Beware the Four Horsemen

How far would you go to protect your children from sexual predators? How much privacy would you give up to try to prevent the sharing of child pornography? We are now faced squarely with those questions because Apple has just announced some new initiatives that it believes will curb the viewing and sharing of pornographic images. But we need to be extremely careful here. The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse are pedophiles, terrorists, drug dealers and organized crime. When someone asks you what privacy and civil liberties you would be willing to give up to stop these undeniably bad things, you need to replace their bogeyman with other straw men and make sure your convictions still hold. Technologies that can be used to stop something you hate today can also be used to stop things you don’t tomorrow. Today I’ll discuss Apple’s new “child safety” initiatives and explain why I think they’re making the wrong tradeoffs. And also why they are actually not that effective and even potentially harmful to children.

In other news: Both T-Mobile and AT&T appear to have suffered massive data breaches of current and even prospective customers; Microsoft’s PrintNightmare continues, despite several attempts to fix the issues; millions of home routers, web cams and baby monitors are vulnerable to a new attacks; Facebook is trying to help Afgans hide their friends lists in the face of Taliban reprisals; your IoT devices are horrible with random numbers, and that’s a huge security risk; a secret terrorist watch list with almost 2 million people has leaked; and the OAuth web app authentication system is ripe for hacking, potentially putting several of your accounts at risk.

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