Edward Snowden leaks with praise for Apple’s privacy stance

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Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

Apple has been eager to point out lately that unlike Google and Facebook it doesn’t collect or sell your personal information. It’s been a great way for the company to differentiate itself from its competitors and Apple has apparently won over Edward Snowden in the process.

In a recent interview, Snowden was asked whether he thinks Tim Cooks perspective on privacy has been genuine and honest, to which Snowden replied, “it doesn’t matter if he’s being honest or dishonest,” but “that’s a good thing for privacy. That’s a good thing for customers.”

Snowden pointed out that Apple obviously has a financial incentive to differentiate itself from competitors, and we should incentivize other companies to follow their path:

CIA spends years trying to break Apple’s security

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The CIA is gunning for Apple's security. Photo: Spy vs. Spy
The CIA is gunning for Apple's security. Photo: Spy vs. Spy

The CIA has been been involved in a multi-year effort to crack iOS security, according to new information provided to The Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The attempts have been the focal point of multiple yearly CIA conferences called “The Jamboree.”

Among the possible solutions proposed include a means of “whacking” Xcode, the software used to create apps for iOS and Macs. Researchers claimed they had discovered a means by which Xcode could be manipulated to allow devices to be infected, so as to allow for the extraction of private data — thereby creating a “remote backdoor” that would disable core security features and allow undetected access to Apple devices.

Your iPhone has been hacked by the NSA

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The NSA has just hacked 2 billion SIM cards around the globe, but Gemalto says it isn't that bad.  Photo: Wikicommons
The NSA has just hacked 2 billion SIM cards around the globe. Photo: Wikicommons

That iPhone in your hands? It’s been compromised by the National Security Agency through its SIM card, and government spies can access your phone through a backdoor installed on it without even needing a court order.

Sound scary? It is, and it’s the latest bombshell to be dropped by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Coders grapple with good and evil at WWDC’s indie spinoff

Bill Atkinson, left and Andrew Stone chat each other up at AltConf in San Francisco June 3, 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple legend Bill Atkinson, left, and Andrew Stone talk Steve Jobs, drugs and the Internet at AltConf 2014 in San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — At Apple’s WWDC developer conference, there are talks about interface design, writing code and fixing bugs.

Across the street at indie spinoff AltConf, the talks are concerned with spying on users and making choices between good and evil.

“We have had a hand in creating one of the most dystopian and undesirable societies imaginable,” said Andrew Stone, a veteran programmer who once worked with Steve Jobs, during a talk entitled “What Have We Built Here?”

It’s not the kind of stuff you’d expect to hear at a developer’s conference, but in an age of widespread government spying and cynicism about corporate slogans like “Don’t be evil,” AltConf highlights that programmers are often presented with moral choices. There’s a growing awareness in the coding community that although the activity of programming is benign, what’s created can be used for evil. Take Maciej Cegłowski’s talk last month in Germany, which has been widely discussed on the Web. Cegłowski argues — convincingly — that the utopian ideals of the early internet have been thoroughly corrupted, and the entire industry is “rotten.”