White House Stories February 13, 2019
White House Stories June 19, 2018
The New York Times published a profile of Tim Cook and his increasing role as a statesman between President Trump and China over trade policy negotiations. The piece included reporting that cites a source saying the White House does not plan to tax imported iPhones assembled in China, but today a White House advisor has denied knowledge of such an exclusion.
Separately, Tim Cook has publicly spoken out against the administration’s immigration policy of separating families at the border — adding that Apple plans to be a “constructive voice” on the issue. The Irish Times reports that the Apple CEO made the comments during a public appearance overseas:
White House Stories April 14, 2016
The FBI has so far been ambivalent about whether or not it will reveal to Apple the method used to access the San Bernardino iPhone, but a Reuters report suggests that the agency may not even know – or have the legal right to disclose it if it does.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that it was freelance hackers, and not Cellebrite, who sold the FBI the tool used to access the phone. But the group may not have revealed the vulnerability on which it was based, and the government process that decides which vulnerabilities to share with companies does not apply in this case …
White House Stories April 7, 2016
The White House will not be supporting draft legislation that would allow courts to force tech companies like Apple to help law enforcement hack into encrypted devices, reports Reuters.
The Senate Intelligence Committee in February announced plans to impose criminal penalties on companies that fail to comply with court orders like the one challenged by Apple and finally withdrawn by the FBI. Remarks by President Obama last month appeared to suggest he would support the proposed legislation, but it now appears this isn’t the case …
White House Stories April 4, 2016
President Obama still not allowed to use an iPhone, but White House tech update mean his aides now can
President Barack Obama has said in the past that he’s not allowed to use an iPhone for security reasons (though he does use a WiFi-only iPad) – but the NY Times reports that senior White House aides finally can. The change of policy comes as part of a major update to elderly White House technology.
White House Stories February 18, 2016
A new We the People petition has been created urging the White House to “halt efforts that compel Apple and other device makers to create a “backdoor” for the Government to access citizens data” (via MacReports).
The petition comes as Apple CEO Tim Cook this week penned an open letter detailing why the company is resisting a demand from the FBI to unlock a device belonging to a suspect in the high profile San Bernardino shooter case.
White House Stories January 15, 2016
Apple’s strong position on privacy and encryption has been at odds with the United States government’s pressure to step up its national security efforts in the wake of recent terrorist attacks across the globe. In short, iPhones are encrypted to protect customer data from prying eyes, and law enforcement agencies believe that gives criminals a safe haven for communication that can’t be traced.
The Obama administration including the former and current attorney general and FBI director have strongly voiced opposition to Apple’s position, and Tim Cook reportedly pressed the White House to back strong encryption as recently as this week. So it’s no surprise that Tim Cook and Apple came up at the end of last night’s Republican presidential debate hosted by the Fox Business channel where at least one candidate was asked to address his position on the subject.
White House Stories January 12, 2016
Last Friday, Tim Cook was among a handful of Silicon Valley officials who met with White House officials to discuss the use of technology and social media in fighting terrorism. The Intercept today reports that Tim Cook again took the stance of there being no backdoors in technology to allow access to user data and devices.
White House Stories January 7, 2016
According to a report from BuzzFeed News, a handful of tech executives are set to meet with White House officials to discuss measures that can be taken to prevent terror recruitment online. Apple CEO Tim Cook is among the tech executives that will participate in the meeting, which is set to take place in San Jose tomorrow, January 8th. Other companies that will be represented include Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.
White House Stories December 22, 2015
Apple has heavily touted the camera capabilities of the iPhone 6/iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus/iPhone 6s Plus since the first introduction of the devices in 2014. The company ran a worldwide ad campaign called “Shot on iPhone” that showcased some of the beautiful photographs taken with iPhones. Now, the Chief Official White House Photographer has shared a collection of images that he took throughout 2015 with his iPhone.
White House Stories September 11, 2015
Siri causes laughter when it interrupts White House press briefing with the perfect commentary [Video]
We’ve all accidentally activated Siri at one time or other, but one journalist managed to do so at a particularly embarrassing time: while a question was being asked during a White House press briefing.
Siri did, though, manage a rather apt response to the question, which was about President Obama’s failure to persuade Republicans in Congress to sign an agreement about Iran.
I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you want me to change.
Via Business Insider
White House Stories May 18, 2015
President Obama borrows iPhone for first tweet, avoiding BlackBerry embarrassment
Last week potential Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made headlines when he was spotted wearing an Apple Watch on the still-exploring-but-definitely-running campaign trail, using the press opportunity as a chance to dish out the zinger that its health apps were better than Obamacare.
The White House has given its own endorsement of Apple today, however, as President Obama launched his own personal Twitter account (not to be confused with the OFA-ran @BarackObama account) with a tweet that originated from an iPhone.
White House Stories February 13, 2015
Tim Cook is set to speak ahead of President Obama today at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity at Stanford University, and the White House has already shared some unexpected news regarding government support for Apple Pay. As noted by Bloomberg, the White House announced that federal-payment cards will support Apple Pay, including debit cards where veteran benefits and Social Security payments are issued. expand full story
As we mentioned earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook is in attendance at the White House Summit on cybersecurity today at Stanford University where he’s expected to discuss Apple, privacy, and security. Notably, Tim Cook is the only technology company chief executive participating in the event with the White House as CEOs at Facebook, Yahoo, and Google each declined deciding to send lower-level staff instead. Other CEOs in attendance include the heads of Apple Pay partners Bank of America and Visa as well as the chief executive officer of AIG. You can view a stream of the event below: expand full story
We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.
Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.
It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy … expand full story
White House Stories February 9, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to speak at a White House “cyber summit” at the end of the week, The Hill reported today. The White House is expected to unveil a new cybersecurity program during the summit, and is bringing together leaders in technology and government to address the issue.
White House Stories January 21, 2015
State of the Union press gallery “looks like a damn Apple ad,” observes political reporter
We’re used to seeing row upon row of Macbooks at tech press events, but the popularity of Apple’s laptop seems equally strong among mainstream journalists. The Huffington Post’s senior congressional reporter Michael McAuliff tweeted that the press gallery at last night’s State of the Union address “looks like a damn Apple ad.”
By far the majority of the laptops visible in the photo of the press gallery above the House floor have the familiar glowing Apple logo.
The White House also embraced technology by posting the full text of the speech as a blog post on Medium before the President got up to speak. As last year, though, there were few references to technology in the address, the main one urging Congress “to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”
Microsoft also had to look out at a sea of glowing Apple logos when launching Windows 10 …
White House Stories October 27, 2014
The White House shared earlier this year that Apple is a participant in President Obama’s ConnectED education program focused on bringing Internet access and technology to schools in need, and today Apple has provided a micro site profiling its effort in the program.
While it was already known that Apple has pledged $100 million to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other products toward the program for schools across the United States, Apple has shared that Apple ConnectED grants are being received by a total of 114 different schools across the country with these schools spread out across 29 states. Apple added that “92% of students from our partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.” expand full story
White House Stories July 11, 2014
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, President Barack Obama is set to announce a new program called “SupplierPay” to help boost small businesses, and Apple is one of the 26 companies listed as having already signed on.
The program intends to send money down the supply chain and help strengthen contractors and smaller businesses by giving them access to lower-cost capital and thereby opening up opportunities for hiring more workers. This, the White House hopes, will increase investments at the small business level as well. expand full story
White House Stories February 4, 2014
While it was announced briefly during the President’s State of the Union address last week, Associated Press reports today that Apple along with other tech companies are pledging around $750 million in an initiative to bring high-speed internet to schools. Called ConnectED, the program was officially announced by the White House today with the goal of connecting “99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years.” For its part, Apple is reportedly providing around $100 million in iPads and other equipment: expand full story
White House Stories January 27, 2014
Just a few days later after Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his thoughts about the NSA and data collection transparency, Apple has posted an update to its website with new information regarding account data requests. The company’s press release comes as US Department of Justice comes to a settlement with technology companies over how they are allowed to disclose information about government data requests.
A statement from the DOJ explains the agreement will allow “detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities.” Due to these new guidelines, Apple has now been able to report FISA and National Security Letters separate from law enforcement requests as show in its graphics above and below. It also notes the new data released today replaces the U.S. data from its Feb. 5 2013 Report on Government Information Requests.
Apple has been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive. We believe strongly that our customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled, and we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the U.S.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that he would push congress for more transparency regarding controversial surveillance programs and how companies can disclose information related to information requests. At the time, Cook said that there was much the company couldn’t speak about due to gag orders:
White House Stories December 4, 2013
President Obama: ‘I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone, but my daughters love it’
While he and many of his staff members use Apple’s iPads, United States President Barack Obama has revealed why he does not use an iPhone: “I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” the President said earlier today. Nonetheless, he says that his daughters both use iPhones. President Obama has stuck to his BlackBerry over the past few years because of its messaging and encryption capabilities. No word on if the iPhone will ever be suitable for a President, but Apple has been beefing up its smartphone’s security via hardware, software, and sensors in recent years.
White House Stories October 18, 2013
Apple reiterates it cannot read user iMessages, has no plans to do so
Update: Fresh Apple statement added
The immunity of iMessages from government surveillance has been cast into doubt by QuarksLab security researchers presenting at the Hack in the Box conference in Kuala Lumpur.
A leaked DEA document had pointed to the impossibility of intercepting iMessages even with a court order, a point that was confirmed by an apparently categorical Apple statement:
Conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data.
The researchers reverse-engineered the iMessage protocol and confirmed that the claim was true. However, they identified that Apple needed to hold the encryption keys on its own servers, and that simply by changing these keys, it could enable access to the message content.
They can change a key anytime they want, thus read the content of our iMessages.
The researchers were keen to stress that they do not believe Apple is doing, or has ever done, this – but rather that it could do so if the NSA or another government agency were to require it. Only messages sent after Apple changed the keys would be accessible.
Apple has since issued a statement to AllThingsD:
“iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages,” said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said (sic) in a statement to AllThingsD. “The research discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Apple to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, and Apple has no plans or intentions to do so.”
This is, though, merely a weaker version of its earlier statement. Then, it said it couldn’t read iMessages, now it is saying that it could, but it would require work and it has no intention of doing so. That Apple would not willingly do so was never in doubt: the point is that the NSA could force it to. A demonstration from QuarksLab is below:
When the NSA PRISM story broke, it led to a raft of denials in what some security researchers say was carefully-crafted language. Apple, among other companies, was clearly unhappy about the secrecy imposed on it and gained permission to reveal some numbers on government requests for customer data. A meeting was subsequently held at the White House in which Tim Cook and other tech CEOs met with President Obama to discuss the issue. Details of the discussions were not made public.
White House Stories March 6, 2013
Following a statement from the White House on Monday confirming it would support “narrow legislative fixes” to make unlocking cellphones legal again, several lawmakers have announced plans to introduce legislation. According to a report from The Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights Senator Amy Klobuchar have confirmed they will introduce bills in support of the legalization of cellphone unlocking:
“I intend to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era,” Leahy said in a statement.
The Judiciary Committee, which handles copyright issues, would likely have jurisdiction over any bill to legalize cellphone unlocking.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, said she plans to introduce her own bill this week.
During a recent panel discussion on Capitol Hill, other lawmakers voiced their support for the legislation, including Representatives Darrell Issa and Jared Polis, while The Hill reported the Federal Communication Commissions’Jessica Rosenworcel “encouraged Congress to re-examine the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
The decision was made by the Library of Congress in October to make unlocking cellphones illegal, and that policy officially took effect in January. Following the White House’s statement in response to a petition with over 110,000 signatures, the Library of Congress issued a statement and agreed that “the question of locked cell phones has implications for telecommunications policy and that it would benefit from review and resolution in that context.” expand full story