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.

Neil Young Hopes His iPod Rival Will Rock The Free World

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Neil Young's high-res audio player is having a touch time taking off.
Neil Young's high-res audio player is having a touch time taking off.
Photo: Pono

Keeping with the times, musician Neil Young is set to launch a storming attack on Apple’s iPhone iPad iWatch iPod with his forthcoming PonoPlayer.

Young is set to exhibit the PonoPlayer, alongside a music download store called PonoMusic, at this year’s SXSW.

Tesla, iCars, And We’re Ambushed By Russian GoGo Dancers On The CultCast

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Greetings, comrades! This time on CultCast: we travel to mother Russia and dance with gogo dancers (no, really); Apple talks to Tesla, we talk iCars. Plus, for the first time, Apple brings the iTunes Festival to the United States; Facebook buys WhatsApp (but why?); Jony Ive vanishes from Apple’s website; and don’t miss an all new Faves N Raves where we pitch favorite tech and apps then vote one which one’s best!

Belly-laugh your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the audio adventure begin.

And thanks to Fresbooks for sponsoring this episode! FreshBooks, the simple online accounting solution built for small business owners – just like you – who want to skip the headache of tax time. For a limited time, try FreshBooks free 60 days, and enter “CultCast” in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section.

Tales From The Borderlands Developers Set For Exclusive Panel At SXSW Gaming Expo

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Tales from the Borderlands developers Telltale Games and Gearbox Software will reveal the first details about their forthcoming game during a panel at the SXSW Gaming Expo, Telltale revealed today.

The award-winning studios will describe how they first came to work together on the eagerly-anticipated project, how the game might unfold, and (hopefully) plenty of other juicy details.

Stay Charged And Stay Connected In Austin With The South By Southwest Tech Survival Kit [Deals]

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In a little over two weeks, a ton of people will make the trek to Austin, Texas for the annual South By Southwest conference. Commonly known as SXSW, many people have made the pilgrimage to the event year in and year out…and 2014 will be no different.

Whether you’re planning on returning to SXSW again this year or are making the trip for the first time. Cult of Mac Deals has assembled a survival kit that will help you take advantage of every opportunity this massive event has to offer. The South By Southwest Tech Survival Kit consists of The Karma 4G Hotspot and The Portable Power Bank – regularly priced at $159 — for only $99.95 during this limited time promotion.