Tag Archives: apple

New Apple Policy says They Won’t Unlock Devices for Government Requests

Adding to the recent publicity it has received after revealing the iPhone 6, and the new iOS 8 operating system, Apple is now taking a stance on the government’s access to its devices.

Our commitment to customer privacy doesn’t stop because of a government information request,” states the headline on a new section in Apple’s privacy policy.

The company goes on to state that, although receiving requests from the government for user information is “a consequence of doing business in the digital age,” it believes in being “as transparent as the law allows about what information is requested.”

Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a ‘back door’ in any of our products or services,” maintained the company. “We have also never allowed any government access to our servers. And we never will.

According to Apple, the most common requests it receives for information from the law enforcement, comes in the form of either a “Device Request,” or an “Account Request.”

Our legal team carefully reviews each request, ensuring it is accompanied by valid legal process,” stated the company. “All content requests require a search warrant.

Apple insisted that if it was “legally compelled” to reveal any information that was not counterproductive to a certain case, they would provide notice to the customer “when allowed” and would “deliver the narrowest set of information possible in response.”

Apple also added that national security-related requests are “not considered Device Requests or Account Requests and are reported in a separate category altogether.”

According to Apple, “Less than 0.00385% of customers had data disclosed to government information requests.”

On all Apple devices that running on Apple’s new operating system, called iOS 8, the company promises that user data, such as emails, contacts, photos, and messages, are placed under the protection of the user’s passcode, which Apple cannot circumvent.

Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.

Family’s First App Makes Apple’s List of Best New Apps for Kids

On Thursday, the idea that came from a drawing done by 4-year-old Kalley Alexander in the spring of 2012 was launched into an App for iOS devices, which is currently featured on Apple’s list of Best New Apps.

The Alexander Family came to a crossroads two years ago, when patriarch Jon Alexander was forced to obtain a conventional job, outside of the comfort of his home office. His daughter Kalley created a drawing of a machine that she wanted her dad to build, which would make food for the family, so that he didn’t have to work anymore.

Jon, who works as a freelancer, was touched by his daughter’s attempt to bring the family together. Although he wasn’t able to build the exact machine Kalley had in mind, he found a way to make something out of the drawing, while spending quality time with his family.

Kalley’s drawing was a wake-up call for both Jon, and his wife Carrie. They found that the way they were living life was leaving their family fragmented, and they wanted to spend more time with their daughters, Kalley, 7, and Corbett, 8.

We questioned a lot of our presuppositions,” Jon tells Benswann.com. “We were re-examining family in general, and realizing that family wasn’t working for us, with the way it was.”

You teach your kids by being with them,” said Jon, who began to ask himself the question, “How do I give the best of myself to my kids?”

Jon was able to use his background in motion graphics and video game development to turn his daughter’s drawing into an interactive App, called Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats, which is targeted at children aged two to eight.

The creation of the App was an experience that brought all four members of the Alexander family closer together, and from illustrations to voice-overs, they each had a part in bringing the idea to life.

A big part of it was trying to bring everybody along,” said Jon, who explained that working with his children was entirely different than working with professionals. “It was fun to make it something we all wanted, we just had to figure out how to make it happen.”

In the process of creating the App, the family launched an App developing company called RocketWagon, which they hope to use for future collaborations.

Mostly, we wanted RocketWagon to bring us together,” said Jon. “I realized that I had great relationships with my freelance clients because we created cool stuff together, fought hard deadlines, and pulled all-nighters together. I wanted that with my wife and kids.”

Throughout the process, Jon and Carrie’s mission was to teach their daughters to “be confident in their ability to create things.” They did this by spending extra time with their girls, “re-working artwork and learning the basics of digital production.

Jon pointed out that the stories children hear shape the way they view the world, due to the fact that, “Storytellers create the lenses through which a culture sees itself.”

The stories you tell your kids are so powerful. We want to write stories that we think matter,” Jon tells Benswann.com. “Kalley’s Machine just happened to be the story our family needed to hear.”

While “Kalley’s Machine” started as a drawing that took on a life of its own, the second part of the App’s name, “Plus Cats,” was the Alexander girls’ signature stamp.

Jon explained that when it came to illustrating, the girls often became bored with drawing machines, and were more interested in drawing things like animals. In fact, one cat drawn by his oldest daughter, Corbett, was so good; it ended up becoming the icon for the App.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.45.38 PM

While Jon is pleased with the fact that he and his family were able to turn a “really time-consuming hobby” into a business, he sees the App as the icing on the cake. He puts more value in the lesson he was able to teach his daughters, and in the quality time he was able to spend with his family in the process.

Now that Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats is currently featured in Apple’s Best New Apps section, the Alexander girls are able to see their cats joining the ranks with popular characters from Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street.

We put it in the App Store and it’s competing against Apps made by huge companies like Disney and Nickelodeon,” said Jon. “It’s exciting to think that our little company at our house was able to compete with those big media conglomerates.”

Watch the video detailing the story behind Kalley’s Machine:


LOTFI: Apple’s newest executive advocating rape and murder of women- a radical homophobic racist

NASHVILLE, May 29, 2014– The music industry’s heart and soul is found here in Music City. When Apple decided to acquire a new executive, focusing on music, chatter began to filter through the industry.

Apple’s newest executive has been recorded multiple times advocating the murder of white people, domestic abuse, rape and objectification of women, illegal drug use, violence towards the gay community, and unwarranted, illegal gun violence.

In 1992, he was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Additionally, in the previous year, Apple’s newest executive was arrested for beating a defenseless woman to within an inch of her life. Journalist Alan Light describes the assault:

“He began slamming her head and the right side of her body repeatedly against a brick wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd with a gun. After he tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. He followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair again and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.”

Last year, Paula Deen was fired by the Food Network and all of her sponsors for admitting she had used the word “nigger” in the past. Last month, when it was revealed that new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich had donated to a pro-traditional-marriage campaign in California more than six years ago, he was removed from his new position after only 11 days. In addition, billionaire Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was fined $2.5 million and is being forced to sell the team after it was revealed that he made racist statements, which were secretly recorded, last month.

Meanwhile, Apple’s newest executive has used the words “nigger” and “faggot” more than any human could possibly count.

Where is the public outcry? Where is the #FireDre hashtag campaign? Why are gay and black activists not demanding Apple cut ties with their new executive?

Oh, right. The new executive is Dr. Dre.

How is it unacceptable for a woman in her late sixties to actually admit that she had used the word nigger many years past, and actively seek to be forgiven? Meanwhile, it is completely acceptable for a black man calling himself “Dr. Dre” to become an executive at Apple while calling people niggers and faggots, beating women, assaulting cops, using illegal drugs, and encouraging unwarranted gun violence? Oh, it was just music? Making millions by degrading minorities somehow make Dre’s actions acceptable? Got ya. American culture dictates that we can be as racist, homophobic and misogynistic as we like, as long as a paintbrush is used as a scapegoat and it is sold as “art”. Makes sense.

Timothy Trudeau, founder of Syntax Records and music industry juggernaut, raises a pressing question. What does this say about our culture?

“Millions of people around the world have heard this and are probably wondering how someone can be in leadership at the world’s most valuable brand and also be allowed to think and talk in such a way. What is our culture going to do about this? How will we provide justice to this situation—which seems to be far worse than the ones we’ve acted upon recently. Will it be different? Will it be more harsh, or less? Or, are we willing to let this one slide? If so, why?” -Trudeau, Syntax Records

Trudeau illustrates how ambiguity and selective targeting have resulted in a complete meltdown of cultural accountability.

If the masses demand Paula Deen, Donald Sterling and Brendan Eich be fired from their respective positions and be publicly crucified, then why not demand Apple, the largest brand in the world, explain why they felt it was appropriate to allow a man that almost killed a defenseless woman, regularly uses racial and homophobic slurs, encourages the murder of white people, assaults cops, uses illegal drugs and encourages the rape of women to be an executive at their company. I expect Apple will immediately rectify this situation (sarcasm).

Follow Michael Lotfi On Facebook & Twitter.

AT&T Hacker Sends Government An Invoice For Time Spent In Prison

Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker charged with accessing personal data of over 100,000 AT&T iPad subscribers who recently had his conviction overturned, published a letter on Tuesday addressed to the New Jersey District Court, the FBI, and Department Of Justice requesting compensation for the time he’s spent in prison.

Auernheimer, an internet security expert who is also known as “weev” in several online communities, was convicted in 2012 of identity theft and unauthorized access to computers. In 2010, Auernheimer’s web security group Goatse Security had discovered a security vulnerability on AT&T’s website that allowed people to acquire the e-mail addresses and ICC-ID of iPad users.

An ICC-ID is an identifier similar to a serial number that is used to authenticate the SIM card in a user’s iPad to the AT&T network. According to Wired, Auernheimer and his associate/co-defendant Daniel Spitler found that the security flaw was fairly simple to exploit:

The iPad was released by Apple in April 2010. AT&T provided internet access for some iPad owners through its 3G wireless network, but customers had to provide AT&T with personal data when opening their accounts, including their e-mail address. AT&T linked the user’s e-mail address to the ICC-ID, and each time the user accessed the AT&T website, the site recognized the ICC-ID and displayed the user’s e-mail address. Auernheimer and Spitler discovered that the site would leak e-mail addresses to anyone who provided it with a ICC-ID. So the two wrote a script – which they dubbed the “iPad 3G Account Slurper” — to mimic the behavior of numerous iPads contacting the web site in order to harvest the e-mail addresses of iPad users.

Auernheimer and Spitler ended up acquiring the CC-ID and e-mail addresses of as many as 120,000 AT&T subscribers, including Diane Sawyer of ABC News, studio executive Harvey Weinstein, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Auernheimer brought the discovery to the press ahead of AT&T, and he and Spitler were arrested and charged for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Spitler pleaded guilty while Auernheimer underwent a trial. After Auernheimer’s conviction he was sentenced to 41 months in jail followed by 3 years of probation and an order to pay $73,000 in restitution to AT&T. Auernheimer appealed his conviction, arguing that the information he’d accessed was “freely available” due to AT&T’s negligence in securing its site. In an interview with CNET, he said that he exposed the flaw because “we serve the public and the reason we went public with this is because people have a right to know.”

However, Auernheimer had his conviction vacated in April on a technicality. He was tried and convicted in New Jersey, but the US Court of Appeals ruled that he had been tried in the wrong state.

Now Auernheimer is seeking restitution for the time he’s spent in prison. In his letter, Auernheimer described his discontent with his arrest, trial and conviction. “I have, over the course of 3 years, been made the victim of a criminal conspiracy by those in the federal government. This was a conspiracy of sedition and treason, perpetrated with violence by a limited number of federal agents to deprive me of my constitutional rights to a fair trial and unlawfully put me in prison,” he wrote.

Auernheimer is invoicing the government at a rate of 1 Bitcoin per hour totaling 28,296 Bitcoins, worth about $13 million in US dollars. “I do not accept United States dollars, as it is the preferred currency of criminal organizations such as the FBI, DOJ, ATF, and Federal Reserve and I do not assist criminal racketeering enterprises,” Auernheimer wrote. The letter in its entirety is available below.

Follow Annabelle on Facebook and Twitter.

Apple Calls NSA ‘Malicious Hackers’

Benswann.com reported this week that researcher Jacob Appelbaum asked a very important question: Is Apple helping the NSA spy on its customers?

Today, tech giant Apple Inc. responded to allegations that it worked with the NSA on an iPhone backdoor with choice words for the National Security Agency.

The program, called DROPOUTJEEP, was disclosed by top-secret documents released by security research Jacob Appelbaum and the German magazine, Der Speigel. DROPOUTJEEP, according to leaked documents, has a 100 percent success rate, pushing and pulling files from the phone, retrieving text messages, contact lists, voice mail messages, the phone’s location and turning on the internal microphone and activating the camera.

Here is Apple’s statement: “Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”

Apple isn’t the only tech company expressing anger or disbelief over the NSA. According to Business Insider, Microsoft is also not pleased with the trampling of its customers’ privacy.

“We all want to live in a world that is safe and secure, but we also want to live in a country that is protected by the Constitution,” wrote Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. The company has vowed to sue the government over every non-transparent data request it gets, reports Business Insider.

In December, The Guardian reported that tech giants Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL joined Apple and Microsoft to send an open letter to President Obama, asking for sweeping policy changes to help restore citizens’ trust in the Internet.


Has Apple Gone Libertarian?

SiriThe tech giant’s automated pal Siri has gone libertarian. It’s not immediately clear why. However, if you ask Siri, “Siri, what are your political views?” The answer may surprise you. She’ll direct you straight to Ron Paul’s Wikipedia page.

At first thought one would surely attribute this to simple cookie tracking. Cookies allow businesses and tech companies to track your internet activity in order to better align you with search results, advertisements, etc.

Many people restored their phones to factory settings to rebut the cookie argument and ended up with the same result.

No word yet on why Siri has changed her political views. Perhaps it has something to do with U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s strong defense of Apple during a recent congressional hearing.

Hundreds of others have noticed the same… Try it out to see for yourself.

UPDATE: Shortly after this story detailing Siri’s political ideology went viral Apple switched off Siri’s Libertarian leanings.

Follow Michael Lotfi Twitter @MichaelLotfi.



Eric Holder Demands Government Supervision Of Apple’s iTunes & App Stores

Attorney General Eric Holder has asked a federal judge to give his Department of Justice (DOJ) supervision of the Apple App Store and iTunes.

The DOJ’s demand is a disgusting attempted government power-grab into private business.

Holder’s request follows a decision by Denise Cote, a New York Federal District Judge. Cote ruled that Apple violates the US Anti-Trust Laws, which are designed to prevent monopolies and fixed prices.

Eric Holder

Apple plans to fight the federal ruling tooth and nail, and will almost certainly appeal.

The mega company currently gets 30 percent commission for any e-books sold on an Apple Store App. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ is pushing for Amazon.com to be able to sell e-books on Apple Apps without the 30 percent commission.

Apple objects to government attempting to control the marketplace. Commission on App stores currently makes up for 10 percent of the company’s revenue. It would be a huge blow to Apple if Holder’s request is granted.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the DOJ is also “seeking a five-year prohibition on new e-book distribution contracts that would restrain Apple from competing on price.”

Good grief. Government has no place sticking its nose into the private marketplace. But it continues to do so, over and over, each time expecting better results. (Solyndra, anyone?)

Apple is an innovative, highly successful American business. The company provides thousands of jobs for citizens at a time when unemployment remains high.

Still, the DOJ insists that the company be restrained. Eric Holder, in all his wisdom, asserts that he is trying to protect customers from high prices and mega corporations.

But after further examination, the request seems a bit more partisan in nature.

Amazon.com gave over $100,000 to Obama’s presidential campaigns and donated thousands in equipment during his inaugurations.

But that’s just a coincidence… Right?