Is Facebook Secretly Accessing Your Camera? This Man Found a Bug

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For years there have been anecdotes from people saying that Facebook secretly uses their phone’s microphone and/or camera for targeted advertising. Joshua Maddux tweeted about a bug he found within the Facebook app. By tapping on a profile picture and slowly sliding it down the screen, you can see his rear camera being accessed on the left hand side. He tested it using five iPhones running iOS 13.2.2.

Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet.

Private Press Briefings Suggest New Apple Products This Week

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Writing for 9to5Mac, Zac Hall says that Apple could be holding private press briefings this week. If this is the case then we could see new Apple product announcements as early as the middle of the week.

This week appears to be one of those occasions based both on what 9to5Mac is hearing privately and suggestions by multiple public disclosures. If Apple is holding private press meetings at the start of this week, that suggests we could see the subject of those meetings announced publicly by the middle of the week.

I’m looking forward to the release of Apple’s ‘Tag’ Bluetooth beacons.

Windscribe VPN Pro 1-Year Subscription: $49

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We have a deal for you on a subscription to Windscribe VPN Pro. It works with iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android. The Canadian company features a strict no-logging policy and anonymous sign-up that doesn’t even require an email address. The pro subscription comes with unlimited downloads, unlimited data, and unlimited connections. A 1 year subscription is $49 through our deal, with longer subscriptions available on the full listing.

macOS Mail Stores Encrypted Emails in Plain Text

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IT specialist Bob Gendler found that macOS Mail was storing encrypted emails in plain text. He first notified Apple on July 29, but only got a temporary fix from the company 99 days later on November 5.

The main thing I discovered was that the snippets.db database file in the Suggestions folder stored my emails. And on top of that, I found that it stored my S/MIME encrypted emails completely UNENCRYPTED. Even with Siri disabled on the Mac, it *still* stores unencrypted messages in this database!

Mr. Gendler shard a fix in his blog post.

iPhone 11 Pro and Max Storm Alibaba Singles Day

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It’s Singles Day in China – Alibaba’s equivalent Amazon Prime Day. Apple did exceptionally well out of the event, so-called because of all the 1s in the date.  The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max were two of the best selling items during the event, Cult of Mac reported. As trade tensions ease, the new devices seem to be proving very popular in the country.

This year’s 24-hour shopping event has surpassed last year’s 213.5 billion yuan (more than $30 billion) record for gross merchandise value sold. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max were reportedly two of the top-selling items during Singles Day. 2019 marks the 11th Singles Day event. It’s a 24-hour period, held every November 11, in which Alibaba offers big discounts on its e-commerce site. Last year, Singles Day exceeded spending by consumers on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Next Apple Watch May Have Touch ID in The Display

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The next generation of Apple Watch might have antennas in the band and Touch ID in the display. That’s according to a new patent uncovered by Patently Apple. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the Patent on Thursday.

Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published yet another patent application from Apple that covers moving the internal watch antennas to a future Apple Watch band – and possibly adding Touch ID to the display. Apple’s invention generally relates to antenna assemblies for watch bands, and, more particularly, to stretchable antenna elements embedded into watch bands. The watch band provides wireless communication via an antenna embedded within the watch band in a manner that protects the structural integrity and operation of the antenna. The watch bands described provides antenna assemblies that adaptably stretch, bend, and flex with the bodies of the watch bands. The embedded antenna assemblies avoid damage from applied forces while also maintaining the compliance and comfort of the watch band while worn by a user.

How Everyone Ignored it When Steve Jobs' Shared The Secrets of iPad Success

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iOS 11 iPad Dock in Portrait Orientation

During the 2010 media event unveiling the iPad, Steve Jobs revealed much of Apple’s strategic thinking behind the product. However. as an editorial on AppleInsider, points out, much of the industry ignored it.

It was as if Jobs were giving the industry a Xerox PARC style tour of the secret labs inside Apple. He not only revealed the next big thing that would radically change the computing landscape but also detailed exactly what was going to make it commercially successful. To compete for relevance and fill a valuable niche between a regular PC and a phone, Jobs said iPad would need to be much simpler to use than a PC. And to stand apart as useful next to a smartphone, it would be critical to have tablet-optimized mobile apps that were more sophisticated than a phone. These ideas may seem obvious today, but were once opposed and defied by competitors and critics.

If Your YouTube Account Isn’t ‘Commercially Viable’ Google Will Delete It

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According to YouTube’s new terms of service, your YouTube account can be terminated if it isn’t commercially viable enough. The phrasing is broad enough that some people think this means Google will take action against people using adblockers.

YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.

I’m personally not sure if that’s the case. You don’t need a Google account to watch YouTube, nor does Google need you to have an account for it to track you.

Mondly Lifetime Subscription (1 Language): $39.99

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Mondly on iPhone

We have a deal on a lifetime subscription to Mondly, the language-learning platform. Mondly uses speech recognition and only gives positive feedback if you speak clearly and correctly. The deal I’m linking to is for one language for $39.99. There are deals available in the listing for 5 and all languages, too.

Judge Rules Cops can Search Through DNA Database GEDmatch

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A judge recently ruled that law enforcement have the ability to search through DNA database GEDmatch, overriding the choice of its over one million users.

In the wake of that attention-grabbing case, GEDmatch changed its policies in May 2018 to make it less easy for police to access their data. Users now have to opt in to having their data made available to police; information they upload is set to private by default. Rogers told the NYT that as of October, less than 15% of current users, 185,000 out of 1.3 million, have opted in to sharing their data with police.

This Person Invented a Giant AirPod

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Giant AirPod

Losing your AirPod is annoying. So someone invented a giant one. That person, Aaron B, told Mashable about it.

Building the replica was a bit of an undertaking. Aaron explained to Mashable that it took about five hours to model it, then another 15 hours to print it using a 3D printer. Despite this, Aaron called the build “pretty simple,” and offered his CAD model incase anyone else wants to try their hand at it. But the best part of this giant AirPod is that it is fully functioning. Not only does it look hilarious, but it’s able to play music via Bluetooth as well. “I got the idea from someone who made one a few years ago,” Aaron told Mashable. “Theirs was made in a similar way (3D printed housing and Bluetooth speaker electronics inside), but that model was a bit rough from scaling it up so much.”

Stop Broadcasting Polarizing Advertising to Millions of People

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Social media apps on an iPhone

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey surprised a lot of people when he announced that the company would stop allowing paid-for political advertising. Targeted advertising as a whole is a hot topic at the moment. But, as Carl Millar points out for Wired, we need to think very carefully about how we discuss, and potentially amplify, these messages.

The battle for influence online is largely fought over attention. Cutting through the online noise to get something in front of you is half of the battle campaigners face and – of course – that’s what advertising is for. Now, suddenly – projected on studio screens, in countless write-ups and think pieces – ads intended to be seen only by a tiny few are instead broadcast to millions. It’s a weird reverse effect: the more granular the ad, the more likely it is to suddenly find an enormous audience as part of a discussion about whether people seeing it is bad for democracy. This certainly won’t be lost on the campaigns themselves. Advertisers have long courted publicity as one of the easiest and most effective ways of building buzz around their message

Only 44% of People Correctly Spotted Fake News on Facebook

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In a small study (n=80) undergraduate students were fitted with a wireless electroencephalography (EEG) headset. They were then asked to read political news headlines as they would appear on a Facebook feed to determine their credibility. They overwhelmingly chose headlines that aligned with their political beliefs as true.

“We all believe that we are better than the average person at detecting fake news, but that’s simply not possible,” said lead author Patricia Moravec, assistant professor of information, risk and operations management. “The environment of social media and our own biases make us all much worse than we think.”

Why You Got Weird Text Messages The Other Day

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Black Dot message on iPhone

Did you get a lot of weird text messages on November 7th? Popular Mechanics looks to have the answer. It seems a glitch meant old, possibly previously unsent, messages ended up going through.

If you’re one of those people, it looks like this (probably) wasn’t a hack. According to a post from 92 Moose, an FM radio station in Maine, U.S. Cellular confirmed that the ghost texts are the result of a glitch in telecommunications infrastructure, specifically to the “cross carrier messaging system,” which is a joint venture that the four major phone carriers committed to in late October. According to an October press release from Sprint that also involves AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the “Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative” will “deliver the next generation of messaging to consumers and businesses” by developing a new messaging standard that the companies said would roll out in 2020. It looks like the point was to improve group chats across carriers when sending photos and videos. Think about all the green bubble people out there getting weird messages that iPhone users have “emphasized” a message in iMessage, which basically just repeats the text, but shows none of the animation that blue bubble iPhone users see, like fireworks, thumbs-up signs, and more.

Amazon Ring Surveillance Cameras Leak Customer Data

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Data Leak

Romanian security company Bitdefender found that Amazon Ring doorbell cameras were leaking customer data like Wi-Fi credentials.

Bitdefender researchers have discovered an issue in Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro IoT device that allows an attacker physically near the device to intercept the owner’s Wi-Fi network credentials and possibly mount a larger attack against the household network.

At the moment of publishing this paper, all Ring Doorbell Pro cameras have received a security update that fixes the issue described herein.

You can view the whitepaper [PDF] here.

Apple Gets Closer to 50% Share of Smartwatch Sales

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Apple Watch Series 5 video

The Apple Watch absolutely dominates the smartwatch market. It sales made up nearly 48% of smartwatches solde in the third quarter of 2019, according to research by Strategy Analytics reported on by AppleInsider.

It is claimed Apple Watch shipments reached 6.8 million units in Q3 2019, up 51% from the 4.5 million believed to have shipped in the same quarter in 2018. To Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawson, Apple “remains a long way ahead of the chasing pack,” and “continues to fend off strong competition from hungry rivals like Fitbit and Samsung.” Wearables were a big help for Apple’s recent financial results, with it and Services helping plug a shortfall in revenue from iPhone sales to bring Apple up to $64 billion. In the period, wearables revenue rose year-on-year by 54% to $6.52 billion… In terms of market share, Apple makes up 47.9% of smartwatch sales in the quarter, up from 45% in Q3 2018, and edging ever closer to the 50% mark.

This Website is Hosted on a Macintosh Color Classic II

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This cool website is being hosted on a Macintosh Color Classic II at 33MHz. This Mac was sold from 1993 to 1995.

This website was formerly hosted on a Macinosh SE/30 – the SE/30 is a 16MHz computer built in 1989. Mine shipped with 2 megabytes of RAM, a floppy drive, and an 80-meg internal SCSI (“Scuzzy”) hard drive. It has recently been upgraded with a custom 32-bit ROM, 68 megabytes of RAM, and a 4,000-megabyte Solid-State Drive. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.

A neat look back in time. Sign the guestbook while you’re there. The creator shared some info about it on Reddit.

Spanish Siri Brands Bolivian President a 'Dictator'

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Apple tries to steer clear of political controversy (not always successfully, as we saw with Hong Kong). It probably won’t have gone down well in Cupertino then that the Spanish Siri has been branding controversial Bolivian president Evo Morales a dictator. As Cult of Mac noted, it’s not the first time the virtual assistant has strayed into politics.

Morales recently won a controversial fourth presidential term in Bolivia. However, thousands of citizens have marched across the country decrying voter fraud. It seems that Spanish language Siri was spiritually among them. When asked in Spanish, Siri said that, “The dictator of Bolivia” is Evo Morales. Siri described Morales as president in the English version. The issue was rectified after Apple was notified about it by Reuters. This isn’t the first time one of Siri’s answers has caused problems. For years, users asking about abortion centers were directed toward adoption centers. Apple finally changed this in 2016. More recently, an issue with the Russian version of Siri seemingly resulted in it expressing homophobic sentiments