Tag - Government
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.
The FBI may not have spent as much to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c than previously claimed by the director of the bureau, according to a report. A previous suggestion by Director James Comey that put the price of the hack in excess of $1.3 million dollars is being declared as an over-inflated number, with numerous government sources of a report putting the figure somewhere below $1 million.
The US House of Representatives has unanimously voted in favor of approving a bill that could help prevent US citizen's emails from being easily accessed by law enforcement. The Email Privacy Act, which would require security forces to gain a warrant before being able to access email accounts, was approved with a vote of 419 for the bill and no votes against, with the bill now set to move towards the Senate on its way to becoming a law.
The shutdown of the iTunes Movies and iBooks stores in China last week were forced by a regulator within the local government, according to a report. It is claimed the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television is behind the closures, with the government's interest in more tightly controlling media from foreign sources appearing to be one of the main reasons why the stores were taken down.
Tech companies have complained to the US government about a bill that aims to dramatically weaken the security of smartphones and other devices that rely on encryption. The open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, co-signed by three other groups, expresses "deep concerns" about the bill and other "well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic or physical harm."
Apple was the recipient of over 32,000 requests for information about accounts and devices in the second half of last year, the company has revealed. The latest transparency report on Government Information Requests advises Apple received a total of 30,687 requests from law enforcement officials around the world relating to devices, while another 1,813 requests concerned data from user accounts on Apple's services, including iTunes and iCloud accounts.
In a transparency report on its dealings with the US government, alternative ride provider Uber Technologies has revealed that it provided data on more than 12 million riders and drivers to the government -- but that nearly all of it was abstract statistical reports to various US regulatory agencies. The company did, however, show that it would provide details of trips, pickup and drop off areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers to law enforcement when requested, but had just 415 requests from such agencies on just 469 users -- mostly revolving around the use of stolen credit cards. Importantly, Uber said it had not received any FISA orders, or national security letters to obtain data on drivers or passengers.
An attempt by Apple to increase its market share in India by selling old iPhones in the country is receiving some opposition, from its main rivals. Apple wants permission to import used iPhones for sale in the country, but other mobile phone manufacturers have complained to the Indian government to put a stop to the plan before it gets started, protesting that it goes against one government program to encourage local production, among other issues.
The terrorist attack on Brussels has prompted more debate by lawmakers about government access of citizen data, on both sides of the Atlantic. European Union ministers are pushing for more sharing of data between security agencies across the continent, following the deaths of 31 people and injury to approximately 300 others earlier this week in the attack, while the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman urges Congress to move forward on an encryption bill.
Some Apple employees are reportedly considering their options if the company loses its high-profile battle with the US Government. Should the iPhone 5c unlock saga not resolve in Apple's favor, some engineers interviewed claimed that they would refuse to work, with some saying that they would quit rather than undermine the security of a platform that some of them have been developing for years.
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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