Encryption

Microsoft makes modest statement in support of Apple over iPhone encryption

Microsoft makes modest statement in support of Apple over iPhone encryption

The news about the FBI ordering Apple to offer backdoor access to an iPhone belonging to a terrorist, along with Apple's subsequent refusal, has been dominating headlines this week. On an issue that's sure to prompt ongoing debate about encryption and privacy, several other tech giants are voicing their support for Apple's stance. It took a bit of time, but Google's Sundar Pichai tweeted his agreement with Tim Cook's open letter on encryption, along with Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp. Now Microsoft has spoken up, albeit in a moderate way.

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Google chief Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, Cook

Google chief Sundar Pichai tweets in support of Apple, Cook

The tug of war between government and the tech industry over the question of encryption has been going on for months, perhaps even years now. But this latest case that involves the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooters is perhaps the tipping point of the debate. Snowden calls it the most important tech case of the decade and one that could, and most likely will, set a precedent for years to come. That is the "chilling" precedent that Apple is trying to fend off, and it won't be doing so alone. Joining the growing chorus, Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to Twitter to show his support of Tim Cook's letter to Apple customers.

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Apple ordered to disable autowipe on San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

Apple ordered to disable autowipe on San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

It's not exactly a landmark court decision but one that could set a precedent in the tug of war between the US government and encryption advocates. A federal judge in Riverside, California has just ordered Apple to assist in unlocking the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone to aid in criminal investigation. While the judge isn't exactly telling Apple to break the smartphone's encryption and only disable the "10 tries and wipe" security feature, the consequences of this subtle difference can still send ripples in the fight for security and privacy on devices and services.

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Bill could block attempts to enforce encryption backdoors

Bill could block attempts to enforce encryption backdoors

The fight for security and privacy, now embodied in the encryption of devices and services, has long taken a political flavor when the US government publicly advocated installing backdoors on such systems for the sake of criminal investigation. Now the story takes an interesting turn when two lawmakers cross the political divide to propose a bill that will preempt such proposals. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, and Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Republican from New York, have proposed a House bill that will prevent any state or local government from forcing OEMs to create such backdoors.

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AG on encryption: we don’t want back doors, just back doors

AG on encryption: we don’t want back doors, just back doors

Encryption has become a very thorny subject of late, particularly in but not just limited to the US, which isn't that surprising considering most of the tech companies of the world call the country their HQ. Although it has since slightly weakened its formerly strong language, the US government stands by its position. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch reiterated that position. The US doesn't want encryption back doors. They just want access to encrypted systems through another door that isn't the front. So maybe a side door perhaps.

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California also wants encryption backdoors on smartphones

California also wants encryption backdoors on smartphones

Another US state has added itself to the roster of those fighting for requiring encryption keys to be provided to aid in criminal investigation. Or as others call it, "weakening encryption". California assemblyman Jim Cooper proposed a new bill that eerily sounded like a similar proposal being made in New York City. The difference, however, is that the purpose isn't to fight terrorism but to crack down on human trafficking specifically. Still, it's basically the same mantra that's being repeated in the US, UK, and France, requiring companies to provide governments with keys when they need them.

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France goes against the flow, rejects encryption backdoor law

France goes against the flow, rejects encryption backdoor law

While the US, particularly New York, and the UK are on a crusade to legally mandate the creation of backdoors on otherwise tightly secure encrypted systems, the French government is doing the opposite. It has recently rejected a proposed amendment that would practically require companies to install such backdoors and give government the keys in case of a criminal investigation. This rejection is almost ironic considering it was the recent Paris attacks that are being used by other government to justify their push for encryption backdoors.

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Apple might lose its encryption battle in New York

Apple might lose its encryption battle in New York

While Apple is still fighting any nationwide attempt to have backdoors installed in otherwise secure devices and Internet services, it might already be losing ground just in New York state alone. The state assembly has proposed a bill that, if approved and enacted, would force smartphone manufacturers and operating system provider, like Apple in both cases, to unlock and decrypted devices or risk being fined a hefty $2,500 per related device. This would, in turn, force Apple to weaken its encryption system and maybe even turn it off all together.

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China’s anti-terrorism law does what US, UK could only dream of

China’s anti-terrorism law does what US, UK could only dream of

The US and the UK have only been planning and talking about it for years, but China has already done it. Unsurprisingly, despite strong criticism and outcry from the US and tech companies, China has passed a law that practically requires technology companies to have backdoors to encrypted systems and to hand the Chinese government keys to those doors should they be required by law. Almost ironically, the US' arguments against that law sound similar to the ones used by tech companies against the US' similar proposal.

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Apple speaks out against UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill

Apple speaks out against UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill

Apple, and many privacy advocates, might be facing a losing battle against governments pushing for a backdoor to encrypted devices and Internet services. The UK might be on the verge of passing a proposed Investigatory Powers Bill into law, which would require even non-UK companies like Apple to hand over keys to its otherwise well-protected products, even if such keys do not technically exist. If matters do take that turn, Apple will be forced to completely disable encryption on iPhones and iPads, iMessage, and FaceTime, which could have severe and adverse implications in more ways than one.

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Signal encrypted messaging platform arrives on desktops

Signal encrypted messaging platform arrives on desktops

Secure and encrypted chatting on mobile devices is well and good, but sometimes you do need to use all ten (or just 8 or 9) fingers to better express what you have in your head. For that reason, Open Whisper Systems is bringing its Signal messaging app to desktops and laptops after being available first on iOS and, just last month, on Android. Now you can be sure that your super secret messages remain super secret, even from the government's prying eyes and ears.

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Tech industry reaffirms stance against weakening encryption

Tech industry reaffirms stance against weakening encryption

The violent events that befell Beirut, Paris, and most recently Nigeria, has once again given rise to the US government's favorite debate topic with the technology sector: encryption. On the one hand, you have the government calling for a backdoor into all encrypted devices and services. On the other corner, you have tech companies insisting on how dangerous that would be for the very people the government claims to protect. The irony of the matter is that both sides are claiming to fight on the side of security, both personal and national.

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