MI5 boss thinks tech companies should provide ‘exceptional access’ to encrypted messages

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UAE iPhone hacks
Spymaster thinks intelligence agency should be able to read encrypted messages when it needs to.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The UK’s director general of intelligence agency MI5 thinks that tech companies should provide it with “exceptional access” to encrypted messages when required.

Sir Andrew Parker made his remarks for an ITV documentary broadcast on Thursday about the domestic intelligence agency. He said that it is “increasingly mystifying” why intelligence agencies are not able to easily read the secret messages being sent and received by terror suspects they are monitoring.

Signal is the European Commission’s encrypted messaging app of choice

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Signal app
Signal is all about privacy.
Photo: Signal

The European Commission doesn’t want its staff using WhatsApp or iMessage for internal communications. Instead, they must start using end-to-end-encrypted messaging app Signal as part of a push toward greater security.

“Signal has been selected as the recommended application for public instant messaging,” noted an instruction that reportedly appeared on internal EC messaging boards in early February.

Congress might give law enforcement a ‘backdoor’ into encrypted messages

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The FBI finally hacked an iPhone 11
Congress might use child abuse as an excuse to weaken the encryption in Apple Messages and similar apps.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

No one could protest legislation aimed at curbing child sex abuse, but a bill that reportedly will be introduced soon in the US Congress could have much wider consequences. One result might be a legally mandated requirement that messaging services have a “backdoor” so that law enforcement can read all encrypted messages.

FBI director says Feds still can’t unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants Apple to help it unlock handset.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

FBI director Christopher Wray says that the Feds are still unable to access the encrypted data on an iPhone belonging to the shooter responsible for killing three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base in late 2019.

The FBI says that it has reconstructed the phone after it was damaged. But it still can’t access the information on the handset itself.

Trump: Apple encryption could protect ‘criminal minds’

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President Trump: Apple encryption could protect ‘criminal minds’
Donald Trump thinks Apple needs to help authorities by unlocking iPhones.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

President Donald Trump is no fan of Apple’s refusal to unlock iPhones for authorities in encryption-stymied criminal cases. In an interview with CNBC, Trump said, “Apple has to help us. And I’m very strong on it. They have the keys to so many criminals and criminal minds, and we can do things.”

Trump is currently in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum. This morning, he met with Tim Cook for a working breakfast.

Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern

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Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
Apple planned new feature two years ago.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple ditched plans to let users fully encrypt backups of their devices using iCloud, a new report by Reuters claims. Apple reportedly made the decision after the FBI complained that this would make it harder to carry out future investigations.

The report mentions no names. But the news outlet reportedly spoke with “six sources familiar with the matter.”

Steve Bannon says Trump could ‘drop the hammer’ on Apple

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Steve Bannon says President Donald Trump could
Steve Bannon was formerly an advisor to President Trump.
Photo: CNBC

Steve Bannon, the ex-Breitbart chairman and former chief strategist for Donald Trump, warns that the president will “drop the hammer” on Apple if it doesn’t work with authorities.

Bannon is referring to the current standoff regarding whether Apple should unlock iPhones used by the shooter who killed three people at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in December.

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Get a great deal on a VPN for your Mac with PureVPN.
Get a great deal on a VPN for your Mac.
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US senators threaten Apple with encryption regulations

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Apple takes privacy seriously
Apple isn't budging on its privacy stance.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

U.S. Senators grilled Apple and Facebook execs over encryption practices today, threatening to regulate the technology if the companies don’t take action on their own.

Republicans and Democrats appeared unified in their disdain for end-to-end encryption. The technology, which Apple uses for iCloud and other services, sometimes thwarts law enforcement officials’ investigations into child abuse and mass shootings. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the harshest critics, demanded that the companies add backdoors to their encryption keys.

US Senator proposes new law aimed at limiting Apple data flow to China

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China
Tim Cook meeting with China's vice premier.
Photo: Tim Cook

One of tech’s biggest opponents in Washington D.C. proposed a new bill this week that could have huge implications on Apple and TikTok’s business operations if put into law.

GOP senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced legislation today that would prevent the Chinese company that owns TikTok from collecting information on American users and sharing it with the Communist Party of China. The bill would also stop American companies like Apple from storing user data in China.