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

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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

Apple, Google, Facebook, other tech companies lobbying to stop NSA spying before new congress takes over in January

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Bloomberg reports that groups representing Apple, Google, Facebook and other high profile tech companies are lobbying to pass a new bill that attempts to limit NSA spying of email and communications of their users. The report says the groups are “pushing the Senate to pass legislation limiting National Security Agency spying before the Republican majority takes control of the chamber.” The news comes ahead of the Senate vote on the new bill scheduled for Nov. 18 and an upcoming Republican controlled Congress taking over in January: Read more

WSJ: Department of Justice uses fake cell towers on airplanes to capture data from mobile phones

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The Wall Street Journal reported today that the United States Department of Justice has been using planes equipped with devices that pose as cellular towers (called “dirtboxes”) to collect data from suspected criminals’ cell phones—and capturing data from innocent bystanders in the process.

The devices are capable of capturing data from “tens of thousands” of phones over the course of a single flight. Because most cell phones are designed to automatically connect to the tower with the strongest signal, these dirtboxes can easily fool phones into latching onto its signal.

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Russian government drops iPad in favor of Samsung tablets over spying fears

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Russian government officials have stopped using iPads in an official capacity, instead opting to use offerings from Samsung according to a new report by Business Insider. The new Samsung devices are custom, secured tablets designed to be used with the confidential information government officials often need to handle.

Russian officials have denied that the swap is an effort to stop supporting American companies following sanctions related to the Ukrainian crisis. It also doesn’t seem to relate to recent rumors that the US government had backdoor access to Apple’s iOS devices—a claim Apple has denied.

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Apple joins tech titans in calling for government spying reform and limitations

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has joined Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and other giants in the tech industry in calling for a reform of the NSA’s surveillance tactics. Earlier this year it was revealed that the National Security Agency was using information from these companies and more to monitor citizens across the nation without warrants.

The companies allegedly involved in the “PRISM” program denied turning over any user data to the government, but a leaked NSA slidedeck (seen above) seemed to imply the opposite.

The new collaborative campaign, called Reform Government Surveillance, cites five driving principles in its drive to curb excessive government spying:

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