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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Apple is spying on you too

Apple cultists have long argued that Apple is superior to the Facebook Amazon Google Twitter technocabal because it protects user privacy in its walled garden. But that does not, in fact, appear to be the case, at least, not any longer.

On modern versions of macOS, you simply can’t power on your computer, launch a text editor or eBook reader, and write or read, without a log of your activity being transmitted and stored.

It turns out that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run, when you run it. Lots of people didn’t realize this, because it’s silent and invisible and it fails instantly and gracefully when you’re offline, but today the server got really slow and it didn’t hit the fail-fast code path, and everyone’s apps failed to open if they were connected to the internet.

Because it does this using the internet, the server sees your IP, of course, and knows what time the request came in. An IP address allows for coarse, city-level and ISP-level geolocation, and allows for a table that has the following headings:

Date, Time, Computer, ISP, City, State, Application Hash

Apple (or anyone else) can, of course, calculate these hashes for common programs: everything in the App Store, the Creative Cloud, Tor Browser, cracking or reverse engineering tools, whatever.

This means that Apple knows when you’re at home. When you’re at work. What apps you open there, and how often. They know when you open Premiere over at a friend’s house on their Wi-Fi, and they know when you open Tor Browser in a hotel on a trip to another city.

Now, there is only so much you can do to avoid this sort of thing. I prefer to operate under the full knowledge that my every online activity - and probably the greater part of my real world activities - are being watched, recorded, and processed for analysis, although at this point that's completely redundant given the fact that I am a confirmed badthinker and thought criminal. 

The thing is, living in a digital panopticon is really not a problem for any student of philosophy, much less any Christian. We are perfectly aware that all our secrets and our sins are known.

When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?

- Epictetus, Book I

But it is still good to know who the Watchers are, and Apple is now confirmed to be among them.

Labels:

54 Comments:

Blogger Sillon November 15, 2020 2:16 PM  

Or... Maaaaybe... Stop using things that spy on you like MacOS or Windows and start learning how to use Linux... Someone somewhere once said build your own platforms or something...?

(Using Linux on the desktop is kind of building your own platform)

Now I know not everybody can/know but at some point people should start considering that each time MS or Apple say "Assume the position" you do not have to bend and take it up the ass.

Blogger Karen took the Kids November 15, 2020 2:17 PM  

I wonder is Steve Jobs in a cryogenic chamber. I'd put the coof vaccines on hold for a bit.

Blogger Cedric November 15, 2020 2:18 PM  

When they forced all the application developers to submit all binaries/packages through their notarization process in 2019 in preparation for the release of Catalina, I figured something fishy was probably going on.

It was a very rapid thing that came up, it was quite disruptive especially in the particular field of software I work on, and that flew some red flags for me. It was disruptive enough that they needed to delay compliance a few times.

Fittingly, the name of the program checking notarization is called 'Gatekeeper'.

Blogger Dane November 15, 2020 2:21 PM  

In the past if you wanted to stay anonymous you had to go off grid. No internet. No phones. No electricity etc
Today with everyone being monitored 24/7 by big tech the only way to be anonymous is to be part of the herd.
Its easier to spot a blank space in the data than to find one Peter or Paul in thousands statewide or hundreds of thousand nationaly or millions globaly. Even if they do look at you specifically. Who cares if youve nothing to hide. Most of my passwords are the same. Mostly because i dont care if im hacked. My online life is mostly boring. Apart from bad think which I get from this blog Lmao

Blogger liberranter November 15, 2020 2:21 PM  

Incredible that anyone any longer believes that ANY of the tech titans, especially Apple, respects customer privacy (but hasn't the concept of "privacy" been derided by the Millennials and Gen-Z's as "sooooo 20th Century?"). The most insulting thing about Apple is that in addition to being every bit as Big Brother as their competition, they charge the gullible serfs obscene and unjustified sums for the "privilege" of being spied on and condescended to.

Blogger Fox Bear November 15, 2020 2:24 PM  

Apple Spy: Uh oh, this guy started following Alex Jones. He uses Bitchute, has a gab account, voted Trump AND doesn't have cable!

Apple: Does he still watch porno and bitch about problems instead of finding solutions?

Apple Spy: Yeah?

Apple: Low priority, level 0.5

Blogger Homesteader November 15, 2020 2:33 PM  

A useful reminder that privacy is always an illusion.

Best to live as though all can be seen by all.

In the end, there are no secrets.

Blogger Johnny November 15, 2020 2:39 PM  

Because these little cell phones can run a navigator, it is certain they know where you are if they want to know, and apparently they do. Reportedly Middle East terrorists that want to stay alive routinely pull the battery out of the phone. Plus I suppose the ordinary combatants. And then there is that camera. Think they can take a picture if they want to?

Blogger Autarky Bear November 15, 2020 2:42 PM  

This is a good reminder. All our online interaction is watched, recorded, and saved somehow. Especially things that could bring us shame or even be used to distract and confuse us to the truth. It is because of this I have decided because of your experience and wisdom Vox, to focus on what I can read and physically see happening in the world. My eyes and the voices of scholars throughout history are far more reliable in showing truth then what can be seen online.

Blogger VD November 15, 2020 2:50 PM  

Or... Maaaaybe... Stop using things that spy on you like MacOS or Windows and start learning how to use Linux... Someone somewhere once said build your own platforms or something...?

Don't try to Smart Boy us. What part of "that doesn't work" is hard to understand? It doesn't matter what OS you use, what mail server you use, it's all being vacuumed up and analyzed.

Blogger Sillon November 15, 2020 3:03 PM  

@10

Not trying to smart anything, just telling how it is.

Maybe, just maybe some of us know what we speak about.

Or are you suggesting that it is impossible to maintain privacy within your own network?

I do this for a living and I can tell you it is possible.

Maybe not as convenient as Windows or maybe not as cute as MacOS.

And I wasn't talking about specifics like email (which if one has his own infrastructure can be made secure and private between members), I'm talking about your own computer informing anyone of anything you do with it.

While you can't be sure what Windows or MacOS is doing on the background you can with Linux.

And that is a fact and should be said loud and clear, if you care about your privacy you should be looking into learning how to use it.

Aren't Microsoft or Apple not big tech?

Blogger eclecticme November 15, 2020 3:10 PM  

Louis Rossman on youtube has ranted about this and other Apple practices to prevent third party repair. I find him entertaining. I own no Apple products but if I did I would not trust the Apple store repair advice and always seek a second opinion.
https://youtu.be/aS2lJNQn3NA

Blogger VD November 15, 2020 3:12 PM  

Not trying to smart anything, just telling how it is.

No, you're not. It is a fool's game to think that you can use anything but a computer that never talks to the Internet or any other device and hide what is on it. And that won't protect you from everyone else's photos and recording devices.

The smart thing is to say nothing and do nothing you are not willing to see displayed on the big billboard in Times Square.

Blogger One Deplorable DT November 15, 2020 3:19 PM  

I have enough inside knowledge to know that at one time Apple did care about privacy and security. I knew that was starting to slip a few years ago. It's apparent now that such concerns are completely dead, and Apple is no better than Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook, or the NSA.

@10 - It doesn't matter what OS you use, what mail server you use, it's all being vacuumed up and analyzed.

You can reduce the amount of information that is being vacuumed up, and there is some value in that. But to be truly and consistently anonymous takes serious effort and requires one to completely, and in some cases physically, separate their anonymous activities from their real life. Simply running Linux, even over a VPN or Tor, is not going to protect you when you log into work and to Google and go about your normal, daily routine. At that point you might as well run Mac OS or Windows from your home IP.

What a dystopian nightmare of a world we've created. Moore's Law should have hit a brick wall in the mid-1990's for the good of humanity.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother November 15, 2020 3:19 PM  

Vince Glo'orto works for Apple?

Blogger Joe November 15, 2020 3:23 PM  

Their logo is a celebration of man's fall. It is foolish to trust Apple.

Blogger Beau November 15, 2020 3:38 PM  

Hey Apple,

Jesus is Lord. He is coming back to receive his own to Himself and to execute judgment upon the Earth of all peoples and nations and tongues and tribes, and yes, even combinations and associations. It is said, The kings of the Earth take their stand, and their rulers take council together, against the Lord and his annointed." Do you think your corporation escapes His notice?

Repent. Set aside your own unholy objectives or be smashed into pieces like a potter's vessel by the hand of God. Do you really want Him as your enemy? Assist true, not social, justice to flow like a mighty flowing stream, or stand in judgment.

Take the time now, today, to present yourself humble before the Throne of Grace. The alternative is exposure to the wrath of the Almighty, do you want that? That's not recommended. Would you rather not profit spiritually, ethically, and fiscally embracing the Good, Beautiful, and True?

Apple, you are in the valley of decision. Make a good one. Honor Jesus.

Blogger Warunicorn November 15, 2020 3:42 PM  

I'm halfway expecting them to require everyone to have a telescreen in every room of their homes. For the "common good," of course.

Adobe, along with The New York Times and Twitter, started the "Content Authenticity Intiative" a year ago under the guise of combating deepfakes and "misinformation."

But I know better, knowing who the gatekeepers and Watchers are. They should just call themselves the Ministry of Truth at this point.

https://news.adobe.com/news/news-details/2019/Adobe-The-New-York-Times-Company-and-Twitter-Announce-Content-Authenticity-Initiative-to-Develop-Industry-Standard-for-Content-Attribution/default.aspx

Blogger Delaware Blue Hen November 15, 2020 3:43 PM  

Tolkien was on to something with his creation of the the Eye of Sauron and the Rings of Power. Instead of rings, we all have computers and related devices--free gifts from Sauron to be used against us.

Blogger cecilhenry November 15, 2020 3:47 PM  

Can any tech experts tell me if a full Linux system helps this??

Because I can't be along in getting fed up with the invasion of privacy-- even privacy I don't know they're invading.

Blogger thechortling November 15, 2020 3:48 PM  

Who the Watchers are

You mean the voyeurs, freaks and pedo-godsery

Blogger weka November 15, 2020 3:50 PM  

Anyone who looks at the traffic reports from their. Log knows that.

Blogger thechortling November 15, 2020 3:53 PM  

>> it's all being vacuumed up and analyzed<<

Just watch Social Dilemma for the already out of date technerd fretting over this issue.

https://www.netflix.com/title/81254224

Blogger Ska_Boss November 15, 2020 3:55 PM  

Only the Truth can set you free.

Blogger crescent wrench November 15, 2020 3:58 PM  

Been going on forever:

In 2013 you could simply plug your ipod or iphone into your car and it would integrate with your stereo and work.

Now, in order to use carplay integration you have to turn on siri and allow it to record your every word.

Blogger Doom November 15, 2020 3:58 PM  

Games spy, some of them. Especially single players that won't allow you to play offline. Though, those which frequently "update", even with that turned off? I suspect they are sending data packs back. It's been that way for years, decades?

Blogger Zastavnik Džemo November 15, 2020 4:20 PM  

Linux distributions are financed and controlled by various corporations, most of them USA corporations.

Open source does not mean spyware free.

Not mentioning the fact that ALL hardware has spyware running on ring levels below operating system.

Also your ISP logs your internet activity by government mandate no matter what hardware or software you use.

Turning on a private-tab in a browser just highlighs your records in NSA/CIA.. databases

Using crypto-software puts a red flag on you.

Being an advanced Linux user puts an even bigger flag on you.

NSA has a standing directive of putting the highest spy priority on system/network admins and devops.

Anyone who believes Linux is a solution to anonimity problem is either a small kid role-playing a hacker, or an adult midwit thinking he is a Smart Boy because he knows a few bash commands.

Blogger Drop Bear November 15, 2020 4:25 PM  

The "build your own platforms" argument is mostly ill-conceived. I am sure in the days of the Roman Empire some smart-boy said "well just build your own roads".

Blogger bramley say Enoch woz right November 15, 2020 4:38 PM  

Read this article last night - it's truly dystopian.

Welcome to The Great Reset™, computing services provided by Apple ©.

Blogger eclecticme November 15, 2020 4:39 PM  

https://reclaimthenet.org/mailchimp-misinformation-censorship/
Mailchimp makes its censorship rules official, outlines right to ban users for “inaccurate” content

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 15, 2020 4:46 PM  

Drop Bear wrote:The "build your own platforms" argument is mostly ill-conceived.
You do realize that you are on the blog of the primary proponent of this argument, who is, in fact, building his own platforms? Right?
I'd hate to think you were that dumb, but, well, it is the internet.
Vox is building the following alternative platforms:
Social Galactic,
Castalia,
Arkhaven,
Dark Legion,
Infogalactic,
Unauthorized.tv

I'm sure I'm missing one or two.
So just fuck off, or maybe you too should get out there and DO SOMETHING, instead of bitching about it.

Blogger The Depolrable Podunk Ken Ramsey November 15, 2020 5:13 PM  

You could do something like run Tails, which is a 'secure' Linux distro that only runs in RAM and persists nothing. But that only offers limited utility, it does not address the needs I have for a computer. It's only good if you want to secure some communications, but not foolproof. As VD pointed out, whomever you're communicating with and every step in between remains a vulnerability.

The only way to run a secure network is to sternly isolate that network. It never connects to another network, every machine is known and controlled and every device plugged into any machine is known and controlled. Then as you pile on more and more users the complexities and vulnerabilities explode. Getting work done on an isolated network always was a tedious challenge and nowadays even more than ever.

You can't telework on a secured network either. Not possible. What another happy accident thanks to COVID! You finally set up your secure network and now the users can't come to the secure facilities it requires.

Well they are pushing us all off the Internet any way they can, anyhow. The Conservative Treehouse aka The Last Refuge got its walking papers today from Word Press. Just the latest one.

Blogger [Redacted] November 15, 2020 5:59 PM  

Thank you. Whenever Apple is mentioned in this light it is a seal of quality. A reminder of the discernment that came from knowledge of both Good and Evil.

Blogger Damelon Brinn November 15, 2020 6:03 PM  

Can any tech experts tell me if a full Linux system helps this??

Some, if you know what you're doing. You're certainly better off keeping your private files on your own hard drive rather than uploading them to someone's cloud, and the latter is more likely to happen if you're using a commercial OS like Apple's. But if you're going to use your Linux machine to connect to your Gmail account and Google Drive and various other online storage options and social media accounts, there's really no difference then.

If using a different OS would make you more secure, you're probably already doing it.

Blogger FrankUnderwood November 15, 2020 6:11 PM  

Linux is not only a good option for privacy, it’s also free to install, rock stable and runs very smooth on older hardware. Just make sure that the hardware is supported.

Today there is a huge amount of tutorials in text and video format on the internet telling you how to install and configure linux. Just pick a popular distro. Debian or something ubuntu derived is a good choice.

I switched myself back in the early days of windows 10 when the os decided to force a reboot and update. What a way to improve the user experience...

Blogger Brett baker November 15, 2020 6:13 PM  

That seems about right. Gulp!

Blogger gwood November 15, 2020 6:35 PM  

Having Linux doesn't help. Monitoring can be done below the OS level. Read up on the Intel Management Engine. AMD has an equivalent.

Blogger Sillon November 15, 2020 6:49 PM  

@27

I'm sure there is much more to Linux than just bash.

But what would I know I'm a mid wit after all.

Just so it is clear for all the clever people here:

A Linux operating system won't telegraph to any mother ship every little detail of what your computer do.

Windows does and MacOS does.

Linux doesn't protect you or cover your presence online if you're stupid which is what every clever person here is claiming and not what I am arguing about.

Nothing is unbreakable if the eye of Sauron looks over you (State)

Is it clear now? I know my English is not the best.

I repeat: "A Linux operating system won't telegraph to any mother ship every little detail of what your computer do." unless you tell it to.

Blogger buwaya November 15, 2020 7:34 PM  

At a conference at Apple last year, this was one of the security measures that they featured in their presentation, assuring that the inability to install enterprise level behavioral security monitoring software (used to track suspicious user behavior for internal threats, among other things) was not an issue, because they had it covered. So it is a plus and a minus?

Blogger Bezzle November 15, 2020 9:09 PM  

@3. Cedric November 15, 2020 2:18 PM
When they forced all the application developers to submit all binaries/packages through their notarization process in 2019 in preparation for the release of Catalina, I figured something fishy was probably going on.

It's been clear for awhile that Apple despises stand-alone applications, because there's no revenue stream in those. They'd charge a monthly rental for the OS if they thought they could get away with it.

@4. Dane November 15, 2020 2:21 PM
Today with everyone being monitored 24/7 by big tech the only way to be anonymous is to be part of the herd.

Correct. A bot having all your data is far less of a concern than an actual human being in the data-centre becoming nosy enough to initiate further manual inquiries.

@27. Zastavnik Džemo November 15, 2020 4:20 PM
Linux distributions are financed and controlled by various corporations, most of them USA corporations. Open source does not mean spyware free.

Using TOR to buy smack over the dark web with crypto on a tweaked Linux distro is like having a mile-high neon sign over your head. *Everybody* wants to know what else you're up to.

Also your ISP logs your internet activity by government mandate no matter what hardware or software you use.

Depending on the company, this may enhance anonymity. For instance, US cable company Comcast has the intriguing feature of washing a user's router-assigned IPv16 number every 36hrs or so. I noticed this awhile back while editing Wikipedia as a non-logged-in editor, when hitting the "Contributions" tab defaulted to listing contributions from that IP address. My wild-hunch is that this started ss a defense mechanism for Comcast to shield itself during the bittorrent litigation frenzy of some years back. I torrent like a fool, and haven't seen an email warning in ages.

Blogger buwaya November 15, 2020 9:42 PM  

Isolated networks have serious maintainability issues. Patching can turn into a mess. Windows almost demands connectivity to MS to do stuff like maintain internal certificates. And then there are a host of regulatory callouts that cannot work without connectivity, but isolation is often a requirement. Enterprise level isolation is a mess of Catch-22's.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 15, 2020 10:14 PM  

"Or are you suggesting that it is impossible to maintain privacy within your own network?

I do this for a living and I can tell you it is possible."


No one's talking about a completely isolated network, and no, if your network interfaces in any way whatsoever outside your home, it is by definition impossible to retain complete privacy.

"Can any tech experts tell me if a full Linux system helps this??"

If your system is completely hardwired with no internet connection, it probably helps, otherwise it just makes your profiling a bit fuzzier, and probably not a large bit.

"A reminder of the discernment that came from knowledge of both Good and Evil."

Discernment is not what came at any level of that operation; if it were, the wages of the operation wouldn't be necessary death. It's a symbol for the sin itself, and the irretrievability of it, in the same way you can't un-bite an apple.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 15, 2020 10:33 PM  

Complete security is impossible. Even with OpenBSD, or commercial Unix. Complete security is a fool's goal. It cannot be obtained. Computer systems are so complex that there's always some opening that can be exploited, if not over a network, then in person via social hacking, or remotely using micro-signal decoding, or by kidnapping someone and working them over with a monkey wrench and a pair of wire cutters.
The aim for secure systems should be to reduce exposure, lower the profile, and monitor to the point that you can tell when you've been breached, so you can respond appropriately and effectively.
As a home user, however, your goal should be to STOP GIVING YOUR DATA TO THEM. 99% of the data about you being traded by government agencies and commercial users is data YOU GAVE THEM.

Blogger cecilhenry November 15, 2020 10:44 PM  

@42

"If your system is completely hardwired with no internet connection, it probably helps"


You mean Windows or even via Linux I may still be monitored even when I'm not connected to the Internet at all??

This is a level I wasn't aware of--- I'm not sure I understand the physics of that if it's true.

With no wifi and no cable, shouldn't I be totally undetectable?

If the answer is no then that's a big red pill I was totally unprepared for.

Blogger sammibandit November 15, 2020 11:07 PM  

As a home user, however, your goal should be to STOP GIVING YOUR DATA TO THEM. 99% of the data about you being traded by government agencies and commercial users is data YOU GAVE THEM.

I don't often do it, but when compelled to by outside circumstances I do dox people. I'm surprised by how easy it is to dox Americans (including illegals because some of them are dumb enough to post about it).

So what you say is absolutely true, Snidely. One guy I found was the nephew of a guy under federal charges for trafficking meth. The guy was stupid enough to put "getting his uncle's property back" in his Twitter bio.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd November 15, 2020 11:27 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Complete security is impossible. Even with OpenBSD, or commercial Unix.
If it's digital, it's public.
If you want privacy, don't do stuff on computers, don't do stuff on the internet, don't hang out with people who do.
Digital snooping is so easy, the snoops are so lazy, that anything you do in meatspace is probably going to stay under the radar. as long as nobody puts anything on line.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 15, 2020 11:29 PM  

cecilhenry wrote:You mean Windows or even via Linux I may still be monitored even when I'm not connected to the Internet at all??


The tech is called TEMPEST. It detects and decodes signals given off by keyboards and monitors, "micro-signal decoding". So it takes individual attention, but with sufficient interest, yes, even a computer not connected to a network can be compromised, or at least a source for information including passwords. NSA demonstrated it over 2 decades ago.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash November 15, 2020 11:30 PM  

And frankly, if you are using a bluetooth (wireless) keyboard, cracking it is almost trivial.

Blogger map November 16, 2020 1:06 AM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:cecilhenry wrote:You mean Windows or even via Linux I may still be monitored even when I'm not connected to the Internet at all??



The tech is called TEMPEST. It detects and decodes signals given off by keyboards and monitors, "micro-signal decoding".


I think TEMPEST requires proximity to the computer to work.

Blogger MidnightSun November 16, 2020 7:02 AM  

All used for blackmail and banking fraud. These people are evil to the core. I pray to God they see 'justice' in this lifetime.

Blogger Kirk Parker November 16, 2020 7:39 AM  

I do this for a living

So do I, but so what? The vast majority of individual users are not you or me... and half of those that DO do this for a living are below average.

Blogger Yossarian November 16, 2020 8:29 AM  

I'm waiting for the moment when people realize VPN's have been data-mining this whole time while making the victims pay for it.

Always keep in mind that this is not something that is done to people, this is something that people chose to be done to them.

Blogger Nate November 16, 2020 1:57 PM  

I do love it when people attempt to make fun of me for having alexa devices around my home. Invariably they do this while ignoring the fact that they are carrying a smart phone with them everywhere they go.

and the one principle applies... amazon is trying to sell you products that you want.

With google... you are the product.

Apple is no better than either... in fact apple is likely worse... because apple is trying to force you to by garbage products that you think you want but actually suck.

Blogger Akulkis November 18, 2020 8:23 AM  

>> NSA demonstrated it over 2 decades ago.

George Goble, who built the Engineering Computer Network at Purdue (ecn.purdue.edu) attended a demonstration of this tech at a security conference, in, as I recall, 1987.

He described that they put a computer with someone at the keyboard in a room, took everyone into an adjacent room, and put the hardware on the other side of the wall away from the computer with operator. The detection system displayed everything typed by the operator and what was displayed on the screen in real time.

At the time, George suspected that the display was reproduced simply by detecting the CRT's electron beam being turned off and on, but he had no good explanation for the recording of keystrokes which were not echoed to the screen (such as when in "command mode" in the vi editor, keystrokes manipulate the file being edited without appearing anywhere on screen. Anyone who is a proficient user of vi can watch the changes to a file and know what keystrokes were required to produce each change, so can verify the "what's being typed on the keyboard* data.

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