Apple barred from selling used iPhones in India

By Christian Zibreg on May 3, 2016

The Indian government has turned down Apple’s request to sell refurbished iPhones in the country after Samsung and local phone vendors voiced their opposition to the move on environmental grounds, Bloomberg reported today.

This is a setback for the Cupertino firm: its iPhone has a minuscule two percent markets share in India, where half of the population is about 25 years old. Read More

 

Apple says it refused Chinese demand for iOS source code

By Cody Lee on Apr 19, 2016

Apple declined to provide Chinese officials with access to iOS source code, General counsel Bruce Sewell said on Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing on encryption. “We have been asked by the Chinese government. We refused.”

Sewell said the request had come in the last two years, and noted several times that Apple has not cooperated with China on that level. Some lawmakers have questioned whether or not Apple has given the country special treatment. Read More

 

Canadian police have had BlackBerry’s global decryption key since 2010

By Cody Lee on Apr 14, 2016

Canadian police have been in possession of a BlackBerry’s global decryption key since 2010, reports Vice. The site says recently released court documents reveal that the key was used in a criminal investigation to intercept over 1 million BBM messages.

The documents were made public after members of a Montreal crime syndicate pleaded guilty to their role in a 2011 murder, and they shine some light on the extent that BlackBerry, as well as telco giant Rogers, is willing to cooperate with investigators. Read More

 

FBI confirms a tool it bought to unlock terrorist’s iPhone 5c does not work on iPhone 5s and newer

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 7, 2016

James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of iPhones—that is, Investigation—confirmed in an interview with CNN yesterday that a tool that the agency had purchased from a third-party to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c cannot be used to bypass security protections on newer models, from the iPhone 5s onward.

This implies the tool relies on the fact that the iPhone 5c and earlier models lack hardware features like the Secure Enclave embedded in Apple’s mobile processors (from the iPhone 5s’s A7 chip and onward) which keeps encrypted sensitive information and stuff like the number of passcode attempts isolated from the rest of the system. Read More

 

DOJ threatened to seize iOS source code unless Apple complies with court order in FBI case

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2016

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has slid a disturbing footnote in its court filing against Apple that could be interpreted as a threat to seize the iOS source code unless Apple complies with a court order in the FBI case.

The DoJ is demanding that Apple create a special version of iOS with removed security features that would permit the FBI to run brute-force passcode attempts on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has made public where he stands on the Apple vs. FBI case, which has quickly become a heated national debate. Read More

 

Apple-FBI fight over iPhone backdoor, security and encryption gets a comedic treatment

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2016

Apple’s fight against the United States government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over circumventing encryption and creating a backdoor into the iPhone has received a comedic treatment in a segment on the Last Week Tonight show by comedian Jon Oliver.

In a mock Apple ad, Oliver rehashes controversial quotes from government officials, as well as Donald Trump’s iPhone boycott idea and District Attorney Daniel Conley’s Kennedy quote of sending a man to the moon. Read More

 

Eddy Cue: what if FBI forces Apple to spy on users via iPhone’s camera or microphone?

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 10, 2016

Not a day goes by without one of Apple’s executives reaffirming the company’s position on encryption. In a new Spanish-language interview with Univision, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, made the case against the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gaining additional surveillance powers.

Were the government to force Apple to create a version of iOS with decreased security, nothing would prevent it from seeking other concessions, Cue said.

“For example, one day the FBI may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone,” he cautioned. “Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad.” Read More

 

Video: Steve Wozniak sides with Apple in FBI fight

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 8, 2016

As a strong proponent of privacy and human rights, it is now wonder that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak would stand firmly with Apple in its fight against the FBI and the United States government regarding creating a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

Appearing on the Conan show last night, the Woz said the FBI “picked the lamest case you ever could”. It’s “worthless” to expect something’s on the shooter’s iPhone 5c that the FBI wants to break into because Verizon had already turned over all the phone records and SMS messages and law enforcement got iCloud backups form Apple. Read More

 

Apple will pay $450 million fine in e-book case as Supreme Court declines to hear appeal

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2016

Apple’s legal battle with the United States government over alleged price fixing in an e-book antitrust case has now come to an end after nearly three years.

As the United States Supreme Court has declined to hear Apple’s appeal, the iPhone maker will have to pay a $450 million fine to settle its long-standing federal court case with class action lawyers and state district attorneys.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the justices turned away Apple’s appeal without comment. Apple has been found to have conspired with major book publishers and orchestrated a scheme to raise prices of electronic books on the iBooks Store. Read More

 

Apple’s Craig Federighi: creating iPhone backdoor would be ‘a serious mistake’

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2016

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering who oversees the development of iOS, OS X and Apple’s common operating system engineering team, has written an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in which he reiterates Apple’s position that the FBI’s demand that Apple create a version of iOS with decreased security would be “a serious mistake,” saying the FBI wants to “turn back the clock to a less-secure time”. Read More

 

Unsurprisingly, Samsung stops short of voicing open support for Apple in FBI fight

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2016

Apple’s dispute with the United States government over a court order demanding that it create an insecure version of iOS to help the FBI break the passcode of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c has gained support from more than 40 parties, according to The New York Times.

Samsung, however, likely won’t be one of them.

As reported by Bloomberg, Samsung generally supports the notion that “any requirement to create a backdoor could undermine consumers’ trust,” but stopped short of voicing open support for its rival. Read More

 

New York judge rules in favor of Apple in separate iPhone unlock case

By Cody Lee on Feb 29, 2016

A Brooklyn judge has ruled in favor of Apple in a New York iPhone case, reports TechCrunch. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the US District Court has denied a U.S. government request to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone that has been deemed evidence in a drug case.

This is a separate case from the one going on in California involving an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardinho shooters, that has garnered so much attention in recent weeks. But the circumstances are similar enough that the judge’s ruling is sure to help Apple in its FBI battle. Read More

 

Here’s a recap of what Tim Cook said about the FBI and iPhone hacking on ABC News

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 25, 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook was on ABC News last night, spending some time with reporter David Muir in his minimalist Cupertino, California office discussing the FBI case and how the government’s demands risk undermining every iPhone owner’s security.

For those who didn’t have the time to sit through the 60-minute interview, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance that the government’s demand that it create a one-off version of iOS with decreased security to help get data off the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c sets a dangerous precedent, likening it to “the software equivalent of cancer.” Read More

 

Can’t the Feds exploit San Bernardino shooter iPhone’s chips to break into encrypted data?

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

The world’s most powerful government has locked horns with the world’s most powerful corporation in a battle that Apple implies has the potential to affect civil rights for a generation. As you know, the Justice Department gave Apple until February 26 to respond to its court order.

In it, the government is asking Apple’s engineers to create a special version of iOS that would allow brute-force passcode attacks on the shooter’s phone electronically.

Now, some people have suggested that the government’s experts could make an exact copy of the phone’s flash memory to brute-force its way into encrypted data on a powerful computer without needing to guess the passcode on the phone or demand that Apple create a version of iOS that’d remove passcode entry restrictions.

While this is technically feasible, the so-called de-capping method would be painstakingly slow and extremely risky, here’s why. Read More

 

San Bernardino victims side with FBI in iPhone decryption fight

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

Lawyers representing families of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting massacre plan to file a legal brief in support of the United States Department of Justice’s demand that Apple help unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5c by creating a one-off version of iOS to permit brute-force attacks electronically, without the phone slowing down the process or erasing its contents after 10 failed attempts.

According to Reuters, Stephen Larson, a former federal judge who is now in private practice and represents families of the victims, was contacted a week ago by the Justice Department and local prosecutors about representing the victims, prior to the dispute becoming public. Read More

 

Apple posts public Q&A on FBI request

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

In addition to an all-hands memo issued to troops Monday about the government’s demand that it create what would basically be an ‘FBiOS,’ a software backdoor to help unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, Apple has also posted a public Q&A on its website this morning, showing a company unwavering in its position that fulfilling the request would constitute a dangerous precedent.

Titled “Answers to your questions about Apple and security,” the webpage details the case and provides some more technical information about the government’s request, while also answering some of the burning questions such as whether Apple has unlocked iPhones for law enforcement in the past. Read More

 

Tim Cook writes memo to employees reiterating Apple’s stance on FBI request

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

After issuing an open letter to Apple users regarding the FBI’s request to create an iPhone backdoor to help hack into the San Bernardino shooter’s locked iPhone 5c, CEO Tim Cook on Monday reinforced his company’s position in an internal memo to troops.

According to the all-hands memo, a copy of which was obtained by John Paczkowski of Buzz Feed, Apple wants the Justice Department to withdraw a court order that would force it to create a special version of iOS with decreased security measures. Read More

 

Judge orders Apple to help FBI recover data from San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

By Cody Lee on Feb 16, 2016

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Apple to help investigators access encrypted data on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, reports NBC News. The ruling says that the Cupertino firm must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI in recovering data from the handset.

More specifically, the device is an iPhone 5c that belongs to Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California last year. The phone is locked with a passcode, and prosecutors say data found in Farook’s iCloud account suggests it could contain evidence. Read More

 

US government renews jailbreak exemption, adds iPad and other devices

By Cody Lee on Oct 27, 2015

The US Library of Congress on Tuesday issued a set of exemptions to the notorious circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The provision makes it illegal for users to circumvent restrictions put in place by manufacturers, but every three years, the Copyright Office has the ability to grant exemptions to products and practices.

This year’s exemptions are far-reaching, granting permission to tinker with everything from smart TVs to vehicles, but the part we’re most interested in has to do with jailbreaking. The US government not only renewed the ability to jailbreak smartphones, but it added tablets into the mix. So for all intents and purposes, it’s now legal to jailbreak your iPad. Read More

 

Pentagon partners with Apple and others on wearable military technology

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 28, 2015

The Pentagon today announced a massive partnership with Apple, Boeing, Harvard and others on designing gadgets and sensors that could be molded onto the outside of a jet or worn by soldiers on the battlefield, Reuters reported Friday.

Defense official praised the “rapid development of new technologies” by the private sector which often out-innovates the Pentagon’s own solutions. Read More

 
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