The irrevocable failures of centralized business models

Last year, when the FBI ordered Apple to help it break into an iPhone that belonged to a terrorist, the company denied to comply and challenged the federal government in court to avoid setting a precedent that would undermine the privacy of all its users.

18 months later, when the Chinese government ordered Apple to remove major Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps from its version of the App Store that is available in the country, it caved in without a fight.

This is not a move you’d expect from a company that professes to be dedicated to protecting customer privacy and information. VPN apps are extremely important to evade surveillance and circumvent censorship, especially in countries like China where the internet traffic strictly controlled and limited. Continue reading

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Apple’s headphone jack removal—was it courage?

Source: Apple.com

Source: Apple.com

With the announcement of the new iPhone 7 and I Phone 7Plus by Apple, some saw their expectations met as the devices are quite similar to their predecessors, and some others were left disappointed. One of the most controversial aspects of the new generation headsets though was Apple’s decision to do away with the traditional analog headphone jack. While some considered such a move as inevitable, the reasoning placed forward by Apple senior marketing vice-president Phil Schiller, as “courage,” has created quite some noise. Continue reading

All you need to know about Apple’s tax evasion controversy

Apple headquarters

Apple was slapped with a European Commission ruling on August 30, ordering the tech giant to pay a whopping $14.5 billion bill for back taxes in reference to its business and sales in Europe in general, and in Ireland in particular. The subject of Apple’s taxes, and especially the over $230 billion in cash stored offshore, has a remained a tricky issue for this company for years now. How Apple found itself involved in such a mess and its record-breaking tax evasion case have become a hot topic. Continue reading

How two students wish to improve consumer privacy

Enigma machine - encryption

Despite the fact that the latest round of the decades-old Crypto Wars has been relatively silent for a few months, there’s still much doubt over how the future of data privacy will unfold. Government agencies continue to push for more “transparency” on the part of tech firms, which boils down to baking backdoors into their products that would allow the feds to pry into encrypted communication. Continue reading

The inevitable outcomes of the Apple FBI debate

Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

While Apple and FBI are exchanging statements and court orders over data stored in iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the San Bernardino rampage, everyone is intent on what will be the outcome of the latest round of crypto-debate. The feds are blaming Apple of undermining national security, making false claims and arguments on legal rights, and creating diversions in order to preserve its economic interests; Apple (and other tech leaders) are accusing FBI of intentionally wanting to set a precedent by forcing Apple to create the software that can unlock the phone; and meanwhile, other cases, namely that of the WhatsApp messaging app, are waiting for the outcome of this case to determine their fate. Continue reading

Where will the encryption battle between FBI and Apple lead to?

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If you haven’t heard about the ongoing encryption showdown that has pitted tech giant Apple against the FBI, you’re probably not living on planet Earth. But here’s a quick breakdown: The involved parties are at loggerheads over an iPhone 5c recovered during the investigation of the San Bernardino massacre last December.

FBI is asking Apple to help it break into the phone by developing a special version of its iOS operating system, which would enable the feds to bypass security measures that protect against brute-force attacks. Apple is vehemently denying the request, maintaining that doing so will compromise the security of all iPhones and the privacy of its consumers. Continue reading