Apple urges Obama to block government snooping

Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.
Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.

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.

Obama tweeting from an iPhone isn’t all that it seems

Barry sending his first tweet from an iPhone.
Barry sending his first tweet from an iPhone.
Photo: White House

The Apple-watching world lost its shiz yesterday when Obama made his first tweet from his brand-new presidential Twitter account using an iPhone. But don’t get too excited, because the White House has revealed that the phone in question isn’t Obama’s regular handset after all.

Which prompts the question, “Who did it belong to?” Maybe Apple should commission JFK director Oliver Stone to shoot an advert/paranoid conspiracy thriller on the subject of the Obama iPhone.

Tim Cook warns of dire consequences if we sacrifice privacy for security

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Tim Cook addresses the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Photo: White House
Apple CEO Tim Cook addresses the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Photo: White House

Silicon Valley’s top CEOs snubbed President Barack Obama’s appearance at Stanford University today for the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, but Apple CEO Tim Cook used his invite to make the case for improving security.

Cook addressed attendees before Obama took the stage and reaffirmed Apple’s belief that everyone has a right to privacy and security. In part of his speech, the Apple CEO warned of “dire consequences” if the proper balance between security and privacy isn’t maintained.

“We must get this right!” Cook told the audience.  “History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences.”

Feds give Apple Pay stamp of approval

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Apple Pay is going everywhere in 2015. Photo: Apple
Apple Pay is going everywhere in 2015. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay has already become the top mobile wallet at a number of stores, but now Apple’s about to take on the great outdoors.

During his address at today’s White House cybersecurity summit, Tim Cook said that starting in September you’ll be able to use Apple Pay for transactions with the federal government, including paying fees to get into Yosemite and the other national parks.

Cook’s visit to the summit was a big win for Apple Pay, which Cook says is now supported by more than 2,000 banks, putting us one step closer to the age when your wallet will be a thing of the past. The White House has given Apple Pay its stamp of approval, too, and announced plans to enable it on all federal-payment cards.

White House photographer used an iPhone to snap Presidential Christmas decorations

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Christmas decorations at the White House, as captured using an iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Brooks
Christmas decorations at the White House, as captured using an iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Brooks Kraft/TIME

President Obama might not be allowed an iPhone for security reasons, but an iPhone 6 Plus did make into the White House recently — to photograph the Presidential Christmas decorations.

“If you are looking to capture something candid, people are so used to seeing mobile devices that their reaction time is slower,” said photographer Brooks Kraft in an interview with TIME magazine. “You have a better chance of getting the shot, and that was the case at the White House.”

Because the pre-Christmas event is less formal than many occasions at the White House (the President isn’t there for one thing), Kraft said he seized the opportunity to “try out new gear that I might use later in more news-oriented environments.”

And what better gear to try out than an iPhone 6 Plus?