White House won’t back bill forcing tech companies to break encryption


Having not one but two U.S. presidents in your fan base is pretty good going. Sadly, President Barack Obama is not allowed an iPhone as part of his official wardrobe and is stuck on BlackBerry. That hasn’t stopped him from openly lusting after the iPhone 6 in recent pics, though. He’s also admitted to spending hours each day on his iPad.Photo:
President Barack Obama is playing it cool when it comes to encryption.
Photo: Pete Souza/Wikipedia CC

The White House is refusing to publicly support new draft legislation that would give judges the right to force tech companies like Apple to help law enforcement break encrypted data.

The measure was put forward by Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, respectively the Republican chair and top Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Both Burr and Feinstein have been contacted by the FBI regarding a briefing on how the bureau was able to circumvent iPhone encryption on an older Apple device.

Obama warns against ‘absolutist views’ on encryption


Obama at SXSW
President Obama spoke at SXSW Interactive today.
Photo: WH.gov

President Barack Obama was in Austin, Texas, for the opening day of the South by Southwest Interactive festival, and talk turned inevitably to the current tension between law enforcement and tech companies on subjects like security and citizen privacy.

The president couldn’t comment on the specific case that has Apple and the FBI fighting over whether the government can compel a private company to provide access to a locked device (in this case, an iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook). But he did provide some insight into the government’s view of the ongoing legal battle.

You can check out the whole conversation in the video below; the session starts about 39 minutes in.

Obama uses Fitbit to get a fit bod while snubbing Apple Watch


Obama decided against an Apple Watch.
Photo: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

When it comes to wearables, Barack Obama has given the POTUS stamp of approval to the Fitbit Surge, leaving the Apple Watch out in the cold.

Viewers got a glimpse of Obama’s presidential wrist during his recent appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Given that Obama’s previously been open about his inability to own an iPhone (which the Apple Watch needs in order to operate) due to security concerns, it’s no surprise he would opt for a Fitbit.

Still, it’s another compelling example of why the Apple Watch 2 needs to be more of a standalone device!

Obama shuns Apple Music to share vacation playlists


Maybe the coolest, most tech savvy president ever.
Maybe the coolest, most tech savvy president ever.
Photo: The White House

“Welcome to Spotify, Mr. President,” tweeted the streaming music giant Friday morning. That’s right: The president of the United States just shared two vacation playlists — and he didn’t use Apple Music.

The two music lists, titled “The President’s Summer Playlist: Day” and “The President’s Summer Playlist: Night,” contain 20 songs each, showing an eclectic taste with a diverse artist representation, including the Isley Brothers, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding and (ugh) Coldplay.

Obama tweeting from an iPhone isn’t all that it seems

Barry sending his first tweet from an iPhone.
Barry sending his first tweet from an iPhone.
Photo: White House

The Apple-watching world lost its shiz yesterday when Obama made his first tweet from his brand-new presidential Twitter account using an iPhone. But don’t get too excited, because the White House has revealed that the phone in question isn’t Obama’s regular handset after all.

Which prompts the question, “Who did it belong to?” Maybe Apple should commission JFK director Oliver Stone to shoot an advert/paranoid conspiracy thriller on the subject of the Obama iPhone.