Apple is speaking with Chinese telcos to reduce spam messages

Apple is speaking with Chinese telecommunications companies to identify ways the device maker could reduce spam messages that are received through iMessage, according to a report from Reuters this morning.

This move to collaborate with telecoms comes after more than a week’s worth of berating and accusations from Chinese state-controlled media outlets over the company’s alleged lack of effort to ban prohibited content like gambling, pornography, and promotions for counterfeit goods and devices.

According to Reuters, this recent flurry of Chinese negative media reports isn’t the first for Apple. This slew of attacks may be the result of a new campaign by state media to encourage companies to clean up the amount of spam messages people receive in the country. Spam calls and messages have become an increasingly universal issue, with efforts by the Federal Communications Commission in the US to decrease the unsolicited messages. In China, however, unwanted illegal calls and messages are far more pervasive.

A spokesperson for Apple confirmed to Reuters that the company was working to develop new ways to reduce spam by using machine learning to help identify and block the accounts that are sending the messages. It’s obvious that these new efforts are first aimed to qualm Chinese complaints, but if this new technology is effective, it wouldn’t be too surprising to expect Apple to bring it in other markets across the world as well.

Law enforcement is requesting more digital evidence from tech companies

Law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly asking some of the largest tech companies in the world for information found on the devices they make and the software they develop, more so than in previous years, according to a new report. Despite this increase in requests, companies are granting access to digital evidence at the same rate as previous years.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies released the report on Wednesday which found that law enforcement officials at all levels, including local, state, and federal agencies, made over 130,000 requests for access to digital evidence from some six of the largest tech companies in the world just in the last year. An overwhelming majority of those requests, 80 percent, were granted.

The requests were sent to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Oath, Verizon’s media vertical. Telecommunications companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T were also probed to identify users and provide location data and communications content by law enforcement over 500,000 times last year.

“Digital evidence will only grow in importance as more of our lives move online and connected devices proliferate,” the report said. “As the world changes, law enforcement’s capabilities and authorities will need to evolve to keep up, and the relationship between law enforcement and major service providers will become ever more essential to protect the rule of law and public safety, as well as privacy and civil liberties.”

The report notes that the number of requests, which were self-reported by the companies, have “significantly increased over time.” In 2016, law enforcement sent roughly 110,000 requests, according to the report. The year before that, companies only saw around 96,000. The general response rate, and the rate at which the companies deny requests has been “consistent” as well.