Apple looks to ease CSAM photo scanning concerns with new FAQ

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Apple CSAM photo scanning
Clearing up the confusion.
Photo: Apple

Apple defends its plan to scan user photos for child sexual abuse imagery in a newly published FAQ that aims to quell growing concerns from privacy advocates.

The document provides “more clarity and transparency,” Apple said, after noting that “many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support” for the move.

The FAQ explains the differences between child sexual abuse imagery scanning in iCloud and the new child-protection features coming to Apple’s Messages app. It also reassures users that Apple will not entertain government requests to expand the features.

Apple plans to scan iPhones and iCloud for child abuse imagery [Updated]

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Apple reportedly will scan images in iPhones and iCloud for hints of child abuse.
Apple reportedly will scan images in iPhones and iCloud for hints of child abuse.
Photo: Kevin Dooley/Flickr CC

Apple plans to scan photos stored on peoples’ iPhones and in their iCloud accounts for imagery suggesting child abuse, according to news reports Thursday. The effort might aid in law-enforcement investigations, but also could invite controversial access to user data by government agencies.

Apple’s update to its web page “Expanded Protections for Children” — see under the “CSAM Detection” subheading — appears to make the scanning plan official. CSAM stands for “child sexual abuse material.”

Today in Apple history: MobileMe gets to R.I.P.

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MobileMe
So long, MobileMe.
Photo: Apple

July 1: Today in Apple history: Apple shuts down MobileMe web service, pushes iCloud July 1, 2012: Apple shuts down its MobileMe web service, pushing users to switch to iCloud.

Launched in 2008, MobileMe was a subscription-based suite of online services and software created by Apple. It included features like Find my iPhone, a MobileMe photo gallery, chat facilities, online calendar, storage and other cloud-based services. After letting it limp along for four years, Cupertino finally decided to pull the plug, giving MobileMe users until the end of July to remove their data from the service.

Apple Digital Legacy will let a loved one access your data when you die

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Apple Digital Legacy
Keeping your data alive long after you.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Apple is finally introducing a Digital Legacy feature that will allow a friend or family member to access your data after you die.

Users will be able to assign an administrator who gets access to things like photos, contacts and other things uploaded to iCloud. However, some data, such as saved credit cards and passwords, will be off limits.

Private Relay makes paying $1 a month for iCloud a bargain

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Private Relay makes paying $1 a month for iCloud a bargain
Private Relay protects your online privacy. It’s the best part of Apple’s new iCloud+.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Private Relay is the latest way Apple devices can protect your privacy. The service, a part of iCloud+, makes it much harder for the websites you visit to track you.

Unlike many of Apple’s privacy services, it’s not free. But the new iCloud+ service costs very little and comes bundled with iCloud storage at no additional cost. And it comes with some other privacy benefits, too.

iOS 15 gives you temporary iCloud storage boost for device upgrades

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iCloud
All the storage you need, free of charge.
Photo: Apple

Apple is making iPhone and iPad upgrades easier by giving users a temporary boost in iCloud storage free of charge.

The change, which comes with iOS and iPadOS 15 this fall, will allow you to backup the entire contents of your device and transfer it all to a new one — even if you’re using the free 5GB storage plan.

Apple adds powerful new privacy features to Mail and more

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Apple Privacy Slide from WWDC 2021
Apple is taking even more shots at advertisers in the WWDC 2021 Privacy updates
Screenshot: Apple

Apple is bringing big privacy-focused changes to its Mail app and other parts of its ecosystem, the company said Monday.

“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “We don’t think you should have to make a tradeoff between great features and privacy. We believe you deserve both.”