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Checklist 379: Privacy and Security at WWDC24

June 14, 2024

Apple’s WWDC 2024 highlights: Introducing Apple Intelligence, app locking, improved contact permissions, Guest Access for Home App, and a standalone Passwords app.

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Checklist 379: Privacy and Security at WWDC24

Apple Unveils “Apple Intelligence” at WWDC, Combining AI with Personal Privacy

In a significant move during this week’s WWDC keynote, Apple introduced “Apple Intelligence,” a new AI-powered system leveraging the company’s advanced silicon technology to enhance user experiences. This initiative, humorously termed “Apple Intelligence” instead of the conventional “Artificial Intelligence,” aims to seamlessly integrate generative models with personal context for enhanced functionality across Apple’s ecosystem.

The Power and Potential of Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence promises to perform a wide array of tasks, from correcting grammar and spelling to generating emojis (dubbed “Genmoji”) and executing multi-app commands efficiently. The system aims to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks, utilizing the capabilities of Apple’s A-series and M-series processors.

Addressing AI Hallucinations

Despite its promising features, concerns about the reliability of Apple Intelligence were addressed. Tim Cook, in an interview with The Washington Post, acknowledged the possibility of AI hallucinations—a phenomenon where AI models generate inaccurate or nonsensical outputs. Cook emphasized Apple’s efforts to ensure high quality but admitted it isn’t infallible.

Security and Privacy Measures

A cornerstone of Apple Intelligence is its emphasis on user privacy and security. Apple has ensured that most data processing happens on-device, reducing the need to collect user data. For more complex tasks requiring cloud processing, Apple introduced Private Cloud Compute (PCC), which extends the security and privacy of Apple devices to the cloud. PCC ensures that user data is processed securely and deleted immediately after the task is completed, with no data accessible to Apple or retained on the servers.

Safeguards Against Security Breaches

Apple employs rigorous measures to safeguard its PCC hardware, including high-resolution imaging and extensive validation processes. The company also employs target diffusion to minimize the impact of small-scale attacks. Furthermore, Apple commits to verifiable transparency by allowing security researchers to inspect the software images of every production build of PCC.

Integration with ChatGPT

In a notable collaboration, Apple has integrated ChatGPT into its system, allowing users to access its capabilities directly through Siri. Users will be asked for consent before any data is sent to ChatGPT, ensuring privacy is maintained. Notably, users can access ChatGPT without creating an account, as Apple obscures IP addresses and ensures that OpenAI does not store requests.

Availability and Device Compatibility

Apple Intelligence will be available on Macs and iPads with M-series processors, as well as the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. The extent of compatibility with future iPhone models remains to be seen, with new releases anticipated in the fall.

For further details, Apple has published an in-depth overview of its security measures on its official website, emphasizing the company’s commitment to privacy and security in its AI endeavors.

Apple Introduces Enhanced Privacy and Security Features at WWDC 2024

During this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced several new privacy and security features set to roll out with its upcoming operating systems, stirring both excitement and controversy among users.

Locking and Hiding Apps

One of the most talked-about features is the ability to lock and hide apps. This functionality allows users to keep certain apps private, ensuring that they can only be accessed with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. The controversy arises from the potential for misuse, such as hiding apps for secretive purposes. However, Apple highlights legitimate uses, like protecting sensitive apps from children or maintaining privacy in abusive situations.

Enhanced Contact Permissions

iOS 18 introduces improved contact permissions, giving users more control over which contacts they share with apps. This change prevents apps from accessing the entire contact list, enhancing user privacy. Additionally, the new Accessory Setup Kit enables developers to pair accessories without revealing all network-connected devices, ensuring a more private and seamless setup process.

Home App Security Updates

The Home App receives a significant security upgrade with the introduction of Guest Access. This feature allows users to grant temporary and regulated access to smart home devices for guests, such as contractors or housekeepers, and set specific access times and permissions. This customizable approach enhances home security management.

Standalone Password Manager

Confirming rumors, Apple unveiled a standalone Passwords app. This new app consolidates access to account passwords, passkeys, Wi-Fi passwords, and two-factor authentication codes stored securely in Keychain. It also provides alerts for weak passwords and those exposed in data breaches. The Passwords app is compatible across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, visionOS, and even Windows via iCloud.

Upcoming Releases and Testing

These new features are part of a broader set of updates coming with iOS and iPadOS 18, macOS Sequoia, and tvOS 18. Developer versions are currently available, with public beta testing set to begin next month. The full releases are anticipated in the fall.

For more detailed coverage on these updates, stay tuned as the public releases draw closer.

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