Apple CEO: Unlocking San Bernardino iPhone would be ‘bad for America’

admin   •   February 25, 2016   •   2140

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks during a event for students to learn to write computer code at the Apple store in the Manhattan borough of New York December 9, 2015. REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI/FILES

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks during a event for students to learn to write computer code at the Apple store in the Manhattan borough of New York December 9, 2015.
REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI/FILES

Apple chief Tim Cook on Wednesday said that complying with a court order to help the FBI break into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters would be “bad for America,” and set a legal precedent that would offend many Americans.

“Some things are hard, and some things are right, and some things are both – this is one of those things,” Cook told ABC News in his first interview since the court order came down last week. He added that the government was asking for “the software equivalent of cancer” and that he planned to talk to President Barack Obama directly about getting the dispute “on a better path.”

Later asked whether Apple would be prepared to fight this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Cook said, “We would be prepared to take this issue all the way.”

Apple’s chief executive officer also said there should have been more dialogue with the Obama administration before the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to seek relief from a federal magistrate judge in California.

“We found out about the filing from the press, and I don’t think that’s the way the railroad should be run, and I don’t think that something so important to this country should be handled in this way,” Cook said in an interview being aired on “ABC World News Tonight.”

Apple has publicly said it intends to fight the court order and has until Friday to respond.

The iPhone in question was used by San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife went on a shooting rampage in December that killed 14 and wounded 22.

The Justice Department wants Apple to help access encrypted information stored on Farook’s county-owned iPhone 5C by writing software that would disable its passcode protections to allow an infinite number of guesses without erasing the data on the device.

Apple has said the request amounts to asking a company to hack its own device and would undermine digital security more broadly.

“This would be bad for America,” Cook told ABC. “It would also set a precedent that I think many people in America would be offended by and when you think about those, which are knowns, compared to something that might be there, I believe we are making the right choice.”

Some major tech companies have solidly sided with Apple while others have issued more muted statements on the importance of digital security. Verizon Communications Inc Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told Reuters Wednesday his company supports “the availability of strong encryption with no backdoors.”

The government has repeatedly insisted its request in the iPhone case does not amount to “backdoor” access.

(Additional reporting by Malathi Nayak and Mari Saito in San Francisco)

Big Tech faces broad U.S. Justice Department antitrust probe

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday (July 23) it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms into whether they engage in anti-competitive practices, the strongest sign the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of Big Tech.

The review will look into “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

The Justice Department did not identify specific companies but said the review would consider concerns raised about “search, social media, and some retail services online” — an apparent reference to Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc., and Facebook Inc., and potentially, Apple Inc.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to provide a list of companies that would be scrutinized.

Google and Apple declined to comment, referring to prior statements by executives, while Facebook and Amazon did not immediately comment.

Facebook fell 1.7% in after-hours trading, while Alphabet fell 1%, Amazon was down 1.2% and Apple was 0.4% lower.

The announcement comes a day before the Federal Trade Commission is set to announce a $5 billion penalty to Facebook for failing to properly protect user privacy.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said the Justice Department “must now be bold and fearless in stopping Big Tech’s misuse of its monopolistic power. Too long absent and apathetic, enforcers now must prevent privacy abuse, anti-competitive tactics, innovation roadblocks, and other hallmarks of excessive market power.”

In June, Reuters reported the Trump administration was gearing up to investigate whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google misuse their massive market power, setting up what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies.

A person briefed on the matter said the Justice review may also include some state attorneys general.

The Justice Department said the review “is to assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want.”

Reuters reported on May 31 that the Justice Department was preparing an investigation of Google to determine whether the tech giant broke antitrust law.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill alike are expressing growing concerns about the size of the largest tech firms and their market power. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has called for breaking up companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook and unwinding prior acquisitions.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel pressed executives from the four firms about their competitive practices and noted that Google, Facebook, Amazon had a rising share of key markets.

Congress held a series of hearings last year looking at the dominance of major tech companies and their role in displacing or swallowing up existing businesses. It is rare for the government to seek to undo a consummated deal. The most famous case in recent memory is the government’s effort to break up Microsoft Corp. The Justice Department won a preliminary victory in 2000 but was reversed on appeal. The case settled with Microsoft intact.

“There is growing consensus among venture capitalists and startups that there is a kill zone around Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple that prevents new startups from entering the market with innovative products and services to challenge these incumbents,” said Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat who heads the subcommittee.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told CBS News last month that scrutiny was fair but “if you look at any kind of measure about is Apple a monopoly or not, I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple’s a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market.”

Google’s Adam Cohen told the House Judiciary subcommittee last week that the company had “created new competition in many sectors, and new competitive pressures often lead to concerns from rivals.”

Technology companies face a backlash in the United States and across the world, fueled by concerns among competitors, lawmakers, and consumer groups that they have too much power and are harming users and business rivals.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called for closer scrutiny of social media companies and Google, accusing them of suppressing conservative voices online, without presenting any evidence. (REUTERS)

Amazon joins $1 trillion club

admin   •   September 5, 2018

Amazon logo. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday joined Apple Inc. in the $1 trillion club, becoming the second member of the group after its stock price doubled in 15 months.

If the online retailer’s share price continues at its recent pace, it will be a matter of when not if, Amazon’s market valuation eclipses that of iPhone maker Apple, which reached $1 trillion on Aug. 2.

Apple took almost 38 years as a public company to achieve the trillion dollar milestone, while Amazon got there in 21 years. While Apple’s iPhone and other devices remain popular and its revenues are growing, it is not keeping up with Amazon’s blistering sales growth.

Amazon has impressed investors by successfully diversifying its business into virtually every corner of the retail industry, altering how consumers buy products and putting major pressure on many brick-and-mortar stores. It also provides video streaming services and bought upscale supermarket Whole Foods. And its cloud computing services for companies have become a major driver of earnings and revenue. — Reuters

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Turks divided over President Erdogan calls for U.S. electronics boycott

admin   •   August 15, 2018

 

 

iPhone 7 smartphone | REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Turks expressed differing opinions on Tuesday (August 14) after President Tayyip Erdogan called on the nation to boycott electronic products from the United States, particularly iPhones, retaliating in a dispute with Washington that has helped drive the lira to record lows.

Hours after Erdogan‘s call, iPhone user Ayse Orga bought a new phone for herself at a bazaar selling electronics. Shopkeeper Umit Yilmaz voiced support for Orga.

“I have a 16-year-old daughter. Take her iPhone away from her, if you can,” Yilmaz said.

Another shopkeeper, Arif Simsek disagreed.

“We fully support this decision. We supported him with our lives on July 15 and now we will support him with our goods,” Simsek said, referring to the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

The lira has lost more than 40 percent this year and crashed to an all-time low of 7.24 to the dollar early on Monday (August 13), hit by worries over Erdogan‘s calls for lower interest rates and worsening ties with the United States.

The weakness of the Turkish currency has rippled through global markets. Its drop of as much as 18 percent on Friday (August 10) hit U.S. and European stocks as investors fretted about banks’ exposure to Turkey.

Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency. — Reuters

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