The Patriot Act provides for secret warrants to spy on ISPs' customers. These "Section 215" warrants come with gag orders that mean that the company can't disclose their existence. This lack of transparency is ripe for abuse and is bad for ISPs' business. Apple is fighting back with a "warrant canary": they've published a transparency report (PDF) that states "Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge an order if served on us." If they are served with a 215 order in future, their next transparency report will drop this language, omitting any mention of 215, and keen-eyed watchers will know that they've been subjected to a secret order. I proposed a more ambitious version of this in September, though I was hardly the first person to suggest it. Good for Apple for using it.
In the autumn of 2020, the Tampa Bay Times published an investigation into the Pasco County Sheriff's Department, which was openly boasting about its new Minority Report-inspired intelligence gathering program. I wrote about it then, but here's a quick summary of how it works: First the Sheriff's Office generates lists of people it considers likely… READ THE REST
I'm a big fan of journalist Spencer Ackerman's work as a national security reporter, hardcore punk drummer, and scholarly Magneto apologist. He was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Guardian that broke the news of the Snowden leaks, and has more recently worked as the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast.… READ THE REST
It's the 10th anniversary of when visual artist Kyle McDonald set up a webcam app on Macs at an Apple store that sent mugshots of shoppers to an online gallery [archive.org]. Apple's response was overbearing and censorial, firing out legal nastygrams citing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to get Tumblr to take it all… READ THE REST
It's a sure bet that whenever Apple unveils a new…well, anything, it's going to capture media and audience attention. Hey, it's Apple. It's what they do. That always in the spotlight approach also spills over into Apple's most popular spinoff brands, which now include premium audio makers Beats after their 2019 purchase. But while the… READ THE REST
When you think Apple, it isn't unusual to instinctively think of those high-grade Apple devices like the iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook, and more. But there's a whole range of those lower-tier Apple products that don't often get the same attention as their more expensive brothers and sisters. Where's the love for the AirPods? Or… READ THE REST
In the past few years, the drone market has swelled with many competitors vying for top positions, but if you do the proper legwork, you can find some killer deals out there. Perfect finds can brilliantly straddle the line between fully loaded birds jammed with high-end features and a price tag that doesn't tear open… READ THE REST