Microsoft Sues Over Gag Orders

Redmond thinks the ECPA goes too far

Microsoft, in a complaint to the Justice Department, says that governments shouldn’t be able to keep cloud providers behind a gag order when they execute a search warrant.

Microsoft brings this case because its customers have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails, and because Microsoft has a right to tell them.

Damn straight, Microsoft.

Procedural Failure

Over at MacStories, Graham Spencer wraps up a piece saying:

It is too soon to say, but Apple’s actions today may well be the latest example of policy and procedural failure on App Review.

This seems to be a running theme over the last couple years. The App Store(s) and the review process are both stuck in 2008, while developers and customers are living in 2016.

I’m hoping for big app review and App Store related changes in iOS 10 and macOS come WWDC.

On the IFTTT Kerfuffle

When free, isn't.

There has been a lot of brouhaha lately about IFTTT changing the way apps integrate with it’s service.

Pinboard wrote a blog post listing the reasons why they would stop supporting IFTTT because IFTTT requires changes to the way certain services, like Pinboard, connect with IFTTT. Maciej Cegłowski is taking a “Lazy and Heroic Stand” against doing work for free to benefit IFTTT. And Pinboard isn’t the only one.

On the surface, that sounds admirable, and several people are deleting their IFTTT accounts in protest.

But here’s the rub: Pinboard is a paid service. IFTTT is free.

Shouldn’t the guy with the paid service do the work to integrate with the free service?

Why is it up to IFTTT to tweak their system, for free, for hundreds of integrations? Doesn’t it make much more sense for those hundreds of integrations to each do a little work for their paying customers, rather than the free service doing all the work for their UNPAYING channels?

When an API changes on iOS or Android, app developers don’t throw a shit-fit and threaten to leave (usually). They pony up the work, and keep the app current for their customers. This is no different.

If you (or your company) don’t feel that IFTTT integration is worth the extra work, I totally get it. Stop supporting it, and move on. But don’t blame THEM because YOU feel like the other guy should work for free so you don’t have to.

Fight Another Day

The DOJ has vacated their order for Apple to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone. They were always on shaky legal ground, and were flat out lying about the technicalities of it all. They now say they’ve found a way to unlock the phone without compelling a private business to write software for the government.

This isn’t over by anyone’s estimation, but the conversation can slow down and be reasonable now, at least.

Both Sides of Their Mouth

Do they think we don't notice this stuff?

So let me get this straight… The FBI is in court right now telling the Department of Justice how it may sometimes need access to information, and Apple has made a…

deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so the government cannot search them, even with a warrant

Richard Clarke Talks Encryption

"Not as interested in solving the problem"


Richard Clarke, former National Security Council leader and security advisor to Clinton, Bush and Obama, in an interview with NPR

If I were in the job now, I would have simply told the FBI to call Fort Meade, the headquarters of the National Security Agency, and NSA would have solved this problem for them. They’re not as interested in solving the problem as they are in getting a legal precedent.

Amicus, Briefly

Apple's FBI fight gets some backup


As listed on a Press Info page on Apple’s site, Amicus Briefs supporting Apple’s stance on this issue. 

In no particular order, these companies and groups are in support of Apple’s stance of not creating software to bypass security for government use.

Law Is Hard

Orin Kerr, writing for The Washington Post, has a great breakdown of the challenges both sides face in the Apple vs. FBI phone-unlocking saga

This case is like a crazy-hard law school exam hypothetical in which a professor gives students an unanswerable problem just to see how they do.

There are two parts to this post, be sure to read both if you are at all interested. Lots of good info and case law.

Apple’s FAQ on the FBI Request

Transparency is key in this fight.

This page is riddled with corporate-speak and has a bit of hyperbole, but it does try to lay out Apple’s case in the San Bernardino phone unlocking case.

Some hightlights that stand out to me:

Second, the order would set a legal precedent that would expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us. 


Tim Cook: A Dangerous Precedent

Apple vs. the FBI Round 2

In an open letter on the Apple Web site, Tim Cook lays out his case against helping the government unlock an iPhone:

The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.