Department of Justice: iPhone encryption will lead to the death of a child

SMS Relay Text Message Forwarding iOS 8.1

Apple and the government have long been engaged in a bitter war of words over encryption and security practices employed in Apple’s iOS devices, but a new Wall Street Journal report indicates that the Department of Justice is really starting to take the rhetoric to the next level.

According to the Journal, a DOJ official actually told Apple executives during a meeting last month that in the future the Cupertino company could eventually be directly responsible for the death of a child. Read more

FBI director continues push against Apple & Google on smartphone encryption (Video)

James Comey FBI Director

FBI Director James Comey isn’t backing down from his position that Apple and Google are wrong to encrypt customer smartphone data preventing law enforcement agencies the possibility of access if requested. After last month sharing that the FBI was in talks with the two companies to discuss concerns with marketing devices as being inaccessible to third-parties including the government, the FBI Director spoke with CBS News in an interview where he continued to make the case against such encryption… Read more

US attorney general latest gov’t official to challenge Apple on smartphone encryption

US Attorney General Eric Holder

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced plans to resign earlier this week pending confirmation of a successor, has criticized Apple and Google for encrypting smartphone data beyond law enforcement official access, Reuters reports.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said in a speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

Read more

More details on how iOS 8′s MAC address randomization feature works (and when it doesn’t)

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 5.57.54 PM

A few days ago Apple published a new privacy page on its website that detailed the various measures it has put in place to protect Mac and iOS users’ personal data. One of those features, which is new in iOS 8, is the automatic randomization of MAC addresses when the device is searching for a Wi-Fi network. This makes it much more difficult to track a device by seeing which Wi-Fi networks have spotted its unique identifier.

A new two-part study by AirTight Networks into how well this security feature works has turned up some interesting results, including several conditions that will stop the phone from randomizing a MAC address. Part one of the study breaks down what exactly needs to happen in order to start this function…

Read more

FBI director says officials have been in talks with Apple, Google over device encryption policies

tim cook death stare

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey expressed his concern today over Apple and Google’s decision to encrypt information stored on smartphones, the Huffington Post reports, adding that FBI officials are pushing both companies to change their policies in order to allow law enforcement officials to access data in certain instances.

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

In the case of the iPhone maker, Apple CEO Tim Cook used the company’s privacy stance as a major marketing point on a number of occasions over the past month. Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google’s executive chairman challenges Tim Cook on privacy citing Chrome’s ‘incognito mode’

Key Speakers At Global Investment Conference

In his letter on privacy shared last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook contrasted the business model of Apple against that of its competitors while strongly taking a shot at Google, Gmail, and Android without actually naming the company and services. The infinitely entertaining executive chairman of Google and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt was recently asked by ABC News about Cook’s open letter on the company and privacy.

In short, Schmidt, who is making the media rounds to promote his upcoming book How Google Works, said Cook’s description of Google and privacy is incorrect, which you would expect from the Google chairman. But his first shot at debunking Cook’s claim was sort of out of left field (okay, as you also might expect): Read more

Apple removes language from Transparency Reports signaling new government requests for data

Tim Cook

Just as Apple published a new letter from Tim Cook and an update on privacy and security policies, a new report points to evidence the company has recently received new government demands for user data under the Patriot Act. GigaOM reports that language previously included in Apple’s Transparency Reports noting the company had “never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act” has since been removed. That could signal, according to the report, Apple’s involvement with controversial National Security Agency programs that demand data from companies: Read more

Tim Cook reiterates commitment to user privacy and security in letter on Apple website, launches new security page

 

tim-cook-bloomberg-cover-01

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook has published a letter (below) on the company’s website expressing his commitment to the privacy and security of iOS and Mac users. Cook says that he will now issue annual updates on how user data is being handled, and the company will become even more transparent how its data collection tactics.

The executive also reiterated previous claims that neither he nor any part of the company has collaborated with governments to provide access to user information, noting again that Apple does not read users’ email, iMessages, and other communications. He also pointed out that there is no “profile” being created about user browsing habits or other data points that often interest advertisers.

Read more

Tim Cook talks privacy in part two of Charlie Rose interview

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 6.10.59 PM

The first clip of part two of Tim Cook’s interview with Charlie Rose has posted tonight with a segment on Apple and privacy. In the interview, Cook discussed the privacy of user data using Apple services as Apple has mentioned in the past.

We’re not reading your email, we’re not reading your iMessages. If the government laid a subpoena on us to get your iMessages, we can’t provide it. It’s encrypted and we don’t have the key.

Cook also discussed how Apple’s approach to Apple Pay, its new mobile payment system, emphasizing that Apple is in the business of selling iPhones, not user information like other companies. Cook commented strongly that he is “offended” by the practices of some other companies. The shot at Google, which Cook stated is his idea of Apple’s competition in the part one with Charlie Rose, was mentioned similarly during last week’s iPhone event. Cook also discussed earlier privacy issues involving “server backdoors” and Edward Snowden. You can view the new clip below…

Read more

60 percent of apps fail basic privacy tests, finds international cross-governmental study

 

app store hero flat modernA review of 1,211 apps carried out by a coalition of privacy officials across 19 countries found that 60 percent of them failed at least one basic privacy test, reports the WSJ.

The officials found that 60% of apps raised privacy concerns, based on three criteria: They did not disclose how they used personal information; they required that the user give up an excessive amount of personal data as a condition of downloading the app; and their privacy policies were rendered in type too small to be read on a phone’s screen …

Read more

Apple updates iOS 8 terms, disallows developers from selling data acquired through HealthKit

health_hero_2x

Apple has updated its iOS 8 terms of use, according to The Guardian, to note that developers are not allowed to resell any information gained through the upcoming HealthKit framework. The HealthKit software was announced as part of a larger event earlier this year, but it was only with the most recent beta that Apple made note of this restriction.

The move is not unexpected, as it would be very much against Apple’s modus operandi to allow developers access to such crucial data without some restrictions on its use in place as a protection for users. Similar restrictions exist for the Touch ID API, which doesn’t allow developers to access user fingerprint data at all, let alone store it.

There is one exception to this rule, however…

Read more

Path launches new Talk app, a privacy-focused standalone messaging platform

The private social network Path updated its iOS app today with a simpler chooser for posting content and a tabbed navigation bar for moving around the app. It’s biggest feature, though, follows a growing trend with mobile apps: Path Messaging has moved to a standalone app called Talk that’s rolling out today.

With its new Talk app, Path wants to replace SMS and Facebook as it focuses on privacy with a feature called Off the Record. While it’s not quite as ephemeral as instantly self-destructing messaging apps like Snapchat and Cyber Dust, Path promises its users that messages sent via Talk automatically erase from the social network’s servers after 24 hours from sending the message… Read more