National security requests for Apple user data doubled in last half of 2016

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Apple Security Jacket
Apple has shared the number of user data requests it received last year.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

National security requests for user data from Apple doubled in the second half of 2016, compared to the first six months, Apple’s newly-published biannual transparency report reveals.

Apple received somewhere between 5,750 and 5,999 orders during the July-December period of last year, compared to the 2,750 and 2,999 requests it was handed in the January-June period. This represents the highest total count in the 3.5 years since Apple first began releasing this information in a six-monthly report.

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.

Creepy app wants to make Facebook stalking way too easy

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This app takes Facebook stalking to an all-new level.
This app takes Facebook stalking to an all-new level.
Photo: Facezam

Stalking complete strangers on Facebook is about to become as easy as snapping a pic thanks to a new facial recognition app.

Launching later this month, Facezam promises to be able to identify people by matching a photo to a person’s Facebook profile. If it works as well as advertised, it might be time to kiss your anonymity goodbye.

FBI says nobody should expect privacy in America

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"There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America," says FBI director James Comey.
Photo: CNN

FBI director James Comey has warned that we should not expect “absolute privacy” in America. His comments come just days after a WikiLeaks dump revealed the CIA’s incredible arsenal of malware and viruses used to spy on iPhones and other smart devices.

Speaking at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity this week, Comey said that while the government cannot invade our privacy without good reason, “there is no place outside of judicial reach.”

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.

Apple denies store employees were fired for stealing customer photos

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Apple_Store,_Brisbane_01.2014_01
Brisbane's Apple Store is center of controversy.
Photo: Wikipedia/KGBO CC

Apple is denying claims that customers were victims of a “photo-sharing” ring in which its retail store employees in Brisbane took and circulated photos of female customers and staff.

The employees were fired for the inappropriate behavior, which included ranking the victims out of 10.

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?

4 clever things you can do with a burner phone number [Deals]

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KeepSolid offers 3 fully encrypted phone lines or
KeepSolid offers 3 fully encrypted phone lines or "burner numbers", no contract required
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

When you think about it, a phone number can be a liability — you can be reached by anyone who punches the right digits into their phone. It’s an identifying number, a source of spam, a potential avenue for identity theft or even harassment. That’s why separate “burner” numbers are gaining popularity. You probably have a junk email address, why not something similar for your phone number? Here are 4 reasons you might consider getting a burner number, followed by a couple ways you can actually get one.