Legislators closer to forcing Apple to help unlock iPhones

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google-facebook-and-others-following-apples-lead-on-encryption-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201601iPhone-6s-Live-Photos-jpg
Anti-encryption bill has received mixed reactions.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A bill that would force companies to help law enforcers decrypt private communication is one step closer to becoming a reality, after a draft was published this week.

Called the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, the bill would stop companies including Apple refusing to help organizations like the FBI, provided that proper court orders are given.

And — no surprises here! — it’s already proving controversial.

Florida congressman floats stupid, anti-Apple bill

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United States Capitol by Jens Junge
'merica.
Photo: Jens June/Pixabay

Government officials seem to be in some kind of race to see which of them can be the most indignant and/or outraged at Apple’s refusal to create security-bypassing software for its devices. And we’re pretty sure Rep. David Jolly has just won.

Jolly, who represents Florida’s 13th District, submitted a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal for any federal office to own or lease Apple products until Cupertino gives in to the FBI’s demands. And he did so because state-sponsored blacklisting of organizations that legally disagree with the government is exactly how free countries work.

Senate wiretapping debate comes to an end

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wiretapping debate
The U.S. Senate is hashing out the USA Freedom Act, which concerns government wiretapping.
Screencap: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Senate has taken one step closer to a final vote on changing the government’s controversial program to freely tap and monitor citizens’ phones.

Senators voted 83-14 to end debate on the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring” (USA Freedom) Act. The bill will extend lapsed provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act and aims to add transparency to the NSA’s activities surrounding wiretapping and data collection.

A final vote could happen as early as this afternoon.

French Minister Slams Apple For Dumping AppGratis

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French startup, French minister. Hmmm.
French startup, meed angry French minister.

Apparently, junior minister for digital economy Fluer Pellerin thinks that Apple shouldn’t have rejected AppGratis from the App Store last week. Her remarks to the French media make it clear that she feels the tech company isn’t behaving ethically in its dealings with AppGratis, a French startup, or others like it, calling the move “an issue of fairness,” and “extremely brutal.”

Not only that, but Pellerin feels that European regulators might want to think about taking action against Apple for the rejection.

U.S. Senator Proposes Bill To Make Cellphone Unlocking Legal Again

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illegal iPhone unlock

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.

U.S. Authorities Can Access Non-Citizen iCloud Data Without A Warrant [Updated]

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What could this mean for your data?
What could this mean for your data?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the U.S. government open access to electronic information stored by non-US citizens on US-based servers, like a host of cloud services available today. iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other popular services are all subject to this law, passed in 2008 by the Bush administration and recently re-authorized by the Obama administration for another 5 years.

What this means is that any data stored by non-American citizens on cloud servers here in the US is able to be looked at in entirety by various agencies in the US federal government, including the NSA, FBI, and CIA.