Australia wants Apple to create an iPhone backdoor

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iPhone hack
Apple is unlikely to be totally on-board.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis is set to meet with a representative from Apple this week to discuss the subject of strong encryption, and how this relates to police and intelligence agency investigations.

Brandis is reportedly pushing for Apple to create a backdoor that would allow security agencies to circumvent Apple’s current end-to-end encryption.

E.U. may ban FBI-style iPhone hacking demands

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iPhone hack
Law would undermine attempts to break security.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Attempts to force tech companies in the U.K. to hand over encrypted messages could be scuttled by EU proposals.

European members of parliament for the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee have tabled laws banning countries from seeking to break encrypted messages. It would also force tech companies which don’t use strong encryption for communications to do so.

Everything you need to know about the new Apple File System

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APFS arrives in 2017.
APFS arrives in 2017.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 30, 2016, but has been updated with new info since the release of iOS 10.3)

It’s hard to believe that Apple’s speedy Macs are still using a file system that was developed more than 30 years ago, when floppy disks and spinning hard drives were considered cutting-edge technology.

But that’s going to change in 2017 with the new Apple File System — or APFS — that debuts in iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.12.4. Here’s everything you need to know about APFS and how it’s going to make your life better, no matter what Apple device(s) you use.

WhatsApp faces new encryption challenge after London attack

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But is a ban on encryption possible?
But is a ban on encryption possible?
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp is under new pressure to provide a government backdoor following the recent terror attack in London.

U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd said it is “completely unacceptable” that law enforcement agencies are unable to read messages and conversations that are secured by end-to-end encryption.

Apple hires renowned iPhone jailbreaker to help protect privacy

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iPhone 7
If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

One of the world’s top iPhone security experts and jailbreakers has decided to help Apple in its battle to keep iOS secure.

Jonathan Zdziarski, who was active in the iPhone jailbreaking community for years, revealed today that he has accepted an offer to join Apple’s Security Engineering and Architecture team.

Apple enlists security team to bolster CareKit encryption

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Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 14.04.27
CareKit is Apple's most recent dive into mobile healthcare.
Photo: Apple

Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit to offer CareKit developers extra privacy options. In doing so, it makes it more straightforward for hospitals to use Apple’s CareKit platform, by allowing it to more closely meet regulations about patient data.

Called ZeroKit, Tresorit’s security technology includes user authentication for patients and healthcare workers, end-to-end encryption of health data, and “zero knowledge” sharing of health data, meaning that data isn’t shared with any service as it transfers.

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.

Russia wants Apple to unlock Turkish assassin’s iPhone

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Siri made its debut on the iPhone 4s almost four years ago.
The iPhone belonged to the off-duty policeman who shot the Russian ambassador to Turkey.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has another iPhone-unlocking conundrum on its hands! This time the request reportedly comes from Russian and Turkish authorities, who want Apple to help bypass the PIN code on an iPhone 4s recovered at the scene of the recent murder of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.

Europe rules U.K. ‘snooper’s charter’ is illegal

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iPhone hack
It seems that European courts agree with Apple about government spying.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The European Union’s highest court has ruled that the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act, aka the “snooper’s charter,” is illegal.

The EU objects to the government’s “general and indiscriminate” retention of emails and other electronic communications. While the EU acknowledges that this information can be helpful, they argue that it should only be gathered in specific targeted instances to stop terrorism or serious crime.

New York district attorney calls for federal law to unlock seized iPhones

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iPhone 7 back
Law enforcement officials still want Apple to hack the iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance wants the Trump administration to help create federal legislation requiring Apple and Google to remove default encryption from their smartphones.

The recommendation comes from the DA office’s second report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety, presented by Vance at the opening of the Manhattan DA’s new cyberlab. New York County is currently sitting on 423 iPhones it can’t break into, even with a warrant, so the DA’s office is pushing for change.