Apple CEO: We Never Colluded With Any Government, Ever

Photo credit: Valery Marchive (Flickr)

In a newly published letter earlier this week rolling out its strengthened iCloud security Privacy Policy, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured customers that the company has never created a “backdoor” to gain access to any of its products.

Cook in the the letter, first pointed out by Mashable, assured customers that Apple does not ‘monetize’ information based on users’ product purchasing history.

“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products.  We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers.  We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud.  And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.  Our software and services are designed to make our devices better.  Plain and simple.”

Cook also stresses that the tech giant has “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.”

“We have also never allowed access to our servers.  And we never will.”

When asked in June 2013 whether or not they participated in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program, Apple gave this statement to CNBC, stressing “direct access,” rather than “back door” access.

“We have never heard of PRISM.  We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”

In Apple’s “Government Information Requests” section, the company writes that the company “cannot bypass your passcode and…cannot access [user] 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.”

This data on iOS 8, according to Apple, includes photos, messages, email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders if protected under a passcode.  Apple writes: “National security-related requests are not considered ‘Device Requests’ or Account Requests’ and are reported in a separate category altogether.”

Photo credit: Valery Marchive (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Cops Can Now Detect Texting With Radar Guns

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Radar guns can now detect more than just speeding.

A Virginia-based company, ComSonics, is developing a device that picks up on the radio frequencies being used by cellphones.

Text messages send a different frequency than other cellphone activity, meaning that it would be easy for the new gun to pick up on them.

This technology possesses a similarity with technology that allows cable technicians to determine if there are leaks. In fact, the company already produces a device that does just that.

Due to the dangerous distraction posed by texting while in the car, 44 states ban the practice.

In fact, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving without texting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of fatal crashes.

How do you feel about the new technology?

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

This Massive Photo Hack Is A Total Nightmare For Many Stars, But Here’s What We Can Learn From It

Photo credit: Terry Straehley /

The beautiful young star of the Hunger Games movies, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, likes to take selfies.

In fact, some time back, she shot over 60 pictures of herself in rather revealing positions. Unfortunately for Jennifer, she took the pictures with a state-of-the-art Apple iPhone.

Since then, her iPhone has been busy connecting her data to the cloud, backing up pictures, documents, apps, and other data.

In theory, it’s a useful function. As an iPhone user, I have my own iCloud account.

But Apple’s iCloud service was recently hacked; and the photos of Lawrence, as well as those of model Kate Upton and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, began trading like postage stamps at an online auction. In all, over 100 celebrities had their iCloud photos ripped by hackers.

It’s unfortunate for these celebrities, but there’s a larger point here. You see, most Americans don’t realize that when you put data on the cloud – whether your service is Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox, or any of the dozens of competing cloud services – the chances for a data breach grow exponentially.

The Real Problem Is People

One problem is that most Americans have very sloppy password protocols. When you couple that with the terabytes of data being stored on the cloud, people might as well stand naked on the street. And though we can laugh when celebrities’ nude photos are leaked on the internet, we need to understand that the misuse of private data can have serious economic consequences.

The same iCloud accounts that housed the nude pictures likely included email addresses, passwords, social security numbers, and countless other pieces of personal data that could lead to identity theft, or worse.

As I’ve recommended to all of my readers previously, now is the time to strengthen your passwords. Please don’t continue to use your niece’s name. Instead, something as simple as installing a password generation engine (check out, for example) will greatly enhance your online security.

Next, if a website offers a third-party authentication tool, please use it. I carry the Google authenticator app on my iPhone. It takes a few seconds longer to receive a text message code when you log into a website or service, but your data is much more secure. I make Bank of America (BAC) text me a code whenever I want to make any changes to my login protocols.

Of course, personal data isn’t the only information at risk. Businesses are also suffering from their employees’ indifference to online security threats.

Employers enforce secure passwords, but then an employee writes down the password and tapes it to the file cabinet next to his or her desk. Now, that’s what I call security. Or even worse, they’ll put the written password and username in their wallet for easy access at home.

Billions of dollars are being spent to make the internet more secure; but in the end, most data breaches are the result of unthinking users, customers, and employees. If you take data home to do some work, use your first name in your password, or keep security information in your wallet, I only have one thing to say: Stop it.

Or, if you won’t stop it, marry a supermodel and fill your iPhone with pictures of her in your bedroom. We’ll all be watching.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Terry Straehley /

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Video: “Cell Phone Stalkers”

Every American with a cell phone is being monitored by the government in some cities….Bill exposes one here.

House Moves Ahead With CISPA, Despite Criticism Of The “Cybersecurity” Bill

us capitol building SC 300x199 House Moves Ahead With CISPA, Despite Criticism Of The Cybersecurity Bill

House Republicans are pushing ahead with legislation to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and corporations from electronic attacks despite Obama administration objections that the legislation fails to protect Americans’ civil liberties.

The House begins work Thursday on the bill designed to address the cybersecurity threat by getting the private sector and government to share information to thwart attacks from foreign governments, terrorists and cybercriminals. Although the information sharing is voluntary, civil liberty groups fear the measure could lead to government spying on Americans.

The administration objections run deeper.

“The sharing of information must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans’ privacy, data confidentiality and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace,” the administration said in a statement Wednesday. “Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive.”

The administration also complained that the bill’s liability protection for companies that share information is too broad and argued that the Homeland Security Department should have a primary role in domestic cybersecurity. In its current form, the administration said, the president’s advisers would recommend a veto.

Read More at OfficialWire. By Donna Cassata.

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