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'privacy' How Tos

How to Request a Copy of Your Apple ID Account Data

Apple now allows its customers to download a copy of their personally identifiable data from Apple apps and services. This can include purchase or app usage history, Apple Music and Game Center statistics, marketing history, AppleCare support history, and any data stored on Apple servers, including the likes of calendars, photos, and documents. This article outlines the steps you need to take to request a copy of your data from Apple. As of writing, the service is available to customers in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. If you live in a country or region that's not listed above, you can still contact Apple to request a copy of your data. Apple promises to fulfill all data requests within seven days. Bear in mind that the size of the data download depends on the items that you choose to include (iCloud Photo Libraries can be several gigabytes, for example), but Apple will divide it into multiple files to make the download more manageable.

'privacy' Guides

Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for OS X El Capitan

Every time you visit a website you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This article runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on a Mac. It also covers methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your computer. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing an innocent search on your Mac. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on iOS, check out this guide. This guide assumes you are using the latest public release of OS X El Capitan (10.11.6 as of initial writing), which you can check by clicking the  symbol in the menu bar at the top left of your screen and selecting "About This Mac". The version number appears beneath the OS X version name. If you're not up to date, you can download and install the latest version of OS X via the Mac App Store located on the Dock or in the Applications folder. Cookies, Location Services, and Tracking Many websites attempt to store cookies and other web page data on computers used to access online content. Cookies are small data files that can include things like your IP address, operating system, web browser version, the date you last visited the site, as well as any personal information you may have provided, such as your name, email address, and any relevant

Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for iOS

Every time you visit a website on your iPhone or iPad, you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This guide runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on an iOS device. It also covers some methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your iOS devices. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing a simple Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on OS X, check out this guide. The guide assumes you are using the latest public release of iOS 9.3 (9.3.3 as of initial writing). If your device is running an older version, a message should have appeared on the screen that an update is available. Connect your device to a power source and then tap "Install Now" on the message to download the update over the air, or open the Settings app and tap General -> Software Update, and then tap "Download and Install". Alternatively, connect your device to a computer with an internet connection and with the latest version of iTunes 12 installed. Open iTunes, select your device (a device icon should appear just below the playback controls), click "Summary" in the sidebar, and then click "Check for Update" in the Summary screen. Click "Download and Update" if an update dialog

'privacy' Articles

Apple Customers in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand Can Download a Copy of Their Data Starting Today

Apple today is extending its full-featured Data and Privacy portal to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Apple customers in those four countries will now have the option to download a copy of any data associated with their Apple ID account that Apple maintains, such as calendars, reminders, photos, and documents stored in iCloud, purchase histories, Game Center activity, and AppleCare support history. The portal has been available to customers in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland since May to comply with Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Apple said the service would be made available worldwide in the coming months, starting with today's expansion. In the meantime, Apple customers who live in a country or region that's not listed above can still contact Apple to request a copy of their data. Apple promises to fulfill all portal-based data requests within seven days, and emails customers to let them know it is preparing their data. Read our how-to for step-by-step instructions on requesting a copy of your data. Update: The data-download option doesn't appear to be available immediately and may take some time to roll out to all users

Apple's Privacy Website Updated to Reflect Latest Measures Taken in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

Apple today updated its privacy website to reflect the latest measures it has implemented in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave to protect customers. For example, the new page reflects that all apps submitted or updated on the App Store now require a privacy policy, a requirement that went into effect October 3. Apple already required a privacy policy for apps that accessed personal information, but even basic apps that do not share data must have one now. In iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Apple's so-called Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has been improved. Now, when third-party tracking sites attempt to create cookies or store data, they can do so only with your explicit consent. In macOS Mojave, Apple has made it harder for trackers to create a unique device fingerprint. Meanwhile, automatic strong passwords in Safari on iOS and macOS, which are end-to-end encrypted in iCloud Keychain, make it easier to sign in to sites without using social media logins that can facilitate user tracking. Apple has also added protections for private data, such as requiring user consent for access to the camera and microphone on macOS Mojave. Apple has expanded its use of end-to-end encryption to include Group FaceTime and Screen Time on iOS 12, while its use of Differential Privacy now extends to the personalized Memoji features users select to help identify popular features, such as hairstyle, so Apple can expand its choices in the future. The updated privacy website also indicates that location data sent to nearby emergency services using RapidSOS is deleted after 24 hours.

Apple's Bud Tribble to Offer Support for 'Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation' at Senate Hearing on Wednesday

Apple is sending longtime employee and Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble to a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday to offer support for federal privacy regulations, reports Axios. According to Tribble's prepared statement obtained by Axios, he plans to "convey Apple's support for comprehensive federal privacy legislation that reflects Apple's long-held view that privacy is a fundamental human right." "We want your device to know everything about you; we don't feel that we should," he'll say. "These concepts have guided our design process for years because privacy is a core value at Apple, not an obligation or an aftermarket add-on."Tribble will echo sentiments that Apple executives have shared time and time again, explaining Apple's belief that customers have a right to keep their personal information private, a stance that differs from companies like Facebook and Google. Back in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that privacy "from an American point of view" is one of the "key civil liberties" defining what it means to be American. Cook has also said multiple times that Apple's customers are not its product. "We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers," Cook said in March. "If our customers were our product. We've elected not to do that. We're not going to traffic in your personal life." Tribble will be testifying before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation alongside representatives from other tech and media companies that include Amazon, Twitter, Google, AT&T, and Charter

'Five Eyes' Governments Urge Tech Companies to Build Backdoors into Encrypted Services

Five nations including the U.S. and the U.K. have urged tech companies to comply with requests to build backdoors into their encrypted services, or potentially face legislation requiring them to do so by law. The statement is a result of a meeting last week between the "Five Eyes" intelligence sharing countries, which include the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In a published memo, the governments claim that the use of such backdoors for accessing encrypted data would respect personal rights and privacy, and be limited only to criminal investigations by law enforcement. Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute. It is an established principle that appropriate government authorities should be able to seek access to otherwise private information when a court or independent authority has authorized such access based on established legal standards. The same principles have long permitted government authorities to search homes, vehicles, and personal effects with valid legal authority.The memo goes on to note that each of the Five Eyes jurisdictions will consider how to implement the statement principles, including "with the voluntary cooperation of industry partners", while adhering to lawful requirements for proper authorization and oversight. The statement of principles underlines the fractious relationship between some governments and tech companies regarding encryption over the last few years, in which the popularity of digital messaging services has exploded. The U.K. government has long

All New and Updated App Store Apps Required to Have a Privacy Policy Starting October

Apple has announced that, starting October 3, 2018, all new apps and app updates will require a privacy policy in order to be submitted for distribution on the App Store or through TestFlight for beta testing purposes. Apple already requires a privacy policy for apps that access personal information, including apps that offer subscriptions, accept Apple Pay, or use Apple frameworks such as HomeKit, HealthKit, or CareKit. Now, the requirement will extend to all apps, including basic ones that do not share data in any way. It does not appear that existing apps on the App Store will be affected by this move until they are updated on October 3 or later, so long-outdated apps may remain without a privacy policy if they are no longer maintained. Apple detailed the upcoming changes in the News section of its App Store Connect portal for developers on Thursday:Starting October 3, 2018, App Store Connect will require a privacy policy for all new apps and app updates in order to be submitted for distribution on the App Store or through TestFlight external testing. In addition, your app's privacy policy link or text will only be editable when you submit a new version of your app. To add or edit your privacy policy for the App Store: 1. Go to My Apps in App Store Connect, and click on your app. 2. Under App Store, click on App Information. 3. In the top right corner, add your privacy policy link for iOS apps or macOS apps, or enter text directly for tvOS apps. 4. Click Save. To add your privacy policy link to your app for external TestFlight distribution: 1.

Idle Android Devices Send Data to Google Nearly 10 Times More Often Than iOS Devices do to Apple, Research Finds

Idle Android devices typically send data ten times more often to Google than iOS devices do to Apple's servers, according to new research shared by trade association Digital Content Next. In a paper titled "Google Data Collection," Douglas C. Schmidt, a computer science professor at Vanderbilt University, arrives at some stark conclusions regarding how much Google is collecting about consumers who use the company's products, even when they aren't interacting with their smartphones and tablets. Among several findings, Schmidt's experiments found that an idle Android phone with Chrome web browser active in the background communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period. An equivalent experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari open but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device. In addition, he found that an idle Android phone running Chrome sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iPhone running Safari. Overall, an idle Android device was found to communicate with Google nearly 10 times more often than an Apple device communicates with Apple servers. As well as data transmission frequencies, Schmidt's research also turned up some of the ways that Google can potentially tie together anonymous data collected through passive means with the personal information of its users. For example, on an Android device, so-called "anonymous" advertising identifiers that collect activity data on apps and third-party web page visits

Facebook Fights US Government Demand to Break Messenger Encryption in Criminal Case

Facebook is contesting a demand from the U.S. government that it break the encryption of its popular Messenger app so that law enforcement can listen in to a suspect's conversations as part of an ongoing investigation into the MS-13 gang. The U.S. Department of Justice's demand is in relation to a case proceeding in a federal court in California that is currently under seal, so public files are unavailable. However, Reuters' sources said the judge in the case heard arguments on Tuesday on a government motion to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request. Facebook says it can only comply with the government's request if it rewrites the code relied upon by all its users to remove encryption or else hacks the government's current target, according to Reuters. Legal experts differed over whether the government would likely be able to force Facebook to comply. However, if the government gets its way in the case, experts say the precedent could allow it to make similar arguments to force other tech companies to compromise their encrypted communications services. Messaging platforms like Signal, Telegram, Facebook's WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage all use end-to-end encryption that prevents communications between sender and recipient from being accessed by anyone else, including the service providers. Tech companies have pushed back against previous attempts by authorities to break encryption methods, such as the FBI's request that Apple help it hack into the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December

Apple Responds to U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce: 'The Customer is Not Our Product'

Last month, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent letters to Apple and Google parent company Alphabet with 16 multi-part questions about how the companies handle customer data. Apple has since responded to the letter, reiterating the company's belief that "privacy is a fundamental human right" and that it purposely designs its products and services to minimize its collection of customer data. Timothy Powderly, Director of Federal Government Affairs at Apple, responded on behalf of Apple CEO Tim Cook:Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your inquiry regarding the capabilities of Apple iPhone devices. Not all technology companies operate in the same manner— in fact, the business models and data collection and use practices are often radically different from one another. Apple’s philosophy and approach to customer data differs from many other companies on these important issues. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data. When we do collect data, we’re transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user. We utilize on device processing to minimize data collection by Apple. The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers. Because we strongly believe the customer should control their personal information and the way it’s used, we provide a number of easily accessible resources on our website so

New 'Miles' App Awards Your Daily Commute With Exclusive Deals, If You Grant it Constant Location Access

Startup "Miles" today launched a new iOS app [Direct Link] that grants its users exclusive rewards to use at places like Starbucks and Whole Foods every time they travel in a car, bus, on a bike, or on foot. The company aims for its app to be a ground transportation alternative to frequent flier miles, allowing users to earn discounts over time for travel that they likely perform more frequently than flying on an airplane (via The Verge). The caveat is that for the full experience, the Miles app requires you to give it constant access to your location, so it can keep up with automatically tracking your movement and converting its "miles" currency into deals and offers. You can opt to choose "only while using the app," but you'll then need to remember to keep Miles open every time you travel in order to gain rewards. Under Miles' rewards, you'll earn more miles for transportation that is more environmentally friendly: one real-world mile of walking/running grants you 10 reward miles, one mile of biking is worth five reward miles, a mile in a ride share vehicle is worth two, and a mile in a car is equivalent to one reward mile. At launch, you'll be able to trade these reward miles in for deals like $5 gift cards to Starbucks, Amazon, and Target, $42 off a first order from Hello Fresh, a complimentary rental on Audi's Silvercar service, and more. Other launch partners include Whole Foods, Canon, Bath & Body Works, and Cole Haan. When you trade in miles for rewards, some deals grant you with a barcode to scan at the physical checkout location (Starbucks), while

Apple's Chinese iCloud Data Moved to Servers Managed by State-Owned Mobile Operator

Apple's Chinese iCloud operator has agreed a deal with state-owned China Telecom to transfer local customer data to the company's Tianyi cloud storage business, according to TechCrunch. China Telecom reportedly announced the agreement in a WeChat post, saying that local Apple partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) had migrated all Chinese iCloud customer data to Tianyi servers. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch. Back in January, Apple controversially announced that its iCloud services in mainland China would be overseen by GCBD, which was already known to have ties to the Chinese government. GCBD was brought on board to manage Apple's new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year. Customer data stored on iCloud includes emails, text messages, and the encryption keys that protect it. Customers who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD were given the option to terminate their account or select a country other than China for their iCloud account. Apple made the transfer to comply with the latest laws enacted in China regarding regulations on cloud services, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. The move means Chinese government can use its own legal system to ask Apple for its users' iCloud data, whereas before the government had to go through the U.S. legal system. Today's development is unlikely to quell the concerns of human rights and privacy advocates, who criticized Apple's original decision to rely on GCBD and questioned whether it will be able to maintain and protect its customers'

Lawmakers Question Apple and Google on Personal Data Collection Policies

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee this morning sent letters to Apple and Google parent company Alphabet to ask 16 multi-part questions about how the companies handle customer data, according to a press release. The letter to Apple [PDF] cites recent media reports as the reason for the inquiry, referencing November news suggesting Android collects extensive user location data even when location services are disabled along with reports that smartphones collect and store "non-triggered" audio data from user conversations near a smartphone to hear a trigger phrase such as "Ok Google" or "Hey Siri." While both of these reports were focused on Android, the House wants to know if Apple has similar practices, collecting location data when location services, WiFi, and Bluetooth are disabled or gathering "non-triggered" voice data from customers and sharing it with third-party sources. A summary of some of the questions are below, with the complete list available in a PDF of the letter shared by the committee. When an iPhone lacks a SIM card (or if WiFi, Bluetooth, or location services are disabled), is that phone programmed to collect and locally store information through a different data-collection capability, if available, regarding: nearby cellular towers, nearby WiFi hotspots, or nearby Bluetooth beacons? If yes, are iPhones without SIM cards (or with WiFi/Bluetooth/location services disabled) programmed to send this locally stored information to Apple? If a consumer using an iPhone has disabled location services for multiple apps, but then

Tech Advocacy Group That Includes Apple Meeting This Wednesday to Discuss Online Privacy

Members of the Information Technology Industry Council plan to meet this Wednesday, June 27 in San Francisco to discuss "how to tackle growing questions and concerns about consumer privacy online." The news comes from Axios, and members of ITI in attendance will reportedly include Apple, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Dropbox, and more -- although specific attendees have not been confirmed by the organization. ITI has organized all-day meetings that will focus on topics about online privacy in the wake of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation and the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal. ITI CEO Dean Garfield told Axios that tech companies are aware there's a "new sense of urgency around consumer privacy." The organization also said that the new meet-up of tech leaders is "not a direct result" of alleged conversations brewing within the Trump administration about a U.S. "counter-weight" to Europe's GDPR. "Just because Europe has taken a comprehensive approach doesn't mean our different approach is deficient," Garfield said. "And just because Europe is early doesn't mean it's best or final. But we should always be thinking about how we evolve to make sure consumers have trust in our products." In that report last week, Trump advisor Gail Slater was said to have discussed a U.S. version of GDPR with Garfield, although Slater stated the White House has no desire to create a "U.S. clone" of Europe's rules. Slater claimed that "giving consumers more control over their data" and "more access to their data" are high marks of the GDPR,

Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrants to Obtain a User's Smartphone Location Data

The United States Supreme Court today ruled that the government "is required" to obtain a warrant if it wants to gain access to data found on a civilian's smartphone, but only when it's related to the user's location data (via The New York Times). Image via Wikimedia Commons The decision is expected to have major implications for digital privacy moving forward as it pertains to legal cases, and could cause ripples in unlawful search and seizure cases that involve personal information held by companies like emails, texts, internet searches, bank records, and more. In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the decision was limited. “We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party,” the chief justice wrote. The court’s four more liberal justices joined his opinion. Today's vote in the case Carpenter v. United States came down to a 5-4 ruling, and originally emerged from armed robberies of Radio Shacks and other stores in Detroit dating back to 2010. In the case, prosecutors relied on "months of records" obtained from smartphone makers to help prove their case, ultimately showing communication between Timothy Ivory Carpenter outside of a robbery location -- with his smartphone nearby -- and his accomplices inside of the location. The

White House Reportedly Interested in Developing 'Counter-Weight' to Europe's GDPR Privacy Laws

Last month, Europe implemented its General Data Protection Regulation in an effort to protect the data of all individuals within the European Union, with some aspects affecting users worldwide. According to a new report by Axios, the White House is "in the early stages" of figuring out what a federal approach to online data privacy would look like in the United States. So far, special assistant to President Trump on tech, telecom, and cyber policy Gail Slater has met with industry groups about the issue. Discussions include possible "guardrails" for the use of personal data online, according to a few sources familiar with the talks. Furthermore, Slater has talked about the implementation of GDPR with Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents tech companies like Apple and Google. Image via Wikimedia Commons Slater and the Trump administration have reportedly referred to the U.S. proposal as a "counter-weight to GDPR," aimed at ensuring that the European law doesn't become the global standard of online privacy, sources said. Still, Slater also stated that there is no desire to create a "U.S. clone" of the European rules. Axios theorized that one possible outcome from the conversations could be an executive order that leads to the development of a privacy framework for U.S. citizens. One option is an executive order directing one or more agencies to develop a privacy framework. That could direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an arm of the Commerce Department, to work with industry and other experts to

Australia Prepares Laws Forcing Tech Companies to Help Police Access Encrypted Data of Criminals

Australia is gearing up to release new laws that will force Australian telecommunications companies and global tech companies to comply with law enforcement agencies, when such agencies ask for access to encrypted data on the smartphones of suspected criminals (via ABC News Australia). The laws are the latest in an ongoing global data battle that hit a fever pitch in the United States in early 2016 when the FBI asked Apple for a backdoor into the smartphone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Specifics in regards to the Australian laws have not yet been shared, but they are said to affect companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google, which would face "significant fines" if they choose not to comply with encrypted data requests. Australian telecommunications companies affected under the law include Telstra and Optus. Cyber security minister of Australia Angus Taylor was asked if the laws would allow surveillance codes to be implanted into smartphones and "avoided directly answering," stating a lack of preparation to get into technical details. Notably, one detail Taylor did confirm is that the government would not ask companies to install a backdoor into their apps and equipment, nor would they be asked to "provide law enforcement agencies with an encryption key." Because of this, it's unclear exactly how the Australian government's demands would need to be met by companies. "There's been ideas around for decades that you should create some kind of key that law enforcement can get access to, to access any data at any time — that's not what we're proposing

macOS Mojave Removes Integration With Third-Party Internet Accounts Like Twitter and Facebook

When Apple released iOS 11, the company removed built-in integration with Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Vimeo, a feature that allowed iPhone and iPad users to store their third-party account information and access it within apps that needed to use those services. The equivalent integration remains in macOS High Sierra, but Reddit user Marc1199 has noted that Apple appears to have removed support for third-party accounts completely in macOS 10.14 Mojave. Image via Reddit user Marc119 The image above shows the Internet Accounts preference pane in Mojave, with a distinct lack of OS login options for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, and Vimeo. The removal means that third-party sharing options previously available in Notification Center and other native apps are no longer be available, at least in the latest beta of Apple's new macOS. Dropping support for third-party social network accounts fits into Apple's vision of enhanced privacy protections in macOS 11.14 and iOS 12, both due to release in the fall. In the meantime, users running macOS High Sierra can remove lingering third-party accounts from their Macs with the help of our how-to guide.

New Report Claims Facebook Gave Apple, Samsung, and Other Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

Facebook forged an agreement with at least 60 device makers including Apple and Samsung to provide access to large swathes of user data without explicit consent, in a move that may have violated a 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent decree. According to a lengthy report in The New York Times, the social network made the deals so that device makers could use APIs to include Facebook messaging functions, "Like" buttons, address books, and other features without requiring users to install a separate app. The deals were reportedly made over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April. However, in a recent test conducted by NYT on a 2013 Blackberry device, using a reporter's Facebook account, an app called "The Hub" was still able to harvest details on 558 of his friends, including their political and religious views. Not only that, the app was also able to access "identifying information" on 294,258 friends of his friends. Facebook has hit back against the claims in the report. In a blog post titled "Why We Disagree with The New York Times", the company said it created the APIs for device makers so that they could provide Facebook features on operating systems before apps or app stores where available. Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go. These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any

Apple Launches New Data and Privacy Website

Apple has launched a new Data & Privacy website that includes an option for Apple users to download all the data associated with their Apple ID account that the company keeps on its servers. The data download that users are able to request includes purchase and app usage history, calendars, reminders, photos, and documents stored in iCloud, Apple Music and Game Center statistics, marketing history, and AppleCare support history. The data download option arrives before the GDPR deadline and is currently limited to Apple accounts registered in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, but Apple says it will roll out the service worldwide "in the coming months". We've compiled a separate how-to outlining the steps involved in requesting the data. If you live in a country or region that's not listed above, you can still contact Apple to request a copy of your data. The new Data & Privacy site also includes links that customers can use to update their account details, temporarily deactivate their account, or delete it

Anti-Surveillance Coalition That Includes Apple Condemns Proposals for Device Backdoors

The Reform Government Surveillance coalition, which includes several major tech companies who have teamed up to lobby for surveillance law reform, this week released a statement condemning recent proposals for backdoor access into electronic devices and reaffirming a commitment to strong encryption. The coalition is made up of multiple tech companies who have taken a strong stance against weakening encryption, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Snap, Evernote, LinkedIn, Oath (owned by Verizon) and Facebook.Reform Government Surveillance recently announced a new core principle on encryption that will guide our advocacy efforts, and we continue to believe that strong encryption helps protect the security and privacy of individuals and companies around the world. We have consistently raised concerns about proposals that would undermine encryption of devices and services by requiring so-called "exceptional access" for law enforcement. Recent reports have described new proposals to engineer vulnerabilities into devices and services - but they appear to suffer from the same technical and design concerns that security researchers have identified for years. Weakening the security and privacy that encryption helps provide is not the answer.As ZDNet points out, the statement comes following a WIRED article profiling Microsoft chief technical Ray Ozzie and his suggestion for a solution called "Clear" that would supposedly provide law enforcement with access to encrypted data with less security risk. Ozzie's proposal uses a public key and a private key (housed and

Russia Bans Access to Telegram Encrypted Messenger Service [Updated]

A Russian law court has ordered that access to the Telegram encrypted messaging service should be blocked, according to Russian news agencies on Friday (via Reuters). The development follows last week's news that Russia's media regulator had filed legal proceedings to block the app in the country because the company refused to enable state security services to access users' messages. The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users. The app has over 200 million users globally. They include Kremlin staff, who use Telegram to coordinate conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Many government officials also use the messenger app to communicate with media, according to Reuters. When Reuters asked a person in the Russian government on how they would operate without access to Telegram, the person, who asked not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, replied by sending a screenshot of his mobile phone with an open VPN app.Telegram becomes the second global network after LinkedIn to be blocked in Russia. In 2016, a court found LinkedIn guilty of violating a law that requires companies holding Russian citizens' data to store it on servers within Russia. Update 04/17: The Russian government has formally requested that Apple remove Telegram from its regional App Store in the country, reports Reuters. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics,