What next? Are they going to dig through Apple employees' trash, looking for variations in the number of credit card offers?
"Apple Employees Load up on Credit"
"Investigators have uncovered a 10% uptick in the number of accepted credit card offers from key Apple employees. Speculation about Apple's poor recent performance seems validated by their own employees obtaining as much cheap credit as they can get before the inevitable catastrophe approaches. Leading VCs interviewed had this to say: 'We always recommend to our partners that they obtain credit during times of prosperity, so that they don't need to unnecessarily dilute their shares by raising money in a downturn. If you're profitable but don't need the money, it's a great time to at least seek a line of credit from your bank.'
Apple representatives declined to comment on this article, possibly wishing to delay the bad news until the next shareholder meeting.
Next up: Microsoft reallocates its purchases of employee free soda to 20% Coke / 80% Pepsi. But what are the impacts on its cloud computing business?"
They then used this information to trade on the companies just before earning release, and made a lot of money. They were eventually caught by the SEC because their trading was deemed suspicious, i.e. their options bets always seemed to work out.
I mean, that's basically a company idea right there, if someone hasn't already done that
The SCOTUS stepped in and said that the practice was illegal without a warrant because, despite a vehicle moving around a city in plain and public view, being allowed to monitor hundreds or even thousands of vehicles from a central location with only a handful of officers was outside of the scope that allowed them to hop into a vehicle and follow someone else, which would require hundreds of officers and hundreds of vehicles observing with their own eyes.
It's the same idea. Getting access to data that is not public (in reference to the credit card transaction data, not satellite imagery), in order to profit from a publicly traded stock, does not create a level playing field. Semi-realtime satellite imagery, on the other hand, may not be completely public, but it's publicly available data (with a fee, possibly, from the operators of the satellites, which is a device or technology that wasn't built to specifically observe walmart parking lot capacity). I would argue that it's still a grey area, as you can only interpolate sales based on a tangental dataset like parking lot capacity. But getting access to actual transaction history from the stores is a direct correlation to their sales and revenue model, which drives their eventual stock price.
I don't see how anyone could argue that they were "just doing their homework". They were subverting a system for financial gain. They weren't taking data that anyone could obtain and doing a novel approach to interpret tangental sales figures.
I'm not detracting from the effort and skill they demonstrated in their endeavor, (which IMO was substantial), but the amount of effort and skill put into an activity doesn't necessarily determine criminality/inappropriateness or lack thereof.
You joke, but I bet you could get a leading indicator if you looked at companies reallocating from European fizzy drinks to Coke/Pepsi.
This sort of thing happens all the time from "news" blogs. You're just particularly keen to this one. The writer takes a smattering of fact, fits in into the existing narratives the news media is already telling themselves and bloviates until they have something to staple advertisement to.
What next? Are they going to dig through Apple employees' trash
Yes. News organizations that should know better pad their pages with exactly that. Constantly and forever. The trashcan is typically metaphorical, and the rank and file employees are boring.
That is exactly the sort of thing that investors might look for. The personal behavior of executive is very telling. It is more so for privately-held corps, but can be applied to apple. Seeing an exec liquidating assets or taking on apparently unnecessary dept can speak to that execs future plans, which are tied to corporate moves. Some investors watch family members. A wife/mistress/girlfriend/husband shopping for a new house out of town may be the sign that the exec is about to leave one firm for another. How they plan to finance the purchase also counts.
One big tell, especially with startups, is communications with particular immigration lawyers. Execs facing a windfall often want to abandon their US citizenship in favor of somewhere with better tax treatment. See Saverin at facebook. So any communication with lawyers specializing in this process is a good sign of a buyout in the works. Either that, or they plan on winning the lottery in the coming months. You have to finish the process before you win the money.
the deal was on it's way probably way before FBI scandal started.
I assumed that were referring to Moxie and my initial thought was that it would represent a sad loss of autonomy for him.
I have no desire to purchase Apple products and them picking him up would probably be a loss to Signal which I actually use.
I do not really see why this is always brought up. Ofcourse they unlocked phones in the past, they had a master password, they could not legally refuse to do it. There was no legal way for them to resist such actions by the government
Do you understand the difference between the security model today, and previous versions of the iPhone?
Further I do believe there is a Fundamental Difference between Apple run by Steve Jobs, and Apple run by Tim Cook in how they view government. This is why your seeing Apple shift its technology to resist government agents as well as more "traditional" threats
//For the Record, I hate apples business model, and their Walled Garden Ecosystem. I will never own a iPhone because of that, however this on going theme of "well they unlocked it in the past" is just technological ignorance that need to be put down.
They do not support open protocols, they do not support interoperablity, they want to much control over the device I supposedly bought from them..
I have to use their App Store, they Operating System, their Backup (iCloud), their Desktop App (iTunes) etc etc etc
There is no F-Driod, for iOS for example.
I hate walled gardens.
>Seems pretty identical to other companies except they don't collect
They may not sell it, but they are certainly collecting data about you...
You preferred the less secure work with the government in all things Apple? that is what Steve Jobs Apple was...
Replaced with text like
"We care about your privacy."
"We protect you with all legal means available."
And then there's PR like
Maybe it's true. But are you really that trusting?
I think that the USG could really twist Apple's arm and take them to courts over trumped up tax evasion charges and force Apple to cooperate with them on that FBI issue.
Let's just wait to see how this interesting story evolves and concludes before passing judgements very early.
There's a big difference between not going far enough and deliberate deception on this topic. There are also multiple stages to the battle for privacy, and most technology products and services are relatively far behind Apple in that progression.
I.e. the key they use to sign software updates. With that key, someone could create malware and sign it... Apple creating the malware just saves them a step. Ergo the "target on that piece" is already pretty high value, yet Apple is able to keep it secret / prepared for contingencies (like rotating the key..)
This is a problem for signing software, but also things like updating their webpage and content on the App Store. All these systems need to have authentication data exist, and if lost to people with malicious intent it could be lost.
It follows that this is a pretty thin layer of security.
And it seems that Apple's signing keys are well-protected high value targets. Has Apple been "able to keep it secret" ? As far as we know, yes. But we don't know everything.
Whatever remaining security holes there are with secure enclave, they have nothing to do with a software chat app.
This is entirely coincidental and has nothing to do with anything.
TechCrunch should be ashamed of itself (again) for being such a douchebag.
Edit: I'm not saying Apple hiring the guy is stupid. I'm responding to the hattery from the article itself.
As a hire, it makes sense. But trying to decide that it means "Apple is now serious about security" is just a bunch of horseshit on both ends.
Also, Apple has a PR problem and can't operate without secure systems. Article title notwithstanding, it is a pretty big deal that while an intelligence agency is coming at them hard they hired a developer, in a very public manner, that's application is used by the very person who made the evidence of surveillance known.
This could be a signal to the market that they not only passively oppose this, but they are actively locking down their systems and they won't cooperate. Seems like a very sharp developer and as a bonus he did secure system messaging so it is not idiotic.
edit: I ammended post to reflect that he is likely not working on iPhone directly.
Something very much outside what we know about the secure chat app.
We also know that iMessage has never been known to have any fundamental security flaws.
I tried to clarify above, and I'll do so here again. I don't think the hire was idiotic. I think TCs characterization of hiring a security messiah was idiotic.
That is not anywhere close to reality.
I don't know about his engineering abilities but the interview I read and some of the news articles presented him as quite a talented person. Signal, if it is as secure as the EFF audit suggests, would be one way to shore up older iPhones.
> I think TC's characterization of it was idiotic.
I mean, if we grade it on the TC scale it wasn't. It is hard to say it is unrelated. Their communication device is very publicly being regulated into compliance and they want to hire all the good people they can get. This is good on 3 levels, solid engineer, strong communication to market and that commitment brings in other solid engineers.
What are you basing that assertion on?
The market is tough but it would be interesting if Apple would actually enter it. They have enough power to seed the network effect needed with a large enough user base.
I think this entire saga has actually opened up a nice spot to push really hard for the positioning slot of "secure by default". It's been done by a lot of people including Apple before but I think we're at a point in time where the media echo might be good enough for a big company to make a true positioning play.
It's also a great differentiation against Google/Facebook. Apple has voiced the "essentially our competitors are in the we make money off privacy violations business" (in other words) but they might want to hit that harder soon. A bit fickle since you need FB/Google in the "security now" alliance but still interesting.
I'm still skeptical about closed source software for secure X but I guess it's better than nothing.
> Apple hires plenty of interns all year round, but one particular addition
> revealed this week caught the eye given the company’s current position
> opposing a controversial order to enable the FBI to access the iPhone used
> by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
"hey, there's this software developer who's done some work in the field of security on an app which is famous, and he's going to work at Apple during a time when some issues with Apple's security are in the news. And we noticed and we want to share that with you"
It's interesting. Tech Crunch can write about whatever they want. If you don't like the article, downvote it and move on. Perhaps Ian is just jealous nobody is writing an article about him, because he is clearly smarter than this developer.
When news outlets start writing puff pieces about memes, you know that we've all collectively hit rock bottom.
Generally it's courteous to leave a comment explaining a downvote before moving on.
Also, I'm no longer a student in the traditional sense. That's sort of a life mantra of mine, to be perpetually learning. You can think of it as the opposite of your world, in which you think you know everything.
Come on. Don't pretend this is anything more than it is. A really hard-working guy worked hard and built a thing that worth while. Apple said, "hmmm, it would be easier to buy this person than to hire him." So they did.
There is no one-person fix to secure enclave or any of Apple's other problems. You are being delusional. Apple's problems, such as they are, are systemic and cultural. Apple cannot buy its way into better cloud services or better Siri, or better security, and certainly not with the purchase of a such a small company.
Those two things sound the same to me. The guy was hired. What are you saying here?
> There is no one-person fix to secure enclave or any of Apple's other problems
Nobody said he's going to work on that.
> Apple's problems, such as they are, are systemic and cultural. Apple cannot buy its way into better cloud services or better Siri, or better security, and certainly not with the purchase of a such a small company.
You seem to know a lot about Apple's culture. Do you have some evidence to support your claims?
I didn't say all the other parts, or that he's going to do it singlehandedly. Maybe they want to improve end-to-end encryption for iMessage or similar and figure he's got relevant experience.
> Apple's problems, such as they are, are systemic and cultural.
Possibly, but even then, I would argue that this current situation is a culturally defining moment for post-Jobs Apple, maybe even strong enough to override other parts of their culture.
One thing for sure, it's being driven from the very top down and Tim Cook is making clear, unequivocal comments about where the line in the sand is.
In what way did they buy him?
Apple didn't buy Whisper Systems. They hired Frederic Jacobs.
While part of it may be PR, I also believe that these are Tim Cook's values shining through. Having an orientation that gets you jailed or killed in some countries, makes you value individual freedom and privacy.
It's great to see this new Apple.
Cook was born in Alabama in 1960. For a long time, his orientation could get him jailed or killed in his place of birth. Hell, as of 2016 Alabama still is hardly a good place for people with Cook's sexual orientation.
 13A-6-65(3), though ruled unconstitutional (since 2003 and Lawrence v. Texas), is still on the books
Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day.
I think it is relevant to the discussion, because I believe that this is a much deeper motivation than profit maximization. Though, there are of course many other ways to reach the conclusion that privacy is important.
Although things are better these days than there were, there is not complete equality - and I am not speaking legally.
There is no need to "come out" to your friends and family that you are straight and like girls (if you are male and vice versa).
Until there is no bigotry, until there is literally no difference in what sex you prefer, then something like this will have an effect on your life, thus it may have played a part in Tim's view regarding his current position.
It definitely is. The NSA has access to all this data anyways. They just need to get it nailed down legally now, as far as possible.
Apple just can't be seen as collaborating.
Serious question - is it?
The NSA might or might not share with the FBI, and the FBI might or might not be able to use what's shared in court, which could explain why they want new authority.
Apparently his homosexuality and the resulting stigmatization didn't stop him from espousing horrendous values and ideals.
Someone's sexual orientation has no weight on the values system that he/she would subscribe to and thus shouldn't be taken into consideration in any serious discussion about the topic.
They _may_ have no weight, indeed, as your anecdote illustrates.
People tend to empathize more with people they have something in common with (some research suggests ), so I think many of us would certainly have a mindset affected by our minority-held sexual orientation, in matters where our sexual orientation actually plays a role (security being one of the more obvious cases).
If the OP's argument was limited to only the privacy part, I'd have agreed tentatively with him/her as it's undisputed truth that gays under persecution or living in discriminatory environments favor privacy intensely and therefore it could be argued that this influenced the decision of Tim Cook in the apparent fight with the FBI.
> I found a cat that does not like milk.
> Therefore, if I see a cat, I can draw no inference
> about the probability that they like milk.
But nevertheless, we can still have some confidence that, absent other indicators, cats like milk.
p.s. Here’s another example closer to home of a “cat that did not like milk:” Roy Cohn, who carried out anti-homosexual witch hunts, and later died of AIDS.
Edit: Adding link to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Cohn
With this move, they will also waste very valuable developer's (crypto experience ain't cheap) skills.
Who knows, maybe internally they're even looking at making things more open but that could require a lot more work w.r.t. scanning for patents and such in their code and perhaps they want to have a strong solid release of whatever they would consider a "full system" before they put up their code for all to see.
Apple doen't, historically, have much of a history of opening up but they did open up Swift recently. Perhaps new winds are starting to blow like they did at Microsoft.
What would that bring them? Other companies would rip off iOS, bastardize & put their slow skins on it, and never release security updates (or modified source files).
I agree that opening up security infrastructure would be good though.
BUT Apple appears to be effective at keeping the contents of smartphones out of the hands of police and prosecutors and out of the courts. If you can't distinguish between those levels of protection, you are allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
On the other hand I think they could really be doing good things behind the veils, and that could benefit very large numbers of people who don't have the knowledge or inclination to defend their own communications, (and anyone who has the knowledge and inclination but also the misfortune of needing to communicate with those who don't).
I don't know anything about Jacobs beyond what we've just seen here, but I would guess someone who has worked on that level with Open Whisper Systems wouldn't be prone to accepting poor security design, nor to accepting unethical practices in handling user information. I'd be much happier with an open Apple Inc. too, but as long as it keeps standing for a closed and locked environment, Jacobs seems like just the kind of person I would want working there.
How many huge bugs have been discovered in very widely used open source libraries/applications and identified as having affected the software for many years?
Would you be satisfied if Apple provided the option for NDA-sealed access to the source, allowing people/researchers to view (but not redistribute) their stack?
Edit: fixed brain shart (extra word)
OpenSSL was vulnerable since end of 2011. Fixed mid 2014.
And it's one of the most popular and commonly used open source technologies.
A "secure" chat app that depends on Google Play Services (spyware) and is only available through the Play Store (rather than F-Droid, an open source software repository for Android) and maintained by an author who refuses to integrate fixes to either of these problems upstream.
For those wondering if Google Play Services really is spyware: one of the purposes is to backdoor your phone for Google so they can _silently_ update any of their apps on your phone. It has access to _every_ Android permission and can (and does) grant any permission to any app silently. It also monitors your location and reports it to Google, along with brief voice snippets for "OK Google", as well as a list of all apps installed on your phone, and more. It's definitely an awful thing to have on your phone if you're privacy conscious.
Security should be available to all, not just those with the environment and know-how to compile apps from source. Doubly so on iOS where you have to pay x dollars for a developer license.