California Stories March 8

AAPL: 101.03

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Appearing on Conan last night, Woz said that he sided with Apple in the FBI fight, first because he’s always been strong on human rights, as one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but because governments shouldn’t be able to tell manufacturers to make their products insecure at a time when security is so important.

He argued that there is absolutely no reason to think the FBI would learn anything from the iPhone in question.

They picked a lame case. They picked the lamest case you ever could […]

[For the shooters’ own phones] Verizon turned over all the phone records, all the SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone, that the two didn’t destroy, which was a work phone, and it’s so lame and worthless to expect something’s on it and get Apple to expose it.

Revealing that he had once written something that could have acted as a Macintosh virus, he said he’d thrown away every line of code because he was so scared of what might happen if the code got out …

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California Stories March 7

AAPL: 101.87

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The implications of the FBI forcing Apple to create a compromised version of iOS to break into an iPhone could be profound, argues Lavabit – an encrypted email company that closed its service rather than comply with an FBI demand to hand over its encryption key. Company founder Ladar Levison (above) was found to be in contempt of court when he refused to hand over the key in 2013.

Lavabit is the latest of more than 40 companies and organizations to file an amicus brief in support of Apple, reports TechCrunch.

It warns that iPhone and iPad users may reject future iOS updates, which would leave security holes unplugged.

If the government is successful, however, many consumers may not be as trustful of these updates because of a fear (actual or imagined) that the updates will contain malware to provide a backdoor into the data on their iPhones. The result is that fewer people will automatically accept the automatic updates and the overall security of iPhones across the country will suffer.

But the effects of a ruling against Apple could go even further, the company suggests …

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The battle between the FBI and Apple continues to be played out in the media. On the same day that Apple SVP Craig Federighi said that the FBI wanted to create a weakness that could be used by hackers and criminals, NYPD’s head of counter-terrorism weighed in during a radio interview. The Daily News quotes John Miller accusing Apple of providing aid to murderers, among other things.

I still don’t know what made [Apple] change their minds and decide to actually design a system that made them not able to aid the police. You are actually providing aid to the kidnappers, robbers and murderers.

He cited the same quote used by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance during the Congressional hearing to support this contention, that a criminal described iOS 8 as ‘a gift from God’ …

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California Stories February 26

AAPL: 96.91

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FBI director James Comey – who had previously claimed that “the San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent” – has now admitted that it would. The Guardian reports that Comey made the admission when testifying under oath yesterday to a Congress committee.

The ultimate outcome of the Apple-FBI showdown is likely to “guide how other courts handle similar requests”, James Comey told a congressional intelligence panel on Thursday, a softening of his flat insistence on Sunday that the FBI was not attempting to “set a precedent”.

Asked if it was true that police departments around the country also wanted to gain access to locked iPhones, he agreed that it was …

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California Stories February 25

AAPL: 96.76

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Apple may be battling one branch of U.S. law enforcement on a terrorist-related issue, but CNN reports that the company is working closely with another on a broader fight against ISIS. Apple is one of six leading tech and media companies offering assistance to the Department of Justice in countering ISIS messaging and posts on social media.

At a meeting conducted at the Justice Department on Wednesday, executives from Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, MTV and Buzzfeed offered their input to top counter intelligence officials, according to an industry source familiar with the meeting.

In all, nearly 50 companies and community groups participated, along with the National Security Council, the State Department and the British Embassy.

The issue is not just one of propaganda, said National Counterterrorism Center director Nick Rasmussen, but of directly encouraging acts of terrorism …

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