Federal government of the United States Stories March 7, 2016

AAPL: 101.87

-1.14

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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Federal government of the United States Stories February 27, 2015

U.S. says absurd Chinese rules on selling technology to banks violate trade agreements

The U.S. government has accused China of violating trade agreements by imposing “intrusive” and “protectionist” rules that would prevent companies like Apple selling technology to Chinese banks.

The regulations, announced by China last month, would have required Western companies to turn over source code for products sold to banks, supposedly to permit security checks to be made–a demand to which Apple and other tech companies could never agree.

The WSJ reports that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said today that the rules were unacceptable.

“China’s new regulations on the use of information and communications technology in the banking industry go directly against a series of China’s bilateral and multilateral trade commitments. For example, the rules would require technology transfer and use of domestic Chinese intellectual property as a precondition for market access—both of which China has committed not to do,” said Froman.

The rules aren’t about security. They are about protectionism and favoring Chinese companies,” he said. “The administration is aggressively working to have China walk back from these troubling regulations.”

Apple’s aggressive expansion plans in China have meant the company has sometimes had to tread a careful line, such as agreeing to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. It has, though, always refused to allow backdoor access to its products and stated it will never compromise the encryption used by its products and services.

Federal government of the United States Stories January 15, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook informed Apple employees today via email that the company has settled with the United States Federal Trade Commision over an in-app purchases dispute. Cook says that Apple and the FTC have been negotiating for “several months.” The issue in the App Store comes down to the controversies surrounding children spending money too easily in the App Store without the consent of their parents.

Cook notes that “protecting children” has been a priority for everyone at Apple, and Cook notes that the App Store has industry leading controls for security and privacy, making the need to deal with the FTC surprising. Cook’s email details the safeguards in place for the in-app purchase system. Cook also notes the great lengths that Apple went to in order to appease customers who may have been harmed by in-app purchases:

Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent’s permission. We wanted to reach every customer who might have been affected, so we sent emails to 28 million App Store customers – anyone who had made an in-app purchase in a game designed for kids. When some emails bounced, we mailed the parents postcards. In all, we received 37,000 claims and we will be reimbursing each one as promised.

Cook also says that it doesn’t feel right that the FTC intervened here. Alas, a settlement has been reached:

It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight.

Here’s Cook’s email in full:

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Federal government of the United States Stories July 12, 2012

Report: Feds second-guess buying Apple comps

The city of San Francisco stopped purchases of some Apple products after the company announced it planned to forgo an environmental rating system, but a new report indicates federal officials might refrain from buying Cupertino-built computers as well.

According to Politico, which cited a “governmental source,” federal officials familiar with sustainability issues are thinking twice before procuring Apple’s computers. The feds met yesterday to discuss the matter, and the website’s source further claimed the officials will “seek a meeting with Apple soon.”

Politico explained:

  • Last week, Apple decided to stop using an environmental certification program, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool run by the Green Electronics Council, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit. EPEAT was developed through a stakeholder process supported by the EPA.
  • The EPEAT rating system is used to monitor a computer’s environmental impact throughout its lifecycle, including the end of its use. The program is used by governments, enterprise, universities, health care and other large institutions to make purchasing decisions.
  • Federal procurement decisions for fiscal 2013 are being made now, the government source said. Federal officials are worried that the government’s efforts to buy environmentally friendly products will be set back, the source said, adding, “Apple’s competitors are looking at this and saying if they can get away with this maybe we can too.”

The Green Electronics Council said in a statement on the EPEAT website that it “regret[s] that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT. We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future,” while Apple told The Loop recently that it “takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2.”

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