Tim Cook met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during Berlin visit, talked privacy, security & more

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It seems Tim Cook had more on his schedule than a meeting with BILD during his visit to Berlin yesterday: the newspaper reports that he also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Cook told BILD that they discussed security, net neutrality, environmental protection and education–but the key topic appears to have been data privacy.

Cook said that he could well understand Germany’s strong stance on data privacy, stating that Germans “have the same views on privacy as I do” …  Read more

Watch: Apple CEO Tim Cook talk cybersecurity at White House Summit

Tim Cook White House Summit on Cybersecurity

As we mentioned earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook is in attendance at the White House Summit on cybersecurity today at Stanford University where he’s expected to discuss Apple, privacy, and security. Notably, Tim Cook is the only technology company chief executive participating in the event with the White House as CEOs at Facebook, Yahoo, and Google each declined deciding to send lower-level staff instead. Other CEOs in attendance include the heads of Apple Pay partners Bank of America and Visa as well as the chief executive officer of AIG. You can view a stream of the event below: Read more

Tim Cook only CEO taking part in today’s White House cybersecurity summit

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We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  Read more

NY district attorney says Apple’s encryption policy “an issue of public safety” for law enforcement

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Bloomberg reports that a Manhattan District Attorney is challenging recent moves by Apple, Google and other tech companies by suggesting government pass laws that prevent mobile devices from being “sealed off from law enforcement.” In an interview this week, the government official called it “an issue of public safety.” Read more

Twitter to start tracking the apps on your iPhone

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Image via: @kristinatastic

 

Twitter is about to get very nosey with its mobile subscribers, and if you’re among the millions of people using the company’s app on your smartphone, you’ll definitely want to listen up. The short-form social media outlet’s new app graph feature will soon start tracking which applications you have installed on your devices. This opt-out feature is being introduced to help the firm insert better ads and recommendations into your timeline.

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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.

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

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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…

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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