Tech Digest daily roundup: Apple to sue spyware firm NSO Group


Apple is suing Israeli spyware firm NSO Group and its parent company for allegedly targeting iPhone users with a hacking tool. NSO’s Pegasus software can infect both iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras. NSO Group said its tools were made to target terrorists and criminals. But it has allegedly also been used on activists, politicians and journalists. NSO Group says it only supplies Pegasus to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies from countries with good human-rights records. BBC

Apple is planning to partner with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. for the production of its own 5G modems for future iPhones, according to a new report in Nikkei. Apple is said to be planning to use TSMC’s 4nm process node, which hasn’t yet been deployed for any commercial product; the modem is apparently being designed and tested at 5nm before moving to mass production in 2023 at 4nm. Apple’s switch to modems of its own design is widely expected to happen in 2023, and TSMC is the natural manufacturing partner. Qualcomm, which is the dominant player in the industry and produces modem components for the entire iPhone 13 lineup, recently said that it expects to account for just 20 percent of iPhone modem orders in two years’ time. The Verge

An in-app advert for a mobile game has been banned for “trivialising and condoning” domestic violence. The advert for a game called Gold And Goblins featured a woman playing a game on her mobile phone, while a man behind her picked up a chair and drew it back over his head as if to hit her with it. It then showed the man looking at the phone over the woman’s shoulder as she continued to play. Two complainants believed the advert, which was seen in the Hooked Inc: Fishing Games and Quizzland apps in September, encouraged domestic violence. They challenged whether it was offensive and socially irresponsible. The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the ad “must not appear again in its current form” because it was likely to cause “serious and widespread offence”. Independent 

Three minutes of morning exposure to deep red light can improve declining eyesight, new research has suggested. Scientists wanted to look at what effect a single three-minute exposure would have while also using much lower energy levels than their previous studies. Building on separate University College London (UCL) research in flies, the team also compared morning exposure to afternoon exposure. According to the new study, on average there was a 17% improvement in participants’ colour contrast vision when exposed to three minutes of 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning. Yahoo! 

The DART spacecraft's collision will be observed by the LICIACube satellite
Image: The DART spacecraft’s collision will be observed by the LICIACube satellite. Pic: NASA

A spacecraft has been launched from California this morning carrying with it humanity’s greatest hopes of being able to protect our planet from a cataclysmic asteroid impact. Fortunately, the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission is only a test, and if anything goes wrong before it intercepts its target next September, then Earth won’t suffer as a result. But the stakes are high. Scientists including Stephen Hawking have described impact events as among the greatest threats facing humanity – and even if the DART planetary defence mission proves successful, huge questions about our future readiness will remain. DART launched on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Vandenberg Space Force base in California. Sky News 

Chris Price
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