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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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
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu