Hackers are finding ways to hide inside Apple’s walled garden

Apple and independent security experts are in agreement here: there is no neat fix. Apple strongly believes it is making the correct trade-offs, a spokesperson said recently in a phone interview. Cupertino argues that no one has convincingly demonstrated that loosening security enforcement or making exceptions will ultimately serve the greater good.

Despite the predictably more sensationalist headline, this is very important to remember. Everyone is after a moving target, there’s no ideal solution so all one can do is try one’s best and keep at it.

“I personally believe the world is marching toward this,” Stortz says. “We are going to a place where only outliers will have computers—people who need them, like developers. The general population will have mobile devices which are already in the walled-garden paradigm. That will expand. You’ll be an outlier if you’re not in the walled garden.”

Not unlike people switched from more flexible —hardware-wise— desktop computers to laptop computers, we’re witnessing a switch in OSes in the same spirit. Of course this will have repercussions on baseline security and beyond. It’s not a regression, I think. That everyone yearns for freedom in all things doesn’t mean that a) there’s no limit to the freedom they can hope fore and b) everyone can handle the same measure of freedom. How could this paradigm not affect the computing landscape?

Google claims it will stop tracking individual users for ads

You might look at that statement and think that Google is sacrificing something or turning over a new leaf when it comes to privacy, but really, the fact is Google doesn’t need to track individuals for advertisements. Google’s cookie-tracking replacement technology, the Chrome “Privacy Sandbox,” uses group tracking, which is more in line with how advertisers think anyway.

No need to go for Google’s reasoning or motives here. What’s of note is the contrast between Google’s confidence that a new system such the one it built sacrifices little compared to the usual, even more personalised paradigm while Facebook and ad firm coalitions insist the end is nigh and we should always provide them with as much data as they ask for, while maintaining that having to even ask for it could destroy their business model.

I don’t know about you but this sound like exactly the kind of business model that deserves to go the way of the dodo bird.

I think a good way of explaining this was that, before, through cookies, you would end up sending personal information and detailed browser history to various web ad servers, which could then build an ad interest file on you in the cloud. Now, the goal is that Chrome will keep that detailed information locally and build that ad interest profile locally, and only the interest profile would be shipped to the advertisers for relevant ads through an open API. Again, this is all very early and only in the experimental stage right now, so there’s not an abundance of concrete detail to go into.

That’s essentially what Apple called “differential privacy” years ago. When Apple enforces it, it’s a threat. But when Google tries something similar, it’s a life-saver. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough.

Beyond Control: What’s next for Remedy?

Certainly the Epic-funded games won’t stray too far from Remedy’s wheelhouse. While details are under wraps, Virtala did tell us both titles — one positioned as a full AAA experience, the other as a smaller game — are set in a shared universe. This alone gives Remedy the opportunity it hasn’t had with most of its past releases.

“When we were focused on just creating one single story, I don’t think we were utilising enough of all the hard work we did on creating the background for these worlds,” he says. “With Control, we took the first step in giving players more reasons to spend more time in the world, explore them and that’s been successful.

“With the project we’re doing with Epic, it’s in a world we want players to spend more time in. There’s more opportunities to explore the world and the brand than in one single game.”

Remedy is doing the sensible thing here, trying to build a new world/brand/universe with the financial aid of Epic. Remedy is diversifying overall but it chose to pour the “easiest” money at the theoretically riskier projects. If the games fail, Remedy is safe. If they don’t, Remedy retains IP rights and have ready-made awareness for whatever comes next for the same brand.

Very, very pragmatic. Bravo. Kudos to Epic Games too of course for being OK with such an approach. I might not be a big fan of Epic Games in other matters but they’re only doing good with their policies for cases such as this.

“It’s not black and white anymore, in that either you make a standalone product or you make a full-blown service-based game,” he says. “Every game needs to have mechanisms and reasons for players to get back into the game, spend more meaningful time in the game world than our previous games, but not all of them need to be service-based titles that last for years.”

He concludes: “As we’re evolving, it will mean that the games we launch will step-by-step be supported for a longer time. Even though not all of them will be live games that last for five or ten years, they will still be actively supported and expanded for the first couple of years.

“The idea is that, as the years go on, we’ll have more and more games out there that are played by a growing number of players generating continuous revenue for us.”

I understand the safety continuous revenue provides, especially for companies and developers that aren’t huge enough already to enjoy the security their back catalog’s monetisation can provide. I’m all for it.

But turning this in some kind of mantra as to how every game needs to have “mechanisms” for players get back to it I just can’t condone. It can be done carefully but I believe we have too many examples of careless application of this mentality to at least feel apprehensive every time anyone tries to play that card.

The Clever Cryptography Behind Apple’s ‘Find My’ Feature

In a background phone call with WIRED following its keynote, Apple broke down that privacy element, explaining how its “encrypted and anonymous” system avoids leaking your location data willy nilly, even as your devices broadcast a Bluetooth signal explicitly designed to let you track your device. The solution to that paradox, it turns out, is a trick that requires you to own at least two Apple devices. Each one emits a constantly changing key that nearby Apple devices use to encrypt and upload your geolocation data, such that only the other Apple device you own possesses the key to decrypt those locations.

This system came online in 2019 but it’s still amazing to me that Apple bothered when no one asked for it and even deployed it in more than a billion devices in one go. This is not laughing matter. Providing more to the user while reducing exposure of data isn’t an every day occurrence.

EA issues lifetime ban to FIFA player who racially abused Ian Wright after losing a match using Wright’s virtual character

18-year-old Patrick O’Brien lost a game of FIFA after playing with the Ian Wright icon card in the Ultimate Team mode.

The Irish teen then sent real-life Ian Wright awful racist abuse on Instagram, amounting to 20 messages in May 2020.

O’Brien apologised and was spared a conviction after pleading guilty, leading Wright to issue a statement saying he was “disappointed” by the verdict.

I’d say it’s pretty clear Patrick is an idiot. Making the effort to target a real person on a platform different than the one said person’s virtual persona pissed off is proof enough of that and of course it’s only right for O’Brien to land in hot water over this.

I can’t comment on the verdict as I have no clue about British Law, I have beef with Common Law as a concept and, of course, I’m no lawyer. I understand Mr. Writght’s disappointment but I’m not equipped to decide on a better alternative.

Moving on to matters of principle though, I feel better positioned to comment. I mean, hey, I can have principles. And so can you.

“EA Sports bro, they stepped up for me,” Wright said. “After this attack they changed their whole policy. And you know with a company like that, the different levels, and can you imagine the legality you have to go through to change your policy? Not only for me, it’s for their staff, for players, the talent, the people they partner with. Zero tolerance. Zero tolerance. And action will be taken.

I have to push back here. If Mr. Wright can be in awe of the complexity a change in internal EA policy can have, why not be also in awe of the potential complexity of changing the legal system in ways that would have provided a more acceptable verdict? And why not debate for change there so that it’s not up to EA when an offence has been committed? Let alone when it’s been committed through means that have nothing to do with EA to begin with.

“They even apologised to me, which I found really strange. I said to them, you don’t have to apologise to me. They said, no we do have to apologise to you simply because it was our platform that he came for you on. We have a responsibility to make people who want to use our platforms, are safe to do so.

Didn’t know Instagram is EA’s platform. How is FIFA more unsafe because of an incident that took place on Instagram? I understand the argument that keeping away the likes of O’Brien protects other users, in theory at least, from similar outbursts that might as well take place within FIFA.

But if this handling is to be considered proper, then each time EA messes up on its end we should all cancel our Xbox Games Pass Ultimate subscriptions because they include EA Play and Xbox must be considered an enabler of sorts.

If that sounds stupid to you, remain strong. Because it is stupid.

“It just made me feel good, because it’s companies like that that are going to stand on the right side. And people will say things like, well EA Sports have done this and EA Sports have done that. But the fact is guys, EA Sports have stood up and said that’s wrong and we’re going to make sure we do something about that.

It’s sad day for any civil society when we’re applauding companies for standing on the right side of a matter that’s not under their jurisdiction at all because we’re disappointed in our legal system.

This time around I’ll leave you with a clip of David Bowie being so ahead of the curve about the potential impact of the web, good and bad, back in 1999, that you don’t even need to contrast his ideas to the utter cluelessness of his interviewer to be impressed.