ShinyShiny tech roundup: Apple to scan iPhones for child sex abuse images

Apple has announced details of a system to find child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on US customers’ devices. Before an image is stored onto iCloud Photos, the technology will search for matches of already known CSAM. Apple said that if a match is found a human reviewer will then assess and report the user to law enforcement. However, there are privacy concerns that the technology could be expanded to scan phones for prohibited content or even political speech. Experts worry that the technology could be used by authoritarian governments to spy on its citizens. Apple said that new versions of iOS and iPadOS – due to be released later this year – will have “new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of CSAM online, while designing for user privacy”. BBC 

A senior Apple engineer has claimed she has been placed on administrative leave after raising concerns about sexism and health and safety failings in the office. Ashley Gjøvik, a senior engineering programme manager at the iPhone maker, tweeted about an alleged “toxic culture” and “hostile” work environment at the iPhone-maker. It comes as Apple staff clash with management over a return to office working. In a rare move by an employee at the notoriously secretive Silicon Valley company, Ms Gjøvik alleged she had been subjected to sexist treatment in the workplace and placed on paid leave after she complained. Apple has opened an investigation into the claims, its second investigation into Ms Gjøvik’s complaints. Her complaints included that Apple managers asked her to change her tone of voice, which she called “tonepolicing”, in meetings. Telegraph

Microsoft is planning to integrate Spotify into a new Windows 11 feature. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows and devices, teased the Focus Sessions Windows 11 feature on Twitter this week, and it appears to be a new way to focus on tasks and work. Focus Sessions includes Spotify integration, allowing you to create a focus timer to work through tasks while listening to playlist of music from Spotify. Microsoft hasn’t started testing Focus Sessions in its public builds of Windows 11 yet, but from the video Panay teased it appears to be built into the operating system’s Clock app. It looks like it’s following the Pomodoro Technique, a method of managing time by breaking down work into smaller chunks with short breaks. The Verge 

SpaceX set a world record this week for the tallest rocket ever assembled after it stacked and mated its Starship spacecraft onto the company’s main Super Heavy rocket booster, beating out the NASA Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon. Starship Serial No. 20 (SN20) was hoisted up by crane onto the main Super Heavy booster on the morning of Friday, August 6, outside of Boca Chica, Texas, as part of a stacking test in preparation for Starship’s first ever orbital launch later this year, per Tech Radar

Huawei revealed its biggest-ever decline in revenue in the first half of 2021 – it fell by almost 30% to Rmb320 billion (£35.5 billion). The firm sold part of its mobile phone business following US sanctions, which analysts say contributed to the drop. Sanctions make it hard for Huawei to buy components and software using US technology. Revenue from Huawei’s consumer electronics arm, which includes phones, fell by 47%. Huawei also cited the effect of the chip shortage on its business. BBC 

Volkswagen is set to introduce smaller and cheaper all-electric ID. models with a VW ID.2 baby SUV followed by a supermini EV later, and the cars could well be manufactured by SEAT in Spain. VW has been working on a more affordable version of the all-electric MEB platform that underpins the likes of the ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq for over three years. The project, codenamed MEB Entry, is expected to spawn at least four new models in the middle of the decade for the German and Czech brands, along with SEAT. Following Volkswagen’s existing naming convention, the two badges at the bottom of the ID. line-up, ID.1 and ID.2, will be used for a supermini and a small SUV respectively. Teasers in recent VW Group presentations suggest that the ID.2 will be the first to arrive, appearing before the end of 2025. Auto Express

Chris Price