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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.

Tech

Historic SpaceX “amateur” flight successfully returns to earth

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The Four amateur astronauts who orbited in a Space-X capsule for three days have touched down back on Earth

The crew onboard are the first private, all-civilian team ever to go to space.

The Inspiration4 crew left on a SpaceX capsule known as Crew Dragon, from Florida on Wednesday, and landed off the state’s coast after 7 PM local time on Saturday.

The reentry process back to earth involved the Crew Dragon spacecraft diving back into the Earth’s thick atmosphere. That process heats the exterior of the spacecraft up to 3,5000 degrees fahrenheit.

What makes the mission different:

Though the team onboard are not the first tourists to travel to orbit, their mission, called Inspiration4, what makes the mission so notable is that it did not involve a stay at the International Space Station under the tutelage of professional astronauts, as previous missions involving space tourists have.

Instead, the four spaceflight novices have spent the past two days free-flying aboard their 13-foot-wide capsule on their own at about a 563 kilometre altitude — 160 kilometres higher than where the space station is, and higher than any human has flown to in decades.

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Climate

Air New Zealand examining the future of greener, cleaner flying

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New Zealand’s national carrier is looking to the future of eco-friendly flying

Air New Zealand says it is right now examining how it can add low-carbon technologies like electric, hybrid or hydrogen powered planes to dramatically reduce emissions from shorter and regional flights as soon as 2030.

The New Zealand-based airline confirmed that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to research the impact that hydrogen planes would have on the Air New Zealand network, as well as operations and infrastructure.

Airbus has stated that it is hoping to develop a hydrogen plane by 2035

That goal from the plane maker has industry officials and analysts ambitious for the future.

The agreement between the European based aircraft manufacturer and Air New Zealand brings both companies a step closer to developing a cleaner travel future.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran stated that it’ll allow the airline to see “low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade,”

Airbus could be the eco-friendly travel game changer

The company has already struck similar hydrogen study deals with easyJet and SAS airlines in Europe as carriers around the world look to meet ambitious emissions targets in line with government commitments.

Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions.

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Tech

An artistic triumph: Canva’s value soars three-fold

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From Instagram posts to water bottles, the design network that can turn anyone into an artist is now worth fortunes.

Canva, the online design platform now worth billions

The value of design platform Canva has increased almost three-fold, with the once $15 billion company now worth $40 billion USD.

It comes after a funding round led by T.Rowe Price helped raise 200 million dollars for the company.

AirTree adventures, Blackbird and Dragoneer Investments were among the new and pre-existing investment companies that contributed to the deal.

It’s a win for the Australian tech scene, painting Canva as one of the most valuable software companies online.

The graphic design platform enables anyone to be a star designer, no matter the level of experience.

From videos to t-shirts, Canva offers a range of templates across their easy-to-use platform, providing a convenient and easy experience for the user.

A step into the future of design

Co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins says the goal of her platform is to replace PDF documents.

“Rather than people sending PDFs backwards and forwards between the designer and the client, designers can just create a template for organisation use,” Perkins says.

“It’s less important for us to absolutely excel at things like vector design because there are amazing programs on the market that may be there.”

“We really want to focus on that collaboration piece.”

How will the funding help?

The extra cash will be splashed on hiring two thousand workers, doubling their existing team where 42 percent of their workforce are women.

The extra funding also means the company is able to fulfill their dreams of further growing their business.

Web design, video editing and offline mode are all other features the platform is hoping to offer their growing user base, which is something the extra money can help them launch.

Perkins says it’s the funding from the investors that helps the platform remain to an extent free.

“We intentionally make our free product extremely generous for a number of reasons,”

“It means that people are able to love the product, share it with their friends and family, and promote it on social media, and then that virality really rapidly fuels our growth.”

Today, Canva has over 60 million users across 190 countries.

A number of big-name companies also use the platform, paying for their premium enterprise service.

Written by Rebecca Borg

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