Apple’s Safety Check Is Built to Prevent ‘Terrifying’ Consequences – CNET
This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference. What’s happening Apple’s announced a new Safety Check feature to help potential victims in abusive relationships. Why it matters This is the latest example of the tech industry taking on tough personal technology issues that don’t have clear…
This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET’s complete coverage from and about Apple’s annual developers conference. What’s happening Apple’s announced a new Safety Check feature to help potential victims in abusive relationships. Why it matters This is the latest example of the tech industry taking on tough personal technology issues that don’t have clear or easy answers. What’s next Apple is communicating with victim-survivor advocacy organizations to identify other features that can help people in crisis. Among the long-requested and popular new features Apple plans to bring to the iPhone this fall, like undo send for iMessage texts and emails as well as a function to find and remove duplicate photos, is one that could mean life or death when it’s used.On Monday, Apple announced Safety Check, a new feature within the settings of an iPhone or iPad, designed to aid domestic violence victims. The setting, coming this fall with iOS 16, is meant to help someone quickly cut ties with a potential abuser. Safety Check does this either by helping a person quickly see with whom they’re automatically sharing information like their location or photos, or by disabling access and information sharing to every device other than the one in their hands.Notably, the app also includes a prominent button at the top right of the screen, labeled Quick Exit. As the name implies, it’s designed to help a potential victim quickly hide that they’d been looking at Safety Check, in case their abuser doesn’t allow them privacy. If the abuser reopens the settings app, where Safety Check is kept, it’ll start at the default general settings page, effectively covering up the victim’s tracks. “Many people share passwords and access to their devices with a partner,” Katie Skinner, a privacy engineering manager at Apple, said at the company’s WWDC event Monday. “However, in abusive relationships, this can threaten personal safety and make it harder for victims to get help.”Safety Check, and the careful way in which it was coded, are part of a larger effort among tech companies to stop their products from being used as tools of abuse. It’s also the latest sign of Apple’s willingness to wade into building technology to tackle sensitive topics. And though the company says it’s earnest in its approach, it’s drawn criticism for some of its moves. Last year, the company announced efforts to detect child exploitation imagery on some of its phones, tablets and computers, a move that critics worried could erode Apple’s commitment to privacy. Still, victim advocates say Apple’s one of the few large companies publicly working on these issues. While many tech giants including Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google have built and implemented systems designed to detect abusive imagery and behavior on their respective sites, they’ve struggled to build tools that stop abuse as it’s happening.Unfortunately, the abuse has gotten worse. A survey of practitioners who work on domestic violence conducted in November 2020 found that 99.3% had clients who had experienced “technology-facilitated stalking and abuse,” according to the Women’s Services Network, which worked on the report with Curtin University in Australia. Moreover, the organizations learned that reports of GPS tracking of victims had jumped more than 244% since they last conducted the survey in 2015. Amid all this, tech companies like Apple have increasingly worked working with victim organizations to understand how their tools can be both misused by a perpetrator and helpful to a potential victim. The result are features, like Safety Check’s Quick Exit button, that advocates say are a sign Apple’s building these features in what they call a “trauma-informed” way.”Most people cannot appreciate the sense of urgency” many victims have, said Renee Williams, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “Apple’s been very receptive.”Apple says there are more than a billion iPhones being used around the world. Apple/Screenshot by CNET Tough issuesSome of the tech industry’s biggest wins have come from identifying abusers. In 2009, Microsoft helped create image recognition software called PhotoDNA, which is now used by social networks and websites around the world to identify child abuse imagery when it’s uploaded to the internet. Similar programs have since been built to help identify known terrorist recruitment videos, livestreams of mass shootings and other things that large tech companies try to keep off their platforms.As tech has become more pervasive in our lives, these efforts have taken on increased importance. And unlike adding a new video technology or increasing a computer’s performance, these social issues don’t always have clear answers.In 2021, Apple made one of its first public moves into victim-focused technology when it announced new features for its iMessage service designed to analyze messages sent to users marked as children to determine if their attachments contained nudity. If its system suspected an image, it would blur the attachment and warn the person receiving it to make sure they’d wanted to see it. Apple’s service would also point children to resources that could help them if they’re being victimized through the service.At the time, Apple said it built the message-scanning technology with privacy in mind. But activists worried Apple’s system was also designed to alert an identified parent if their child chose to view the suspected attached image anyway. That, some critics said, could incite abuse from a potentially dangerous parent. Apple’s additional efforts to detect potential child abuse images that might be synchronized to its photo service through iPhones, iPads and Mac computers was criticized by security experts who worried it could be misused.Still, victim advocates acknowledged that Apple was one of the few device companies working on tools meant to support victims of potential abuse as it’s happening. Microsoft and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment about whether they plan to introduce features akin to Safety Check to help victims who might be using Windows and Xbox software for PCs and video game consoles, or Android mobile software for phones and tablets.Apple introduced a system for child safety in iMessages last year. Apple Learning, but much to doThe tech industry has been working with victims organizations for over a decade, seeking ways to adopt safety mindsets within their products. Advocates say that in the past few years in particular, many safety teams have grown within the tech giants, staffed in some cases with people from the nonprofit world who worked on the issues the tech industry was taking on. Apple started consulting with some victims rights advocates about Safety Check last year, asking for input and ideas for how to best build the system. “We are starting to see recognition that there is a corporate or social responsibility to ensure your apps can’t be too simply misused,” Karen Bentley, CEO of Wesnet. And she said that’s particularly tough because, as technology has evolved to become easier to use, so has the potential for it to be a tool of abuse.That’s part of why she says Apple’s Safety Check is “brilliant,” because it can quickly and easily separate someone’s digital information and communications from their abuser. “If you’re experiencing domestic violence you’re likely to be experiencing some of that violence in technology,” she said.Though Safety Check has moved from an idea into test software and will be made widely available with the iOS 16 suite of software updates for iPhones and iPads in the fall, Apple said it plans more work on these issues. Unfortunately, Safety Check doesn’t extend to ways abusers might be tracking people using devices they don’t own — such as if someone slips one of Apple’s $29 AirTag trackers into their coat pocket or onto their car to stalk them. Safety Check also isn’t designed for phones set up under child accounts, for people under the age of 13, though the feature’s still in testing and could change. “Unfortunately, abusers are persistent and are constantly updating their tactics,” said Erica Olsen, project director for Safety Net, a program from the National Network to End Domestic Violence that trains companies, community groups and governments on how to improve victim safety and privacy. “There will always be more to do in this space.”Apple said it’s expanding training with its employees who interact with customers, including sales people in its stores, to know how features like Safety Check work and be able to teach it when appropriate. The company has also created guidelines for its support staff to help identify and help potential victims.In one instance, for example, AppleCare teams are being taught to listen for when an iPhone owner calls expressing concern that they don’t have control over their own device or their own iCloud account. In another, AppleCare can guide someone on how to remove their Apple ID from a family group.Apple also updated its personal safety user guide in January to instruct people how to reset and regain control of an iCloud account that might be compromised or being used as a tool for abuse.Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, said the company will continue expanding its personal safety features as part of its larger commitment to its customers. “Protecting you and your privacy is, and will always be, the center of what we do,” he said.
Britney Spears Shares ‘Like a Virgin’ Dance With Madonna at Her Wedding
Spears is seen getting close to Madonna for some “Like a Virgin” fun in a new video from her wedding reception. Madonna, with special guest singer Britney Spears, performs during her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Dodger Stadium on November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/GI The footage from Britney Spears and Sam…
Spears is seen getting close to Madonna for some “Like a Virgin” fun in a new video from her wedding reception. Madonna, with special guest singer Britney Spears, performs during her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Dodger Stadium on November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/GI The footage from Britney Spears and Sam Asghari’s wedding keeps coming. In a new clip shared on social media on Saturday (June 11), Spears gave fans one more glimpse at what it was like to celebrate with her famous friends, courtesy of another clip featuring Madonna. Spears is seen smooching and dancing with her husband, showing off her wedding gown and getting close to Madonna for a little “Like a Virgin” fun in a series of wedding reception videos posted this weekend. Explore See latest videos, charts and news See latest videos, charts and news Spears and Asghari tied the knot on Thursday (June 9), eight months after they announced their engagement. The pair met in 2016 on the set of the singer’s “Slumber Party” video. “LIVING IS GIVING … pssss don’t worry I had my first diamond thong underneath my jacket … hope I didn’t offend anyone,” the pop star captioned the latest post from her wedding celebration, where at some point in the night she’d also recreated her legendary kiss with Madonna from the 2003 MTV VMAs. In another cute video that had already circulated after the nuptials, Spears, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, Drew Barrymore and Donatella Versace were seen singing along to another Madonna’s classic, “Vogue.” Check out the “Like a Virgin” moment, which happens about 23 seconds into the clip below. Get weekly rundowns straight to your inbox Subscribe
Military abortion options expected to be debated in annual defense bill process
The nationwide debate over abortion will be a key point of contention in the upcoming defense authorization bill process later this month, with a key Democratic lawmaker saying the issue needs to be part of the military readiness discussion.“If readiness is impacted by the fact that women are going to have to travel thousands of…
The nationwide debate over abortion will be a key point of contention in the upcoming defense authorization bill process later this month, with a key Democratic lawmaker saying the issue needs to be part of the military readiness discussion.“If readiness is impacted by the fact that women are going to have to travel thousands of miles when they are in need of an abortion service, then we need to look at that,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said this week.Committee staff said no specific language regarding military abortion services or access was included in the personnel section of the measure approved on Wednesday. Instead, the language focuses on things like the annual military pay raise and family support provisions.But committee members will be able to offer a wide range of amendments on the issue as part of the full committee mark up on June 22.RELATEDSpeier would not specify what proposals she or her colleagues will offer on the issue, but said that servicemembers should not be treated like “second-class citizens” when it comes to access to health care services.“We need to clarify for service members who are raped, subjected to incest or have situations in which their life is at risk: Where can they actually get an abortion?” she said.Last week, Speier and 81 other Democratic House members unveiled legislation that would allow military medical treatment facilities to provide abortion services to members of the military. Under current law, those procedures are banned except in cases of rape, incest and critical medical need.But supporters say they believe a change is needed in the wake of reports that the Supreme Court later this summer could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion across America.RELATEDAt least 26 states — including locations like Texas, with major military bases — have indicated they will outlaw the procedure within days of such a Supreme Court decision. Speier and other democratic lawmakers have said that would leave military members assigned to those locations without medical options if they find themselves in need of an abortion.Separately, numerous lawmakers have asked for defense officials to clarify rules regarding leave time and travel assistance if female troops seek an abortion across state lines. Army officials have said they are looking into the issue.Past committee debates over the availability of abortion services at overseas military bases have provided some contentious moments in the annual defense bill work, with conservative lawmakers firmly against any loosening of the current rules.Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.
Mo Donegal wins pulling away, leads 1-2 finish for Pletcher at Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest…
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest to win the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher a 1-2 finish and his sixth Triple Crown victory, including four at this track on the outskirts of New York City. “To be honest with you, we were a little confident going into the race today,” Donegal Racing CEO and co-owner Jerry Crawford said. “When he turned for home, I was like, forget about it. I know Todd thought he could get a strong last quarter mile, and he surely did.” Rich Strike, a stunning Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth. Mo Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths ahead of Nest — ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Jose. Pletcher, who lives on Long Island, adds another Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017. Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse field without a clear favorite. We the People, a monster in the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a rainy forecast but reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off. Mo Donegal entered the gate the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal and Ortiz took charge coming out of the final turn. The 3-year-old colt paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest — who nearly became Pletcher’s second filly to win Belmont after Rags to Riches — paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to show. We the People finished fourth. Rich Striker owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed held the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Preakness with an eye on Belmont, the first healthy horse to skip Pimlico after winning the Triple Crown’s first even since 1985. Reed said the team encouraged jockey Sonny Leon to try pushing Rich Strike from the outside, but the horse kept trying to get back inside — where he made a late charge past 19 horse to win at Churchill Downs. Rich Strike spent much of the race in last place and couldn’t recover. “I think we just made a tactical error,” Reed said. Just like Rich Strike, Mo Donegal was at the back of the pack at the Derby, but the colt didn’t have enough kick at Churchill Downs. He found it Saturday, winning the 154th running of the $1.5 million race. Mo Donegal made a winner out of co-owner Mike Repole, a local entrepreneur known around the track as “Mike from Queens.” Repole also co-owns Nest. “This is New York’s biggest race and to win it here, with my family and friends and 70 people here, this will be a big winner’s circle,” he said. It’s the fourth straight year the Triple Crown contests were won by three different horses, a first for the sport since 1926-29. The race marked a return to form for Belmont itself after the 2020 Stakes were closed to the public due to the pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to 11,238 spectators by virus restrictions. Capacity was capped again, this time at 50,000, because of congestion concerns stemming from the newly built arena next door for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Still, fans crammed into cars on the Long Island Rail Road and breathed life into the 117-year-old track with floral headwear, pastel suits and the unmistakable musk of booze and cigars. The reported attendance of 46,103 fell far short of the grounds record 120,139 set in 2004. Not much of a surprise, given the shaky weather forecast and the lack of a Triple Crown contender. The field was sparse, too. No horse ran all three Triple Crown legs this year, heightening concern that three races in five weeks may be too tight a schedule to keep the horses healthy. Preakness winner Early Voting was sidelined, likely to prepare for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27. Epicenter, the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, also skipped. In the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, Matareya romped to a 6 1/4-length victory. Favorite Echo Zulu scratched at the post on the advice of the track veterinarian. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya ($2.60) ran the mile in 1:35.77, winning for the fifth time in eight career starts. Heavily favored Flightline got off a step slow, overcame an early traffic issue and cruised to a six-length victory in the $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Mile. The victory kept the 4-year-old Tapit colt undefeated in four career starts. This was the first one he did not win by double-digit lengths. Flightline ($2.90) was also ridden by Prat and trained by John Sadler.