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US vs Apple Inc: Who will have the upper hand?

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By Advik Gupta 

The United States government is trying to access an Apple iPhone of a shooter named Syed Rizwan Farook in San Bernardino for which it requires Apple Inc.’s help. The government has ordered Apple to develop a special tool which will help it in breaking into the shooter’s iPhone. Apple on the other hand is not complying with the government’s request as such a move will threaten consumer security and would set a dangerous precedent for the future. They are worried that once they create the tool, the system will be compromised and lose its authenticity and there will always be a risk of it getting into the wrong hands. This is not the first time we are witnessing a ‘US vs Apple Inc.’ battle. Even in 2012, there was a suit filed by the United States that alleged Apple Inc. and five book publishing companies of conspiring to raise the price for e-books which was in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The issue is that if the FBI tries to access the iPhone by ‘Brute Force’ i.e. by attempting every possible code combination until the right one is entered, it risks losing the data forever as there is no way to check whether the iPhone 5c in possession with the shooter has the ‘ten-attempt security freeze’ enabled. Even Apple itself cannot provide access due to a random unique key that is generated. Hence FBI wants Apple to develop an OS update which would do away the security measure. Asking Apple to give a tool to bypass it is much more than asking it for a hack into its own software. It also means hurting the Apple brand.

The story takes a new turn as Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower tweets doubting the claims made by FBI that accessing the phone is so necessary. He said that FBI already has the communications records (stored by the service provider) of the suspect and also backups of all the suspect’s data until six weeks before the crime. He also explains that there are other ways of breaking into the device rather than getting a tool made by Apple and undermining its brand, although FBI denies this fact. Also since the iPhone was a government issued work phone (owned by the employee), this makes it highly improbable for Farook to use that phone to coordinate the attacks given that he made sure that he destroyed his personal phone before dying which means that the odds of finding useful information in the iPhone are very less.

Hence the question now is that whether the FBI really needs Apple’s help in breaking the device and even if it does, who will the lawsuit turn out to be in favour of. Here is a 1 minute video explaining FBI’s stand:

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Apple iPhone Soon to Track Binge Eating Disorder

It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications

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Apple iPhone to soon decode binge eating disorder. Wikimedia commons

A team of researchers in the US is set to use Apple iPhone and Watch to track binge eating disorder among people.

According to University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, if you are 18, have an iPhone (model 5 or newer), and have a current or lifetime experience with binge eating disorder (BED) or bulimia nervosa (BN), you can participate in the study titled “Binge Eating Genetics Initiative” (BEGIN).

“The goal of the BEGIN study is to better understand the genetic factors that may be associated with binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa in order to develop better treatments for the millions of people who suffer from these illnesses,” the university said on its website.

The researchers will use the Recovery Record app on iPhone to record the participants’ mood, food and goals for 30 days.

They will ask the participants to provide a sample of their saliva and bodily bacteria.

“Once you enroll in the BEGIN study using your iPhone, we will send you a ‘BEGIN box’ via FedEx that will include everything that you need to participate in the study,” the university said.

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Restricting meal intake in 10-hour window may boost health. Pixabay

According to a report in CNBC on Monday, the university hopes to recruit 1,000 participants.

Each participant will be given a free Watch from Apple and researchers will monitor their heart rate using the device’s sensor over the course of a month to see if there are spikes before binge eating episodes, said the report.

Apple Watch Series 4 will soon enable US customers to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal.

Also Read- India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification.

It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications.

All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians. (IANS)

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