Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, privacy advocates speak out against Apple’s photo scanning plan

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Apple photo scanning
A "slippery slope" that could lead to mass surveillance.
Photo: @Privacyfan2021

Whistleblower Edward Snowden and other privacy advocates are speaking out against Apple’s plan to scan user photos for child abuse imagery.

The move will turn everybody’s iPhone into an “iNarcs,” Snowden said on Twitter. “If they can scan for kiddie porn today, they can scan for anything tomorrow.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is also against the plan.

NSA stops spying on everyone’s phone. Maybe

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nsa-hijacked-google-play-to-install-spyware-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201505130606191546-nsa-logo-story-top-jpg
The U.S. government has reportedly ceased tracking all our phone calls and text messages.
Photo: NSA

A controversial system tracking the calls and texts of all Americans has supposedly stopped being used by the National Security Agency (NSA). 

This agency reportedly quit employing it months ago, and might not ask that it be reauthorized later this year.

Famous jailbreaker says WikiLeaks CIA dump is overhyped

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The CIA has been hoarding zero day exploits.
The CIA has been hoarding zero day exploits.
Photo: US Gov.

WikiLeak’s trove of CIA cyber documents is being hyped as one of the biggest leaks since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA. But according to one of the world’s top jailbreakers, you shouldn’t believe the hype.

Cyber security expert Will Strafach, who gained notoriety under the name Chronic for finding zero-day exploits used for jailbreaking, says iOS users don’t need to be worried.

Everything you need to know about WikiLeaks’ CIA document dump

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The CIA has a team of more than 5,000 hackers.
The CIA has a team of more than 5,000 hackers.
Photo: Brian Klug/Flickr CC

The entire hacking arsenal of the CIA has been dumped online and the entire internet is freaking out.

WikiLeaks dropped a data bomb Tuesday with its massive document dump, which it claims is one of the biggest in history. Secrets on how the CIA hacked devices made by Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft are now available for all to see. But should you start freaking out just yet?

Cult of Mac talked to a number of iOS security experts to make sense of all the new info. While it’s tempting to panic, there’s a lot more you need to know first.

From tiny innovations to big brawls, this is how Apple rolled in 2016

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Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac 2016 sent Apple for a wild ride full of fantastic new products, crazy controversies and tons of extra drama with its rivals.

Tim Cook and his colleagues probably can’t wait to jump into 2017. But before we start looking toward Apple’s future, let’s take a quick look back at all the stories that made 2016 a year Apple fans will never forget.

Snowden’s iPhone case tells you when you’re being spied on

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Edward Snowden is building his own iPhone case.
Photo: PubPub

When you think of Edward Snowden the first phrase your mind goes to probably isn’t “quality iPhone case manufacturer.” Nonetheless, the famed NSA whistleblower today announced that he has presented just such a smartphone accessory at an event at MIT’s Media Lab.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to the case’s unique selling point?

Facebook Messenger may soon add end-to-end encryption

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Facebook messaging apps
Messenger is finally getting encryption.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook plans to tighten security on its popular Messenger platform this summer, but it won’t be turned on for all users by default.

Messenger will add a new end-to-end encryption feature that prevents hackers and the government from being able to read your text messages. Facebook won’t be able to read your messages either though, and that will seriously hurt its ability to make bots great if you decide to opt-in to better security.

Oliver Stone amps up spy action in first Snowden trailer

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The first Snowden trailer reveals how he leaked the NSA's secrets.
The first Snowden trailer reveals how he leaked the NSA's secrets.
Photo: Open Road Films

Joseph Gordon-Levitt busts out his best nerd voice in the first trailer for Oliver Stone’s new film, Snowden.

The film is based on the true story of how Edward Snowden went from enlisting in army reserve, to exposing the illegal surveillance activities conducted by the NSA and thus becoming the most wanted man in the world.

Check it out:

Edward Snowden says FBI’s claims against Apple are ‘bull****’

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Edward Snowden.
The government is lying to us? Color me surprised!
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made a (virtual) appearance at yesterday’s “Blueprint for Democracy,” during which he threw some shade on the FBI’s claims that only Apple has the power to help it unlock the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone,” Snowden told the audience. “Respectfully, that’s bullsh*t.”

Developer behind world’s most secure messaging app joins Apple

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Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Photo: Open Whisper Systems

Apple plans to make future versions of iOS so secure even it can’t hack it, and the company is wasting no time stocking up on talented developers that specialize in encryption.

One of the iPhone-maker’s most recent hires, Frederic Jacobs, was previously a lead developer for Signal, which has earned a name as one of the most secure messaging apps available. It’s so good, it’s become a favorite of former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden who says he uses it everyday.

FBI could hack San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone using acid and lasers

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iPhone mobile encryption touch id
There's one risky hacking method the FBI hasn't tried yet.
Photo: Olly Browning/Pixabay

The FBI claims there’s absolutely no other way for it to access San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c expect other having Apple create a backdoor. But according to Edward Snowden there’s at least one other option: acid and lasers.

The former NSA contractor and privacy activist appeared in a virtual talk at Johns Hopkins University and pointed out that even though FBI insists forcing Apple to hack the iPhone is the only way forward, that’s simply not true.

8 surprising twists in the Apple/FBI encryption case

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iPhone by tookapic Apple FBI encryption
The truth is (really) out there.
Photo: tookapic/Pixabay

It’s been a crazy day for news in the case of Apple v. the federal government in the battle over the data contained on a mass-shooter’s iPhone, and some surprising facts are emerging between the two side’s shots at each other.

Today, we saw the Justice Department double down on the original court order, some predictable antics from presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Apple’s responses to both. But we’re also picking up some interesting details that make this already complicated issue even murkier. And things aren’t quite as simple as either side is claiming.

Here are some of the most surprising aspects of this case that have come out in the past few days.

Snowden says Apple security case is most important issue in a decade

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Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden.
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

Internet privacy activist and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has come out in favor of Tim Cook’s decision to deny a federal court judge’s request that Apple help the FBI hack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c.

Snowden is calling Apple’s battle over security the most important tech case in a decade, and has called out Google for not coming to the public’s side on the issue. In a series of tweets expounding on the issues, Snowden said the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to give them a key bypasses citizen’s ability to defend their rights.

Edward Snowden leaks with praise for Apple’s privacy stance

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Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

Apple has been eager to point out lately that unlike Google and Facebook it doesn’t collect or sell your personal information. It’s been a great way for the company to differentiate itself from its competitors and Apple has apparently won over Edward Snowden in the process.

In a recent interview, Snowden was asked whether he thinks Tim Cooks perspective on privacy has been genuine and honest, to which Snowden replied, “it doesn’t matter if he’s being honest or dishonest,” but “that’s a good thing for privacy. That’s a good thing for customers.”

Snowden pointed out that Apple obviously has a financial incentive to differentiate itself from competitors, and we should incentivize other companies to follow their path:

CIA spends years trying to break Apple’s security

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The CIA is gunning for Apple's security. Photo: Spy vs. Spy
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.

Your iPhone has been hacked by the NSA

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The NSA has just hacked 2 billion SIM cards around the globe, but Gemalto says it isn't that bad.  Photo: Wikicommons
The NSA has just hacked 2 billion SIM cards around the globe. Photo: Wikicommons

That iPhone in your hands? It’s been compromised by the National Security Agency through its SIM card, and government spies can access your phone through a backdoor installed on it without even needing a court order.

Sound scary? It is, and it’s the latest bombshell to be dropped by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Coders grapple with good and evil at WWDC’s indie spinoff

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Bill Atkinson, left and Andrew Stone chat each other up at AltConf in San Francisco June 3, 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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.”

Apple will now alert you when the NSA wants your data

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iOS 8 is Apple's most privacy-conscious mobile OS yet.
iOS 8 is Apple's most privacy-conscious mobile OS yet.

The data-hungry tentacles of the NSA have managed to choke America’s top tech firms into silent submission on data requests, but after months of demanding more transparency, Apple is ready to defy authorities and let you know when the NSA wants your data.

Prosecutors warn that such a move will undermine investigations by tipping off criminals and allowing them to destroy sensitive data, but according to the Washington Post, Apple and others have already changed their policies.

Everything You Need To Know About The NSA’s Leaky Apps

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Photo: Rovio
Photo: Rovio

While accusations about NSA backdoors to Apple devices have been doing the rounds for a while now, yesterday’s revelations about spying agencies using so-called “leaky apps” to capture user data has reignited the debate. Below is a Q&A covering everything we’ve learned so far:

Q) What is a leaky app?

A) An app that transmits private user information across the Internet. While apps have come under fire for collecting private user information before, the current outcry follows revelations leaked by Edward Snowden, suggesting that leaky apps have been the focus of spying organizations such as the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ (Government Communications HQ). The NSA has cumulatively spent more than $1 billion in its phone targeting efforts. A 2010 NSA presentation cites poor secured apps as a “golden nugget” for gathering user information — including, but not limited to, address books and friend lists.