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Apple issues rare public comment on its 'commitment to customer privacy' - Page 3

post #81 of 83

It gets creepier:


post #82 of 83

Now Woz gets to speak of his feelings and thoughts on the matter:



post #83 of 83

All three posters below make important points - and what is known supports them.  The phone call metadata collection, for example is a story that broke days before - and separate from the PRISM whistleblowing.

Steve Gibson - a long-time and well-respected security researcher and consultant has outlined in detail how the government (using and/or stretching and/or exceeding the parameters of the Patriot Act and other laws) can run most of PRISM without ever being inside Apple's or Google's or facebook's firewalls - and without the companies knowing when or how much of the incoming and outgoing bits they receive and generate is being captured (actually likely being split by an real optical prism in fiber optic switches and routers. 

Next add the ever-growing amount of data being generated and transmitted about most of us, and the number of networked cameras, the potential for drones (flying, crawling, etc.) and the basis for monitoring citizens by a gov't far less benign than this still frightening one that's created all this Surveillance State apparatus (and used, e.g., the IRS against groups following the law, or the Justice Dept's monitoring of reporters). 

And then you begin to see that the outlines of the potential for huge abuse are already all too clear - if only in nascent form.

Accept, for argument, that Apple really can't decrpyt its own consumer traffic (when all the nodes are Apple devices at least).  Do they use 128 bit level encryption?  If so, that's close to becoming routinely breakable.  And even if it's 256 bit, since the NSA will have 5 zettabytes of storage online in a few months (at their new center in the Salt Lake Valley) - scalable over time to a yottabyte or more, if it's all stored permanently, only a matter of time until more powerful data crunchers will be able to decode it as well.

Further, does any of Apple's consumer up- or downloaded data pass through non-Apple nodes at any point?  Well nearly all, correct?  So fuhgeddaboudit, if PRISM wants it, it has it.

And if you don't think you could be made to look foolish, depraved, dangerous, criminal and/or whatever by pulling very selected bits out of context from the sum of all the data you've generated, you likely have another think coming.....  ...Hitler's round up of Jews, gypsies, gays and those thought Communist was much more thorough that it would have been if he hadn't had IBM's punch card data tabulation system. 

And if Moore's law - or something like it - has been in effect for over 75 years since that happened....  ...get the implications yet??

This is the biggest 1st and 4th Amendment issue in the country's past, present or foreseeable future.  And protecting our democratic republic requires actions I don't believe today's politicians will take seriously enough - if they even "get" them. 

[Emphasis provided on quotees below]

Originally Posted by s.metcalf View Post

They still used the qualification "direct access" which is as good as admitting that they allow indirect access (such as to non-Apple backups of the data) to all the information described and more. Sure the messages might be encrypted but I don't believe for a second that Apple doesn't store and keep the messages and encryption keys, even if only for essential service delivery and stability, and if the US government could get access to a temporary site and build their own databases then I'm sure they would!

Of course even if Apple doesn't knowingly provide the information it's far easier to believe that the US government would take it if they could than not. And I don't think there's any doubt that they have the capability to do so. Being able to know what every person is thinking and doing is the holy grail of data that any Government would do anything they can to get their filthy perverse hands on. The problem is when they go to such lengths that they have to keep it secret in order to prevent a massive public backlash.

US diplomatic cables reveal the extent of secrecy and coercion in which the US government operates. What do you think the whole Echelon project is about. What amazes me is that people re-elect governments that spend huge amounts of our money to spy on us.

I genuinely believe Apple cares about our privacy and tried to resist it, hence them being one of the last big companies to join, but this reads like nothing more than a government scripted defence that Apple was forced to post. And of course with Apple's generous tax arrangements the Government has HUGE bargaining power to force Apple to do what it wants. The US government is a corporation after all and these are all private contracts negotiated in secret.

If PRISM is so innocuous then why is it secret? Because the Government doesn't want you to know what they have access to. Scary times.


Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

"US servers" are quintessentially different from servers in most other western countries in exactly the way we are talking about with this article and discussion.  They are subject to the so-called "Patriot Act" and are available to the US government for scrutiny at almost any time.  Most European countries and Canada will not allow the use of any software in government and education for example, if any part of that software or the data in it is present on American servers.  This is because it cannot be guaranteed to be safe.  


Data on servers in Sweden, France and all those other places is not subject to scrutiny by the US secret service.  This is a huge issue for all non-Americans that Americans just don't seem to get. 


Originally Posted by TBell View Post


You are naive. The government is collecting information on every phone all made. For instance, the number making a call, who the number called, and how long the call was. You can tell a whole lot about a person just from that information. The government also revealed yesterday, it can at will listen in to phone calls. As far as Court requests go, you have no idea how many requests are related to terrorism as Apple is not allowed to tell you how many. Google along with Twitter is fighting to have that number revealed. 


Companies like AT&T have had a history of just voluntarily giving the government access to its customers information without any Court order. When it does so, it is acting like a spy agency. When it receives a Court Order and it does not fight in Court, it is also capitulating to the government. Google routinely fights with the government over user privacy. Apple should do the same. 

Again, all good points.  And there's probably more we don't know.  And if you want to get a bit conspiratorial (as "back doors" do exist), think of all the components fabbed in other countries, notably China (much of which has at least firmware if not software in the package).  How much of that might have active or "sleeper" tech built in to "phone home"?

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.


An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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