Photo hashing & other news

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Apple photo hashing

Report: Apple to announce client-side photo hashing system to detect child abuse images in user’s photos libraries – 9to5Mac – photo hashing its not foolproof. Once the proof of concept exists, Apple won’t be able to withstand the pressure authoritarian government could use it to track other materials. Tencent’s WeChat is already collecting memes that the Chinese government wouldn’t like from foreign WeChat accounts so that it can train its algorithms to locate similar content with domestic users. The risk for Apple’s customers in other markets like Russia, China and the middle east is real. Apple’s development of photo hashing has garnered a lot of coverage

Apple plans to scan US iPhones for child abuse imagery | Financial Times 

Apple led the market on encryption, but other players like WhatsApp have made it clear that they won’t follow Apple on photo hashing.

Apple has been trying to ignore the voices complaining against its photo hashing initiative. The problem is that those voices are the early adopters and developers who have made Apple what it is today. I think that this could end very badly for Apple in the long term. Particularly when viewed in context of questionable ethical choices despite its progressive positioning on issues in western markets

Apple Discusses “Screeching Voices of the Minority” in Internal MemosIt’s difficult to even write a piece like this, pointing out that a feature ostensibly created for good could have bad implications. Again: What happens when a country like China uses this feature to find people with images critical of the government? Why wouldn’t the industry want to start searching for pirated content on iPhones in a few years?

Apple Privacy Letter: An Open Letter Against Apple’s Privacy-Invasive Content Scanning Technology – a legion of the great and the good of the technorati from around the world on the photo hashing

One Bad Apple – The Hacker Factor Blog 

Even the FT weighed in.


The China risk factor continues to reverberate: China’s Corporate Crackdown Is Just Getting Started. Signs Point to More Tumult Ahead. – WSJ

Chinese music group pulls $1bn Hong Kong IPO after tech crackdown | Financial Times – interesting move, especially given Netease’s exposure to the edutech sector

‘If Masa said yes, who am I to object?’: SoftBank deals unleash internal compliance tensions | Financial Times – sounds like desperate measures


Is Pax Sinica possible?China will need to start upholding democratic values and norms, and cultivating peaceful relationships with other countries. Pax Americana has survived for so long, because many countries, including China’s neighbours, rely heavily on the US for trade, finance, technology, and security. They will be reluctant to accept Pax Sinica, unless China offers them something better. And that must begin with pax – I suspect that Premier Xi would be thinking more along the lines of mercantilistic trade relationships and vassal statehood, which would be more in keeping with pre-revolutionary China

Consumer behaviour

Everybody needs to get vaccinated, says Tilman Fertitta – Fertitta’s comments about employees admitting that they had fake vaccines cards is pretty disturbing. It isn’t like vaccines are in short supply in the markets that has restaurants in like New York. The counterfeit vaccine cards must be more about avoiding vaccines all together

Historical language records reveal a surge of cognitive distortions in recent decades | PNASIndividuals with depression are prone to maladaptive patterns of thinking, known as cognitive distortions, whereby they think about themselves, the world, and the future in overly negative and inaccurate ways. These distortions are associated with marked changes in an individual’s mood, behavior, and language. We hypothesize that societies can undergo similar changes in their collective psychology that are reflected in historical records of language use. Here, we investigate the prevalence of textual markers of cognitive distortions in over 14 million books for the past 125 y and observe a surge of their prevalence since the 1980s, to levels exceeding those of the Great Depression and both World Wars. This pattern does not seem to be driven by changes in word meaning, publishing and writing standards, or the Google Books sample. Our results suggest a recent societal shift toward language associated with cognitive distortions and internalizing disorders. – literally society is sick

The xenophobic chicken and the propaganda egg: disentangling official and popular nationalism in China – by Kevin Carrico – NSL can’t cancel me – you could not make some of this up. But then, you also couldn’t make up the QAnon community if you tried either.

‘Sales funnels’ and high-value men: the rise of strategic dating | Dating | The Guardian – I suspect this is an edge case but its interesting

Where have all the pre-teens gone? – The Face 


ongoing by Tim Bray · Apps Getting WorseEvery high-tech company has people called “Product Managers” (PMs) whose job it is to work with customers and management and engineers to define what products should do. No PM in history has ever said “This seems to be working pretty well, let’s leave it the way it is.” Because that’s not bold. That’s not visionary. That doesn’t get you promoted. – This also explains why Skype got designed into irrelevancy


Unilever installs a detergent refill machine in Mumbai | Trendwatching – this all feels like things have gone full circle. My Mum and Dad growing up as children in rural Ireland talked about how many dry goods products were sold by weight in the village store. My Granny used to keep spices and flavourings for baking in a bucket sized tin that she’d been gifted decades before by the village store owner. Used packaging was a community asset rather than a liability. The biscuits were sold by the dozen in a paper bag by the shopkeeper. I can just about remember the village store and its long time owner Mrs Paddy Kelly, (Mr Kelly had died decades ago but I have no idea what Mrs Kelly’s name was). By the time I was born, it was more like a modern convenience store, with a farm supplies store attached. Electricity had come to the farm when I was three or four, so we had a fridge and an icebox – ideal for a block of HB vanilla ice cream that came back from the shop wrapped in newsprint to try and keep it cold.

Secondly, by having a vending machine in store; Unilever are still managing to keep control of their brand.


Japan’s fractured polity exposed by COVID-19 crisis – Nikkei AsiaWhatever the intention, the public sees hypocrisy, inconsistency and incompetence. The vaccination rollout has been a mess. The public was asked to practice “self-restraint” and stay at home for the fourth state of emergency as the country opened its doors to tens of thousands of athletes and officials for the 2020 Olympics. 

This dismal state of affairs clashes with the image of competence and professionalism that Japan has enjoyed for decades, and for which it is admired around the world. 

Japan looks good in international COVID comparisons, but by its own standards, the situation is perceived as chaotic and a failure of leadership. The public has lost faith. Cynicism has spread as people blame a sclerotic government that does not seem to understand the many recent transformations of Japanese society


South Africa grants patent to an AI system known as DABUS — Quartz AfricaThe patent application listing DABUS as the inventor was filed in patent offices around the world, including the US, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. But only South Africa granted the patent (Australia followed suit a few days later after a court judgment gave the go-ahead). South Africa’s decision has received widespread backlash from intellectual property experts. Some have labelled it a mistake, or an oversight by the patent office. However, as a patent and AI scholar whose PhD aims to address the gaps in patent law created by AI inventorship, I suggest that the decision is supported by the government’s policy environment in recent years. This has aimed to increase innovation, and views technology as a way to achieve this – back when I worked for DSM before I went to college, a lot of of our patented products were developed using software that tested and then gave us optimal formulas – yet the patents went to the doctor who was the nominal head of the lab


LVMH’s Deal With Google Is Groundbreaking. Here’s Why.develop business solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI), it raised many questions about how brands are embracing the use of digital technologies to reshape the luxury experience. Google said they would join forces to empower LVMH’s individual luxury brands to create new, personalised customer experiences that fostered long-term growth, through functions like demand forecasting, inventory optimisation, as well as develop new business use cases at scale and explore co-innovation opportunities by launching a data and AI Academy in Paris

Luxury Daily | Have China’s ‘trafific stars’ become toxic for beauty brands? – Chinese versions of K-pop stars are becoming embroiled in scandals that affect their brand partners


Crocs, Ralph Lauren, LV All Get More Expensive As Apparel Prices Soar – Apparel prices across US retailers rose nearly 5% in June, the biggest leap in a decade.


ongoing by Tim Bray · Apps Getting Worse – Every high-tech company has people called “Product Managers” (PMs) whose job it is to work with customers and management and engineers to define what products should do. No PM in history has ever said “This seems to be working pretty well, let’s leave it the way it is.” Because that’s not bold. That’s not visionary. That doesn’t get you promoted. – this explains why Skype got designed into irrelevancy


Why Puma cancelled a $2.7 million deal with Nigeria — Quartz AfricaNigeria’s current sports administrators are delighted. The athletics federation said Nigeria’s sports minister had successfully stopped athletes from receiving Puma bags containing about 40 items each in Tokyo through the Nigerian embassy. To this set of administrators, the 2019 deal was not properly agreed between Puma and previous leaders of Nigeria’s athletics body


General Dynamics Mission Systems Introduces Badger Software-Defined Radio – Soldier Systems Daily – interesting decline in size, but much slower than would be likely to happen in the commercial space

Samsung flagships can no longer compete with the Chinese smartphonesThe current flagship Galaxy S21 series has never managed to win worldwide love. Judging by the information from South Korean publications, the flagships, which were supposed to destroy competitors, failed miserably in sales. Based on the report of Counterpoint analysts, it can be concluded that the Galaxy S21 series has not been able to repeat the success of any of its predecessors, starting with the Galaxy S5 – this looks like PC sales when ‘white box manufacturers’ disrupted Winter brands such as IBM and Compaq

Research Alliances Grow to Learn How 6G Will Play Out – EE Times Europe


Jack “dekfarang” Brown is having a tantrum – by Andrew MacGregor Marshall – Secret Siam – foreign influencers enjoyed by Thais were a thing I didn’t even know about