Federal judge rules US government can't force Apple to make a security-breaking tool

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We've all heard that there's a federal judge in California who ordered Apple to make a tool to help the FBI decrypt a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters -- but despite the FBI's insistence that this is a special circumstance, San Bernardino is just one of a dozen-odd cases where the FBI is making similar demands on Apple. Read the rest

FBI claims it has no records of its decision to delete its recommendation to encrypt your phone

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Two years ago, the FBI published its official advice to "protect your mobile device," including a recommendation to encrypt your storage. This year, the FBI is suing Apple to force it to break its encryption. Read the rest

_applyChinaLocationShift: In China, national security means that all the maps are wrong

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Chinese law makes independent mapmaking a crime (you may not document "the shapes, sizes, space positions, attributes, etc. of man-made surface installations") and requires tech companies to randomly vary the locations of all landmarks by 100-500m. Read the rest

Bill Gates: Microsoft would backdoor its products in a heartbeat

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Bill Gates has joined Donald Trump in condemning Apple for refusing to backdoor its products at the behest of the FBI, promising that the company that he founded, a waning firm called Microsoft, would happily compromise its security on demand for the US government. Read the rest

To improve national security, improve crypto usability

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Scout Sinclair Brody (previously) is executive director of Simply Secure, a nonprofit I volunteer for that works on impriving the usability of privacy tools so that normal people can understand and benefit from them. Read the rest

Wanting it badly isn't enough: backdoors and weakened crypto threaten the net

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As you know, Apple just said no to the FBI's request for a backdoor in the iPhone, bringing more public attention to the already hot discussion on encryption, civil liberties, and whether “those in authority” should have the ability to see private content and communications -- what's referred to as “exceptional access.”[1]

What a serious keysigning ceremony looks like

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In his excellent technical explainer about the Iphone decryption order, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Joseph Bonneau discusses the actual process of cryptographically signing a new release of a major piece of Internet infrastructure like IOS. Read the rest

Feds say Apple's pro-privacy response to iPhone hacking order is a 'marketing stunt'

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple said no to the government, and the government is pissed.

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The government was pushing Apple to break iPhone security long before San Bernardino attack

iPhone parts in a NY repair store, February 17, 2016.  REUTERS

They're not comin' for your guns, America. They're comin' for your phones.

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In FBI vs. Apple, New York Times editorial board sides with the tech resistance

Apple CEO Tim Cook at 2015 WWDC. REUTERS

“Apple is doing the right thing in challenging the federal court ruling requiring that it comply,” reads a New York Times editorial today on the battle of the backdoors brewing between the government and the iPhone's maker.

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Apple update unbricks phones disabled by Error 53

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Apple has apologized to users whose phones were bricked by a recent update that interpreted third-party repairs as attempts to hack the device. It also released a new update that revives the dead handsets through iTunes.

Some customers’ devices are showing ‘Connect to iTunes’ after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. This reports as an Error 53 in iTunes and appears when a device fails a security test. This test was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.

Today, Apple released a software update that allows customers who have encountered this error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC.

We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.

Previously. Read the rest

Can Apple crack the San Bernardino killers' iPhone for the FBI? Sure, if they build an 'FBiOS'

An Apple logo at a retail location in San Francisco, 2014. REUTERS

The iPhone battle between the FBI and Apple isn't about getting help unlocking a terrorist's phone. It's about our government forcing Apple to invent a customized-on-demand version of its iOS operating system, effectively stripped of all security and privacy features. Command performance coding. As security researcher Dan Guido describes it in his widely cited technical explainer blog post, what they're asking for is an 'FBiOS.'

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Rallies planned at Apple stores to protest the FBI's crusade to hack your iPhone

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Fight For The Future is organizing rallies at Apple store locations nationwide to protest a court order pressuring the tech company to build a “backdoor” that would give the FBI the power to hack the iPhone. Today, it's the San Bernardino killers they're asking about, because who could argue with that? But tomorrow, maybe it'll be your phone.

“iPhone users will gather outside stores with a simple message for the government: 'Don’t Break Our Phones.'”

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FBI demands iPhone backdoor access; Tim Cook tells them to get lost

Apple CEO Tim Cook

The FBI has ordered Apple to provide it backdoor access to the iPhone operating system, writes CEO Tim Cook in a letter to customers published Wednesday. Apple opposes the order, he says, because it would be impossible to do so without putting millions of customers' privacy at risk.

Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.

All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.

The circumstances of the order center on the investigation into last year's San Bernardino terror shootings in California: "Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession."

Once a backdoor exists, no-one can control who copies the keys, picks the locks, or kicks it down with brute force:

Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.

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Apple Bye Bye

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I was clumsy, and I spilled some beer on the keyboard of my Mac Air laptop, bought July 9, 2014. I immediately started drying my precious computer, overturning it, and my greedy Mac didn't gulp all that much beer, but.... Read the rest

Error 53: Apple remotely bricks phones to punish customers for getting independent repairs

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Iphone 6s that have been repaired by independent service centers are bricking themselves, seemingly permanently, with a cryptic message about "Error 53." Read the rest

Google parent Alphabet surpasses Apple as 'world's most valuable company'

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With the release of its fourth-quarter earnings report today, Google parent company Alphabet became the world's most valuable company, and kicked Apple out of that coveted spot.

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