Tag Archives | iPhone

The Top 5 Most Absurd Patents in the US

Abby Martin goes over the top 5 most ridiculous patents in the US, citing everything from Amazon’s patent of white background photography to Apple’s patent of the shape of a rectangle all leading to the rise of patent trolling and a complete abuse of the system.

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John Cage’s 4’33″, the iPhone App

PIC: John Cage Trust (C)

PIC: John Cage Trust (C)

Grayson Currin writes at Pitchfork:

For the past several days, I’ve been listening to covers of nothing. And everything.

Thanks to 4’33”, a new iPhone-and-iPod-app inspired by John Cage’s infamously indeterminate piece of the same name, I’ve heard babies crying in Tokyo, food slurped outside of Paris and afternoon tea being prepared in North Sydney. Each of these recordings lasts for four minutes and 33 seconds, split into three unequal movements that are separated by two 10-second breaks—the form for David Tudor’s premiere of the work in 1952. They mirror Cage’s composition only structurally; sonically, they don’t necessarily share anything with the way the composer’s original audiences might have heard 4’33″. And that was the point of the piece anyway, right?

“When nothing is securely possessed, one is free to accept any of the somethings,” John Cage wrote for his 1951 “Lecture on Something”.

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The Police And Fingerprint-Based Security

fingerprintThe Chaos Computer Club on why authorities are in love with biometrically unlockable devices:

“It is plain stupid to use something that you can’t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token”, said Frank Rieger, spokesperson of the CCC. “The public should no longer be fooled by the biometrics industry with false security claims. Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access.” Fingerprint biometrics in passports has been introduced in many countries despite the fact that no security gain can be shown.

iPhone users should avoid protecting sensitive data with their precious biometric fingerprint not only because it can be easily faked, as demonstrated by the CCC team. You can easily be forced to unlock your phone against your will when being arrested. Forcing you to give up your passcode is much harder under most jurisdictions than just casually swiping your phone over your handcuffed hands.

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Senator Raises Concern That The FBI Could Access iPhone Fingerprint Data

fingerThose who find Apple’s new fingerprint reader disturbing apparently include members of Congress. Ars Technica reports:

On Thursday, the Minnesota senator Al Franken, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, published a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent,” wrote Sen. Franken. “If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What’s more, a password doesn’t uniquely identify its owner—a fingerprint does.”

He also has specific questions for Cupertino:

Is it possible to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format that can be used by third parties?

Is it possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone? If so, can this be done remotely, or with physical access to the device?…

Under American intelligence law, the FBI can seek an order requiring the production of “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)” if they are deemed relevant to certain foreign intelligence investigations.

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NYPD Hits The Streets Telling People They Need To Download iOS 7

In what smacks of surreal law-enforcement-corporate synergy, a number of media outlets and many on Twitter have reported being stopped on the streets of New York by cops urging them to update their Apple smartphones’ operating systems. Via Digital Trends:

Cops in the city have been distributing fliers outside subway stations and Apple stores urging owners of the iPhone and iPad to upgrade to the recently released iOS 7 operating system, which comes with a new security feature called Activation Lock designed to make life a little more difficult for thieves.

The release of iOS 7 coincides with the launch of two new phones from Apple – the 5S and 5C.

One of the fliers begins “Attention Apple Users!!!!!” – yes, the message was deemed serious enough to warrant five exclamation marks – “As of Wednesday the new iOS 7 feature brings added security to your Apple devices.”

nypd

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Cops Might Use your iPhone Fingerprint Against You

iPhone-5S-Has-Fingerprint-Scanner-Repositioned-Buttons-Analyst-SaysAre you excited about the new iPhone’s nifty biometric fingerprint unlock system? The police might be, too.

Via Wall Street Journal:

Courts have given mixed messages about whether Americans are protected from being forced to divulge passwords or decrypt information for law enforcement officials. Civil liberties advocates argue defendants shouldn’t have to unlock their own computers for the cops.  The logic: Under the Fifth Amendment, Police can’t force you to self-incriminate by testifying, or divulging something in your mind.

It’s unclear if that same protection applies if the password is your fingerprint.

“A fingerprint is entitled to less constitutional protection than a password known in your mind,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.  “If police arrest you and ask you for a password, you could refuse and they’d be hard pressed to force you to divulge the password.”

Of course, police already collect fingerprints after booking a suspect.

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Apple’s Fingerprint Authentication For The iPhone Is Here

fingerThe iPhone 5S, going on sale this month, unveils Apple’s plan to build a fingerprint database, err, to feature fingerprint security. Now when someone steals your phone, they will cut off your thumb as well. Via ZDNet:

Apple has unveiled its smartphone’s latest weapon: a fingerprint reader it’s calling Touch ID.

With its move, Apple could end up making the technology commonplace, as rivals might feel compelled to follow suit. It could be only a matter of time before passwords and passcodes are relegated to yesteryear.

In making the iPhone 5S one of the first mainstream smartphones in the Western market to include hardware security, Apple has begun to reinvent the notion of device and online identity.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said at the Tuesday event that the Touch ID fingerprint scanner will be used to access a user’s device quicker, as well as preventing unauthorized users from accessing a device’s data.

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Apple Blocks Sweatshop-Themed Satirical Games From App Store

Corporate gatekeepers say that provocative ideas don’t belong in video games. Via Pocket Gamer:

According to UK developer Littleloud, Sweatshop HD is an iPad game that “challenged people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy”. But it has now been removed from Apple’s online marketplace because the App Store was “uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop”.

Sweatshop HD wasn’t the first game of its kind to be removed by Apple, either. In Phone Story, Molleindustria depicted the seedy side of smartphone manufacturing, including sweatshop suicides and the harvesting of rare minerals in the war-torn Congo. Apple pulled the game, saying it violated App Store clause 16.1 – “Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”

There’s also In a Permanent Save State, an artistic game centered on “the spiritual afterlife” of overworked electronics labourers who had committed suicide.

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Valibation: A Dark Fantasy Of Gadget Connection

Todd Strauss-Schulson's expertly constructed short film Valibation depicts circumstances going horribly awry after a man becomes too fixated on the twin streams of validation he derives from checking his smartphone and engaging in casual sexual hookups. Could this be the nightmarish next stage in human evolution? Be advised not to watch this at work, if sexually explicit, stomach-churning Videodrome-style body horror doesn't fit at your office:
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