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04.22.11

Proprietary Software Increasingly Eliminates Freedom, Privacy, and Dignity

Posted in Apple, Vista, Windows at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple’s latest blunder is its practice — either intentional or not — of eavesdropping on users, which leaves people’s entire travel history on any computer the “iDevices” synchronise with (even the police’s)

Apple, the anti-Linux aggressor (e.g. with software patents), is in hot water right now. In response to its ridiculously pathetic lawsuit against Samsung it is now being sued itself:

Samsung Electronics Co. said it sued Apple Inc. (AAPL) claiming patent infringement, a week after the iPhone maker filed a complaint in U.S. federal court alleging the South Korean company copied its products.

Samsung submitted complaints to courts in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany, alleging Apple infringed patents related to mobile-communications technologies, Suwon-based Samsung said in an e-mailed statement today. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment and referred back to the company’s complaint filed last week.

However, the very latest blunder Apple found itself in has a lot to do with privacy, or lack thereof. Groklaw has assembled some links that include self-explanatory quotes:

  • Apple location tracker file: Congressman asks Steve Jobs to explain by May 12

    Following widespread attention drawn by a file embedded on Apple iPhones and iPads that keeps a detailed log of the devices’ location, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has sent Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs a letter asking him to explain the purpose of the file.

  • Michigan Police Deny Secretly Extracting Mobile Data During Traffic Stops

    The Michigan Police Force has denied the unlawful use of a device that can extract all your cell phone information, the same technology that is embedded in many of our cell phones.

    The data extraction devices (DED) are manufactured by CelleBrite and can quickly extract mobile data, such as contacts, photos, and deleted text messages, from your SD card. CelleBrite counts Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and other major carriers as customers; the technology is used to transfer data to a new phone when you upgrade.

  • Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

    The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

    ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

  • MSP fights ACLU claims that devices are used to get personal information from cell phones during traffic stops

    Can police steal information from your cell phone? That’s the charge against the Michigan State Police by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

    The ACLU says the MSP is dodging its requests to disclose information on data extraction devices.

    Police say they’re complying with the law and that the ACLU is stirring up controversy.

    The ACLU of Michigan says the Michigan State Police is withholding information about its data extraction devices that can store all the information on your cell phone.

    Mark Fancher, ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project staff attorney says, “The only thing that we have been asking is that they confirm for us by producing documents that demonstrates that they are complying with constitutional requirements.”

    The Michigan State Police says turning over all of the documents would cost more than half a million dollars.

  • Inquiries Grow Over Apple’s Data Collection Practices

    “If it’s true that this information is being collected, and it is being done without the approval and knowledge of the users, then it is definitely a violation of German privacy law,” Mr. Kranig said.

Separately, Groklaw posted a link to the following new item from Schneier, which ought to remind people of COFEE (Vista and other versions of Windows include surveillance bits):

  • Software as Evidence

    Increasingly, chains of evidence include software steps. It’s not just the RIAA suing people — and getting it wrong — based on automatic systems to detect and identify file sharers. It’s forensic programs used to collect and analyze data from computers and smart phones. It’s audit logs saved and stored by ISPs and websites. It’s location data from cell phones. It’s e-mails and IMs and comments posted to social networking sites. It’s tallies from digital voting machines. It’s images and meta-data from surveillance cameras. The list goes on and on. We in the security field know the risks associated with trusting digital data, but this evidence is routinely assumed by courts to be accurate.

Here again is the Jobs video that we posted last night. Listen to what he says about privacy at Apple. Considering how secretive the company is, privacy at Apple applies only to its members of staff. For everyone else, Apple is just Big Brother software. What we need now is a free (as in liberty) phone platform and independent carriers that do not log calls/locations using signal triangulation.

Steve Jobs on privacy, Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference (Video)


For context, see the “Privacy” links at the top. How foolish he must look now.

Credit: TinyOgg

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