surveillance Stories January 25, 2014

Yesterday we posted some excerpts from an ABC interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives that officially aired on the network last night. In the interview, Cook is joined by Apple’s Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi and Apple software VP Bud Tribble to talk about the 30th anniversary of Mac, the new made-in-America Mac Pro, iWatch (iRing?), secrecy at Apple and the recent NSA surveillance controversies.

Cook on NSA surveillance programs:

Number one, we need to be significantly more transparent. We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many accounts are affected, we need to be clear. And we have a gag order on us right now so we can’t say those things… .Much of what has been said isn’t true. There is no backdoor. The government doesn’t have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that, and that just will not happen. We feel that strongly about it.

Cook didn’t say much that we didn’t already see in the excerpts, but you can check out the full uncut interview from ABC above.

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surveillance Stories December 17, 2013

Quick video: Tim Cook & other CEOs meet w/ Obama to discuss healthcare.gov, NSA surveillance, House of Cards

Update: Bloomberg caught up with Tim Cook on his way out of the White House today and reports Cook described the talk as “a great meeting.” Video report below.

Following yesterday’s announcement that Apple CEO Tim Cook along with other tech executives would be meeting with President Obama today, we now have some of the first images from inside the meeting.

While Politico’s report is light on details regarding what was discussed at the meeting, we get a brief video clip below showing Cook seated across from Obama (and next to Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings) as the President makes a joke about if Hastings brought advanced copies of Netflix show “House of Cards.”

“I’m just wondering if you brought advance copies of ‘House of Cards’?” Obama said to Netflix head Reed Hastings. The executive laughed and invited the president to show up for a cameo, according to a pool report.

“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in reference to the show and its Machiavellian lead character. “This guy’s getting a lot of stuff done.”

It looks like cameras were asked to leave following the brief introduction, but on top of the expected discussions regarding the controversial launch of Healthcare.gov, the report also notes that “industry leaders made it clear they wanted to prioritize” issues related to NSA surveillance programs. The White House also announced today following the meeting that it has hired former Microsoft Office exec Kurt DelBene to oversee fixing issues that still exist with the Healthcare.gov website.

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surveillance Stories December 8, 2013

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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