New Bill Prevents Federal Agencies Purchasing Apple Products

Apple is currently in congress talking to and explaining the impact that removing or bypassing protection on their iPhones would have if they followed a court order to do so for the FBI. In what may seem like a childish move a congressman has now introduced a bill that would forbid federal agencies from purchasing Apple products.

In the statement, Representative David Jolly stated the following:

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing a company that refuses to cooperate in a terror investigation that left 14 Americans dead on American soil,” he said. “Who did the terrorist talk to? Who did he message with? Did he go to a safe house? Is there information on the phone that might prevent a future attack on US soil? Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, every citizen and every company was willing to do whatever it took to side with law enforcement and defeat terror. It’s time Apple shows that same conviction to further protect our nation today.”

Currently, though the bill may not get passed with America split down the middle on the issue and, even more, people coming out in support of both sides, although Apple seems to have the majority rule with large companies and even ex-agency heads coming forward in their support.

With a man whose wife was lost in the attacks stating his support for Apple, the discussions seem to change with every passing minute as people go from supporting the company to stating that the phone could have infected (and be used to fix) virus’s that it may or may not have on it.

Obama Orders Study Into Smart Gun Technology

Smart guns are nothing new, they are the concept of using technology to not enhance guns but to make them easier to track and ensure they are used by the correct people for the correct reason. It would seem though that President Barak Obama hopes that smart gun technology can be used to stem gun violence in the U.S.

In a memorandum, the departments of Defence, Justice and Homeland security were told to look into smart gun technology. Obama is rumoured to be using his authority to push forward extra gun control measures in his last year, within the statement he stated that “developing and promoting technology that would help prevent these tragedies is an urgent priority”.

Smart guns would allow guns to be outfitted with radio frequency trackers, or even fingerprint scanners, which would allow lost or stolen weapons to be traced more easily and then require authorisation to use the weapon in the way of a fingerprint scan respectively. Alternatives include having a small watch device on your wrist, with the gun only discharging when the watch and the weapon are within a certain range, thereby limiting the number of people that can pick up and use the weapons with ease.

With 90 days to report their findings on the study, the concept has already come under fire from the national rifle association with a spokeswoman Jennifer Baker saying that “there is nothing in this set of proposals that would improve public safety“.

With these requirements and the idea to licence anyone selling firearms, not just in store but also at events or online, the idea of limiting or tracking firearms more effectively seems to be at the core of the new proposals.

It will be interesting to see the results of the studies and the subsequent comments from the NRA and government authorities regarding Smart weapons as upgrading anything with technology is often seen with sceptical eyes from everyone.

Image courtesy of the Verge.

Snowden Leak Reveals How Microsoft Helped the NSA Bypass Encryption

Privacy, spying, hacking, monitoring, tracking, just some of the words that people around the world have become frighteningly familiar with over the last few years. Edward Snowden uncovered many details of how our governments treat our data and he’s showing no sign of slowing down. His latest revelation reveals how Microsoft worked closely with the US Government, namely the NSA, to bypass encryption mechanisms that are intended to protect the privacy and data of the millions of users of Microsoft software such as Windows.

According to his article in The Guardian, NSA memos show that Microsoft helped the find a way to decrypt messages sent over various platforms, including Outlook, Hotmail and Skype, effectively handing them a backdoor into the data we entrusted them with.

While it’s no secret (anymore) that big tech companies were under pressure from various agencies to provide them with data on users, both with and without a warrant or similar legal document to back up their demands. However, the new leaks suggest Microsoft actively went out of their way to assist federal investigators, such as helping to circumvent encrypted chat messages via Outlook.com, prior to the product being launched to the public!

How Microsoft will react from this, especially given the privacy concerns of many in regards to Windows 10, remains to be seen.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information.

LinkedIn Facing Lawsuit over Access of Email Accounts

LinkedIn has been ordered to stand trial by a U.S Federal judge over allegations from users that they have been sending and accessing emails without consent.

LinkedIn has been found to be accessing users email accounts, copying their address books and using this information to solicit business. This is seen as a loophole by some as users do agree upon sign up to allow LinkedIn to use their contacts to send an initial recruitment email – but give no authorization to send further reminder emails.

US district Judge, Lucy Koh (San Jose, California) stated:

“This practice could injure users’ reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts or are unable to take the hint that their contacts do not want to join their LinkedIn network.

“In fact, by stating a mere three screens before the disclosure regarding the first invitation that ‘We will not … email anyone without your permission,’ LinkedIn may have actively led users astray.”

Koh has given customers the green light to pursue their claims that LinkedIn has violated their right of publicity. She has dismissed other claims however, such as violation of federal wiretap laws.

Crystal Braswell declared on behalf of LinkedIn:

“We are pleased that the Court rejected plaintiffs’ unfounded “hacking” claims and found that LinkedIn members consented to sharing their email contacts with LinkedIn. We will continue to contest the remaining claims, as we believe they have no merit.”

View the full information on the class action lawsuit here.

Image courtesy of Ben Scholzen