scramble to protect the personal information that was leaked online

Today, the Australian federal government has announced it will temporarily change the country’s telecommunication laws, paving the way for Optus to share sensitive data.

The move will see the divers licenses, alongside Medicare and passport numbers of impacted customers provided to financial institutions.

Allowing enhanced monitoring for those who were compromised in the cyberattack.

Optus will be working hand-in-hand with banks to monitor fraudulent activity, hopefully avoiding any breaches.

The government says all of the personal information must be immediately destroyed once it is no longer deemed necessary.

When announcing the changes, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said financial institutions have been proactive throughout this process – but elements of the Optus response have previously been criticised.

The breach affected nearly 10 million customers and former customers, sending the country into a panic.

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers says this latest move is designed to help keep impacted residents safe from cyber crime.

This unprecedented move now sits with the Governor General who is required to give final approval.

Australians are told the regulations will remain in place for a period of 12 months.

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Business

Another twist in the Musk and Twitter deal

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The trial between Twitter and Elon Musk is still set to go ahead

The trial between Twitter and Elon Musk is set to go ahead, in a strange series of events. This comes despite Musk’s recent change of heart over the deal to buy the social media platform

Delaware Court judge Kathaleen McCormick says neither party has applied for a “stay” in the action. Now, proceedings are still due to begin on October 17.

This comes a day Musk performed a U-turn, deciding to go ahead with the multi-billion dollar deal to buy the social media giant.

Musk’s lawyer says his client has “reconsidered his position” and is now “committed to completing the transaction.”

The transaction values Twitter at $54.20 per share, bringing the total sale price to around 44 billion.

The trial was scheduled to run over five days with Twitter arguing the Tesla CEO should be required to complete the transaction.

Musk launched a counterclaim, alleging the company suffered a substantial reduction in its value, rendering the deal invalid.

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