No one expects the Worldwide Loyalty Team!
During the development of iOS 15, Apple reportedly limited the extent to which engineers could see features being worked on by other colleagues to prevent potential leaks.
As spotted by 9to5Mac, each new feature introduced with the beta version of iOS 15 is accompanied with a unique flag associated with a “disclosure requirement”. Internal versions of the operating system check the unique profile of each engineer and tester against this flag, limiting access to certain features as a result.
Apple has historically clouded its operations through a thick shroud of secrecy. Part of this has something to do with protecting the firm’s intellectual property, and ensuring it remains in full control over how information about its upcoming products is distributed.
In the past, it has protected that secrecy with zeal. After Gizmodo purchased a stolen pre-release version of the iPhone 4, under circumstances which raised ethical and legal questions, Apple responded by contacting local law enforcement, which conducted a raid on the journalist believed to be responsible.
- With incoming iOS 15, update refuseniks will be given choice to stay where they are while still receiving security patches
- Apple ditches support for pre-2015 MacBook Air, Pro laptops with macOS Monterey
- Apple’s macOS 12 adds improved virtualization though no sign of anything like Boot Camp on M1 silicon
- Everything Apple announced: Tor-ish Safari anonymization. Cloaked iCloud addresses. Cloud CI/CD. And more
Apple is also believed to have an internal secret police force, known as the Worldwide Loyalty Team, tasked with protecting the secrecy of its upcoming products and weeding out would-be leakers.
In recent years, Apple has struggled to maintain that shroud, in part due to the widespread nature of its supply chain, which introduces multiple potential vectors for leakage. Sometimes, these leaks happen without any foul play from the component manufacturer.
Earlier this year, attackers breached Quanta Computer, obtaining confidential blueprints that purportedly depicted upcoming MacBook Pro laptops.
Despite these measures, Apple has been known to inadvertently reveal upcoming project changes through simple human error. Earlier this week, the company uploaded footage of its WWDC event containing metadata references to an M1X chip and an M1X MacBook Pro.
This mistake effectively confirmed the name of the M1’s successor, as well as the next likely Mac to come from Apple. After others realised its mistake, Apple swiftly deleted these tags, but the cat was by that time very much out of the bag. ®
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Linus Torvalds tells mailing list poster to “SHUT THE HELL UP” for saying COVID-19 vaccines create “new humanoid race”
“Any Linux kernel discussion list isn’t going to have your idiotic drivel pass uncontested from me” booms Emperor Penguin
Linus Torvalds has used some of his strongest language in years to smack down a Linux Kernel Mailing List poster who made some odd remarks about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
The incident started in a Linux Kernel Mailing List thread titled “Maintainers / Kernel Summit 2021 planning kick-off” that commenced in April 2021.
Event organisers have decided the event should be virtual this year. However, some in the thread have used the thread to ask if increasing vaccination rates mean that decision could be revisited.
AWS Frankfurt experiences major incident that staff couldn’t fix it due to ‘environmental conditions’ on data centre floor
Cloud colossus says it wasn’t a fire as networks drop out and EC2 instances go dark
A single Availability Zone in Amazon Web Services’ EU-CENTRAL-1 Region has experienced a major incident.
The company’s status page says the incident began at 1: 24PM PDT (8: 30PM UTC) on June 10th and initially caused “connectivity issues for some EC2 instances”.
Half an hour later AWS reported “increased API error rates and latencies for the EC2 APIs and connectivity issues for instances … caused by an increase in ambient temperature within a subsection of the affected Availability Zone.”
McDonald’s AI drive-thru bot accused of breaking biometrics privacy law
Would you like a lawsuit with that?
McDonald’s has been accused of illegally collecting and processing customers’ voice recordings without their consent in the US state of Illinois.
Like so many giant corporations, McDonald’s has turned to AI technology to use computers in place of people. In 2019, it announced it had snapped up a voice-recognition company in Silicon Valley, previously known as Apprente and now McD Tech Labs, to build a voice-controlled chatbot for its drive-thrus.
Earlier this month, McDonald’s said ten of its restaurants in Chicago, Illinois, are testing this chatbot, and it may permanently replace human workers. As you’d expect, you yell your order at the system from your car, and it takes care of it. The software apparently has an 85 per cent accuracy rate.
Snowflake agrees it’s good to share… on its platform, while Databricks opts for a more vendor-neutral approach
Enterprise newcomer has its work cut out in the data marketplace field
Among the blizzard of new language support for Snowflake’s data warehouse this week was a plan to beef up its data marketplace, which promises users somewhere to buy, sell, and otherwise share data on the platform. The problem is that it is far from the only game in town.
SAP, by sheer coincidence, also launched a data market plan this week, a few weeks after Databricks announced its open standard for data sharing, hoping to get a more vendor-neutral approach to the thorny problem off the ground. The application giant and the data lake poster child join other tools for cracking the nut, including those peddled by long-time data integration specialist Informatica.
The point of Snowflake’s Data Marketplace is to make it easier to ingest third-party data, into the analytics environment, as it is all in Snowflake’s architecture. Last November, it announced third-party service providers would have the option to enrich data by running risk assessments, augmenting a data set with behavioural scoring, or “simply outsourcing the more advanced analysis” without having to move the data, Snowflake said at the time.
Oracle and partners sued over claims they over-elevated NetSuite’s capabilities
Maker of industrial lift gear claims fraud as software project sinks
Advance Lifts, an Illinois-based maker of industrial lift machinery, has sued Oracle, its IT implementation partner Folio3, and its finance partner Banc of America Leasing & Capital, claiming that the trio breached their contract and committed fraud by delivering a NetSuite system that lacked promised features.
The complaint [PDF], filed in a US federal district court in northern California, describes how in 2019, Advance Lifts decided to upgrade its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and its Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) software.
For two decades, the lift biz had used an MRP system called Forth Shift to access market information about raw materials, in order to provide product price quotes to customers. But the company wanted to integrate the CRM and MRP systems it used to manage its pricing, business, and manufacturing processes.
Intel made $2bn+ takeover offer for RISC-V chip darling SiFive – report
Someone’s got to keep Altera company
Intel offered more than $2bn to acquire RISC-V chip designer SiFive, it was reported today.
The approach by the x86 processor giant was among a number of takeover offers made to the semiconductor startup, according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources.
It’s said these discussions are in an early stage, no deal may ever be reached, and SiFive may prefer to take an investment round from interested parties rather than sell out. It raised $61m last year in a series-E round, and has been valued at an estimated $500m. SiFive has Qualcomm, Western Digital, and SK Hynix among its backers, and is said to have tapped up potential advisers to deal with this outside interest.
Google wants to look like it cares about your privacy with Android 12 Beta 2, but note that’s not how Google works
Still, it’s this or iOS
Android 12 Beta 2 is here and contains many of the features that were teased during May’s Google I/O shindig including an overhauled control panel and additional privacy tools.
The company’s feted Privacy Dashboard has made an appearance: designed to give end users an overview of how apps interact with the more sensitive components on their device, such as the microphone and camera, this tool provides a breakdown of app permissions, as well as the exact times when they are accessed.
On a basic level, Google has designed this with visibility in mind. It could also be used by the privacy and security-conscious to gain insight into how potentially suspect applications work.
RISC-V boffins lay out a plan for bringing the architecture to high-performance computing
‘The group is united in making RISC-V an option in HPC,’ says SIG-HPC chair
RISC-V International, the nonprofit at the helm of the free and open-source CPU instruction set architecture, says it is writing a high-performance computing (HPC) roadmap of “new features and capabilities.”
For an architecture which only began life at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010, RISC-V has enjoyed considerable success.
A wealth of products based on RISC-V are already in the market, with more arriving regularly, but the majority of these, like Seagate’s storage processor designs and the OpenTitan root-of-trust (RoT), target embedded or otherwise less performance-critical applications.
Prez Biden narrowly escapes cicada assassination attempt, hunkers down in Cornwall
Brood X vents frustration at missed opportunity on free press, random Ohio drivers
Following The Reg‘s recent exclusive coverage of the growing cicada threat to humanity, we can now reveal that US President Joe Biden narrowly missed being literally decapitated by a lone cicada assassin.
Biden was yesterday seen fighting off his hexapod assailant as he attempted to board Air Force One, before flying across the Atlantic to escape the Brood X swarm currently besieging Washington DC and much of the rest of America’s Eastern Seaboard.
As we explained on Tuesday, the amassing of insects around DC may have constituted a final do-or-die push for survival by the Brood X cicadas, whose volume has dropped in recent manifestations due to human development reducing the numbers of trees they require at different stages of their lengthy life cycle.
Samsung brags that its latest imaging sensor has the ittiest-bittiest cam pixels in the world
It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it
Samsung today introduced its latest imaging sensor, the 50-megapixel ISOCELL JN1, which it claims has the smallest individual pixels in the industry.
Housed on a relatively small 1/2.76-inch package, each of the 50 million pixels measures just 0.64µm. For contrast, these are almost one-third the size of the iPhone 12’s camera pixels, which measure 1.7µm.
By using smaller individual pixels, Samsung has been able to achieve relatively higher megapixel counts, which often serves as a marketing tool for handset manufacturers, even if it does not translate into better image quality.
UK.gov finally proposes to police rogue umbrella companies but leaves questions unanswered
Show me the money! say campaigners hoping to stamp out nefarious practices
At the eleventh hour, UK government has detailed plans to regulate umbrella companies, some of which stand accused of dodgy dealings as their use grows among IT contractors after IR35 tax rule changes.
Following an earlier announcement of a Single Enforcement Body to tackle modern slavery, enforce the minimum wage, and protect agency workers, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has included a detailed response to a labour market consultation which addresses umbrella companies.
It says part of the role of the new Single Enforcement Body (SEB) would be to regulate umbrella companies, a point omitted in the initial release. IT contractors have been increasingly using umbrella companies since the introduction of new IR35 rules in April. An element among the intermediary employers has been accused of holding back holiday pay and skimming off pay in the form of opaque fees.