Tag - Congress
A bipartisan bill has been introduced to combat a judicial rule change that took place recently, one that would allow US judges to issue search warrants permitting remote access to computers in any jurisdiction, including overseas, once it comes into force. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) presented the one-page bill, one that would effectively reverse the recently-adopted procedural rules adjustment, voted on by the US Supreme Court in private last month.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of the Supreme Court, has authorized a rule change that could allow any judge in any jurisdiction to issue a search warrant for the contents of computers -- including mobile devices such as smartphones -- in any other jurisdiction, a move that would certainly result in judge-shopping and widespread search powers for the government and various agencies. The rule change will take effect on December 1 unless acted upon by Congress. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has already said he will introduce legislation to undo the change, which could have major implications.
During today's congressional hearing before the House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce committee, one of the few bits of new information uncovered in the otherwise-helpful discussion between members of the committee and various members of both the law-enforcement community and a bank of various security experts (including Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell) was a flat denial from Apple that it had ever complied with requests for data from Chinese authorities.
If FBI Director James Comey did himself and his agency a great public good by striking a conciliatory tone about the FBI's dispute with Apple under oath at the recent congressional hearings, recent filings and public comments by the Department of Justice -- in particular, it's latest brief with the court, which ratcheted up the accusatory rhetoric, going as far as to question Apple's patriotism -- has not only undone that goodwill, it may have set any resolution back catastrophically. In a cover story for Time magazine, Apple CEO Tim Cook echoed his SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell, saying he was "deeply offended" by the recent filing.
A lawmaker in Florida has waded into the encryption debate, by introducing legislation that aims to prevent federal agencies from purchasing Apple products. The No Taxpayer Support for Apple Act (H.R. 4663), floated by Congressman David Jolly (R-FL), is a not-so-subtle attack against the company for its stance on privacy and encryption, that seeks to force Apple into changing its mind by slightly lowering its sales to government agencies.
In interview on the hot-potato topic of the line between law-enforcement enthusiasm and Constitutional rights to privacy in the digital age, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he would support a congressional commission to work with the tech industry and other experts to address the sometimes-difficult definition of security, encryption, and privacy rights on modern devices, which are the 21st century equivalent of the "person and papers" the Constitution protects.
Under oath during a Congressional hearing on Thursday to answer questions about the FBI's battle with Apple over encryption, FBI Director James Comey was forced to admit that the outcome of the court challenge will "guide how other courts handle similar requests" from law enforcement, conceding that the agency's demands would have on impact beyond the current investigation -- walking back previous comments that the agency wasn't trying to set a precedent or "set a 'master key' loose upon the land."
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Hideo Kojima's future plans after leaving Konami reportedly involve setting up a new studio, System Shock 3 is confirmed, Bungie adds paid leveling boosts to Destiny, and a representative of Congress is cleared of ethical violations for appearing in a video about League of Legends.
As reported last week, the US House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing titled "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action." The hearing was to discuss the unnamed draft bill introduced by Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), head of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Senate, which purports to "draft a new law for this century" and ensure net neutrality, but strips the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of almost all enforcement authority.
A draft bill intended to resolve the current threats to net neutrality was announced today in the US Congress, with plans to begin hearings on it as early as next Wednesday by the US Energy & Commerce Committees. The bill purports to ensure net neutrality by prohibiting blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and a number of other desirable perks, but also specifically strips the FCC of its existing authority to protect consumers and encourage competition.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE