The U.S. Senate is hashing out the USA Freedom Act, which concerns government wiretapping.
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.
Apple has put its name to a letter which will be sent today, appealing to the White House to protect individual privacy rights in the face of suggestions that law enforcement should be able to access encrypted smartphone data via a backdoor.
“Strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security,” argues the letter, which is signed by more than 140 tech companies, technologists, and civil society groups.
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.
The Freak bug went unnoticed for over a decade. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
A newly discovered security bug has secretly left Safari users on both iOS and OS X vulnerable to attacks on hundreds of thousands of websites for years.
The ‘FREAK’ security flaw was exposed today by a group of nine researchers who discovered web browsers could be forced to use an intentionally-weakened form of encryption. FREAK effects iPhones, Macs, and Android browsers, but Apple’s spokesman says the company will release a fix next week.
The NSA has just hacked 2 billion SIM cards around the globe, but Gemalto says it isn’t that bad. Photo: Wikicommons
Late last week, we reported on the newest leak from Edward Snowden, indicating that the NSA had hacked the SIM cards of pretty much every smartphone on Earth. iPhones included.
It looked bad. The hack allowed the NSA to tap into your phone without a court order. But today, the Dutch company responsible for 2 billion SIM cards released a statement, saying that as far as they can tell, fears of a massive NSA invasion are overblown.
UDID identifiers could be used to link iPhones to their users. Photo: Cult of Mac
Apple has long been outspoken about the measures it goes to to keep your iPhone secure, but new documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrate how the British spy agency GCHQ was able to carry out “realtime tracking of target iPhones” — by compromising users’ computers.
Rather than directly targeting the iPhones, GCHQ agents focused their attack on the computers with which the iPhones were synchronised, enabling them to access much of the data stored on the handset. The method took advantage of flaws in Apple’s UDID (unique device identifier) system, which issued a unique code for every iPhone, linking it with its owner.
The iPhone tracking report was handed over by Snowden to a group of nine journalists — including Laura Poitras, the filmmaker behind the acclaimed documentary Citizenfour.
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.
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.”
This time on The CultCast: No, those rumored new EarPods won’t measure your pulse. Last week’s biggest Apple rumor was a fake made up by a guy on a toilet! Plus, why you shouldn’t expect new hardware at June’s WWDC; iPhone warns you when the NSA wants you for drug trafficking; Apple’s newest executive gets a HUGE payday; Katie Cotton, Apple’s long time PR lead and Steve Jobs confidant, calls it quits; Cupertino will take on Samsung with more Guerrilla-style marketing; and since you asked, we reveal the jobs we’ve always wanted on an all-new Get To Know Your Cultist.
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