Archive for January 28, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021

ProtonMail Opposes EU Golden Key

ProtonMail (via Hacker News):

In December 2020, The Council of the European Union released a five-page resolution that called for the EU to pass new rules to govern the use of end-to-end encryption in Europe. We strongly oppose this resolution because it foreshadows an attack on encryption.


While it’s not explicitly stated in the resolution, it’s widely understood that the proposal seeks to allow law enforcement access to encrypted platforms via backdoors. However, the resolution makes a fundamental misunderstanding: encryption is an absolute. Data is either encrypted or it isn’t; users have privacy, or they don’t.


Apple’s Q1 2021 Results

Apple (Hacker News):

The Company posted all-time record revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.68, up 35 percent. International sales accounted for 64 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Jason Snell (transcript, also: MacRumors):

Year over year, iPhone revenue was up 17% and set a new record, iPad revenue was up 41% to its best showing in six years, Mac revenue was up 21%, Services revenue was up 24% to a new record, and Wearables revenue was up 30 to a new record%.

Jason Snell:

There have been seven better quarters in the history of the iPad. It’s just that they were all between 2012 and 2015. This most recent iPad quarter was the best since the holiday quarter six years ago.


Here’s the message: The move to Apple silicon is going to spur Mac growth like never before. Apple’s M1 Macs were incredibly well received, but it’s still just the beginning of the transition. Cook is telling investors, and everyone else, that Apple expects the move to Apple silicon to put its competition in the PC market to shame and fuel a major boost to the Mac.


The integration of hardware with software is Apple’s secret sauce, or “the magic,” as Cook puts it. But look at the change to that recipe! It’s now the integration of hardware, software, and services.


Facebook May Sue Over App Tracking Transparency

Juli Clover:

Facebook today shared its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s opening remarks were focused on Apple’s upcoming anti-tracking privacy changes that will impact the advertising industry and companies like Facebook that rely heavily on online advertising.

As highlighted by The Washington Post, Zuckerberg claimed that Apple is changing its privacy policy not to help people, but to further its own interests.


Late last year, to give you additional time to prepare, we had temporarily deferred the requirement to use AppTrackingTransparency when requesting permission to track users and access device advertising identifiers. This requirement now goes into effect starting with the upcoming beta update, and will roll out to everyone in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14.

Chance Miller (Hacker News):

Facebook is reportedly planning to take its long-running battle with Apple to the courts. The Information reports that Facebook has been working with outside legal counsel to prepare an antitrust lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company “abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.”


The report cautions, however, that Facebook might not end up filing the antitrust lawsuit against Apple. In fact, Facebook executives are said to be “facing internal resistance” from employees about the gearing up against Apple.


Update (2021-02-05): Sara Fischer (via Hacker News):

Facebook is testing a notification that notifies Apple iOS users about ways the tech giant uses their data to target personalized ads to them.

Update (2021-03-14): Bobby Allyn (via Hacker News):

Zuckerberg has long said the only way to build a social network that connects billions of people is for the platform to be free to use and supported by advertising. It is often said that when a tech service is “free,” users pay mightily with their data. And that is the case with Facebook, which compiles its own portrait of its users through granular behavior tracking and also has a lucrative business of selling data to third-parties, like data brokers and advertisers.


“I think Facebook is worrying about, ‘This is just a first step for Apple. What could be in the next one to two years if they further put the clamps down around data privacy as well as advertising?’” he said. “Apple knows in this regulatory environment, not being flexible on privacy is ultimately going to be come down on their side.”

Juli Clover:

App Tracking Transparency will threaten Facebook’s view-through conversion tracking, a metric that lets ad companies figure out how many people saw an ad, didn’t click it, but later made a purchase related to the ad. Retailers can record the info of the person who bought an item and then share it with Facebook, with Facebook able to determine whether that person’s IDFA matches with a user who saw an ad for the product purchased.

CNBC says that the loss of this info could heavily impact Facebook because if advertisers can’t accurately measure the effectiveness of Instagram and Facebook ads, they might shift more of their budget to other apps and services.

Facebook’s Audience Network, which provides advertisements in non-Facebook apps, will also be impacted because it uses IDFA data to choose the best ads to show to users based on Facebook data. If users opt out of sharing the IDFA, Facebook’s ad personalization efforts will be rendered useless outside of its own apps.

Update (2021-03-22): Juli Clover:

“It’s possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple’s changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms,” Zuckerberg said in a Clubhouse meeting this afternoon.

Data Privacy Day at Apple


January 28 is Data Privacy Day, a time to raise awareness about the importance of protecting people’s personal information online. Apple is commemorating Data Privacy Day by sharing “A Day in the Life of Your Data,” an easy-to-understand report illustrating how companies track user data across websites and apps. The report also shares how privacy features across Apple’s products give users more transparency and control, empowering people with the tools and knowledge to protect their personal information.

Jason Snell (MacRumors):

On Thursday—which is apparently Data Privacy Day at Apple—Tim Cook gave a speech at the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection 2021 conference.

In it, he made some very pointed comments about companies that don’t share Apple’s commitment to building products that provide users with choices about what level of privacy or tracking they’re comfortable with.

Not that tracking doesn’t matter, but I’m much more concerned about leakage of my private data. This is an area where Apple’s policies offer limited protection and actually get in the way of users taking steps to protect themselves. I’d like to see Apple give users the choice to:


Update (2021-01-30): See also: Apple’s Q1 2021 Results.

Update (2021-02-05): Ken Harris:

I never understood why Apple made only a single generic “Network Client” entitlement.

That’s the network version of “Full Disk Access”, only scarier, and without any “User Selected” alternative.

Mac Mini Power Consumption and Thermal Output Specs

John Gruber:

A few weeks ago, Apple added the new M1 model to their support page listing the power consumption and thermal output of all Mac Mini models (including the 2005 original, which used a PowerPC G4 CPU). The numbers from 2014 onward are rather striking[…]


Historically, it’s worth noting that the M1 Mac Mini’s maximum power consumption and thermal output are only ever so slightly higher than the idle power/thermal numbers for the original 2005 PowerPC G4 Mac Mini. A new M1 Mac Mini running at full speed uses about the same power as a G4 Mac Mini did just sitting there with the Finder open doing nothing. I don’t have GeekBench numbers handy for the G4 Mac Mini, but I believe the new M1 models are noticeably faster.