Norway to Force Accused Criminal to Unlock His Phone via Fingerprint

Norwegian police will force a 27-year-old man accused of drug possession to unlock his mobile phone via fingerprint, according to local website Bergensavisen [Google Translate]. The police believe the confiscated smartphone may contain evidence about where he obtained the illegal substance.

The man, who reportedly admitted he was culpable, has refused to unlock his phone for police since being charged, but the Nordhordland District Court’s recent verdict allows Norwegian police to force the accused’s thumb on to his fingerprint-secured phone. Local police will also analyze his phone call and data history.

The brand of the phone is not disclosed in the report, but if it is an iPhone, it is not clear if Norwegian police are aware that Touch ID requires a passcode as supplemental verification after 48 hours of disuse, a restart, or three failed fingerprint entry attempts. The accused was arrested on January 25, so it may be impossible for authorities to unlock an iPhone with Touch ID without taking additional measures.

In the U.S., a Virginia court ruled that fingerprints, unlike passwords and passcodes, are not protected by the Fifth Amendment. In his ruling, Judge Steven C. Frucci opined that „giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key,“ which is permitted under federal law.

Correction: The source article does not explicitly state that the device in question is an iPhone, and this article has been updated to reflect that.

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Tags: Touch ID, Norway
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Apple Could Owe More Than $8 Billion in European Tax Probe

Apple could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes if the European Commission finds issue with the iPhone maker’s corporate tax policies in Ireland, according to analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence.

Apple is one of several multinational corporations that have been scrutinized for corporate tax avoidance in Europe over the past few years. The European Commission began Apple’s tax probe in June 2014, and formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland three months later.

The company’s $64.1 billion in profit generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a 12.5% tax rate, compared to its current foreign tax rate of about 1.8%, depending on the outcome of the investigation. A decision in the probe is expected in Brussels by March, possibly after the 2016 Irish election.

Apple’s tax breakdown in Ireland (Image: Bloomberg Intelligence)

Apple operates multiple subsidiary companies in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside the U.S., where it earns about 55% of its revenue. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and both the company and Ireland vow to take the European Commission to court over any negative verdict.

Last month, Apple agreed to pay 318 million euros in Italy to settle an investigation that accused the company of booking profits generated in Italy through an Irish subsidiary, in an effort to lower its taxable income base and save 879 million euros between 2008 and 2013. Italian regulators concluded that tax probe in March.

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Tags: corporate tax, European Commission, Ireland
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Apple Criticizes Proposed UK ‘Investigatory Powers’ Surveillance Bill

Apple today spoke out against the UK’s proposed Investigatory Powers bill, expressing concern that it would „weaken security“ for millions of law-abiding customers, reports The Guardian. Apple added that in a „rapidly-evolving cyber-threat environment,“ technology companies should be allowed to „implement strong encryption to protect customers.

Introduced last month by UK home secretary Theresa May, the Investigatory Powers bill allows for the bulk collection of website records by law enforcement agencies. It requires web and phone companies to store records of websites visited by every UK citizen for 12 months, and it has provisions that would require technology companies to build in backdoors or help bypass encryption on devices to allow access to information.

Apple and other technology companies believe the implementation of such a bill could inspire other countries to adopt similar measures. In a letter written to the parliamentary committee looking over the bill, Apple expressed concern about the scope of the bill and asked for changes to be made before it’s passed. In its current incarnation, Apple worries the bill could give the UK government enough power to demand changes to the way iMessage works, ending the encryption that makes it inaccessible even to Apple.

„The creation of backdoors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers. A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.“

Apple went on to say the legislation could cause businesses to have to deal with a set of „overlapping foreign and domestic laws“ that will „inevitably conflict“ and lead to the risk of sanctions. UK agencies could, for example, ask for information stored in data centers in other countries, infringing on that country’s data protection laws. „That is an unreasonable position to be placed in,“ Apple wrote.

Other technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo, also plan to submit evidence to the parliamentary committee in the hope of getting the proposed bill changed.

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Jimmy Iovine Criticized After Making Controversial Comments About Women

Apple recently debuted a new Apple Music ad, starring singer Mary J. Blige and actresses Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington, during the 2015 Emmy Awards.

In the one-minute spot, focused on Apple Music playlists, Washington says that Apple’s curated playlists are like having „a boyfriend who creates you a mixtape – in your laptop.“

Jimmy Iovine, who joined Apple in 2014 following the company’s acquisition of Beats Electronics, has made headlines today following controversial comments he made about women on CBS This Morning today in relation to the ad.

CBS has made the video clip unavailable to viewers outside the U.S. — Mirror

In particular, when asked to explain his thinking behind the Emmy ad, Iovine said that „women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music, …and [Apple Music] helps makes it easier with playlists curated by real people.“ He proceeded to mention the problem of girls „sitting around“ and „talking about boys.“

The Verge transcribes:

„I just thought of a problem, you know: girls are sitting around, you know, talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, you know, when they’re heartbroken or whatever. And they need music for that, right? So it’s hard to find the right music, you know. Not everybody has the right lists, or knows a DJ or something.“

Iovine’s comments have been widely criticized on Twitter and in several media outlets.

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Tags: CBS, Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music
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Tim Cook Reminds Employees ‘Apple Is Open’ After Australian Retail Store Employee Bars Black Teens

Earlier this week, a group of black teenagers were asked to leave an Apple Store in Australia by employees who were concerned about theft. The exchange was caught on video and has since gone viral, leading to a series of apologies, from the store’s senior manager and from Apple.

Image via The Sydney Morning Herald

Apple has released two statements on the matter, one from Apple CEO Tim Cook who said he wants „every customer visiting our stores or calling for support to feel welcome,“ and a second general statement clarifying Apple’s core values.

„Inclusion and diversity are among Apple’s core values. We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions. We’ve looked into the details of the situation and we apologize to the customers involved. We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure all our customers are treated the way they should be.“

Following the public apology, Tim Cook has now sent an internal memo to its employees, which has been shared by BuzzFeed. In the letter, Cook calls what happened „unacceptable“ and says the video „does not represent our values.“

He goes on to remind employees that „Apple is open“ to people from „all walks of life“ regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language, or point of view.

I’m sure you are all aware of the unacceptable incident which took place at our store at the Highpoint shopping center in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. Several young men, who are students at a nearby school, had been asked by a security guard to leave the store. In an attempt to address the situation, one of our store employees gave an answer which shocked many of us.

What people have seen and heard from watching the video on the web does not represent our values. It is not a message we would ever want to deliver to a customer or hear ourselves. Our employee immediately expressed his regret and apologized to the students.

None of us are happy with the way this was handled. But we can all be proud of Kate, one of the senior managers at the Highpoint store.

On Wednesday, she greeted the same group of students to express a heartfelt apology on behalf of our store and our company. She reassured these young men that they and their fellow classmates would always be welcome at our store. The school’s principal later told a reporter that she delivered her message „with good grace,“ and one of the students said, „It feels like we have justice now.“

Her words that day echoed a message you’ve heard many times from me and from Angela. It’s a simple pledge we all make to our customers and to ourselves:

Apple is open.

Our stores and our hearts are open to people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, income, language or point of view. All across our company, being inclusive and embracing our differences makes our products better and our stores stronger.

The Apple Store Highpoint is staffed by people who share these values and illustrate our commitment to diversity. The team is made up of coworkers from Australia, as well as Egypt, Italy, India and five other nations. Collectively they speak 15 languages, including Urdu, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.

While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. Our store leadership teams around the world, starting in Australia, will be refreshing their training on inclusion and customer engagement. These are concepts and practices they know well, but can always stand to reinforce.

Respect for our customers is the foundation of everything we do at Apple. It’s the reason we put so much care into the design of our products. It’s the reason we make our stores beautiful and inviting, and extend their reach to benefit the communities around them. It’s the reason we commit ourselves to enriching people’s lives.

Thank you all for your dedication to Apple, to our values, and to the customers we are so very fortunate to serve.

Following the incident, the senior manager at the Apple Store where the teens were ousted invited them back along with their school principal to make a formal apology and to make it clear they are welcome in the store any time. Following the apology, one of the teens said „She apologized to us and told us that we are welcome here anytime. It feels like we have justice now.“

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Apple, Google and Others Form Coalition to Push Technology in Financial Sector

A handful of technology giants – including Apple, Amazon, Google, PayPal, and Intuit – have announced a partnership in the formation of the Financial Innovation Now coalition (via Re/code). The group aims to promote tech-friendly policies and changes within the financial services sector in Washington, D.C. Those behind the group will work to alter the political debate on relevant issues like tech security, mobile payments, and fraud prevention in the favor of its partners.

“A technological transformation is going to make financial services more accessible, more affordable and more secure,” said Brian Peters, executive director of Financial Innovation Now. “The challenge in Washington is making sure policy-makers understand that, and they’re comfortable with it, and they don’t apply old rules to new technology.”

Thanks to the growing popularity of mobile payments solutions like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal, the companies behind such services are positioning themselves as part of the future in financial services discussions in Washington, since they’re more part of the conversation than ever before. The partnership also intends to work together to achieve blanket improvements for each individual service in topics like user security and authentication, faster payment processing, and „access to basic financial services for the two billion people in the world who are underserved.“

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Tags: Google, Amazon, PayPal, Intuit, Financial Innovation Now
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Controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act Passes in Senate

The U.S. Senate today passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, also known as CISA, in a 74 to 21 vote. A similar bill has already passed in the House, and the two cybersecurity bills will likely be combined before heading to the White House for a final decision from President Obama. The vote comes a week after Apple spoke out against the bill.

CISA is designed to allow companies to share information on cybersecurity threats with one another and the government. However, as noted by Wired, privacy advocates have asked Congress to kill the bill, saying that it hides „new government surveillance mechanisms in the guise of security protections.“

Apple spoke out against the bill last week after other technology companies, like Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, reddit also opposed the bill. The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft had urged the Senate to make improvements to the bill, saying that they do not support the bill as it’s currently written.

The Cupertino company once again reiterated its commitment to user privacy in its opposition to the legislation, saying that it doesn’t support CISA and that the trust of its customers „means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of privacy.“ Apple has taken a strong privacy stance in recent years, continually noting that the government doesn’t have access to its servers. In iOS 8, Apple ended its storage of encryption keys for iOS devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPads an iPhones under police request.

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Apple Speaks Out Against Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

Apple today voiced its opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, just days before the Senate will vote on the bill. In a statement given to The Washington Post, Apple reiterated its commitment to user privacy and said it does not support CISA.

„We don’t support the current CISA proposal,“ Apple said in a statement. „The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of their privacy.“

Apple’s public statement on CISA comes on the heels of statements from several other tech companies who oppose CISA, including Twitter, Yelp, Wikipedia, and reddit. The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, has also urged the Senate to make improvements to the act, saying it does not support CISA as it is currently written.

The controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is designed to allow companies to share information on cybersecurity threats with one another and with the government, but opponents say it puts personal privacy at risk by failing to include protections for user privacy and by granting the government wide-ranging rights gather private data from Americans under the guise of shielding them from hackers.

Apple has taken a strong stance on user privacy in recent years and has reiterated many times that the government has no access to Apple’s servers. With iOS 8, Apple further strengthened its position on preventing government access to user data by ending its storage of encryption keys for iOS devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPhones and iPads under police request.

Over the course of the last two years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken passionately on Apple’s unwavering commitment to privacy. He shared his most recent thoughts on the subject last night, at the WSJ.D Live conference in California. „Do we want our nation to be secure? Of course,“ Cook said. „No one should have to decide between privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both. Both of these things are essentially part of the Constitution.“

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Apple Reiterates Inability to Unlock iOS Devices Running iOS 8 or Higher in New Court Filing

Apple this week informed a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York that it „would be impossible“ for the company to access data on a locked iPhone running iOS 8 or later, reports Reuters. Apple was responding to a request from the judge, James Orenstein, to help him decide whether to fulfill a U.S. Justice Department request that would have forced Apple to help authorities gain access to a seized iPhone.

Apple’s response is not a surprise, as it is the same thing the company has said several times in the past. Since iOS 8, Apple has stopped storing encryption keys for devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPhones and iPads under police request. Without an encryption key, Apple cannot bypass a passcode to gain access to an iOS device.

In a brief filed with the court, Apple said 90 percent of its devices are running iOS 8 or higher and are thus inaccessible. Apple is able to access the 10 percent of devices that continue to use iOS 7 or below, but the company told the judge that being forced to comply with the Justice Department’s request could tarnish its brand.

„Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,“ Apple’s lawyers wrote.

Apple’s encryption changes, implemented in 2014 with iOS 8, have been unpopular with some law enforcement officials. FBI Director James Comey has expressed concern that encryption implemented by companies like Google and Apple lets people „place themselves above the law.“

Just yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook told an interviewer encryption is a necessity and that software backdoors are unacceptable, reiterating Apple’s long-standing opinion on the subject.

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Apple Partners With Imagine Dragons and One4 Project to Aid in Refugee Relief Efforts

SAP and the One4 Project today announced a partnership with the band Imagine Dragons and Apple that aims to provide support to the UN Refugee Agency as it addresses the refugee displacement crises occurring in Europe (via Forbes). The new single by the band, called „I Was Me,“ is out now on iTunes for $1.29, and both Imagine Dragons and Apple have confirmed that all proceeds from its sales will go toward relief efforts.

SAP, the corporation supporting One4, has also announced it will donate 10 cents for each of the first five million purchases of the new single. Each member of the project hopes the funds not only aid in providing relief for the refugee crises, but bring the international issue into the public eye.

Apple has already been supporting the relief efforts, opening up iTunes Store donations to the American Red Cross last month to help those displaced from their homes due to violence and forced to migrate across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe. Those interested in supporting the cause can purchase „I Was Me“ on iTunes right now.

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