PRISM Stories April 8, 2016

AAPL: 108.66

0.12

The WSJ has illustrated the stark contrast in Apple’s attitude to assisting law enforcement to access iPhones before and after the Snowden revelations about mass surveillance of private data. It was already known that Apple had helped access more than 70 pre-iOS 8 iPhones, and the paper today reports that – in the earliest known case – the company went as far as drafting the language for the court order.

Lawyers and investigators involved in the 2008 prosecution of Amanda and Christopher Jansen, a young married couple from Watertown, N.Y., remember it as one of the most horrific cases of child sex abuse they had ever seen.

History may remember it for another reason. It is believed to be the first case of a federal judge ordering Apple to assist the government in unlocking an iPhone—and the technology giant not only complied; it helped prosecutors draft the court order requiring it to do so … 

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PRISM Stories September 8, 2015

AAPL: 112.31

3.04

DOJ and FBI officials say Apple & other tech companies ‘winning PR battle’ over data privacy

Some law enforcement officials are frustrated that Apple and other tech companies appear to be winning the PR battle over data privacy, reports the NYT.

Some Justice and F.B.I. officials have been frustrated that the White House has not moved more quickly or been more outspoken in the public relations fight that the tech companies appear to be winning, the law enforcement officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversations.

The comments came in the wake of a DOJ drugs and guns investigation where the agency obtained a court order to obtain iMessages between suspects, and Apple responded that it was unable to comply as end-to-end encryption is used, meaning that Apple has no way to decrypt the communications. Tim Cook said of iMessages a year ago that the content is “encrypted and we don’t have the key.”

There has long been tension between Apple and law enforcement agencies over encryption, Apple arguing that its customers right to privacy outweighs the right of law enforcement agencies to intercept communications – a stance strengthened by the Snowden revelations into large-scale electronic surveillance by governments. Law enforcement officials have become increasingly strident and hyperbolic in their statements on the subject.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder said last year that less stringent protection would still “adequately protect personal privacy,” FBI Director James Comey claimed that Apple’s encryption was “putting people beyond the law,” the DOJ suggested that iPhone encryption could eventually lead to the death of a child” and Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr, said that the iPhone would be “the terrorists’ communication device of choice.”

PRISM Stories April 20, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Van

We’ve heard some pretty outrageous ramblings from the government regarding Apple’s use of encryption in its mobile devices in the past—including a claim from the Department of Justice that some day it will result in the death of a child—but Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. might have just dethroned the DOJ as king of hyperbole.

Yesterday morning during a radio interview, Vance claimed that Apple’s encrypted software will make the iPhone the communication tool of choice for terrorists:

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PRISM Stories March 26, 2015

patriot-act-reform

Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  expand full story

PRISM Stories February 25, 2015

Chinese government removes Apple from list of approved tech companies for state purchases

The Chinese government has removed several prominent US tech companies, including Apple, from its list of approved vendors for state purchases, Reuters reported today. The change is hardly unexpected following the government’s response to accusations several years ago that the US National Security Administration had been using backdoors in Apple products to spy on users.

PRISM Stories November 19, 2014

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. expand full story

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