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Apple must explain this bug that caused deleted photos to resurface

Earlier today, Apple released a patch for iOS and iPadOS 17.5.1. Fixing buggy software is a good, normal thing. But that’s not the problem here. The problem is that the fix “addresses a rare issue where photos that suffered database corruption could reappear in the Photos library even if they were deleted” – and that’s all Apple has to say about it .

On iOS, deleted photos technically spend 30 days in the Recently Deleted folder before disappearing for good, but the intention of sending a photo into digital oblivion is still there. A reasonable person would expect a deleted file to stay that way. That’s why it’s understandable why people panicked last week when photos deleted years ago suddenly reappeared in their iPhone’s photo library.

What exactly does a corrupted database imply?
Screenshot: iPadOS

This is obviously a privacy issue. This raises valid questions about how Apple stores photo data and whether iPhone owners can really be sure that their deleted data is actually deleted. The edge has contacted Apple several times to publicly comment on the matter, but has not yet received a response. This would at least shed some light on why this bug occurred, what was done to fix it, and what it’s doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again. However, Apple has not yet responded.

What’s troubling is that as long as Apple remains silent, we have no idea how deep this bug goes. Some iPhone owners have reported the same thing with deleted voicemails. Did the bug only affect people who use iCloud photo backups? Another article claimed that old photos were showing up on an iPad sold to someone else. All of today’s fixes confirm that this bug did exist, that it was a problem, and that it had something to do with database corruption. And ignoring requests for public comment on the issue doesn’t provide assurance that it won’t happen again.

Of course, you could put your glasses on your nose and say, “Actually, no file is truly deleted until it is overwritten…” And even if that is true, a reasonable customer would would expect that when Apple says a deleted file is permanently removed, this sort of thing shouldn’t even be possible.

Mistakes and blunders happen. Cybersecurity researchers are constantly discovering bugs and vulnerabilities. They often report issues to affected companies before they can be exploited and only disclose weaknesses once they have been fixed. It would be reasonable for Apple to want to wait until the bug is fixed to prevent bad actors from exploiting the situation. However, this does not give them the right to remain silent on the issue forever.

If anything, Apple should comment simply because it presents itself as a company that cares about your privacy. Countless WWDC keynotes have been devoted to software updates that can encrypt your data so that even Apple doesn’t know what’s happening on your phone. That you can trust its services, because confidentiality is a fundamental principle of its philosophy. Responsible disclosure and transparency are hallmarks of a company that truly believes in protecting your privacy. Brushing things under the rug? Not really.

News Source : www.theverge.com
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