Apple has a massive pile of cash sitting overseas and the U.S. Senate is now weighing options on how to entice Cupertino to bring all $138 billion of it back to American soil.
Senate Democrats and Republicans are reportedly in discussions about passing legislation that would give American companies like Apple and Google a one-time tax break if they repatriate profits stashed overseas.
Congress has dropped the ball on surveillance reform, according to Tim Cook and a host of other top tech CEOs throughout the country.
In a full-page ad printed in today’s Washington Times, the tech companies tell the Senate it’s been a year since revelations on the NSA’s over reach were made known to citizens, but Congress has failed to pass a version of the USA Freedom Act that would restore the confidence of internet users.
In response to the public’s outcry that tech companies are working with the NSA to pilfer personal info on targets of interest, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and others announced an alliance with civil liberties groups today demanding for more transparency by the U.S. government concerning wiretapping.
The coalition sent a letter today to President Obama and other leaders in Congress, urging for greater transparency around national security-related requests. Portions of the letter were published last night, but we now have a copy it in its entirety, which can be read below:
This week on The CultCast: Apple Chief Tim Cook brings his Southern charm to Washington, hints at an iHologram; we break down the Apple tax debacle and say why their overseas billions are too legit to quit; and Xbox One vs. Apple TV, should Apple be worried?
All that and more on this week’s CultCast. Stream or download new and past episodes on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and let the good times roll.
Tim Cook is going to Washington to testify before a Senate committee next week, but the Apple CEO is pulling a rare move for the company and going on the offensive early by giving media interviews to explain its position.
During an interview with Politico, Cook addressed the controversy surrounding Apple’s cash hoard by explaining where its offshore cash comes from, how Apple plans to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and why the company will push for policy change in Washington:
As of January 26th, it is now illegal for you to unlock your smartphone if you want to use it on another network. Carrier unlocking has been legal in the U.S. for years, but in October the Library of Congress ruled that unauthorized unlocking is a crime.
The Obama Administration has already voiced its opinion that citizens should be allowed to unlock their smartphones without risking criminal penalties, and a senator from Oregon just introduced a bill that would making unlocking legal again.
Path, the mobile social network that first launched on the iPhone in November 2010, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived its users by collecting personal information from their address books without their knowledge or consent. The settlement requires the company to establish a comprehensive privacy program and to have independent privacy assessments carried out every other year.
The company has also been fined $800,000 for illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent.
A group of high-tech companies, including Samsung, Apple, Research In Motion, Intel, and others petitioned the US Congress today to provide more broadcast bandwidth, ostensibly for smartphones and tablets like the Galaxy, iPhone, Nexus, and iPad. The group sent a letter to both House and Senate technology committees, asking them to auction off some of the spectrum that is being used by the federal government.
Path's iPhone app was recently updated to ask permission when accessing your contacts. Image courtesy of 37prime.news
The app privacy scandal caused by Path’s iPhone app is still leaving its mark, as members of the U.S. Congress have sent out letters to 33 prominent App Store developers to better understand the issue. “We want to better understand the information collection and use policies and practices of apps for Apple’s mobile devices with a social element.”
Apps like the official Facebook and Twitter clients are among the list. Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member G. K. Butterfield have requested that the developers behind such apps reveal how Apple imposes its privacy standards and how the standards are implemented.
A week ago, it was discovered that the popular social networking app Path uploads users entire address books to their servers. They’ve since apologized and nuked the data. But Path’s not the only ones doing this: other high profile companies like Twitter are also doing it. And Apple’s letting them.
Not so surprisingly, Congress isn’t liking what it’s hearing about the address book security issue. In fact, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chair G.K. Butterfield have written Apple a letter asking some hard questions about how Apple has allowed this to happen, and “whether Apple’s iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts.”