Apple on Thursday said it will implement a system that checks photos on iPhone devices in the United States before they are uploaded to its iCloud storage services to ensure the upload does not match known images of child sexual abuse.
Detection of child abuse image uploads sufficient to guard against false positives will trigger a human review of and report of the user to law enforcement, Apple said. It said the system is designed to reduce false positives to one in one trillion.
Apple’s new system seeks to address requests from law enforcement to help stem child sexual abuse while also respecting privacy and security practices that are a core tenet of the company’s brand. But some privacy advocates said the system could open the door to monitoring of political speech or other content on iPhone handsets.
“With so many people using Apple products, these new safety measures have lifesaving potential for children who are being enticed online and whose horrific images are being circulated in child sexual abuse material,” John Clark, chief executive of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in a statement. “The reality is that privacy and child protection can co-exist.”
Here is how Apple’s system works. Law enforcement officials maintain a database of known child sexual abuse images and translate those images into “hashes” – numerical codes that positively identify the image but cannot be used to reconstruct them.
Apple has implemented that database using a technology called “NeuralHash”, designed to also catch edited images similar to the originals. That database will be stored on iPhone gadgets.
When a user uploads an image to Apple’s iCloud storage service, the iPhone will create a hash of the image to be uploaded and compare it against the database.
Photos stored only on the phone are not checked, Apple said, and human review before reporting an account to law enforcement is meant to ensure any matches are genuine before suspending an account.
Apple said users who feel their account was improperly suspended can appeal to have it reinstated.
The Financial Times earlier reported some aspects of the programme.
One feature that sets Apple’s system apart is that it checks photos stored on phones before they are uploaded, rather than checking the photos after they arrive on the company’s servers.
On Twitter, some privacy and security experts expressed concerns the system could eventually be expanded to scan phones more generally for prohibited content or political speech.
Apple has “sent a very clear signal. In their (very influential) opinion, it is safe to build systems that scan users’ phones for prohibited content,” Matthew Green, a security researcher at Johns Hopkins University, warned.
“This will break the dam — governments will demand it from everyone.”
Other privacy researchers such as India McKinney and Erica Portnoy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a blog post that it may be impossible for outside researchers to double check whether Apple keeps its promises to check only a small set of on-device content.
The move is “a shocking about-face for users who have relied on the company’s leadership in privacy and security,” the pair wrote.
“At the end of the day, even a thoroughly documented, carefully thought-out, and narrowly-scoped backdoor is still a backdoor,” McKinney and Portnoy wrote.
OnePlus Co-Founder Pete Lau Hints at Upcoming Foldable Phone
OnePlus is reportedly gearing up to launch its first foldable smartphone sometime soon. In a new update, OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau shared pictures of a hinge on Twitter on Friday to offer hints about the development of a foldable smartphone without confirming the name and other details. Samsung currently has an early lead in the foldable smartphone category. Xiaomi recently introduced Xiaomi Mix Fold 2. Moto Razr 2022 has also arrived in China. OnePlus’s sister firm Oppo also marked its presence in the foldable smartphone market by unveiling the Find N foldable at the end of last year.
Pete Lau on Twitter posted pictures with the tagline “What do you think this is?”. This could be possibly the folding screen hinge mechanism of the upcoming OnePlus phone. Although the company has not confirmed anything, it is largely speculated that the OnePlus Fold may break cover soon. It is rumoured to come with Android 13.
The Oppo Find N sports a 7.1-inch inward folding display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 5.49-inch cover OLED display. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, coupled with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. For optics, the Oppo Find N has a triple rear camera setup with a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 primary sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens, and a 13-megapixel telephoto lens. A 32-megapixel camera on the outer screen, a 32-megapixel camera on the inner screen, 4,500mAh battery with 33W SuperVOOC wired charging support are the other key highlights of the phone.
Samsung currently dominates the foldable smartphone market as per a report by Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC). The company recently unveiled its latest foldable smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 . Huawei, Motorola and Xiaomi are also introducing new foldable models. Huawei with its Mate X and Mate X2 foldable smartphones marked its presence in the space, while the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 and Moto Razr 2022 debuted in China recently.
Samsung to Charge Less for Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Z Flip 4 Screen Repair for Care+ Subscribers: Report
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 were launched globally at the company’s Unpacked event this week. To encourage users to buy the new foldable devices, the South Korean smartphone company is reportedly lowering the repair cost significantly under the Samsung Care+ subscription plan this year. The Samsung Care+ plan comes with coverage for drops, spills and cracked screens. Eligible subscribers could change their damaged screen of new foldable phones by paying $29 (roughly Rs. 2,300).
The foldable phones by Samsung come with one year of Samsung Care+ accidental damage protection. As mentioned, this covers the devices from accidental damage, including screen replacement, water damage and back cover replacement. However, after the warranty period, users have to pay the full price for a foldable screen replacement.
As reported by The Verge, the repair costs for the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 now start at $29 for fixing a broken screen. The screen repair for the previous generation Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 costs $249 (roughly Rs. 19,800) out of the standard warranty for people with the $11 (roughly Rs. 800) per month Samsung Care+ plan. As per the Samsung Support page, the out-of-warranty screen repairs without the Samsung Care+ costs up to $480 (roughly Rs. 38,200) for these models.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are set to hit stores in the coming weeks with minor upgrades over their predecessors — the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. Pre-booking for the devices in India will start on August 16 at 12pm (noon). Both the new phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC and support a variable refresh rate. They have Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus protection on the display and rear glass and are IPX8 rated for dust and water resistance.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes at a starting price of $1,799.99 (roughly Rs. 1,42,700), while the price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at $999 (roughly Rs. 79,000).
Blu Bold N2 With Dimensity 810 SoC, Quad Rear Camera Setup Launched: Price, Specifications
Blu Bold N2 was launched in the US on Friday. The company’s latest smartphone sports a 6.6-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display. It is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of inbuilt storage. The handset is equipped with a quad rear camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, a 5-megapixel wide-angle shooter, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. It also features a dual camera setup at the front. The Bold N2 also features an in-display fingerprint scanner and AI face identification.
Blu Bold N2 price, availability
Blu Bold N2 has been priced at $249 (roughly Rs. 19,800) in the US for the sole 8GB + 256GB storage variant. The smartphone is currently available via Amazon in the US. The Bold N2 is sold in a single Cyprus Teal colour option. The company is yet to reveal its availability and price details in other markets, including India.
Blu Bold N2 specifications
Blu Bold N2 is a 5G smartphone that runs on Android 11 out-of-the-box. The handset sports a 6.6-inch AMOLED display with full-HD+ (1,080×2,340 pixels) resolution, and 393ppi pixel density. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The Bold N2 is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, coupled with 8GB of RAM.
The smartphone sports a quad rear AI camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens with 115-degree field of view, and a 2-megapixel macro shooter. At the front, the pill-shaped cutout on the top-left corner of the display houses the dual selfie camera setup with a 16-megapixel lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The Blu Bold N2 also features 12 camera modes including Food, Beach, Portrait, Landscape, Blue Sky, Plant, and more.
The new Blu Bold N2 features an in-display fingerprint scanner and AI Face ID for unlocking the handset. For connectivity, it supports 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth v5.1, and Wi-Fi. It also gets a USB Type-C port for charging. The Bold N2 packs a 4,200mAh battery with 30W MAX Quick Charge support. It measures 158.7 x 74.1 x 8.6mm, and weighs about 180g, according to the company.
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