Ex-NSA lawyer uses tacky metaphor to slam Apple

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iPhone rain by Dariusz-Sankowski
Ex-NSA counsel Stewart Baker rained on Apple at SXSW this week.
Photo: Dariusz Sanksowski/Pixabay. Licensed via CC0 1.0.

Commentary on the encryption battle between Apple and the U.S. government might have received its strangest metaphor yet.

Stewart Baker, who used to serve as a counsel for the National Security Agency, appeared on a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin this week. During the discussion, he said that Apple’s current, outspoken position in favor of privacy is a recent development and compared it to the sort of PR-driven whitewashing that Hollywood studios have used to promote actresses as “innocent” and “pure.”

“Who remembers Tim Cook before he was a virgin?” Baker said, paraphrasing composer Oscar Levant’s barb at ’60s everygirl Doris Day.

It got a little less polite from there.

Obama warns against ‘absolutist views’ on encryption

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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.

Eddy Cue blasts new Steve Jobs documentary

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Eddy Cue, Apple's Mr. Fix-It, leaving a New York courtroom like an OG. Photo: Apple
Eddy Cue, Apple's Mr. Fix-It, leaving a New York courtroom like an OG. Photo: Apple

Alex Gibney’s documentary about Steve Jobs debuted at the South by Southwest film fest in Austin this weekend, and the first reviews have called film a “coolly absorbing, deeply unflattering portrait of the late Silicon Valley entrepreneur.”

Eddy Cue took to Twitter this morning to blast the Oscar-winning director’s film, saying he was “very disappointed in Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.”

Here’s what Cue had to say about the documentary:

Steve Jobs documentary by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney will debut at SXSW

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Woz, doing his part to help computers takeover the world. Photo: Apple
Woz and Jobs with an Apple II motherboard. Photo: Apple

The SXSW Film Festival lineup revealed today that Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney will show his latest film, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, for the first time next month in Austin, Texas.

Details on the documentary are scant, but the SXSW blurb describes Gibney’s creation as “an evocative portrait of the life and work of Steve Jobs that re-examines his legacy and our relationship with the computer.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

Eddy Cue On How Apple Recreated The iTunes Festival In Austin

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itunes-festival

Although the iTunes Festival has been a great success in the UK for years, it’s only at this year’s SXSW festival that it’s finally come to the States, with Apple arranging for artists such as Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, and Kendrick Lamar to perform free for five nights in Austin, Texas.

What was the hold up? According to Apple’s Eddy Cue, they just weren’t sure they could reproduce the positive vibe anywhere else. But it looks like they’ve succeeded.