Tuesday News: FBI cracks iPhone, UK libraries disappearing, and fighting the white, male gaze
U.S. Says It Has Unlocked iPhone Without Apple – Now here’s a surprise (not). The US government dropped its case against Apple yesterday, admitting it has cracked the iPhone of the San Bernadino shooter. Which not only contradicts the original claim that the government had no other means than forcing Apple to create a backdoor, but also raises additional security issues for Apple, especially if the government refuses to tell Apple how it managed the breach. Not to mention the broader concerns about the ever-increasing levels of domestic government surveillance.
Yet law enforcement’s ability to now unlock an iPhone through an alternative method raises new uncertainties, including questions about the strength of security in Apple devices. The development also creates potential for new conflicts between the government and Apple about the method used to open the device and whether that technique will be disclosed. Lawyers for Apple have previously said the company would want to know the procedure used to crack open the smartphone, yet the government might classify the method. . . .
The Justice Department’s cracking of the iPhone has implications for other cases that involve locked iPhones. Last month, a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York refused to grant an order, requested by the government, that asked Apple to extract data from an iPhone used by a drug dealer in Brooklyn. The Justice Department is in the process of appealing that decision. – New York Times
Libraries lose a quarter of staff as hundreds close – In the past six years, approximately 8,000 UK library jobs have disappeared, accompanied by a decline in borrowing, about 500 fewer libraries since 2010, massive increases in volunteer staff (rather than paid staff), and persistent government budget cuts. Although the trend is very disturbing, there is hope that libraries will continue to evolve and innovate in order to survive and thrive.
The BBC has compiled data from 207 authorities responsible for running libraries through the Freedom of Information Act. Our analysis shows:
- Some 343 libraries closed. Of those, 132 were mobile services, while 207 were based in buildings (and there were four others, such as home delivery services)
- The number of closures in England is higher than the government’s official estimate of 110 buildings shut
- A further 111 closures are planned this year
- The number of paid staff in libraries fell from 31,977 in 2010 to 24,044 now, a drop of 7,933 (25%) for the 182 libraries that provided comparable data
- A further 174 libraries have been transferred to community groups, while 50 have been handed to external organisations to run. In some areas, such as Lincolnshire and Surrey, the move has led to legal challenges and protests from residents. – BBC News
Watching And Reading About White People Having Sex Is My Escape – I’ve been thinking about this piece for a few weeks now, and about the way Esther Wang contextualizes her Romance reading in racial fatigue and what she believes to be a challenge to the white, male gaze. Although she is not overtly making the case for more diversity in the genre, Wang’s discussion of the way racism and sexism have shaped her definition of “escape” is itself an argument for intentionally and systematically dismantling the white majority in both publishing and popular fiction, from kit lit to Romance and beyond.
I love that I never experience that shock of recognition, and thus I never have to think about how someone who looks like me, with my body, is represented on the page and lives in the world. In these fictional fantasy worlds, not only does racism not exist — race doesn’t exist, at least in the ways that we live and experience it on a daily basis. There are no men who feel the need to fetishize unsuspecting young girls, no bad first dates with guys who ask you why Chinese people eat dogs, no middle school mean girls, no white women who get in your face and scream “Go back to China” when all you’re trying to do is get on the train and go home. In the world of the romance novel, your body is just a body that gets to fall in love and experience several volcanic orgasms in a row, and in this world, when you Google “Asian women,” you probably would get a 404 error page instead of dozens of links on how to find a sexy Asian girlfriend of your very own.
Moving through the world as a woman, as an Asian woman, is exhausting.
Race fatigue (also known as racial battle fatigue) is what sometimes sets in if you’re the kind of person who is constantly thinking about race and experiencing being othered, a certain weariness that comes from monitoring every interaction for a sign that the other person thinks you’re less than. Layer being a woman on top of that, and it’s as if I have an immune system that’s always on a low-grade alert and ready to defend my body and my sense of self against any perceived intrusion or attack. I’m constantly inflamed, like a paper cut that refuses to entirely heal.
It’s the fatigue that comes from being hypercognizant of race and gender, of the way that your body is seen, in a way that white men (and often white women as well) don’t have to be. The writer Eula Biss posits that guilt is the dominant emotion of whiteness in the U.S., but I suspect that it’s actually something else, and its core is something very different from guilt. Guilt implies a recognition of responsibility, culpability — knowing that you’ve violated some sort of unspoken social contract. The only social contract that exists in this country is this: You’re supposed to know when it’s OK to be racist, and when you have to hide it.
Much like a medically induced coma helps our brains heal from trauma, escape is often just a way to survive the very fact that we have to live in our bodies. – Buzzfeed