Federal judge orders Apple to help FBI unlock San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone 5c

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Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2016, 08:19
Category: iOS, Legal, News, security, Software


A few months after the San Bernadino shootings, Apple was ordered by a U.S. federal judge on Tuesday to help the FBI unlock the iPhone 5c used by shooter Syed Farook. According to court papers, Apple “declined to provide [assistance] voluntarily.”

The judge ruled Tuesday that Apple had to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the government in recovering data from the iPhone 5c, including bypassing the auto-erase function and allowing investigators to submit an unlimited number of passwords in their attempts to unlock the phone. Apple has five days to respond to the court if it believes that compliance would be “unreasonably burdensome.”

Prosecutors have argued that the “government was unable to complete the search because it cannot access the iPhone’s encrypted content.” The FBI argued that Apple has the “technical means” to assist the government and, in a statement, U.S. attorney Eileen M. Decker said that the order was a “potentially important step” in finding out “everything we possibly can” about the San Bernardino attack.


Proposed bipartisan bill would prevent individual states from mandating backdoor access to encryption protocols

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Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2016, 09:42
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security, Software


The plot may yet become even more intricate when it comes to states require backdoors into encryption.

A bipartisan bill introduced to the U.S. House of Represenatives on Wednesday would bar individual states and localities from requiring backdoors in encryption, something often demanded by law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies.

The ENCRYPT Act, sponsored Democrat Ted Lieu and Republican Blake Farenthold, was crafted in direct response to proposed rules in New York and California that would require companies to be able to decrypt smartphones.

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“It is completely technologically unworkable for individual states to mandate different encryption standards in consumer products,” said Lieu. “Apple can’t make a different smartphone for California and New York and the rest of the country.”

Support for the bill has been said to have originated from FBI Director James Comey, who has regularly stated that encryption could interfere with investigations and police observation. On Tuesday, Comey appeared in front of a Senate panel, where he said that investigators were still unable to access the contents of a phone belonging to one of the shooters responsible for the Dec. 2 massacre in San Bernardino, Calif.

Companies like Apple have put their own pressure on U.S. politicians, arguing that leaving holes in encryption would simply make intrusion easier for malicious hackers and/or government surveillance.

The encryption in iOS 8 and iOS 9 is so stringent that even when served with a warrant, Apple claims it can’t crack a passcode-protected device. Later versions of Google’s Android OS support similar levels of encryption, though it may sometimes have to be enabled manually.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Reuters

Legal ground work begins towards class action lawsuit following iPhone Error 53 controversy

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Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 08:32
Category: iPhone, Legal, News


It was bound to happen.

In the wake of the iPhone Error 53 bricking issue, The law firm of PVCA hasn’t filed a case against Apple yet, but is looking for iPhone owners ready to sign up for a class action lawsuit.

As mentioned before, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners who had their Home button and Touch ID components repaired by a third party are encountering Error 53 if the parts aren’t properly installed and paired with the rest of the device. Apple says it’s a security feature to prevent anyone from bypassing the built-in personal data and privacy safeguards.

PVCA offered the following opinion on the matter:


Apple receives San Jose planning commission approval, snags additional 4.15 million square feet of office space in region

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2016, 14:34
Category: Legal, News


Apple’s real estate expansion through San Jose continues.

On Wednesday, Kristina Raspe, senior director of real estate and development for Apple, stated that the company will be establishing a significant corporate presence” in North San Jose Kristina Raspe, senior director of real estate and development for Apple to the city’s commissioners.

Her comments came just before the the advisory body signed off on a development agreement that allows Apple up to 15 years to build a maximum of 4.15 million square feet of space — ranging from industrial to R&D to office. The agreement is just a prelude to an actual project proposal, but represents a big milestone and potentially the largest corporate expansion in San Jose since Cisco Systems’ go-go growth in the 1990s.


Proposed bill in New York state could allow backdoor access for law enforcement, threatens fines for non-compliance

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2016, 09:27
Category: Legal, News, security

Gay Marriage NY

Let the arguments begin.

A new bill proposed in New York could require that all phone manufacturers be required to implement a way for law enforcement agencies to access and decrypt user devices. This bill is somewhat similar to the Investigatory Powers Bill currently being debated in the UK, which Apple has voiced its opposition towards. Apple and Tim Cook have repeatedly stated that government agencies should not have any access to user devices or data, whether be through a built-in backdoor or other means.

The bill is currently making its way through the new York state assembly and specifically states that “any smartphone manufactured on or after January 1, 2016, and sold or leased in New York, shall be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” Failure to meet such a requirement would impose a $2,500 on each infringing device.


Apple cites that it’s “impossible” to unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or later for authorities

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Date: Friday, October 23rd, 2015, 13:41
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, privacy, security, Software


The legal/encryption squabble continues.

On Wednesday, Apple, representing itself in a New York court, took sides regarding backdoor access to iPhone encryption and stated that the company could not unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or higher even if it wanted to.

Apple called the request to access an encrypted iPhone “impossible to perform” on more than 90 percent of devices running iOS 8 and up.


iFixit app pulled from App Store following fourth-gen Apple TV teardown

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Date: Thursday, October 1st, 2015, 07:36
Category: Apple TV, Hardware, Legal, News


This kind of falls under the category of “Invoking the Wrath of Apple”.

Or at least its legal department.

The coolest of cats over at iFixit, famous for providing amazing hardware teardown and repair guides for assorted gadgets, had their developer account canceled after publishing a teardown of the new Apple TV developer unit in violation of Apple’s terms and conditions.

As such, iFixit’s app has been pulled from the App Store.


MacKeeper customers now eligible to receive full refund due to class-action lawsuit

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Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015, 07:39
Category: Legal, News, Software


Call it karma.

Customers of the MacKeeper have until November 30th to file a claim for a full refund as a result of a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement. Given the terms of the deal, only customers who bought the software for July 8th are eligible.

The class action suit accused MacKeeper’s original developer, ZeoBIT, of deceptively advertising the program and making false claims about what it could fix. It was filed in May 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.


Sprig to reclassify large numbers of workers from contract to full employee status

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Date: Friday, August 7th, 2015, 06:13
Category: Legal, News, retail


There’s only so long that people will be content to work as “contractors”.

Health food delivery startup Sprig seems to be acknowledging this, as the company will soon offer its hundreds of contract workers employment at the company.

Over the past few months, startups like Instacart, Shyp and Luxe have all switched their workers to W-2 employees rather than independent contractors. The main difference between the two is that with W-2 employees, employers have to “withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee,” according to the Internal Revenue Service.


FCC announces plan to block robocalls, spam text messages

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Date: Friday, June 19th, 2015, 08:26
Category: Legal, News, wireless


Maybe the FCC can help put an end to robocalls and spam text messages.

In recent days, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the agency is working on a new rule that would allow consumers to block robocalls and automated text messages if requested. The move clarifies the agency’s interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law that banned telemarketers from making cold calls to consumers. Companies have skirted that ban by using automated dialing machines, prerecorded calls and text messages. The new rule makes it clear that texts are the same as phone calls, and that phone carriers may block robocalls to consumers if asked.