Apple deleted files that I owned without telling me. It was inevitable, but I'm still pissed.

I've been using iTunes Match since the service launched in 2011, and it's been nothing but great until now. At the time, I had a personal laptop and a work computer, along with an iPhone that maybe held 16 gigs. The fact that I could just upload my extensive music library up to Apple's servers and stream or download any of my songs onto any of those devices at any time was a game changer. I'm one of those people who still likes to buy music whenever possible (maybe it's karmic, and I'm hoping someone buys my music some time, too), so I've continued to use the service, downloading my preferred albums at any given to listen to on-the-go instead of dipping into my data plan.

Honestly, the only quirk I discovered with the service was a blessing in disguise. iTunes Match will upload any of your music, but if matches something that already exists in their library, they'll let you download the corresponding high-resolution audio files. I had a lot of shitty CD-rips from high school that were suddenly returned to their high-quality glory, and freed of those obnoxious data squelches on the high end.

That is, until the other day. When I had a hankering to listen to "I Don't Want To Be An Asshole Anymore" by the Menzingers. 'Cause it's great song!

Except it wasn't there. In fact, the entire album was missing from my library. I own the entire Menzingers discography — purchased music! — and Rented World was now completely gone. Read the rest

The FBI doesn't need Apple to give it a backdoor to encryption, because it already has all the access it needs

Once again, the FBI is putting pressure on Apple to help them break into the phone of a mass shooter. And once again, Apple has been largely resistant to the effort. Which is good, because a government having control over a private company that gives them secret backdoor access into people's personal technology devices is an authoritarian wet dream waiting to happen.

It also doesn't matter anyway because — as Reuters pointed out this week — Apple already buckled under FBI pressure a few years and cancelled their plans to add end-to-end encryption to all iPhone backups in iCloud:

The company said it turned over at least some data for 90% of the requests it received [from the FBI]. It turns over data more often in response to secret U.S. intelligence court directives, which sought content from more than 18,000 accounts in the first half of 2019, the most recently reported six-month period.

But what if the FBI wants access to someone's locked iPhone, and they haven't backed it up to iCloud? They still don't need Apple's help, because — as with the San Bernardino shooting — there are plenty of third-party companies that can and will gladly solve the problem in exchange for money.

From OneZero:

Over the past three months, OneZero sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to over 50 major police departments, sheriffs, and prosecutors around the country asking for information about their use of phone-cracking technology. Hundreds of documents from these agencies reveal that law enforcement in at least 11 states spent over $4 million in the last decade on devices and software designed to get around passwords and access information stored on phones.

Read the rest

Report: iCloud plan puts China's Apple users at risk

According to The Hong Kong Free Press, Apple is set to hand over the keys to the the accounts of iCloud users in China to a company owned by the surveillance and censorship-happy Chinese government.

Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) will take over the operation of Apple's Chinese data center at the end of February, making GCBD responsible for all legal and financial transactions between the Apple and China's iCloud users. Once GCBD is running the show, Apple will be responsible for investing one billion USD to build a new server farm in Guiyang and to provide technical support in the interest of preserving data security.

Apple's doesn't like telling folks what iCloud user data they're able to read. The information could be limited to the size of uploaded files and where those files were uploaded, or as comprehensive as being able to browse through the photos taken with an iPhone. That China's communist government, which is big on watching the digital doings of its citizens, censorship and political activism could will soon have access to the iCloud account information of every iPhone, iPad or Mac user in China pretty troubling. 

This isn't the first time that Apple has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government, either. At the ass end of 2017, they happily removed close to 700 VPN apps from the Chinese iTunes App Store, making it extremely difficult for iOS users to view uncensored content. So, say good bye to news stories about China and the rest of the world that hasn't been approved by Chinese state censors. Read the rest

Apple suspends over-the-phone password resets

Following the incredible social engineering hack suffered by Wired's Mat Honan over the weekend, Apple's shut down the exploit by "ordering support staff to immediately stop processing AppleID password changes requested over the phone." Read the rest